Category: History

  • The 6 Earliest Human Civilizations

    The 6 Earliest Human Civilizations

    By Lesley Kennedy While modern civilizations extend to every continent except Antarctica, most scholars place the earliest cradles of civilizations—in other words, where civilizations first emerged—in modern-day Iraq, Egypt, India, China, Peru and Mexico, beginning between approximately 4000 and 3000 B.C. These ancient complex societies, starting with Mesopotamia, formed cultural and technological advances, several of […]

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  • What Role Did Women Play in Ancient Rome?

    What Role Did Women Play in Ancient Rome?

    By Suzanne McGee Women in ancient Rome, whether free or enslaved, played many roles: empress, priestess, goddess, shop owner, midwife, prostitute, daughter, wife and mother. But they lacked any voice in public life. They also lacked a voice in history. With few exceptions—like the words of the female poet Sulpicia or the graffiti of a […]

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  • How Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Organized for Nuclear Disarmament

    How Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Organized for Nuclear Disarmament

    By Becky Little As a survivor of history’s deadliest atomic bombing, Setsuko Thurlow has a powerful case to make against nuclear weapons. On the morning of August 6, 1945, the 13-year-old Thurlow reported to a military office in Hiroshima, along with other girls recruited to help with Japan’s wartime code breaking. While listening to an officer […]

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  • 7 Gilded Age Inventions That Changed the World

    7 Gilded Age Inventions That Changed the World

    By Dave Roos The Gilded Age was a time of sweeping changes. From roughly 1870 to 1900, the United States transformed from a largely agrarian society of farmers and small producers to an industrial economy based in large cities. During those few short decades, there was also an explosion of innovation in the fields of […]

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  • 5 Ways Christianity Spread Through Ancient Rome

    5 Ways Christianity Spread Through Ancient Rome

    By Becky Little How did Christianity go from a small sect in a corner of the Roman Empire in the first century, to the religion that the emperor converted to in the early fourth century? Its spread was greatly aided by the empire’s political unification and extensive road system, as well as the belief among […]

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  • The Surprising Religious Diversity of America's 13 Colonies

    The Surprising Religious Diversity of America's 13 Colonies

    By J.S. Marcus The story of religion in America’s original 13 colonies often focuses on Puritans, Quakers and other Protestants fleeing persecution in Europe, looking to build a community of like-minded believers. Protestants were indeed in the majority, but the reality was far more diverse. Colonial America attracted true believers from a wide array of […]

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  • What Was Life Like in Ancient Babylon?

    What Was Life Like in Ancient Babylon?

    By Dave Roos The ancient Mesopotamian kingdom of Babylon flourished under the reign of Hammurabi, who ruled from 1792 to 1750 B.C.E. What’s remarkable about this period of Babylonian history is that archeologists have recovered tens of thousands of cuneiform tablets that paint a detailed picture of life in the ancient kingdom located in what […]

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  • 7 Mysterious Mass Illnesses That Defied Explanation

    7 Mysterious Mass Illnesses That Defied Explanation

    By Jessica Pearce Rotondi Mass sociogenic illness—also known as mass hysteria, epidemic hysteria or hysterical contagion—occurs when symptoms without a clear medical cause spread among members of a community. “Think of it as the placebo effect in reverse,” says Dr. Robert Bartholomew, honorary senior lecturer, Department of Psychological Medicine, Auckland University. For centuries, human societies […]

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  • How the Colosseum Was Built—and Why It Was an Architectural Marvel

    How the Colosseum Was Built—and Why It Was an Architectural Marvel

    By Farrell Evans The Flavian Amphitheater, better known as the Colosseum, stands as one of the most spectacular architectural monuments of the ancient world. Built in the first century A.D., it’s largely remembered as the site of blood-sport entertainment involving gladiators, wild animals and more. But as one of ancient Rome’s best surviving and most […]

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  • How Cyrus the Great Turned Ancient Persia Into a Superpower

    How Cyrus the Great Turned Ancient Persia Into a Superpower

    By Christopher Klein Through far-reaching military conquests and benevolent rule, Cyrus the Great transformed a small group of semi-nomadic tribes into the mighty Persian Empire, the ancient world’s first superpower, in less than 15 years.  The Rise of Cyrus the Great Cyrus the Great (second from left), on a horse-drawn chariot, as he is driven into […]

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  • 14 Everyday Objects of Ancient Egypt

    14 Everyday Objects of Ancient Egypt

    For nearly 3,000 years, ancient Egypt thrived as the preeminent civilization in the Mediterranean world. Its legacy persists through a wealth of objects left behind—majestic monuments, written documents, artifacts and art. From that rich trove of information, archaeologists and scholars have identified items that were a part of ancient Egyptians’ everyday lives. In a culture […]

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  • 5 Famous Ancient Roman Gladiators

    5 Famous Ancient Roman Gladiators

    Before ancient Roman gladiators fought grisly battles in rowdy public arenas like the Colosseum, they squared off in much more solemn venues: funerals. Early gladiator fights began in the 3rd century B.C.E. as ritual blood offerings to the spirits of recently departed nobles. That changed around 27 B.C.E., when Augustus took power in Rome, says […]

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  • How the Declaration of Independence Was Printed—and Protected

    How the Declaration of Independence Was Printed—and Protected

    The 1776 “engrossed” copy of the Declaration of Independence—sometimes referred to as the “official” or “signed parchment” version—stands on display in the rotunda of the National Archives Museum, providing inspiration to those who, like Abraham Lincoln, view it as “a rebuke and a stumbling-block…to tyranny and oppression.” Sealed in a gold-plated titanium frame, with bulletproof […]

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  • Why Eisenhower Added 'Under God' to the Pledge of Allegiance

    Why Eisenhower Added 'Under God' to the Pledge of Allegiance

    On June 14, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill to insert the phrase “under God” into the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance that children recited every morning in school. Previously, the pledge—originally written in 1892—had contained no reference to religion. The push to add “under God” to the pledge gained momentum during the second Red […]

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  • When the Military Expelled LGBTQ Soldiers With 'Blue Discharges'

    When the Military Expelled LGBTQ Soldiers With 'Blue Discharges'

    In May 1944, Lemuel S. Brown, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II, received a blue slip of paper from the military, notifying him he was being dismissed from duty. The reason? “Undesirable” behavior—specifically, an accusation of “attempting to perpetrate an act of Homosexuality,” as he explained in a letter to the […]

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  • 7 LGBTQ Uprisings Before Stonewall

    7 LGBTQ Uprisings Before Stonewall

    The Stonewall Riots of 1969 are arguably the most famous and impactful uprisings for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) rights. But they are not the first LGBTQ+ uprising by far. Various smaller uprisings preceded Stonewall—some by over a decade—to push back against harassment, often from police, and inequality. 1. 1958: Los Angeles – […]

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  • The Declaration of Independence Was Also a List of Grievances

    The Declaration of Independence Was Also a List of Grievances

    For many Americans, the entirety of the Declaration of Independence can be summed up by Thomas Jefferson’s stirring preamble: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But […]

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  • 7 Iconic Photos From the Vietnam War Era

    7 Iconic Photos From the Vietnam War Era

    Many of the reporters and photographers who covered the conflict in Vietnam came from a new generation of journalists. Coverage of earlier wars was heavily influenced by the government, says Susan Moeller, a journalism professor and author of Shooting War: Photography and the American Experience of Combat, but in Vietnam, the journalistic mission was different. “There was no […]

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  • 10 Times America Helped Overthrow a Foreign Government

    10 Times America Helped Overthrow a Foreign Government

    Throughout its history, the United States has used its military and covert operations to overthrow or prop up foreign governments in the name of preserving U.S. strategic and business interests. U.S. intervention in foreign governments began with attacks on and displacement of sovereign tribal nations in North America. In the 1890s, this type of imperialist […]

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  • 8 of the Largest Tools in the World

    8 of the Largest Tools in the World

    For every power tool and piece of equipment in the average tool shed or garage, there’s a super-sized version out there. When challenged to build some of the world’s largest structures and most powerful machines, engineers need tools that are sized up to the task. Here are some of the biggest and brawniest industrial and […]

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