15th Century

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 Jewish population from Spain.

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 led him to alienate the aristocracy, fall into violent rages and stab a captive noble to death. Read the show notes here.

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.

The Mystic Margery Kempe

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,

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.

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?

Why was Juana called "la Loca"? Part 1

Juana of Castile has gone down in history as "Juana la Loca." But Juana's mental state was likely not as bad as it seemed. Was she instead the victim of conniving relatives? In this episode, we discuss Juana's youth, her marriage and more.

The warrior queen Nzinga used wily tactics to maintain her kingdom's independence during colonization. Born in the Ndongo Kingdom, Nzinga staged a coup, harbored runaway slaves, and kept a harem of men. Tune in to learn more about queen Nzinga.

Maximilian, Mexico's Habsburg Prince

For a time, Mexico was ruled by a Habsburg prince: Ferdinand Maximilian. While Maximilian was unwelcome, he upheld liberal reforms and modernized the government. As his support dwindled, Mexico's rightful president worked to take back the country.

Lambert Simnel was born into a humble position, but over the course of his life he became both a pretender to the throne and an imposter. Tune in to learn how this young man was used as a pawn in this story of classic royal intrigue.