Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

17th century

Aphra Behn, Writer and Spy

 Aphra Behn, Writer and Spy

There's really not a lot concretely known about the life of Aphra Behn, who was the first woman in English literature to have made her living writing. See more »

Jamaica's Maroon Wars

 Jamaica's Maroon Wars

Maroons are Africans and people of African ancestry who escaped enslavement and established communities in the Caribbean and parts of the Americas. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Jamaica's Maroon communities clashed with British colonial government. See more »

Vardø Witch Trials

 Vardø Witch Trials

At the height of Europe's witch trials, the northern coast of Norway had a disproportionate number of executions for sorcery. See more »

The Bawdy House Riots of 1668

 The Bawdy House Riots of 1668

In early modern London, there was a tradition of sorts where apprentices would amass on holidays and physically destroy brothels. One of the largest such riot took place during Easter week in 1668, and it was a complicated event. See more »

The Life and Times of Sir Isaac Newton

 The Life and Times of Sir Isaac Newton

You may know the apple/gravity story, but Isaac Newton's life was so much more than that. Not only did he contribute huge concepts to physics, mathematics and astronomy, he also busted counterfeiters. See more »

Dahomey and the Royal Palaces of Abomey

 Dahomey and the Royal Palaces of Abomey

The Royal Palaces of Abomey are a series of earthen palaces in what is now Benin. The complex is culturally and historically important to West Africa, but the source of much of the wealth that built those palaces was the Atlantic slave trade. See more »

Archaeology Interview: Harvard Indian College

 Archaeology Interview: Harvard Indian College

Holly chats with archaeologists Patricia Capone and Diana Loren about Harvard’s Indian College, the school’s importance to Colonial history and the ongoing archaeology of Harvard Yard. See more »

The Sham Battle and the Cochecho Massacre

 The Sham Battle and the Cochecho Massacre

It was half performance for the British troops, and half actual sham, and it led to an attack on Dover by the Pennacook tribe in 1689. See more »

Artemisia Gentileschi

 Artemisia Gentileschi

She's often called the greatest female painter of the Baroque period, though there were only a few to compare her to. Her work is extraordinary, and reflects the influences of her father Orazio Gentileschi and Caravaggio. See more »

Henry Hudson, Part 2

 Henry Hudson, Part 2

This episode picks up in the middle of Hudson's thrid voyage, as the Half Moon is making its way down North America's east coast. As Hudson doggedly pursues the idea of a northern sea route from Europe to Asia, he makes a number of poor decisions. See more »