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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Conspiracy Theories Reignite After Manson Death

Strange theories have sprung to life around the enigmatic cult leader. Is there truth behind any of them?

How Betsy Ross Worked

History tells us that Betsy Ross designed and sewed America's first flag. But is that really the truth or is it just legend?

Who Was Charles Manson?

Who was Charles Manson, and why was the public so fixated on this cult leader?

Meghan Markle Is Just the Latest of the British Royal Family's African Connections

Although there's been a lot of talk about Meghan Markle being the first mixed race person to marry into the British royal family, historians say that's not really true.

Meet Violet Jessop, Survivor of Three Shipwrecks

Violet Jessop survived not one, not two, but three disasters at sea.

Was Amelia Earhart Eaten by Giant Land Crabs?

One theory about the fate of everybody's favorite female aviator is that her remains ended up as food for coconut crabs on a remote island in the South Pacific. But why?

A City in South Dakota Boasts a Life-size Statue of Every US President

Unusual street art in Rapid City, the "City of Presidents," aims to personalize the presidency.

'More Dangerous Than a Thousand Rioters': Meet Lucy Parsons, Unsung Heroine of the Labor Movement

Women have long been instrumental in America's labor rights movement. One early leader was Lucy Parsons, a woman of color who agitated for the eight-hour workday.

Katharine Dexter McCormick: A Forgotten Trailblazer in the Birth Control Movement

Katharine McCormick's name may not be as famous as Margaret Sanger's, but McCormick played a major role in the development of "the pill" and the progression of the reproductive rights movement.

What Really Happened to Hitler?

Did Adolf Hitler really commit suicide with Eva Braun like history says he did? Tune in to Stuff They Don't Want You To Know and see what Matt, Ben and Noel have to say.

Two Competing Amelia Earhart Theories Present New Evidence

A new expedition to the island of Nikumaroro takes forensic dogs... but was the aviator captured by Japan? Two new investigations point in different directions.

The U.S. Vice President Who Took the Oath of Office In Cuba

William Rufus DeVane King was the young nation's 13th vice president, and its only one to take the oath of office in another country.

Sylvia Rivera: A Pioneer of the Modern LGBTQ Rights Movement

As a zealous advocate for marginalized people in the LGBTQ community, Rivera was a progressive and important, if controversial, figure in the movement.

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.