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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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When Grave Robbers Hold Famous Corpses for Ransom

Corpsenapping still happens today, with grave robbers targeting celebrities and politicians. Here are some famous recent examples.

Why Is Ayn Rand Still So Popular Today?

Ayn Rand's philosophies have drawn a very diverse, even contradictory, group of followers.

How Attila the Hun Worked

Even 1,600 years later, we still reach for the name Attila the Hun when we want an example of vicious (and successful) fighter. But how did his memory live on so long?

The Plan to Dig Up President James K. Polk — For a Third Time

The 11th president of the United States is buried in Nashville, Tennessee. There's a campaign underway to exhume and move his remains, and it's happened before.

Why We Shouldn't Forget Ellen Richards, Founder of the Home Ec Movement

Richards applied her extensive knowledge of chemistry and sanitation to everyday domestic tasks — and opened the door for women in science.

A Newly Surfaced Photo of Harriet Tubman Is Going to Auction

In the image, the abolitionist is in her 40s, seated and wearing a fashionable blouse and skirt. See it here.

Ridiculous History: Surgeon Robert Liston Was 'Fastest Knife in the West End'

In the era before anesthesia, a surgeon with quick hands was highly sought-after.

Ridiculous History: How MLK Influenced the Direction of 'Star Trek'

We know Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights activist and world-changer. But did you know he was also a Trekkie?

Who Are the Real Caesar, Melba and General Tso?

Cooking up a new dish is in some ways like being a parent. For one, you get to name the new concoction. Here are the inspirations behind some culinary favorites.

Ridiculous History: Ancient India Beat Machiavelli to the Punch by 1,800 Years

Look beyond Europe for history! The "Arthashastra," written in the third century B.C.E., predated "The Prince." Maybe we should be saying Kautilyan, not Machiavellian.

Thousands Line Up to Place Voting Stickers on Susan B. Anthony's Grave

On Election Day, citizens choose a special way to remember her struggle to get U.S. women the right to vote.

Austria Will Demolish Adolf Hitler's Birthplace

Is Austria's step to remove the place where the Nazi leader was born a way of cleaning up the present and future, or of trying to sweep the past under the rug?

Ridiculous History: LBJ Talked on the Phone More Than a Teenager

LBJ really dug phones. The 36th U.S. president dug them so much that he had a tree phone. With a switchboard. How many presidents can say that?

No, Not Only U.S. Presidents Are on American Money

Harriet Tubman won't be the first non-president whose face appears on the front of U.S. paper currency, but in 2020 hers will be the first black woman's to do so.

Ridiculous History: When Benjamin Franklin Remade the Alphabet

Ben Franklin was the kind of guy who couldn't help tinkering with everything he touched, whether it was eyeglasses, catheters or ... the alphabet.

How Alexander Hamilton Worked

Star of a musical, cover boy for the $10 bill, shaper of the American economy — what can't Founding Father Alexander Hamilton do?

Ridiculous History: Meet Simeon Ellerton, Noted Pedestrian & Rock Hound

Simeon Ellerton walked the U.K. in search of the right materials to build his home. Was the centenarian merely eccentric? Or completely brilliant?

Alexander Hamilton? Yeah, He Wasn't a U.S. President

But what about Hubert Humphrey? Or Millard Fillmore?

Ridiculous History: The Woman Who Once Was a Cabdriver's Worst Nightmare

Cabbies in 19th-century London would flee when they'd hear someone shout the warning "Mother Prodgers!"

Ridiculous History: An Ambitious Chemist and a Poison Squad

They gobbled up things like copper sulfate muffins and formaldehyde meatloaf. Meet the 12 hungry men and the chemist behind the 20th-century Poison Squad.

Wanted: Your Help Finding the Declaration of Sentiments

Get sleuthing! An important piece of U.S. history is missing, and you could help find it.

Adolf Hitler Was a Painter, and People Pay Big Money for His Work

Though not technically remarkable, Adolf Hitler's watercolor paintings still fetch a tidy sum at auction. Who would actually pay that much?

Ridiculous History: Guy Fawkes and One Killer Marketing Campaign

Imagine the cast of the "Ocean’s Eleven" trilogy in breeches and broad collars, and you have an inkling of this famous plot and why Fawkes' likeness lives on.

10 Mad Royals in History

Insanity on the throne was more common than you might think. Navigating both royal whim and a complete lack of treatment for mental illnesses was also no easy task. See what happened to these 10 mad royals.

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