North American History

From the southern tip of Florida to the Alaskan wilderness, explore North American history in-depth in the North American history section.


There are 50 states in the U.S., but there have been many proposals over the years to add more.

The roughly 2,000-mile boundary between the countries has been around only since the mid-1800s. But today it's a political line in the sand — literally and figuratively.

Penn Center, located on sleepy St. Helena Island in South Carolina, may be the most important African-American historical landmark you probably don't know about.

Does February have special historical significance in African-American history?

William McKinley was popular, successful, re-elected and assassinated. He shaped money's influence in politics, and transformed the United States into an international power. Why isn't the 25th president better known?

Was our current era defined by the introduction of the iPhone, the hashtag, and a professional wrestling appearance by a future U.S. president?

It made geographical sense for Russia to sell its territory of Alaska to Canada, but it opted to sell it to the U.S. instead. But why?

During America's War for Independence, the British promised enslaved Africans their freedom if they'd join their side. Thousands signed up.

Has a nuclear bomb ever been dropped on the United States? Well, it happened back in the 1950s. But... it was an accident.

The Wild West legend's life has been romanticized and colored with exaggeration. But that doesn't mean her story isn't fascinating.

The tension between the U.S. and USSR was palpable — and nearly devastating, thanks to some nuclear-tipped torpedoes and itchy trigger fingers.

Treasure hunter Tommy Thompson claims he can't remember where he put 3 tons of gold from the shipwreck of the S.S. Central America. The courts don't believe him.

A Wild West governor once wore a pair of shoes made of the skin of an executed felon named Big Nose George. The gruesome but true story is predictably involved.

Ethnic brand identities and mascots affect people with different political leanings in surprising ways, at times increasing associations with Native American stereotypes.

In 1985, the Hanshin Tigers won the Japanese World Series. In the ensuing celebration, though, a statue of Colonel Sanders was drowned, and the team hasn't won since.

Rainbow parties in the 1960s may sound like good fun, but the frivolity actually centered around an H-bomb radiating the Earth's atmosphere.

Folk hero Johnny Appleseed planted apple trees across the United States during the mid-1800s. Can you actually take a bite out of history and pick an apple from one of those trees today?

Forget George Washington’s cherry tree and Ben Franklin’s inveterate womanizing. You're about to meet patriots you've never heard of, plus a few you thought you knew.

In the early 1800s, the United States witnessed the birth of the railroad industry and along with it, dramatic changes in American society and business. What was life like before and after the railroads?

The railroad expansion of the 1800s changed America forever. By 1900, the people North America had settled a continent that previous generations had thought would take a thousand years to occupy.

The turn of the century brought a new wave of optimism and amazing new technologies. It was also a time of unprecedented expansion in the railroad industry -- until World War I arrived.

Railroads of the 1920s reflected a time of uncertainty in the industry at the time. Technology greatly improved train transportation, but the Great Depression brought about a bust in the industry. Learn more about the railroads of the 1920s.

Donner Party, a group of 89 California-bound emigrants who suffered one of the starkest tragedies of the westward movement.

By the 1960s the lonesome whistle of the steam railroads was a thing of the past. The decline of railroads came about during the 1960s and 1970s as the automobile dominated transportation.

Railroads of the 1990s explains the history of American railroads through the 1990s. Technological advancements have shaped the railroads of this decade. Learn about the history of railroads of the 1990s.