Historical Figures

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

Learn More / Page 3

Madam C.J. Walker made her mark helping Black women feel pretty. And beauty products made her the first self-made female millionaire in the U.S.

By Maria C. Hunt

Before there was a Madonna, Bono or Beyoncé, the one-named Voltaire was Europe's first truly modern celebrity. And he didn't need the help of Twitter to keep his name in the public eye.

By Dave Roos

While Semmelweis wasn't the first doctor to advocate for hand-washing, he was certainly the most vocal proponent at the time. But his medical colleagues mostly ridiculed his belief.

By Nathan Chandler

Advertisement

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.

By Dave Roos

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.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

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.

By John Donovan

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?

By John Donovan

Advertisement

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.

By Dave Roos

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.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

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

Advertisement

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

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

Advertisement

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

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

Advertisement

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

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

Emmett Till would have turned 80 today. Instead his vicious kidnapping and lynching still 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

Advertisement

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

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