World History

HowStuffWorks looks at the history and culture of places from all over the world.

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Fourteen countries and 39 million square miles make up Oceania in the South Pacific. Known for its natural beauty and cannibalistic past, this region also invented bungee jumping.

By Nathan Chandler

Nearly any discussion around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will include the word Zionism. But what does it even mean, and how has Zionism changed over the course of history?

By Dave Roos

Movies like '300' have popularized the image of ancient Spartans as brutal super-warriors. But that's only part of the story: They had a softer side, too, for dancing and crafts. And their women had an unusual amount of freedom.

By Dave Roos

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The KGB, the Soviet Union's vast secret police and espionage apparatus, technically was dismantled decades ago. But it still actually exists under a new name.

By Patrick J. Kiger

The archaeological site Chichén Itzá is one of Mexico's most popular tourist draws. Here are some things you may not know about this amazing Mayan wonder.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

For 600 years, the Ottoman Empire covered a territory stretching across huge swaths of Europe and the Middle East, until it all came down after World War I. What hastened its demise?

By Dave Roos

Slavery followed indigo, a cash crop from which blue dye was made, around the world, until it was replaced by synthetic substitutes in the early 20th century.

By Jesslyn Shields

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Mongolia is a country struggling to maintain its nomadic ways while stepping boldly into the modern 21st century world.

By Tara Yarlagadda

Millions of people around the world have no country they can call their own. Sometimes they're not allowed to have a birth certificate, go to school or work. What are some of the biggest groups in this category?

By Dave Roos

Our writer shares her experience of hiking Spain's el Caminito del Rey, once considered the world's most dangerous path. It was closed for 15 years after five people died on it and reopened in 2015 as a new, improved attraction.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Before World War II, a third of the world's population lived a territory controlled by a colonial power. How did this start and how did it end?

By Patrick J. Kiger

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You may know the story of how Fletcher Christian and his men mutinied aboard the ship the Bounty. But what was the voyage all about in the first place?

By Dave Roos

Often described as "The Hermit Kingdom," North Korea is a source of mystery for those living in the West. How has it survived so long and how worried should Americans be about a nuclear attack?

By Patrick J. Kiger

Can a solar eclipse change the world as we know it? If the past is any indication, it might.

By Laurie L. Dove

It takes more than frustration with the government and endless optimism to make your new country's independence stick.

By Oisin Curran

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Controversies surround not just the possible existence of hidden chambers, but even the ability of Egyptologists to undertake the search for them.

By Jesslyn Shields

Beer may be one of the most humble of alcoholic beverages, but its history is no less noble -- or muddled -- than wine or liquor.

By Laurie L. Dove

Empires rise and empires fall — it's a seemingly unavoidable fact of life on Earth. But these superpowers reigned longer than any others. What can we learn from their missteps and achievements?

By Thorin Klosowski & Francisco Guzman

The Code of Hammurabi is a 7-foot-tall piece of basalt with more than 300 laws engraved on it. According to the code, if you strike your father, then your hands will be cut off. Why would our modern society care about studying such inhumane mandates?

By Jane McGrath

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Like the members of an ill-fated rock group, the seven continents struck out on their own hundreds of millions of years ago. But what caused the breakup? And is a reunion tour in the works?

By Molly Edmonds

The East India Company didn't just cause the Boston Tea Party -- it forged new nations and established drug trade. So why is it the basis for modern corporations?

By Josh Clark