Historical Events

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

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June 6, 2022, marks the 78th anniversary of what some call one of the gutsiest battles in WWII history: D-Day, aka the Invasion of Normandy.

By Jane McGrath & Sarah Gleim

The year 2008 in pictures includes everything from newsmakers like Robert Mugabe and Michael Phelps to events like the Myanmar cyclone. See 2008 in pictures.

If you haven't been keeping news clippings for your 2008 scrapbook, you might've forgotten what happened earlier this year. That's where HowStuffWorks comes in. Here are 10 headlines from 2008 that'll go down in history.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors


There's more to Beijing than meets the eye at street-level. Under bustling sidewalks is a subterranean city with its own classrooms, movie theater and restaurants.

By Josh Clark

Boston Tea Party, in United States history, the dumping of three cargoes of tea in Massachusetts Bay on December 16, 1773, shortly before the American Revolution.

Louisiana Purchase, the purchase of the French province of Louisiana by the United States in 1803.

Much of the ice has melted, and the woolly mammoths are long gone. But could we still be in an ice age and headed for another?

By Molly Edmonds


The Berlin Wall splintered a city and divided a country, but it may also have prevented nuclear war. Why block off a city with concrete, barbed wire and land mines?

By Ed Grabianowski

Continents aren't the unchanging, universally recognized land masses of our school studies. But they do help us make sense of our world. How did they get their names?

By Julia Layton

How does change happen? For the civil rights movement, it began with a group of people who decided that separate but equal wasn't good enough.

By John Fuller & Kathryn Whitbourne

In 1963, criminals pulled off the largest train robbery in Britain's history. How did 15 men stop a train, and why did it take a Monopoly board to catch them?

By Maria Trimarchi


Black Death, an epidemic of bubonic plague that appeared in Europe in the 1300's.

The Civil War divided the country, and in the case of the Crittendens, it divided a family. Was the family a microcosm of the troubles raging across the states?

By Josh Clark

VIA Rail Canada is a train service that was built to mirror Amtrak's system. Like the United States, the Canadian railroad was faced with many of the same problems that began to plague the Learn more about the VIA Rail Canada railroad system.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Crusades, a series of military campaigns that the Christian countries of Europe waged to conquer the Holy Land from the Muslims.


Here's a question for your next trivia game: How many slaves did the Emancipation Proclamation free? Answer: Zero.

By Tiffany Connors

Harriet Tubman was known as "the Moses of her people" for her work on the Underground Railroad. How much do we really know about this secret system?

By Tiffany Connors

Castle History is fascinating and reflects many of the social changes that took place during the Middle Ages. Learn about castle history at HowStuffWorks.

Underground Railroad, a name applied to an informal network that aided runaway slaves from the South before the Civil War.


The Gettysburg Address was a speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863. Learn more about the Gettysburg Address.

Thebes, a leading city of ancient Egypt from the 21st to the 11th century B.C. The Egyptians called this city Waset; the name “Thebes” was given it by the Greeks.

A screaming mob pressed in closer to watch as the guillotine dropped on King Louis' neck. With one swift slice, France's monarchy came to an end. But was a police state ruled by a madman a better alternative to a fat and lazy king?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

The Age of Enlightenment was based on reason and science and featured some very heavy hitters: Voltaire, Descartes and Kant among them. But it took two Revolutions to truly test its principles.

By Cristen Conger


Twenty-five million people died in the Black Death. How did this horrific disease spread, and how did people react to a killer they could not possibly comprehend?

By Molly Edmonds

The Gettysburg Address was only about 300 words long — Lincoln delivered it in about two minutes. But somehow, it changed the way we view our government, our country and our society.

By Tiffany Connors