Stuff You Missed in History Class
The Great Leap Forward09/01/14
In the mid-20th century, Chairman Mao Zedong launched an ambitious plan to revolutionize Chinese agriculture and industry, build up the economy and turn China into a communist utopia.
Hetty Green, the Witch of Wall Street
She was the wealthiest woman in the U.S., skilled when it came to amassing wealth. But her eccentric behavior and miserly ways led to bad press and a less-than-flaterring nickname.
The Heathen School
The Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut was founded with the plan that it would draw young men from world cultures, educate them, convert them to Christianity, and then send them back to their native lands to spread their newfound religion.
Andrews’ Raid, or: The Great Locomotive Chase Pt. 2
As the second part of the story picks up, James Andrews and 22 men have commandeered a northbound train in Big Shanty, Georgia. Its conductor, William Fuller, has begun chasing them on foot with two other men in a valiant effort to thwart their plot.
Andrews’ Raid, or: The Great Locomotive Chase Pt. 1
The Great Locomotive Chase was a very daring – but very failed – plot to commandeer a train and destroy a crucial stretch of railroad during the Civil War. It's a wild and fun story that covers a lot of ground as it travels around the southestern U.S.
The La Scala Opera House
The Teatro alla Scala is one of the most renowned opera houses in the world, and is Italy’s crown jewel of the arts. Even if you have only a passing knowledge of opera, odds are, you know a name connected to the history of this legendary cultural hub.
Victor Lustig: Con Man Extraordinaire
He's most famous for selling an iconic structure he didn't own, but Robert Miller, known better by his alias Count Victor Lustig, led a life of spectacular cons, daring escapes, smooth talking and counterfeiting.
A Brief History of Colors
Pigments and dyes have come from all manner of animals, vegetables and minerals. From ochre to cochineal red to the rarest of purples, color has been an important part of human life for centuries.
The Klondike Big Inch Land Promotion
In the mid-20th century, one ad company had a wacky plan to actually dole out land deeds as part of a cereal promotion. How did they manage it? And was the land worth anything?
The Tulsa Race Riot and Black Wall Street
“Black Wall Street” was a nickname for Greenwood, a vibrant suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was destroyed in a race riot in 1921. And while Greenwood’s destruction was definitely the product of racial tensions, the event was much more one-sided.
Battle of Blair Mountain
In 1921, coal miners fed up with unfair labor practices and exploitation took up arms against their employers. The resulting conflict lasted five days and has been called the biggest armed uprising on U.S. soil since the Civil War.
Les Filles du Roi
While the building of a population in a new colony seems like a tricky endeavor, France’s King Louis XIV launched a scheme to do just that by shipping eligible ladies to New France in the 1600s. How did this play out?
The Doctors' Riot of 1788
In the late 1700s, medical colleges needed cadavers for educational dissection, but there were no legal means for obtaining them. This led to some unorthodox dealings in the acquiring of bodies, and brought New York to a fever pitch in 1788.
Cosmetics From Ancient Egypt to the Modern World
Makeup has a rich and lengthy history that spans the globe and crosses cultures. From 10,000 B.C.E. to the 20th century, people have been using cosmetics to enhance their looks -- sometimes with unintended side effects.
The Battle of Mons and the Angels That Followed
The Battle of Mons was one of World War I’s earliest battles. In the months after the battle, stories spread that a supernatural presence had covered the British army, preventing it from being destroyed.
Suleiman the Magnificent and the Siege of Vienna
The Ottoman Empire’s Suleiman the Magnificent was a head of state, a poet, a reformer of the military and a goldsmith. His reign had a significant impact on the law, literature and art of the Ottoman Empire.
The Great London Smog
London is no stranger to smog, which is why when the Great London Smog descended in December of 1952, nobody quite realized anything unusual was going on. At its largest, it extended 30 kilometers around London, and it killed thousands of people.
Caroline Herschel: Astronomy's Cinderella
Herschel managed to break the barrier of women in scientific fields far earlier than you might suspect, in part because of her association with her brother, and in equal measure due to her steadfast dedication to her work.
The Yaa Asantewaa War of Independence
The Asante-British war of 1900 capped about 100 years of war between Great Britain and the Asante Empire, which occupied part of what is now Ghana.
Battle of Poitiers
On Sept. 19, 1356, one of the decisive battles of the Hundred Years War took place in France. It was the first major battle after almost a decade of relative quiet, and it stacked a small English army against a French military three times its size.
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