World History

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

The timbers of a 500-year-old ship rest on the floor of the Baltic Sea. Scholars and divers are studying the legendary wreck.

An Extraordinary 500-Year-Old Shipwreck Is Rewriting the History of the Age of Discovery

In the frigid Baltic Sea, archaeologists probing the surprisingly well-preserved remains of a revolutionary warship are seeing the era in a new way

Almost 75 years after the mobster’s death, an eclectic bunch of enthusiasts continue to chase his memory.

Inside the Global Cult of Al Capone

A recent auction of the Chicago gangster's mementos testifies to his enduring appeal—and the thorny nature of collecting items owned by criminals

Adam Driver (left) plays Jacques Le Gris, a French squire accused of raping Marguerite, wife of knight Jean de Carrouges (right, played by Matt Damon).

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind 'The Last Duel'

A new film from Ridley Scott dramatizes the 1386 trial by combat of a medieval man accused of a horrific crime

In Six, Henry VIII's wives (top row, L to R: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour; bottom row, L to R: Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr) reclaim their stories.

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind 'Six,' the Tudor Musical About Henry VIII's Wives

The show's creators, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, reflect on the smash hit ahead of its Broadway premiere

The Surprising Artistic Life of Ancient Sparta

Poets and lyricists populated the Greek civilization

A monument in Thermopylae to King Leonidas.

Sparta Was Much More Than an Army of Super Warriors

Fierce? Yes. Tough? You bet. But the true history of the Greek civilization had a lot more nuance

The “Assasin’s Creed” series, famous for using real historical events as a backdrop to the games, have gone through scenarios such as the Crusades, the American Revolution and the Golden Age of Piracy.

When Playing Video Games Becomes a History Lesson

On campuses across the country, professors are putting historically based games into the classroom

In the modern era, the European discovery of North American became a proxy for conflicts between American Protestants and Catholics, as well as northern Europeans who claimed Vikings like Leif Eriksson (left) as their ancestors and southern Europeans who touted links to Columbus (right) and the monarchs of Spain.

Viking Map of North America Identified as 20th-Century Forgery

New technical analysis dates Yale's Vinland Map to the 1920s or later, not the 1440s as previously suggested

The Tuxtla statuette, discovered in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1902, now resides in the National Museum of Natural History.

What Secrets Does This 1,800-Year-Old Carved Stone Hold?

The Tuxtla Statuette illuminates an endangered Latin American culture

Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Omai, circa 1776

The Polynesian 'Prince' Who Took 18th-Century England by Storm

A new nonfiction release revisits the life of Mai, the first Pacific Islander to visit Britain

A recently discovered portrait believed to be of Jane Strachey, English School, c.1788

What an Englishwoman's Letters Reveal About Life in Britain During the American Revolution

A new book highlights the writings of Jane Strachey, a middle-class woman whose husband worked for the famed Howe family

Procession marking the opening of the Belfast-based Ulster parliament in June 1921

One Hundred Years Ago, Northern Ireland's 'Unholy War' Resulted in a Deadly Summer

In July 1921, an outburst of sectarian violence in Belfast claimed 16 lives on the eve of a truce between Great Britain and Ireland

Some of the details between the film and its source material are, of course, different, but the themes at their respective hearts remain consistent.

'The Green Knight' Adopts a Medieval Approach to 'Modern' Problems

A new film starring Dev Patel as Gawain feels more like a psychological thriller than a period drama

Interest in gymnastics soared during the Cold War, when the Olympics emerged as a cultural battleground for Western and Eastern nations.

The Tokyo Olympics

A History of Gymnastics, From Ancient Greece to Tokyo 2020

The beloved Olympic sport has evolved drastically over the past 2,000 years

A mural in Munich's former Olympic Village features Otl Aicher's pictograms.

The Tokyo Olympics

This Graphic Artist's Olympic Pictograms Changed Urban Design Forever

Having lived through Germany's Nazi regime, Otl Aicher went on to pioneer democratic design

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