Author Archives

I have a PhD in United States History and I am a legal refugee. I run a history wiki called and the blog

  • Why is Bacon’s Rebellion important?

    Bacon’s Rebellion was probably one of the most confusing and intriguing chapters in Jamestown’s history. For many years, historians considered the Virginia Rebellion of 1676 to be the first stirring of revolutionary sentiment in America, which culminated in the American… Read More ›

  • Trying German and Japanese World War II war criminals

    Following World War II, the victorious Allied governments established the first international criminal tribunals to prosecute high-level political officials and military authorities for war crimes and other wartime atrocities. The four major Allied powers—France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom,… Read More ›

  • The United States and the Suez Crisis in 1956

    On July 26, 1956, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company, the joint British-French enterprise which had owned and operated the Suez Canal since its construction in 1869. Nasser’s announcement came about following months… Read More ›

  • The Ancient Suez Canal

    Millennia before the Enlightenment, Egyptians, Persians, and Greeks all saw the possibility of connecting Asia to Europe through the construction of a canal. An examination of the ancient sources reveals that the ancient attempts to build a Red Sea canal followed a different path, but by most accounts they were successful.

  • Harriet Tubman had to Fight for her Military Pension

    A legendary figure in American history, Harriet Tubman’s story is well-known and widely celebrated. But her struggle, ultimately unsuccessful, to be compensated by the federal government for her service during the Civil War is less well-known. In 1865, after three years of dedicated service to the United States Army as a nurse, spy, and soldier, she started a long quest to secure the compensation she never received from the government.

  • Why was Alexander the Great able to conquer so much territory?

    In the public’s mind, few well-known conquerors in history match the exploits of Alexander the Great. In just a few years, from 334-330 BC, Alexander would conquer the largest empire the world had known and establish his empire that eventually stretched from Greece to India.

  • When did Egyptology become a thing?

    Today, Egyptology – the study of ancient Egyptian history, culture, and language – is a worldwide discipline studied and taught at major universities on nearly every continent. It has evolved from a more esoteric study known only to elites in a handful of schools and museums in Europe to something much more global that is accessible to a wider range of people, which has come to influence many aspects of modern society.

  • The long history of Electric Cars

    From Electric cars are among the fastest-growing type of vehicles in terms of sales in several Western countries. Many consumers still know little about electric cars, and most people see them as a relatively new type of vehicle that… Read More ›

  • Do Civilizations die or do they just change?

    By Annalee Newitz author of Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age from The Washington Post: The idea of civilizational collapse goes back thousands of years, but each era imagines it anew, always as a form of… Read More ›

  • Helen Keller’s connection to Socialism

    Helen Keller (1880–1967) is best known for her triumph over blindness, deafness, and muteness. Rescued from the isolation of her afflictions as a young girl by the Perkins Institute for the Blind teacher Anne Sullivan, Keller learned to understand a… Read More ›

  • How did Stalin become the leader of the Soviet Union?

    From How and when did Joseph Stalin come to power? Stalin is remembered as one of the bloodiest tyrants in the history of the world. He was the absolute ruler of the Soviet Union and later of the Communist… Read More ›

  • What do we really know about Joseph Stalin?

    From the JSTOR Daily by Matthew Willis: Joseph Stalin died sixty-five years ago this month. But it wasn’t until Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika in the late 1980s, and then the breakup of the USSR, that the state archives were opened and the full… Read More ›

  • Atomic Diplomacy

    From Atomic diplomacy refers to attempts to use the threat of nuclear warfare to achieve diplomatic goals. After the first successful test of the atomic bomb in 1945, U.S. officials immediately considered the potential non-military benefits derived from the… Read More ›

  • How did ancient Professional Armies develop?

    From Warfare has been a constant throughout human history, and conflict can certainly be traced back to our hominid ancestors in our evolutionary past. While technology today is often used as the distinguishing characteristic of warfare, the development of… Read More ›

  • Bacon’s Rebellion – What a Mess

    From Bacon’s Rebellion was probably one of the most confusing and intriguing chapters in Jamestown’s history. For many years, historians considered the Virginia Rebellion of 1676 to be the first stirring of revolutionary sentiment in America, which culminated in… Read More ›

  • When were the first water parks created?

    From For many children, and even those young at heart, water parks are a key pastime of summer and, increasingly, winter. With indoor parks, it is now possible to play year-round in many places. The history of water parks… Read More ›

  • Pandemics – The Very Long History

    From Pandemics have long been a part of human history. This includes various diseases that spread globally and have, in many different periods, created a large-scale population reduction. For ancient periods, pandemics were often conflated with plagues. While the… Read More ›

  • Van Gogh’s Greatest Painting?

    By Sebastian Smee from The Washington Post: In the summer of 1889, Vincent van Gogh painted “Cypresses,” which may just be his masterpiece. He had painted “The Starry Night,” a relatively flat and cartoonish work, only a week or two… Read More ›

  • When Congress balked over free government cars for the Speaker of the House

    From The Historian of House Blog: The first telegraphic message ever sent traveled from the U.S. Capitol building to a Baltimore train station on May 24, 1844. A year earlier Congress had given the telegraph’s inventor, Samuel Morse, $30,000 to fund… Read More ›

  • When did people start using Surnames?

    From First names have likely existed since possibly soon after humans evolved into their modern forms. However, the origin and development of surnames (or last names) is far less known and is likely a more recent phenomenon. People were… Read More ›