Historical Events

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


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How the Freedom House Ambulance Service Became the First EMTs in America

Their pioneering story is little known, but from 1967 to 1975, an ambulance crew recruited from a poverty-stricken black neighborhood in Pittsburgh became the first set of trained EMTs in America.

John Brown's Failed Raid on Harper's Ferry Was a Major Impetus for the U.S. Civil War

The raid amplified tensions between the North and South and intensified fear of slave rebellion.

The Women-led March That Changed the Course of the French Revolution

In 1789, thousands of women frustrated by good shortages marched to Versailles with some serious demands for King Louis XIV.

Ridiculous History: When Doctors 'Prescribed' Alcohol During Prohibition

Getting a prescription for alcohol back was once kind of like getting a prescription for medical marijuana today.

Why Does Nova Scotia Have a Latin Name?

Most North American names are a mix of colonial and indigenous languages, so how did the Canadian province "New Scotland" end up with a moniker from a dead tongue?

How Butter Fueled the Protestant Reformation

Martin Luther had many grievances against the Roman Catholic Church. Including their ban on butter.

Throughout History, Humanity Has Marveled at Solar Eclipses

These historical images remind us that marvel and awe go hand-in-hand with science (and eclipses), and have been a part of the human experience for as long as we've been a species.

'Almost' Edible Historic Fruitcake Found Preserved in Antarctica for 106 Years

The century-plus pastry outlasted its owner Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who took it with him on a race to the South Pole from which he never returned.

In 1680, the Pueblo Peoples Revolted Against Spanish Colonists … And Won

After enduring decades of brutal physical punishment and forced religious conversion by the Spanish, the pueblo peoples of the Southwest rebelled successfully.

How White America Tried to Eliminate Chinese Restaurants in the Early 1900s

Local governments, newspapers and unions waged a xenophobic campaign against "un-American" eateries, hoping to protect white jobs, and women, in the early 20th century.

Why Is a Town in Brazil Celebrating the U.S. Confederacy?

One of the most American spots outside of the U.S. is, surprisingly, in Brazil. How did these descendants of the Confederacy end up there?

In 1492, Spain Forced Jews to Flee the Country or Convert to Christianity

An edict King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella issued forced Jews to emigrate, convert to Christianity or die. Unsurprisingly, it caused a wave of terrible effects.

Brown v. Board Wasn't the First Case to Challenge Jim Crow in Schools

Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark case that advanced the fight against segregation laws, but it was a long road to get there.

How the Stonewall Riots Worked

The Stonewall Riots weren't the first time the LGBTQ community fought back against law enforcement, but they are a pivotal moment in the gay rights movement.

When Irish Immigrants Weren't Considered 'White'

In the mid-1800s, the white American establishment feared Irish immigrants would alter the country's makeup with foreign religion and customs.

Ridiculous History: When U.S. Farmers Went Mad for Bird Poop

And people were sailing to remote islands to get it.

Ridiculous History: Ancient Armies Waged War With Hallucinogenic Honey

Sweet, delicious honey may seem like a strange ingredient for toxic warfare, but "mad honey" was, and still is, a potent poison.

New Cave Discovered at Dead Sea Scrolls Site

Archaeologists say that what's missing in Cave 12, the first new cave found at Qumran in 60 years, might be more important than what's inside.

What Was the Very First Toothbrush?

You could probably give up a lot of things in this world, but could you give up your toothbrush?

Ridiculous History: Sentenced to Death by Molten Gold Down the Throat

Imagine burning molten metal poured into your open mouth. That horrifying form of execution actually happened — and scientists studied what actually killed the victim.

How the Black Panthers Worked

Back in the 1960s, the Black Panthers were considered either revolutionary heroes or dangerous communists, depending on who you asked. What was really the truth behind the group and what does it mean today?

Scientists Are Planning Their Own March on Washington for Earth Day 2017

Inspired by the Women's March on Washington, and motivated by perceived anti-science stances by the Trump administration, a March for Science movement is taking off.

Let's Be Clear: 2016 Was the Hottest Year in Recorded History

Last year was the third consecutive year to set a new global annual temperature record, NOAA finds, and the warmest on average since 1880.

Ridiculous History: When Artists Fooled the Nazis With a Ghost Army

Or why combat skills aren't always necessary to gain the upper hand in war.

World's Oldest Veggie Casserole Found in the Sahara Desert

Prehistoric people cooked food in ceramic pots, and the oldest known evidence of cooked vegetables has now been found in the Sahara desert.