World History

One reader wonders: Since purple dye was scarce, why didn’t people just combine blue and red?

Why Was Purple the Color of Royalty? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

Pages from Plastic Surgery of the Face by Harold Gillies

Inside a Trailblazing Surgeon's Quest to Reconstruct WWI Soldiers' Disfigured Faces

A new book profiles Harold Gillies, whose efforts to restore wounded warriors' visages laid the groundwork for modern plastic surgery

Communist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg speaking at a conference in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1907

History of Now

The 20th-Century History of Anti-Semitic Attacks on Jewish Politicians

Russian rhetoric against Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy echoes the language directed toward Jewish leaders in post-WWI Europe

As of June 15, the World Health Organization had recorded a total of 2,103 confirmed monkeypox cases in 42 countries. Pictured: a colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox virus particles (green) cultivated and purified from cell culture

History of Now

What You Need to Know About the History of Monkeypox

Mired in misconception, the poxvirus is endemic in certain African countries but was rarely reported in Europe and the U.S. until recently

Vassily Maximov, A Sorcerer Comes to a Peasant Wedding, circa 1875

In Early Modern Russia, the Majority of Accused 'Witches' Were Men

Orthodox Russians deployed magic for practical purposes, like inflicting illness, harming business competitors and attracting lovers

The 15 freed hostages and their rescuers arrive at San José del Guaviare airport in July 2008.

The Daring Rescue Mission That Freed 15 Hostages Held in the Colombian Jungle for Years

A new exhibition at the International Spy Museum revisits Operación Jaque, a covert 2008 plot led by the Colombian military

In 1547, Elizabeth's brother, 9-year-old Edward VI, ascended the throne. Then 13 years old, the princess found herself second in line to the crown.

Based on a True Story

The Royal Scandal That Rocked Elizabeth I's Teenage Years

A new Starz series, "Becoming Elizabeth," dramatizes the future queen's controversial relationship with her much-older stepfather, Thomas Seymour

Li Shiu Tong and Magnus Hirschfeld at the 1932 conference for the World League for Sexual Reform

LGBTQ+ Pride

The Gay Asian Activist Whose Theories on Sexuality Were Decades Ahead of Their Time

In the 1930s, Li Shiu Tong's boyfriend, Magnus Hirschfeld, was a prominent defender of gay people. But Li's own research has long been overlooked

“Once upon a time, there was a piece of wood.” An Italian tradition, epitomized by the fictional Geppetto, continues at Bartolucci’s shop in Florence.

The Real Story of Pinocchio Tells No Lies

Forget what you know from the cartoon. The 19th-century story, now in a new translation, was a rallying cry for universal education and Italian nationhood

The first two panels of "Nazi Death Parade," a six-panel comic depicting the mass murder of Jews at a Nazi concentration camp

The Holocaust-Era Comic That Brought Americans Into the Nazi Gas Chambers

In early 1945, a six-panel comic in a U.S. pamphlet offered a visceral depiction of the Third Reich's killing machine

On the island of Dejima, European traders could interact with the Japanese, but with a few (carefully escorted) exceptions, they were barred from continuing on to mainland Japan.

The Wild West Outpost of Japan's Isolationist Era

For two centuries, an extreme protectionist policy barred foreigners from setting foot in Japan—except for one tiny island

Visitors lay wreaths at the “Square of Nations,” a memorial site at the former Flossenbürg concentration camp’s crematorium, on April 24, 2022.

History of Now

At a Former Concentration Camp, Holocaust Survivors Draw Parallels Between Nazi and Russian Rhetoric

Speakers at a ceremony marking the liberation of Flossenbürg condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims of demilitarizing and de-Nazifying Ukraine

NATO troops from a battalion based in Fort Hood, Texas, train in Germany in September 1983, two months before the Able Archer 83 drill.

The 1983 Military Drill That Nearly Sparked Nuclear War With the Soviets

Fearful that the Able Archer 83 exercise was a cover for a NATO nuclear strike, the U.S.S.R. readied its own weapons for launch

This is how you really sweat to the oldies.

Want to Work Out Like Walt Whitman or Henry VIII? Try These Historic Fitness Regimens

Travel through time by lifting like passengers on the Titanic or swimming like the sixth U.S. president

A Long Island family sits in a "Kidde Kokoon" underground bomb shelter in 1955.

Digging Up the History of the Nuclear Fallout Shelter

For 75 years, images of bunker life have reflected the shifting optimism, anxieties and cynicism of the Atomic Age

Alexander Skarsgård stars as Amleth, a Viking prince who seeks to avenge the murder of his father.

Based on a True Story

The History Behind Robert Eggers' 'The Northman'

The revenge saga blends traditional accounts with the supernatural to convey the lived experience of the Viking age

View of the Space Needle and the Century 21 Exposition fairgrounds in Seattle in 1962

The Rise and Fall of World's Fairs

Sixty years after Seattle's Century 21 Exposition, world's fairs have largely fallen out of fashion in the U.S.

In 51 B.C.E., Julius Caesar noted that people in Britain did not eat hares due to their religious significance.

The Ancient Origins of the Easter Bunny

A scholar traces the folk figure's history from the Neolithic era to today

The Red Ball Express gave the Allies a strategic advantage over the German infantry divisions.

The Black WWII Soldiers Who Spirited Supplies to the Allied Front Line

The Red Ball Express' truck drivers and cargo loaders moved more than 400,000 tons of ammo, gas, medicine and rations between August and November 1944

Joseph Mikulec, the “Globe-Trotter” whose toes touched six continents, collected the signatures of such luminaries as Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Edward VIII, Mary Pickford and Teddy Roosevelt.

The Man Who Walked Around the World, Collecting the Autographs of the Rich and Famous

In the early 1900s, Joseph Mikulec traveled some 175,000 miles on foot, gathering 60,000 signatures in a leather-bound album that is now up for sale

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