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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Who was Marco Polo?

Is the extent of your knowledge about Marco Polo that you're supposed to answer "Polo" when someone swimming in a pool with you yells out "Marco"? Thought so. Well, strap in for a bumpy trek down the Silk Road with one of Europe's greatest explorers.

What was Archimedes' death ray?

Archimedes calculated pi and developed calculus proofs 2,000 years before the subject was invented. Did he really create a death machine with mirrors?

How Joe Biden Works

Joe Biden served six terms in the Senate before becoming Barack Obama's vice president. The 2020 election marks his third run for the presidency. What are his goals for the Oval Office?

Sarah Palin Pictures

Sarah Palin was the famous Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008. Learn more about her and her campaign with John McCain in this image gallery.

Joe Biden Pictures

Joe Biden is the newest Vice President of the United States after serving 6 terms in the United States Senate. Check out scenes from his political career and the 2008 campaign.

Barack Obama Pictures

Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States after a hotly contested primary race and general election. Check out photos from his life and the 2008 Obama campaign in this gallery.

John McCain Pictures

John McCain was the 2008 Republican candidate for President of the United States. Learn more about his political career and see images from the McCain presidential campaign.

How Sarah Palin Works

Sarah Palin's combination of femininity and toughness has captured the admiration of supporters among what had been a divided and stale Republican base in the 2008 presidential campaign. What are her goals for the vice presidency?

Top 5 Marie Antoinette Scandals

Her subjects called her Madame Déficit, and they snickered at the dismal state of affairs in her royal bedroom. Marie Antoinette's death may very well be the most well-known scandal of her life, but what are the other juicy details?

How Castles Work

When you think about the Middle Ages, you probably imagine knights, lords and ladies in a castle. Learn about how castles were constructed, how they were used and what became of them.

How Cave Dwellers Work

Hairy, heavy-browed, dim-witted: This is our vision of a caveman. But the cavepeople created amazing art -- and cave dwelling didn't stop with the Neanderthals.

Top 10 Heads That Rolled During the Reign of Henry VIII

Henry VIII was responsible for tens of thousands of executions in his 36-year reign. Only the most prestigious of his subjects met their ends on the block. Which queens, cardinals and top political minds made this list?

How the Vikings Worked

The Vikings were bloodthirsty raiders outfitted with armor and dragon boats, pillaging the coasts. Or was there more to the Age of Vikings?

How King Arthur Worked

King Arthur means knights, swords in stones, ladies in lakes -- and Monty Python. Who was the real King Arthur? Did Camelot exist?


Aeschines, (390-314? B.C.), an orator of ancient Greece. His oratory was distinguished by its eloquence, wit, and passion.

How Lewis and Clark Worked

Lewis and Clark's expedition changed the course of American history. Through their explorations, a new nation found its identity.

How Hillary Clinton Works

Sen. Hillary Clinton came closer than any other woman to securing the nomination for president. How did she arrive at that point, and what did she want to accomplish if she had been elected?

How John McCain Worked

Sen. John McCain was a retired Navy veteran, a supporter of the war in Iraq and the Republican Party's 2008 nominee for president. How did he earn a reputation for being a maverick?

How Barack Obama Works

If there's one message President Barack Obama wanted to get across during his campaign, it was that he represents change. Does his background match his message?

How the Spanish Inquisition Worked

Did anyone expect the Spanish Inquisition? It began with religious intolerance and ended with torture, with false accusations and unfair trials in between. How did this period of cruelty come to be?

How Knights Work

What were knights really like? Did they slay dragons, sleep in their armor and rescue damsels in distress?

How Royalty Works

Royalty calls to mind impossible wealth, power and privilege -- and maybe a breath of scandal. Do kings and queens simply sit on their thrones with ermine robes and scepters?

How McCarthyism Worked

Senator Joseph McCarthy whipped up anti-Communist hysteria in the early 1950s -- using controversial tactics and ruining hundreds of careers, including his own.

10 Famous Native Americans

America's history begins with the Native Americans and the English settlers they encountered. Read our list of Native American leaders and heroes, including Sequoyah, Geronimo, and Crazy Horse.

12 Renowned Women of the Wild West

A number of women made names for themselves during the Wild West. Read our list of 12 of the most famous heroines from this time period, including Annie Oakley, Belle Starr, and Calamity Jane.