17th Century

Bacon's Rebellion, Part 2

Last time, we talked about the many reasons Virginia colonists were frustrated by the 1670s, including the price of tobacco, taxation, and disparities between the richest colonists and everyone else. But another issue actually sparked the rebellion. 

Bacon’s Rebellion, Part 1

For a long time Bacon’s Rebellion was primarily interpreted as a precursor to the Revolutionary War, with patriotic colonists rising up against the tyranny of the British colonial government. But there are a lot more moving parts than that. This first part sets the scene and establishes the context of the rebellion. 





A Brief History of Ballet, Pt. 2

In the first part of this two-parter, we covered ballet’s origins and early evolution. We left off with the founding of the Academie Royale de Musique, and the ways Jean-Baptiste Lully worked to ensure that his academy had as much prestige as possible.  

A Brief History of Ballet, Pt. 1

For a long time, there was no formalized dance in western culture. Eventually, court performers in Europe were asked to also teach their audiences how to dance, blending the worlds of performance and social dancing, and creating a new art form.

The Beheading of Sir Walter Raleigh

Among other things, Sir Walter Raleigh was a courtier, an explorer, a historian, a Member of Parliament and a soldier. He was part of England’s defense against the Spanish armada, as well the Tudor conquest of Ireland, some of which was truly horrifying. According to some people, he is now a ghost. 

The Defenestrations of Prague

“Defenestrate” just means “to throw out of a window.” And apart from sounding like the punch line to a joke about Daleks … there has been a surprising amount of defenestration in Czech history. And almost all of it has been connected religious wars.

Henry Every, Successful Pyrate

Every carried out what’s been described as the most profitable and brutal pirate raid in history. It became a massive international incident, and Britain tried to repair its relationship with the Mughal Empire through a highly publicized series of trials.

The East India Company's Theft of China’s Tea Secrets

Great Britain's relationship with tea is part of its cultural identity. But before the mid-1800s, China was the only source of tea, which was a problem in the eyes of the East India Company. 

The Minuscule Science of Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek

Leeuwenhoek wasn’t REALLY a scientist -- he had no formal training. But he made dozens of scientific discoveries. He’s credited with discovering microscopic life in a variety of forms, using lenses he ground himself.

Catalina de Erauso, the Lieutenant Nun

Despite growing up in a convent and coming very close to taking religious vows as a nun, Catalina de Erauso wound up living a life of danger and adventure. A lot of today's episode falls into the general category of "exploits."