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15th Century

Copernicus

In addition to being an astronomer, Copernicus was also a mathematician, a doctor, and wrote a manuscript on devaluation of currency. See more »

Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe was a massive stone city in southeastern Africa that was a thriving trade center from the 11th to 15th centuries. See more »

Zheng He and the Treasure Ships

Zheng He led expeditionary voyages from China in the 15th century. While there are many tall tales about his accomplishments, his actual life was pretty spectacular without them. See more »

A Brief History of the Pietà

While Michelangelo's sculpture of Mary holding the deceased body of Christ is the most famous depiction of that moment in art, that scene has been the focus of many works. And once, the famous version took a trip across the ocean. See more »

The Expulsion of the Jews From Spain

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue … and Ferdinand, king of Aragon, and Isabella, queen of Castile expelled the Jews from Spain. The reasoning for this move hasn't even been entirely clear. See more »

King Eric XIV of Sweden

A handsome playboy who once courted Queen Elizabeth I, Eric started his time as king with focus and ambition. But his paranoia and led him to alienate the aristocracy, fall into violent rages and stab a captive noble to death. See more »

The Voynich manuscript is named after Wilfrid Voynich, who acquired it in 1912 from a Jesuit library. There are many theories as to what this book from the 1400s contains, but no one knows whether it’s a cypher text, a lost language or gibberish. See more »

Born in the 1300s, Margery had 14 children with her husband before dedicating her life to God. In her 40s, she began a vision-inspired pilgrimage to visit holy sites, and these travels became the basis for her spiritual autobiography, See more »

In 2013, experts identified the remains of King Richard III, one of England's most notorious rulers. Shakespeare wrote the king as a nephew-killing, hunchbacked villain, but Richard's real life was a complicated mixture of ambition, ruthlessness and fear. See more »

Why was Juana called "la Loca"? Part 2

In this second part of our series, Juana has become her mother’s unlikely heir. Just a few years after inheriting Castile, she is declared insane and imprisoned. But was she actually mad? And why didn’t her son free her when he came to power? See more »