Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

18th century

The Reynolds Pamphlet Live from NYCC Presents

 The Reynolds Pamphlet Live from NYCC Presents

In the summer of 1791, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Maria Reynolds began an affair that would lead to blackmail, political rumors, a 98-page confessional document ... and eventually a song in a hit Broadway musical. See more »

The Orphan Tsunami

 The Orphan Tsunami

In January of 1700, a tsunami struck the coast of Japan. It took a while -- a long while -- to figure out where the catalyzing earthquake had been. See more »

The Montgolfier Brothers and Their Balloons

 The Montgolfier Brothers and Their Balloons

As man was looking to the skies and yearning to fly, two inventive brothers came up with an idea to set humans aloft. See more »

Thomas Day’s Quest for the Perfect Wife

 Thomas Day’s Quest for the Perfect Wife

Thomas Day decided that the only way to have a perfect wife was to create one. So he adopted two orphans and attempted to train them. See more »

Anglo-Cherokee War

 Anglo-Cherokee War

During the French and Indian War, a clash between Cherokee tribes and the British -- who had been allies -- slowly escalated on the southern end of the larger conflict. See more »

Anne Bonny & Mary Read

 Anne Bonny & Mary Read

Famed lady pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read are often requested as a topic by listeners. but telling their story requires navigating some rather suspect historical accounts. See more »

The Jacobite Rising of 1745

 The Jacobite Rising of 1745

Portrayals of this piece of Scottish and English history are often simultaneously romanticized and oversimplified. It's a great deal more complicated than any one event, and is instead the result of many contributing factors. See more »

Tarrare, a Case of Polyphagia

 Tarrare, a Case of Polyphagia

Insatiable hunger completely dominated every aspect of this French man in the 18th century. His life took a series of twists and turns, but his condition was never truly diagnosed or cured. See more »

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

 Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

No starving artist, Vigée Le Brun was the first woman to ever become a court painter in France when she was commissioned to paint Marie Antoinette. She painted royalty and nobility throughout Europe, even as her personal life had its ups and downs. See more »

Hercules Mulligan, Spy on the Inside Pt. 2

 Hercules Mulligan, Spy on the Inside Pt. 2

After years of protesting and resisting British rule in New York, Mulligan passed important information on to George Washington, possibly saving his life. How did that one-time act of happenstance blossomed into a career as a full-time spy? See more »