European History

Raphael Lemkin and the Genocide Convention

Dr. Raphael Lemkin is often described as the person who coined the term “genocide.” And he did do that – but was also the driving force behind the existence of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Olga of Kiev

Most of what we know about Olga comes from the Russian Primary Chronicle, also known as the Chronicle of Nestor or the Tale of Bygone Years. Some elements of the story may borrow more from legend than from history – it involves an elaborate, gruesome, very thorough revenge … and then a religious conversion. 

Alexandre Dumas Père

Alexandre Dumas wrote such classics as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, and both those books’ sequels, eight Marie Antoinette romances, and a BUNCH of other novels and plays. And essays. And travel books. And memoirs. And a dictionary of cuisine. Hundreds and hundreds of works. 



General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas

General Dumas sounds like a character out of one of his son’s books. Because he pretty much was. His life is a series of dramatic and daring adventures, including an impressive rise up through the ranks of the French military.

The Rabbit Test

After the discovery of hormones in the early 20th century, new methods of pregnancy testing were developed. Some of these involved animal use, but how did the rabbit test work, and when did it get replaced?

A Brief History of Vodka

The story of vodka is one that’s closely tied to cultural identity for several countries, but where did it originate, and how did it evolve over time? We’ll talk a bit about how vodka is made, where it came from, and how it’s expanded to a global market.

Paul Julius Reuter

Paul Julius Reuter had a knack for filling in the gaps in communication systems, and make a lot of money doing so. And eventually, he managed to to turn Reuters - which he had named himself after - into the largest international news service in the world.

A. Gustave Eiffel, Part 2

The second part of our look at Gustave Eiffel's life picks up just after he closed down all business interests in South America, and leads into some of his most famous work, including the Statue of Liberty and the Parisian tower that bears his name. 

A. Gustave Eiffel, Part 1

Gustave Eiffel’s expertise in iron work was sought for projects throughout Europe and South America, and he worked on one of the most iconic structures in the U.S. His career is mostly an impressive series of successes, save one colossal scandal.



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.