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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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.

By John Donovan

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?

By Dave Roos

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.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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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.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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.

By John Donovan

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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.

By John Donovan

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

By Oisin Curran

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?

By Alia Hoyt

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

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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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.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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?

By John Donovan

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.

By Oisin Curran

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.

By Dave Roos

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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.

By John Donovan

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.

By Wendy Bowman

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.

By Patty Rasmussen

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.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

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Chairman Mao is one of history's worst despots, having murdered millions of Chinese during his communist reign. So why is he also still revered by many in that country?

By John Donovan

Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun didn't make much of an impression in his time on Earth, even while he was king. But in the afterlife King Tut rules.

By John Donovan

She is the face of feminism – a revolutionary pioneer who changed the trajectory of the feminist movement. We're talking about Gloria Steinem, who has been on the front lines of the fight for equality for more than 50 years.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

The ingenious Greek, who started as a young devotee of Socrates, laid the groundwork for more than two millennia of philosophical thought. But what did he say that was so remarkable?

By Dave Roos

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Frederick Douglass spent the first 15 years of his life as a slave but rose to become a famous orator and abolitionist – as well as the most photographed American of the 19th century.

By Alia Hoyt

Cesar Chavez was able to do something nobody before him could — organize abused farmworkers through nonviolent resistance. His work transformed their lives forever.

By John Donovan