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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5 Fascinating Stories of Abolitionists Past and Present

One was a former slave, turned best-selling writer; another was a wealthy pottery maker whose company is well-known even today. Here are five amazing stories of abolitionists.

Does Anne Boleyn Deserve Her Bad Reputation?

Anne Boleyn is too often known only for her brief tumultuous marriage to King Henry VIII and her subsequent beheading. But there was a lot more to her life than that.

5 Facts About the Wild West's Deadly 'Doc' Holliday

John Henry "Doc" Holliday was first and foremost a gambler and gunfighter. But he was also friend of Wyatt Earp and is best known for his role the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Ulysses S. Grant Was One of the Greatest Military Generals in U.S. History

As the commanding general of the Union Army, he helped save the United States during the Civil War. Grant was clearly a successful military man, but how was he as the 18th U.S. president?

Why Marcus Aurelius Matters, in 5 of His Classic Quotes

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius is remembered today, not so much for his conquests and governance but for a short, profound book he wrote called 'Meditations.' We give you a peek inside this ancient wisdom.

Unraveling the Romanticized Story of Pocahontas

History and the movie studios have twisted the story of Pocahontas into one of a mythical woman who saved John Smith, willingly converted to Christianity and married an Englishman. The truth, however, isn't so rosy.

Wyatt Earp Wasn't the Fastest Gunslinger in the West and That Didn't Matter

Wyatt Earp was a Wild West lawman, a member of the Dodge City Peace Commission and a deputy marshal in Tombstone, Arizona. What he wasn't was the quickest man on the draw.

African King Mansa Musa Was Even Richer Than Jeff Bezos, Some Say

In the 1300s, Mali's Mansa Musa set out for Mecca with an entourage of 60,000 people bearing thousands of pounds of gold. So, where did all that gold come from? And what would that be worth today?

6 Things We Still Thank Teddy Roosevelt for Today

Among a long list of accomplishments, Teddy Roosevelt literally changed the American landscape, establishing the first wildlife refuge and the U.S. Forest Service, protecting the magnificent green spaces we cherish today.

How Sarah Forbes Bonetta Was 'Gifted' to Queen Victoria

Though the story has become a bit mischaracterized over the years, Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a West African princess, was indeed liberated from slavery to become an intimate of Queen Victoria of England.

7 Reasons Catherine the Great Was So Great

Her legacy has been reduced to strange tales of horses and sordid affairs, but the real story of Russia's longest reigning female leader is truly fascinating.

9 Surprising Facts About Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa

Assassinated at the age of 45, Francisco 'Pancho' Villa was a general, a bandit, a politician and one of the most prominent figures of the Mexican Revolution.

Why Karl Marx Was One of the Most Influential and Destructive Thinkers In History

He famously co-authored The Communist Manifesto, which would be the basis for a new political movement. But to say he is only the Father of Communism sells Karl Marx short.

Audie Murphy, From World War II Hero to Hollywood Hitmaker

America's most decorated World War II combat soldier Audie Murphy was considered a hero and Hollywood icon. But those labels came at a price that not even Murphy could pay.

The Tragic Life and Curious Death of Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes was a man of great intelligence and wealth. He was also a man of mystery, secrecy and, ultimately, debilitating mental illness.

All Hail the Kings and Queens Quiz

Whether you love 'em or think they're irrelevant, there's no denying that commoners are and always have been fascinated by royalty. How well do you know these historic members of society's upper echelon?

10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Queen Victoria

The Victorian Age gets its reputation for uptight prudishness from her, but there was a lot more to Queen Victoria than you may know.

Frances Perkins: The Unsung Creator of U.S. Social Security

FDR's secretary of labor was responsible for the important social "safety net" programs that kept Americans afloat during the dark days of the Depression and that still serve as lifelines today.

Why Emmett Till's Murder Shook the Conscience of the U.S.

The vicious kidnapping and lynching of Emmett Till stands out among the thousands of lynchings in the U.S. after the Civil War. What was it about his murder that made the world stand up and take notice?

7 Famous Folks Who Were Also Doctors

Earning a medical degree takes a lot of hard work, but sometimes destiny calls to other things. These folks abandoned their medical careers to get involved in other lines of work and make their names.

How Much Power Does Queen Elizabeth Really Have?

She can't shout 'Off with his head!' and have her order carried out. But the queen still has some special powers, most of which she's careful not to use.

The Inconvenient Truth Behind Revolutionary Icon Che Guevara

Revolutionary Che Guevara has become the personification to all those who want to defy the establishment. But his full true story is one of a ruthless killer who died a sad, unceremonious death.

9 Heavy-hitting Facts About the Greatest, Muhammad Ali

He was cocky when it came to his boxing career but charitable when it came to his heart. We're talking of course about Muhammad Ali, whose legacy shines as brightly today as his left jab once stung opponents in the ring.

Polio Doctor Jean Macnamara's Work Reminds Us That Viruses Can Be Vanquished

Dame Jean Macnamara's research helped eventually lead to the Salk vaccine for polio. Her lasting legacy as an advocate for people with disabilities still lives on today.

How Global Icon Coco Chanel Completely Reinvented Women's Fashion

Coco Chanel is a symbol for fashion and feminism. She's credited with designing the little black dress and the Chanel suit, after all. But hanging beside those in her closet were a few pretty big skeletons, too.