Historical Events

From the Age of Enlightenment to the Christmas Truce, learn about some of history's most pivotal events.

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Thousands of Cubans protested in the streets in rare demonstrations against the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and limits on civil liberties. But what other events got the citizens to this breaking point?

By Catesby Holmes

These pioneering women bring new meaning to the phrase, "girl power!" Test your IQ of some of the baddest women in history with our quiz.

By Alia Hoyt

A little-known research facility in South Carolina housed thousands of monkeys and was key to developing the polio vaccine.

By Caroline Eubanks

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Transcendentalism was a 19th century philosophical movement with adherents like Thoreau, Emerson and Fuller, based on principles of freedom, feminism, abolition and the idea that people had divine truth within them.

By Patrick J. Kiger

Hispanics have contributed to American history since Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus stepped foot in the New World. These five events were turning points in Hispanic and American history.

By John Donovan

Queen Elizabeth II has reigned over England for a record-breaking 69 years. But with Prince Harry and Meghan having a second child, how does the line of succession look now?

By Alia Hoyt

In 1978, hundreds of followers of Reverend Jim Jones of the Peoples Temple died in Guyana, after being either coerced into suicide by their charismatic leader or actually murdered.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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What began in 1968 with a call for a "revolution of values" in America has continued as a modern-day movement taking on everything from systemic racism and poverty to ecological issues and the war economy.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Believed to have operated between 1821 and 1861, the Saltwater Underground Railroad refers to the coastal escape route followed by fugitive slaves into the British-controlled Bahamas.

By Carrie Tatro

When British radio wouldn't play 1960s rock 'n' roll, a station on a ship moored off the coast of England would. For many years, pirate stations have dodged government regulators to bring outlaw radio to the world at large. 

By Patrick J. Kiger

The Mason-Dixon Line has ties to slavery, which often overshadows its otherwise fascinating story about one of the most significant surveying achievements in North America.

By Ray Glier

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"Internet cult" Heaven's Gate is seared in the memory of the '90s public for the fact that 39 members committed suicide wearing matching tracksuits and sneakers, as the Hale-Bopp comet approached Earth. But what made them do it?

By Nathan Chandler

During one of the most political times in papal history, Pope Formosus' corpse was dug up and put on trial for crimes of the past. Who thought this was a good idea?

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

The nuclear disarmament movement in the 1950s needed a logo for a political march. What it got was one of the most ubiquitous and easily recognized symbols of all time.

By Jesslyn Shields

The world has come a long way since we were prepping for Y2K to potentially crash computers and the economy as we know it. We've witnessed some major moments since then. Here are 20 of the biggest.

By John Donovan

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The War of 1812 ended in a stalemate, which enabled the fledgling United States to escape a devastating defeat and grow into a world power.

By Patrick J. Kiger

A blinding smog enveloped London in 1952, wreaking havoc on the city, bringing life to a standstill and killing thousands.

By Kate Kershner

In 1959, a group of nine Russian hikers disappeared and were later found dead in circumstances that, to this day, have mystified authorities and armchair sleuths alike. But a new theory points to an avalanche as the solution to the mystery.

By Nathan Chandler

Yep, Jimi Hendrix could have borrowed a cup of sugar from George Frederick Handel — in a manner of speaking.

By Kathryn Whitbourne

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Yugoslavia is no more. Prussia? Vanished from the face of the Earth. From war to political unrest to rebranding, there are all sorts of reasons that leaders rename their nations. Can you pick the former names for these countries? 

By Nathan Chandler

Is graphically recounting the horrors of the Holocaust the only way to honor the dead and educate the living about this tragedy? Sociologist Arthur Shostak says no.

By John Donovan

While it's technically just a glorified shift change, the British monarchy's Changing the Guard ceremony is steeped in history and tradition.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

Magda Herzberger was just a teen when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz. It was the last time she saw her father. Now 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, she talks about the Holocaust with a sense of urgency.

By John Donovan

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A "trail of tears and death" is how a Choctaw leader described the experience of his people being forcibly removed from their tribal homelands and sent west of the Mississippi. How many people were affected?

By Dave Roos

The Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, ended with a stalemate and left North and South Korea as adversaries. It also changed the course of U.S. national security policy.

By Patrick J. Kiger