World History

In May 1536, Henry had his second wife, Anne Boleyn, beheaded on trumped-up charges of adultery and incest. For centuries, historians blamed Anne's sister-in-law, Jane Boleyn, for testifying against the queen—but new research calls this claim into question.

The Myths of Lady Rochford, the Tudor Noblewoman Who Supposedly Betrayed George and Anne Boleyn

Historians are reevaluating Jane Boleyn's role in her husband and sister-in-law's downfall

Medical student Anna Searcy in 1897

Women Who Shaped History

These Trailblazers Were the Only Women in the Room Where It Happened

A new book spotlights 100 historical photographs of lone women hidden among groups of men

Over the past century, archaeologists have uncovered more than 1,600 Proto-Elamite inscriptions, but only about 43 in Linear Elamite, scattered widely across Iran.

Have Scholars Finally Deciphered a Mysterious Ancient Script?

Linear Elamite, a writing system used in what is now Iran, may reveal the secrets of a little-known kingdom bordering Sumer

Divers from AllenX examines the debris trail of the Maravillas, which sank in the Bahamas in 1656.

Cool Finds

The Race to Preserve Treasures From a Legendary 17th-Century Shipwreck

The new Bahamas Maritime Museum will feature finds from the "Maravillas," a Spanish galleon that sank in 1656 with a cargo of gold, silver and gems

Despite the Russian invasion, traditional Ukrainian folk singers performed as part of the celebrations for Kyiv Day  on May 28, 2022.

Can Cultural Treasures in Occupied Ukraine Be Saved?

The podcast 'Sidedoor' goes behind-the-scenes with the Smithsonian Culture Rescue Initiative and its heroic efforts to safeguard the nation’s heritage

The trident, also known as the tryzub, is ubiquitous in modern Ukraine, but its origins lie in the medieval period.

How Medieval Money Shaped Ukraine’s Modern Identity

The country's distinct history is revealed in banknotes, coins and other monetary objects, says the Smithsonian’s curator of numismatics

Drawing of a woman being dragged to a ducking stool at a river in Ipswich, Suffolk, around 1600

When Authorities Dunked Outspoken Women in Water

In early modern England, women accused of being "common scolds" were immersed in rivers and lakes while strapped to contraptions known as ducking stools

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's flag hangs on the door of a hijacked TWA Boeing 707 at Dawson's Field in Libya in September 1970.

A Brief History of Airplane Hijackings, From the Cold War to D.B. Cooper

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, hijackings occurred, on average, once every five days globally

The author and a friend paddled the 200-year-old Forth and Clyde Canal into the Union Canal. The two canals form a historic, 54-mile route that bisects Scotland.

Good News

How Scotland Is Reinventing Its Centuries-Old Canals for Paddlers

In the past 20 years, the country has transformed its decrepit coal-transport infrastructure into a thriving recreational wonderland

After the first group of students arrived at Bunce Court came hundreds more, traumatized by the ever-escalating catastrophe in Europe.

The Schoolteacher Who Saved Her Students From the Nazis

A new book explores the life of Anna Essinger, who led an entire school's daring escape from Germany in 1933

None

How One Historian Located Liberia’s Elusive Founding Document

The piece of paper went missing for nearly 200 years, leaving some scholars to question whether it even existed

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

loading icon