World History

“People always liked and admired Colette, but after [World War I], with this need to consolidate French identity, Colette really becomes a classique,” says Kathleen Antonioli. 

Colette Revolutionized French Literature With Her Depictions of Female Desire

Born 150 years ago this week, the author was known for her incisive portrayals of women's everyday lives

Indigenous people brought to Spain by Hernán Cortés play the game patolli.

The Indigenous Americans Who Visited Europe

A new book reverses the narrative of the Age of Discovery, which has long evoked the ambitions of Europeans looking to the Americas rather than vice versa

L to R: Andrew Carnegie, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and Henry Ford

The Tudor Roots of Modern Billionaires' Philanthropy

The debate over how to manage the wealthy's fortunes after their deaths traces its roots to Henry VIII and Elizabeth I

This 1605 drawing of a Black sumo wrestler may depict Yasuke.

Who Was Yasuke, Japan's First Black Samurai?

In the late 16th century, the enigmatic warrior fought alongside a feudal lord dubbed the "Great Unifier"

The 17th-century fort at Portobelo, built by enslaved laborers, overlooks the bay area where some of the earliest maroons settled after gaining their freedom.

A New Discovery Puts Panama as the Site of the First Successful Slave Rebellion

Deep in the archives, a historian rescues the tale of brave maroons

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The Misunderstood Roman Empress Who Willed Her Way to the Top

A fresh view of Galla Placidia, who married a barbarian and ruled when the world power fell into chaos

Hikers set off on the annual Alpine Peace Crossing. The Austrian side of the trail is rocky and exposed; in 1947, Jewish refugees had to make the journey in the dark.

You Can Retrace the Footsteps Jewish Refugees Took on a Hike Through the Alps

After World War II, Holocaust survivors fled Europe’s lingering anti-Semitism on a series of clandestine missions

A copy of a Greek inscription, made by laying wet paper or plaster over carved stone to create a mirror-image impression.

How an Unorthodox Scholar Uses Technology to Expose Biblical Forgeries

Deciphering ancient texts with modern tools, Michael Langlois challenges what we know about the Dead Sea Scrolls

Soup joumou is a savory, orange-tinted soup that typically consists of calabaza squash, beef, noodles, carrots, cabbage, various other vegetables and fresh herbs and spices.

Haiti's Beloved Soup Joumou Serves Up 'Freedom in Every Bowl'

Every year, Haitians around the globe eat the pumpkin dish on January 1 to commemorate the liberation of the world’s first free Black republic

Fascinating finds unveiled in 2022 ranged from a 2,000-year-old statue of a dog to colorful sarcophagi at Saqqara to a Qing dynasty vase.

Cool Finds

Ninety-Six Fascinating Finds Revealed in 2022

The year's most exciting discoveries included hidden portraits by Cézanne and van Gogh, sarcophagi buried beneath Notre-Dame, and a medieval wedding ring

Sim’oogit Ni’isjoohl (Chief Earl Stephens) of the Nisga’a Nation with the Ni’isjoohl memorial pole

Inside the Nisga'a Nation's Fight to Get a 36-Foot Totem Pole Back From Scotland

National Museums Scotland agreed to repatriate the object, which was stolen in 1929, following an in-person appeal by an Indigenous delegation

A tableau of sculptures or living beings, the Nativity scene (as well as the closely related Adoration of the Magi) traces its origins back some 1,500 years.

What Nativity Scenes Tell Us About the Evolution of Christianity

From ancient mosaics to Saint Francis of Assisi, depictions of Jesus's birth reflect the changing conventions of the world's largest religion

Christmas market in Goslar, Germany, at dusk

A Brief History of Christmas Markets

Now a global phenomenon, the holiday tradition traces its roots to medieval Europe

Twenty-eight stumbling stones in Salzburg, Austria, commemorate victims of the Nazis.

Spain's Oft-Forgotten Nazi Ties

A new law recognizes the thousands of Spaniards killed by the Germans during World War II

Egyptologist Zahi Hawass is leading a push to repatriate the Rosetta Stone, the Dendera Zodiac and the bust of Nefertiti to Egypt.

History of Now

Who Gets to Tell the Story of Ancient Egypt?

On the eve of the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, some of the country's artifacts, from the Rosetta Stone to the bust of Nefertiti, remain overseas

Protesters in Beijing hold up white sheets of paper during a November 27 protest against China's strict zero-Covid policy.

History of Now

A Brief History of Silent Protests

Activists in China are using blank sheets of paper to speak out against the country's draconian zero-Covid policies

Israel isn’t the first country where fingerprints found during archaeological research have elicited curiosity and spurred questions about who left them behind.

What Fingerprints Tell Us About Jerusalem's Ancient Artisans

In an unusual collaboration, archaeologists in Israel are working with police to analyze prints left on fifth- or sixth-century pottery shards

Dora Maar or Lee Miller, Dora Maar sur fond végétal, circa 1936

The Strange Surrealist Magic of Dora Maar

More than simply Picasso's muse, the French artist won renown for her striking paintings and photographs

Workers converting a 15th-century granary (large brown building pictured) into a parking garage in Erfurt, Germany, uncovered graves from a medieval Jewish cemetery.

How Construction of a Parking Lot Uncovered New Insights About Medieval Jews

A new DNA study suggests Ashkenazi Jews living in 14th-century Germany were surprisingly genetically diverse

This year's picks include Half American, Saving Yellowstone and River of the Gods.

The Best Books of 2022

The Ten Best History Books of 2022

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and illuminate how the nation ended up where it is today

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