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.

Learn More

Who Built These Mysterious Concrete Arrows?

The last vestiges of America's early transcontinental airmail beacon system still exist as giant arrows across the landscape.

The Missing States of the United States

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

How the U.S.-Mexico Border Became a Political Flashpoint

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: a Little-known Haven of the Civil Rights Movement

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.

Why Americans Celebrate Black History Month in February

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

Why Isn't William McKinley a More Famous President?

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?

Why the 21st Century Actually Might Have Started in 2007

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

Why Didn't Russia Sell Alaska to Canada?

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?

Black Loyalists Fought for Their Freedom During the American Revolution

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

The U.S. Air Force Dropped an Atomic Bomb on South Carolina in 1958

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

Calamity Jane Was a Woman of Many Talents ... And Great at Embellishing

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

How Secret Subs Nearly Caused a Nuclear War During the Cuban Missile Crisis

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 Jailed Until He Reveals Location of 3 Tons of Shipwreck Gold

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.

Ridiculous History: A Wild West Governor Wore Shoes of Human Skin

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.

American Indian Sports Logos Do Real Damage, New Study Finds

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

Ridiculous History: The Curse of the Colonel

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.

Ridiculous History: H-Bombs in Space Caused Light Shows, and People Partied

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

Are Johnny Appleseed's trees alive today?

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?

10 Little-known Facts About the Founding Fathers

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.

Old Railroads

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?

Railroad Expansion

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.

Early Twentieth Century Railroads

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

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

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

Modern Decline of Railroads

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.


Recommended