World History

“The first people to look at the Rosetta Stone thought it would take two weeks to decipher,” says Edward Dolnick, author of The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone. “It ended up taking 20 years.”

Trending Today

Two Hundred Years Ago, the Rosetta Stone Unlocked the Secrets of Ancient Egypt

French scholar Jean-François Champollion announced his decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs on September 27, 1822

Bakhtiari nomads in the Zagros Mountains of Iran in June 2017

How Nomads Shaped Centuries of Civilization

A new book celebrates the achievements of wanderers, whose stories have long been overlooked

Paula, Sam and Sol Messinger aboard the M.S. St. Louis in May 1939. The U.S. denied the ship entry, forcing its 937 passengers to return to Europe. More than a quarter of these refugees were later killed in the Holocaust.

Untold Stories of American History

Why Was America So Reluctant to Take Action on the Holocaust?

A new Ken Burns documentary examines the U.S.' complex, often shameful response to the rise of Nazism and the plight of Jewish refugees

The Woman King tells the story of the Agojie, an elite, all-woman army in the West African kingdom of Dahomey.

Based on a True Story

The Real Warriors Behind 'The Woman King'

A new film stars Viola Davis as the leader of the Agojie, the all-woman army of the African kingdom of Dahomey

The Trans Bhutan Trail, which was originally part of the Silk Road, is a historic pilgrimage route dating back thousands of years.

The 250-Mile Trans Bhutan Trail Will Reopen After 60 Years

After a major restoration project, the path connecting 400 cultural and historic sites is once again passable

Catherine de' Medici was the mother of three kings.

Based on a True Story

The Many Myths of Catherine de' Medici

A new Starz series, "The Serpent Queen," dramatizes the life of the much-maligned 16th-century ruler

Elizabeth arrives in Jamestown, Virginia, at the start of a visit to the United States in October 1957.

Why Women in 1950s America Looked to Elizabeth II as a Source of Inspiration

The British queen ascended to the throne at a time when most women were expected to conform to traditional domestic roles

Elizabeth remained staunchly tight-lipped, rarely commenting publicly on current events.

Elizabeth II Was an Enduring Emblem of the Waning British Empire

The British queen died on Thursday at age 96

Aerial view of the usually submerged ruins of the village of Aceredo in northwestern Spain on February 15, 2022

This Summer’s Drought Is Europe's Worst in 500 Years. What Happened Last Time?

The 1540 megadrought brought mass suffering to the continent, but European society quickly bounced back

Against all the odds—of her sex, ethnicity and time—Seacole would launch herself into the heart of the war effort, and with it earn herself a unique place in the British public’s consciousness.

A Historian's Quest to Unravel the Secrets of Mary Seacole, an Innovative, Long-Overlooked Black Nurse

During the Crimean War, the Jamaican businesswoman operated a storehouse and restaurant that offered food, supplies and medicine to British soldiers

Mikhail Gorbachev died on August 30, 2022, at age 91.

The Contradictory Legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev

The Soviet leader, who died on August 30 at age 91, attempted to enact "revolution from above"

In the not-so-distant past, the Russian and American governments talked up the shared crucibles of their two mid-19th century leaders as a way of improving diplomatic relations.

Before Lincoln Issued the Emancipation Proclamation, This Russian Czar Freed 20 Million Serfs

The parallels between the U.S. president and Alexander II, both of whom fought to end servitude in their nations, are striking

Left, the Pula Arena is the sixth-largest Roman amphitheater still standing and one of the best preserved. Right, the port in the coastal town of Fažana.

In Istria, Roman Ruins, Unique Wines and Prized Truffles Await

Journey to the coast of Croatia, where you’ll encounter an inviting coastline, ancient mummies and so much more

The real thing? Not quite. This regal chamber, King Arthur’s Great Halls, was erected in Tintagel, England, in the 1930s for a social club. 

Was King Arthur a Real Person?

The story of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table has captivated us for a thousand years. But is there any truth behind the tales?

A fresco in Pompeii possibly depicting Lanassa and Demetrius, circa 50 to 40 B.C.E.

Why Demetrius the Besieger Was One of History's Most Outrageous Kings

The ancient Macedonian monarch specialized in siege warfare, polygamy and sacrilege

“The Great Divide” explores how ideas that came to the fore during the Enlightenment at once blurred social hierarchies and reinforced them, particularly along lines of gender and race. 

These 18th-Century Shoes Underscore the Contradictions of the Age of Enlightenment

An exhibition at Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum examines fashion's role in supporting social hierarchies that emerged during the landmark intellectual movement

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

loading icon