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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A Portrait of John F. Kennedy, America's Youngest President

John F. Kennedy was the youngest man ever elected to be president of the United States. But his term was tragically cut short when he was assassinated in Dallas at age 46.

9 Fascinating Facts About Julius Caesar, 'Dictator for Perpetuity'

The Roman general and statesman's romantic exploits and bloody betrayal were juicy enough to fuel two different Shakespeare plays; he also lent his name to the C-section and the Caesar haircut. But not the Caesar salad.

Humble Hero: Why Neil Armstrong Became the First Man on the Moon

This self-described "nerdy engineer," and fearless test pilot, had a calm demeanor that won over the NASA top brass, even though Buzz Aldrin badly wanted the honor of being first.

7 Cool Facts About Will Rogers, Cowboy, Humorist, Self-declared President

Born on Nov. 4, 1879, Will Rogers was an iconic multitalent who never met a man he didn't like.

The Newton Boys Were the Baddest Bank Robbers You've Never Heard Of

This band of brothers wreaked havoc on banks and trains throughout the Midwest. One heist netted them $3 million in cash and remains the largest train robbery in U.S. history.

How Wild Bill Hickok Became an American Legend

Wild Bill Hickok personified the archetype of the gentleman gunfighter in the history of the American West.

Before Earhart, There Was Aviation Trailblazer Bessica Raiche

She was the first woman to ever fly an airplane, and she even helped build them. She was also one of the first female gynecologists. But nobody knows of her. Why?

How Jack the Ripper Worked

While Londoners on the East End saw their fair share of grime, drugs and prostitution, nothing could've prepared them for Jack the Ripper's bloody rampage in 1888. What's the story behind this legendary killer?

7 Reasons Alexander the Great Was, Well, Great

Not only did Alexander rule a territory of three continents, he founded 70 cities and even had Aristotle for a teacher.

6 Famous Outlaws of the Wild, Wild West

You know most of their names, but here are the fascinating stories of how six criminal masterminds of the old West lived and died.

How the Queen Fell in Love With Corgis

Since Queen Elizabeth received her first corgi at age 7, it's been an 80-plus-year love affair. But not everyone appreciates the breed's "barkiness."

The Mysterious Disappearance of Ambrose Bierce

Literary heavyweight Ambrose Bierce mysteriously disappeared in 1914 leaving behind a trail of myths and legends, but little evidence as to his fate.

Anne Frank's Diary Is Still Spilling Its Secrets

Since "The Secret Annex" was first published in 1947, scholars have dissected every page and entry of Anne Frank's diary to put Anne and her work into a proper perspective. In doing so, a new image of Anne slowly has emerged.

The Cold-blooded Assassination of Outlaw Jesse James

Well before he died, Jesse James was a legend. He was a hero even to the man who shot him in the back.

George P. Burdell: The Georgia Tech Student Who Never Existed

George P. Burdell has registered for classes, signed petitions and even lettered in football and basketball, but on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta, he is the man who never was.

How Billy the Kid Really Died

Billy the Kid, whose legal name was Henry McCarty, was almost certainly killed by Lincoln County, New Mexico, Sheriff Pat Garrett, though questions have always lingered about what really happened.

Coconut Man: August Engelhardt Founded a Cult Based on His Favorite Fruit

In 1902, a young German set out for the South Seas, determined to live solely on coconuts and the sun. He even attracted a following. Then everything went to pieces.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes Saved Thousands From Holocaust, But Lost All

The story of the "Portuguese Oskar Schindler" who lost everything trying to save thousands during the Holocaust is finally being told by descendants of those he saved.

Mrs. Cheng: The Most Successful Pirate in History

She commanded as many as 70,000 other pirates, became fabulously wealthy and yet managed to retire without being captured or imprisoned. So how did she do it?

Why André the Giant Was Larger Than Life

André the Giant made his wrestling debut at New York City's Madison Square Garden. He went on to become one of WWE's biggest stars before his untimely death in 1993.

How Did Bonnie and Clyde Really Die?

We know they died in a hail of gunfire, but who set this criminal couple up and how many shots were fired?

Hedwig Kohn: The Physics of Determination

Meet this female German physicist who survived the Nazis and became a ground-breaker in combustion science and plasma physics.

How Onesimus, a Slave in Colonial Boston, Helped Stop a Smallpox Epidemic

He taught the colonists about the process of inoculation, helping to save countless lives.

From Slave to Millionaire Philanthropist: The Biddy Mason Story

Her owners nearly tricked her out of freedom in California but the cavalry rode to her rescue. She later became one of the wealthiest and most generous African-Americans in the state.

Where in the World Is Myspace Tom?

Myspace took the world by storm and Tom was everyone's first friend. But when we all left the platform, we all left Tom, too. So where did he go?