Historical Events

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

Learn More / Page 2

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

"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.

Advertisement

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

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

Advertisement

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 scientists now believe an avalanche holds 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

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

Advertisement

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 77 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we tell her story of survival and why we must never forget.

By John Donovan

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

Advertisement

Hundreds of explorers tried to locate the Northwest Passage. Many of those attempts ended badly.

By Mark Mancini

The guys at Stuff They Don't Want You To Know break down some of the myths behind one of the darkest times in the colonies.

By Diana Brown

These engraved stones may hold the key to a 400-year-old American mystery, but they also might just be forgeries.

By Jesslyn Shields

The 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I offers up a reminder — and a second chance — for us to remember the soldiers' sacrifices and to learn from our past mistakes.

By John Donovan

Advertisement

Ron Stallworth was a black detective in Colorado Springs who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan to the point that he was asked to lead a local chapter. How he pulled that off is now the subject of a major motion picture.

By Dave Roos

There's a popular story that George Washington was offered the chance to be crowned king of the U.S. but turned it down in favor of a truly republican government. But what really happened?

By Dave Roos

The trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, which involved immigrants, anarchy and chaos, is one of the 20th century's most controversial and famous.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Blackface is alive and well. HowStuffWorks explores the history behind the practice, from minstrel and Halloween costumes to Shirley Temple and Drake.

By Yves Jeffcoat

Advertisement

When a shipwreck is found, who gets the loot? The case of the San Jose has got interested parties battling and legal scholars scratching their heads.

By Chris Opfer

What really happened when the late Senator Ted Kennedy's car plunged off a bridge in 1969 killing Mary Jo Kopechne?

By Diana Brown