World History

Shoichi Yokoi fled to the jungles of Guam to avoid capture in the summer of 1944. He remained in hiding until January 1972.

The Japanese WWII Soldier Who Refused to Surrender for 27 Years

Unable to bear the shame of being captured as a prisoner of war, Shoichi Yokoi hid in the jungles of Guam until January 1972

A small stretch of an ancient cemetery in Naples is set to open to the public for the first time, shedding new light on the Italian city’s history and ancient Greek artistry.

A Long-Overlooked Necropolis in Naples Reveals the Enduring Influence of Ancient Greece

The Ipogeo dei Cristallini's well-preserved tombs will open to the public as soon as summer 2022

Bruce Clark, author of the new book Athens: City of Wisdom, outlines the events that culminated in the Elgin Marbles’ extraction from Greece.

How the Much-Debated Elgin Marbles Ended Up in England

For two centuries, diplomat Thomas Bruce has been held up as a shameless plunderer. The real history is more complicated, argues the author of a new book

Brunhild and Fredegund were two lesser-known but long-reigning and influential Frankish queens.

The Medieval Queens Whose Daring, Murderous Reigns Were Quickly Forgotten

Over the centuries, Brunhild and Fredegund were dismissed and even parodied. But a new book shows how they outwitted their enemies like few in history

Children stand on the surrounding wall at Tabira Gate, the entrance to Assur, first capital of the Assyrian empire in present day Shirqat, Iraq.

At the Iraqi Site of Assur, Ancient History Stands at Risk of Destruction

In its time, the Assyrian capital faced waves of invasions and abandonment. Now a small team of archaeologists are protecting it from more modern threats

A 1930s couple rings in the new year with party blowers and streamers. New Year's Eve celebrations only began incorporating countdowns decades later, with the first crowd countdown in Times Square taking place in 1979.

Why Do We Count Down to the New Year?

A historian traces the tradition's links to space travel, the Doomsday Clock and Alfred Hitchcock

Finds unveiled in 2021 included a wooden falcon that originally belonged to doomed queen Anne Boleyn, an intact ancient chicken egg and a dress worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.

Cool Finds

Ninety-Nine Fascinating Finds Revealed in 2021

The year's most exciting discoveries include a Viking "piggy bank," a lost Native American settlement and a secret passageway hidden behind a bookshelf

The original Japanese packaging emphasized English characters over Japanese ones.

How Cup Noodles Became the Instant Ramen for Americans

Released in Japan 50 years ago, the portable meal proved to be one of the biggest transpacific business success stories of all time

In each of the extant nine accounts, the victim is captured in battle and has an eagle of some sort carved into their back.

New Research

Did the Vikings Actually Torture Victims With the Brutal 'Blood Eagle'?

New research reveals the feasibility of the infamous execution method

This year's list includes Four Lost Cities, About Time and The Man Who Hated Women.

The Best Books of 2021

The Ten Best History Books of 2021

Our favorite titles of the year resurrect forgotten histories and help explain how the U.S. got to where it is today

This composite photograph shows the bison herd with one of the newly discovered petroglyphs overlaid on the sky.

Bison in Canada Discover Ancient Petroglyphs, Fulfilling an Indigenous Prophecy

Reintroduced to Wanuskewin Heritage Park in 2019, the animals' hooves uncovered four 1,000-year-old rock carvings

The term “Crusade” has always been an anachronism—a way of looking back at complex, often disconnected movements with a wide array of motivations, membership, tactics and results and organizing them into a single coherent theology or identity. Pictured: A 19th-century painting of the 1177 Battle of Montgisard by Charles-Philippe Larivière

The Many Myths of the Term 'Crusader'

Conceptions of the medieval Crusades tend to lump disparate movements together, ignoring the complexity and diversity of these military campaigns

The Roman elite viewed public toilets as an instrument that flushed the filth of the plebes out of their noble sight.

How the Ancient Romans Went to the Bathroom

A new book by journalist Lina Zeldovich traces the management of human waste—and underscores poop's potential as a valuable resource

“Martineau was extremely unusual in the amount of control she had over her own medical care,” says Rachel Ablow, author of the 2017 book Victorian Pain.

The Victorian Woman Writer Who Refused to Let Doctors Define Her

Harriet Martineau took control of her medical care, defying the male-dominated establishment’s attempts to dismiss her as hysterical and fragile

Ary Scheffer, The Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca Appear to Dante and Virgil, 1835

Before Romeo and Juliet, Paolo and Francesca Were Literature's Star-Crossed Lovers

Centuries after Italian poet Dante published "The Divine Comedy," Romantic artists and writers reimagined the tragedy as a tale of female agency

During the Middle Ages, dragons more often figured in accounts about the lives of saints and religious figures than stories of heists and adventures.

Why Dragons Dominated the Landscape of Medieval Monsters

The mythical beasts were often cast as agents of the devil or demons in disguise

A new book by journalist Andrew Lawler chronicles an illicit 1909–1911 excavation in Israel's Holy City. Pictured here: a replica of the Ark of Covenant in front of an early 20th-century map of Jerusalem

The Secret Excavation of Jerusalem

A British aristocrat looking for the Ark of the Covenant launched history's most peculiar archaeological dig—and set off a crisis in the Middle East

Survivors received “fever passes” that certified their immunity, allowing them increased freedom of movement at a time when a substantial portion of the population was being held under strict quarantine.

Covid-19

In 19th-Century Gibraltar, Survivors of a Deadly Virus Used 'Fever Passes' to Prove Their Immunity

Should historic health officials' response to yellow fever outbreaks on the Iberian Peninsula serve as a model for modern pandemic management strategies?

A decent fellow after all? King George III, painted by Sir William Beechey (1753-1839).

In Defense of King George

The author of a new biography shines a humane light on the monarch despised by the colonists

Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes was serving as a consul general in France when the Nazis invaded the country.

The Untold Story of the Portuguese Diplomat Who Saved Thousands From the Nazis

As the German army marched across France, Aristides de Sousa Mendes faced a choice: obey his government or follow his conscience—and risk everything

loading icon