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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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

He's been the subject of several movies and TV shows, but make no mistake, Spartacus was a real person who started a short-lived rebellion against the Roman Empire with lasting consequences.

By Nathan Chandler

John Adams was the first vice president of the United States, a role he thought was contrived and insignificant. But the function of the VP has changed, and Adams played a huge part in that.

By John Donovan

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Parks didn't refuse to move from her bus seat because her feet were tired. "The only tired I was, was tired of giving in," she said. What else do we misunderstand?

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Susan B. Anthony's enduring legacy is for her tireless work for women's voting rights in the United States. But there's so much more to her story than just as a suffragette.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

"The unexamined life," said Socrates, "is not worth living." So what was the life of this Athenian sage really like?

By Dave Roos

Statesman, military leader and Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the most fascinating characters in European history and his height was the least of it.

By Dave Roos

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Joseph Stalin ruled over the Soviet Union through force, fear mongering and absolute tyranny. His acts of cruelty made him one of the 20th century's worst dictators.

By John Donovan

Did Columbus really prove the world was round? Did he think he had found a new continent? And how was he perceived back home?

By Dave Roos

While all presidents seem to wax and wane in the public consciousness, Jackson's name pops up regularly, even more so in recent years. Why does a president who died in 1845 haunt contemporary political discourse?

By Nathan Chandler

Like many other Chinese-Americans, Anna May Wong endured racism during her lifetime. But she persisted and eventually broke down barriers to become the first Chinese-American film star.

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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Amelia Earhart's reaction to seeing her first flight as a kid was one big yawn. But that attitude changed with her first plane ride, paving the way for a life of dare-devilry, one that ultimately cost her life.

By Nathan Chandler

Eric Robert Rudolph evaded the FBI and police from 1996 until 2003, after a series of bombings in Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama. But what drove him to kill?

By John Donovan

Jimmy Carter isn't considered one of America's greatest presidents. But the legacy he's built in the 40-plus years after leaving the White House is one that will be hard for other presidents to top.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and is known for many accomplishments, including ending the Civil War and slavery, and his famous speech at Gettysburg.

By John Donovan

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Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd lived a life of crime robbing banks, stealing cars and killing his rivals. Then J. Edgar Hoover named him Public Enemy No. 1 and a massive manhunt was on.

By Oisin Curran

Today she is widely known for her beauty and her seductive ways, but scholars say we've been hoodwinked by propaganda written by her enemies. So what was the real Cleopatra like?

By Dave Roos

The second man on the moon is also a scuba enthusiast, math whiz, former combat pilot and the author of the first space selfie. Plus, he's the inspiration for Buzz Lightyear from "Toy Story." How cool is all that?

By Dave Roos

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.

By Oisin Curran

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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.

By Dave Roos

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.

By Dave Roos

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

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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.

By John Donovan

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

By John Donovan

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?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky