Colonial America

Benjamin Lay, the Quaker Comet

Benjamin Lay was a Quaker and a radical abolitionist who lived in the period between when the Religious Society of Friends began and when it started formally banning slave ownership among its members.

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. 





The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown

When a relief mission left Plymouth in 1609 to assist the troubled colony of Jamestown, an intense storm separated one vessel from the rest of the fleet. Learn how this shipwreck may have saved Jamestown -- and inspired Shakespeare -- in this podcast.

How the Boston Tea Party Worked

During the Colonial period in North America, Britain taxed colonists without allowing the colonies to have governmental representation. Learn how the Boston Tea Party came about as a result of British colonial policies in this HowStuffWorks podcast.

In 1587, English colonists in Roanoke mysteriously disappeared, leaving only a few cryptic clues behind. For centuries since, researchers have wondered what became of the lost colonists. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more.

John Billington was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact -- he was also the first American murder. Check out our HowStuffWorks article to learn about the fact and fiction surrounding America's first murderer.

What happened to the two other men on Paul Revere's ride?

Although Paul Revere's ride has evolved into an American legend, he was not alone on his famous midnight ride. Check out our HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about the fact and fiction surrounding Paul Revere.

When the Spanish Coast Guard caught English Captain Jenkins smuggling, they cut off his ear as punishment. Could this insult have sent two countries to war? Check out our HowStuffWorks article to learn whether this is fact or fiction.

Some researchers allege that ergot poisoning may have been responsible for triggering the Salem witchcraft trials -- but is this fact, or fiction? Learn more about ergot and the Salem witch trials in this HowStuffWorks podcast.