Historical Events

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

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Boston Tea Party

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

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

How the Ice Age Worked

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?

How did the supercontinent Pangaea become seven separate continents?

Like the members of an ill-fated rock group, the seven continents struck out on their own hundreds of millions of years ago. But what caused the breakup? And is a reunion tour in the works?

How the Berlin Wall Worked

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?

How Naming the Continents Works

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?

How the Civil Rights Movement Worked

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.

How the Great Train Robbery Worked

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?

Black Death

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

Why did brothers fight on opposite sides of the Civil War?

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?

VIA Rail Canada

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.

How did the East India Company change the world?

The East India Company didn't just cause the Boston Tea Party -- it forged new nations and established drug trade. So why is it the basis for modern corporations?


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

How the Emancipation Proclamation Worked

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

Castle History

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

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Gettysburg Address, a speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863, at the dedication of Gettysburg National Cemetery near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Underground Railroad Information

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

How the Underground Railroad Worked

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?

The Gettysburg Address

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

How the French Revolution Worked

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?

How the Enlightenment Worked

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.

How the Black Death Worked

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?


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.

How the Gettysburg Address Worked

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.

How the Battle of Gettysburg Worked

The Battle of Gettysburg is probably the most famous battle ever fought on American soil -- it's considered the turning point of the Civil War. Did it really start because of shoes?