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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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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?

By Josh Clark

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?

By Shanna Freeman

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

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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?

By Ed Grabianowski

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

By Alia Hoyt

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.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

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.

By the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Charles Lindbergh made the first transatlantic flight, from New York to Paris. Learn more about Charles Lindbergh's flight and his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis.

By Marshall Brain