Historical Figures

From Musketeers to Nazis, Archimedes to Harriet Tubman, these famous historical figures changed the course of history -- for better or worse.

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Grateful that U.S. law ensures decent working conditions and children go to school instead of working in mines? Thank Florence Kelley and her congressman father, William "Pig Iron" Kelley.

By Jesslyn Shields

Wilma Mankiller introduced a generation of people not just to Cherokee history but also to a model of Native women's leadership.

By Julie Reed

She took in her first stray dog in 1943 and became a legend for her pioneering efforts in dog rescue. Meet "Camberley Kate," the fierce canine advocate who had a heart of gold.

By Laurie L. Dove

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With the death of Queen Elizabeth, the British monarchy marks the end of an era and moves into a new phase as Prince Charles is set to take the throne.

By Sean Lang

George C. Parker was so successful he gave rise to the phrase, "And if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you."

By Yves Jeffcoat

The world is in shock after the assassination of Japan's longest-serving leader, former prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Who was Abe and what will be his legacy?

By Craig Mark

Martin Luther King Jr. called him "the chief counsel for the protest movement." Gray represented everyone from Rosa Parks to MLK, as well as the plaintiffs in the Tuskegee syphilis lawsuit. Now he's getting the nation's highest civilian honor.

By Jonathan Entin

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Japan's Emperor Hirohito reigned for more than 60 years, and his tenure included World War II. Although he was never prosecuted for war crimes, many historians say he should have been.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

At age 23, Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, aka Annie Londonderry, set out on an around-the-world cycling adventure. Why did she do it and did she make it?

By Patty Rasmussen

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl is best-known for penning "Man's Search for Meaning," after surviving three years in Nazi concentration camps. This book has been a beacon of hope to millions over the years.

By Dave Roos

Chief Plenty Coups was chosen to represent all Native Americans at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This was a fitting honor for a brave and courageous leader of his people.

By Dave Roos

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One of the most quoted (and misquoted) African American women, Maya Angelou's words and works resounded with people of all ages and stages in life. Here are five quotes that explain why.

By Yves Jeffcoat

They called her crazy. Even drugged her and kidnapped her to keep her silent. But in the end, she was always right.

By Dave Roos

Pontius Pilate is best known in the Bible as the Roman governor who gave in to the crowd's demands to have Jesus executed. But contemporary historians don't have much good to say about him either.

By Dave Roos

At just 21, Sophie Scholl fought a murderous regime — not with guns and grenades, but with ideas and ideals. This ultimately led to her execution.

By Dave Roos

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On Aug 22, 1781, the court ordered that Mum Bett, later known as Elizabeth Freeman, should be emancipated from slavery. She was the first enslaved black woman to sue for her freedom and win.

By Yves Jeffcoat

Brutus' name has become synonymous with "traitor." But did he have a good reason to kill Julius Caesar? And what about their surprising 'family' relationship?

By Dave Roos

Abigail Adams was the first second lady and second first lady of the United States. But her legacy goes much beyond being wife to President John Adams. See why what made her known as one of the "founding mothers."

By Patty Rasmussen

How this forgotten cowboy king of the Wild West lived isn't so much a secret. It's how Johnny Ringo died that's still shrouded in mystery.

By Joanna Thompson

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Anne Bonny was an Irish marauder whose brief period of piracy in the 18th century Caribbean enshrined her in legend as one of the few documented female pirates in history.

By Mark Mancini

Before being executed in 1860 for his misadventures, William Walker, known as a 'filibuster,' raised a private army and briefly installed himself as the president of Nicaragua.

By Dave Roos

From Athelstan, who held off the Viking invaders of Britain, to Sobhuza, the longest-serving king of Eswatni (formerly Swaziland), here are 25 of the world's longest-serving monarchs.

By Laurie L. Dove

He's the most decorated American Winter Olympics athlete, with eight Olympic medals. But after he retired from skating at age 28, he had to make a hard pivot and reinvent who he was.

By John Donovan

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He's been called the "Jackie Robinson of hockey" and yet hardly anybody knows his name. So who is Willie O'Ree and why is he finally getting his due?

By Thomas J. Whalen

Emma Gatewood became the first solo female thru-hiker of the 2,193-mile Appalachian Trail in 1955 at the age of 67.

By Jesslyn Shields