Historical Events

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


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The Dare Stones: Forgery or Key to Lost Colony of Roanoke Mystery?

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

Why World War I Became the 'Forgotten War'

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.

The Incredible True Story of the Real 'Black Klansman'

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.

Was George Washington Really Offered a Chance to Be King of the U.S.?

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?

Were Sacco and Vanzetti Guilty of Murder?

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

Why Is Blackface Controversial? Just Look at Its History

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

Who Owns the $17 Billion San Jose Loot?

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.

Chappaquiddick and the Mystery at Dike Bridge

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

How a Parisian Lemonade Craze Fought the Plague

The plague took millions of lives in the 1600s, but Parisians fought back with tart, sweet lemonade.

The Mysterious Case of the Newlyweds Who Vanished in the Grand Canyon

In 1928, Glen and Bessie Hyde embarked on an ambitious trip down the Colorado River. But their adventurous honeymoon came to an unfortunate early end. What happened?

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.