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 8

King Arthur pictures at HowStuffWorks show illustrations and historical depictions of King Arthur and Camelot. Take a look at pictures of King Arthur.

The Inca empire spread across the entire western coast of South America before the arrival of the Spanish. Learn about Inca culture and celebrations in this image gallery.

The Maya civilizations were one of the greatest of pre-Columbian America. Their achievements included a full written language and complex mathematics. Take a look at the art and architecture of the ancient Mayans.


Whether you think of the first lady as the nation's hostess or an adviser to the U.S. president, the position has been evolving constantly for the last 200 years. Who defines her role if it lies outside the parameters of the Constitution?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

With her stoic expression and flexed bicep, Rosie the Riveter really can do it. And for the women of the World War II generation, that meant anything from riveting to welding. But even Rosie's pert, polka-dotted headscarf scraped the glass ceiling.

By Alia Hoyt

The Corps of Discovery set out to explore the Missouri River and made their way across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. See more pictures of Lewis and Clark's expedition.

Christopher Columbus inspired a popular children's rhyme with his 1492 voyage. Take a look at these pictures to learn more about the explorer and his trips across the Atlantic.

By Mark Larson


In addition to their great monuments of architecture, the Greeks left an impressive legacy of ideas. Learn about the lives of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and other great thinkers of ancient Greece.

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.

By Alia Hoyt

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

By Josh Clark

Joe Biden won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, securing the most votes ever. How did he get there and what are his goals as president?

By Josh Clark & Dave Roos


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 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 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 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.


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?

By Josh Clark

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?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

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.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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.

By Ed Grabianowski


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?

By Julia Layton

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

By Ed Grabianowski

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

By Shanna Freeman

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

By Tim Faulkner


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?

By Josh Clark

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?

By Josh Clark & Kathryn Whitbourne