The Historical Origins of the Wizard Merlin

The legendary wizard in King Arthur's court has a surprisingly complex backstory.

Joan of England Was an Early Victim of the Black Death

Not yet familiar with the plague, her entourage underestimated its severity.

The Affair of the Diamond Necklace Contributed To Marie Antoinette's Downfall

The scam caused the French queen's reputation to further deteriorate.

A Shocking Incident Led to the War of Jenkins' Ear

One man's mutilation instigated a major conflict between Britain and Spain.

How Ivan the Terrible Earned His Nickname

The Russian tsar had a fearsome reputation.

The Cult of the Supreme Being: A New Religion in Revolutionary France

The French Revolution left fertile ground for a new approach to religion.

The History of the Corset, a Garment Fraught with Misconceptions

Often demonized as patriarchal torture devices, these garments were seen as a practicality in their day.

8 Gripping Books About the Fight for Irish Independence

What caused the bitter divide within Ireland—and how did it shape the country we know today?

6 Historical Political Cartoons That Capture the Hopes and Fears of the Past

These satirical drawings reveal the debates that dominated bygone eras.

A Controversial Attack on Mers-el-Kébir Heightened WWII Tensions

The French fleet posed a difficult problem for British officials.

How the Black Death Led to the Peasants' Revolt

England’s 1381 uprising was fueled by unrest in the aftermath of a pandemic.

10 Illuminating Books About the Victorian Era

From crime and punishment to technological advancements and beyond.

How the Assassination of Franz Ferdinand Sparked World War I

The Archduke was murdered by a Yugoslav nationalist, setting off an explosive chain of events.

The Sack of Rome Signaled the End of the High Renaissance...

... and a permanent split between Catholicism and budding Protestant religions.