European History

Matthew Hopkins and The Discovery of Witches

England’s largest and deadliest set of witch trials were largely influenced by one man – Matthew Hopkins, who was known as the Witchfinder General, even though that doesn’t seem to have been an official title given to him in any sort of formal way.

The Catacombs of Paris

The Catacombs contain the bones of an estimated 6 to 7 million people. Their history is really two interconnected stories of mines and human remains, because in the 18th century, Paris was dealing with two huge problems simultaneously.

F.W. Murnau, Director of the Nosferatu

Murnau is most well known for directing the first vampire film, but the German-born creator went on to make a number of influential films before his early death.

Jeanne Baret

Baret was the first woman known to circumnavigate the globe. But her experience wasn’t just about the travel – she was working, and her work took her to places that were totally unexpected for someone of her gender and economic class in the 18th century.  



Robert Liston, Surgical Pioneer

Liston is most known for a tale about how multiple deaths resulted from one of his surgeries. But that means that his entire biography as a surgeon is dominated by the apocryphal events of one day. So today we’ll unpack his career and ethics.



The Success of Pastellist Rosalba Carriera

Venetian portraitist Carriera achieved a surprising level of success in the male-dominated European art world of the early 1700s. Her work helped popularize pastels and her portraits were commissioned by Europe's most prominent figures. 

The Great English Convent Case of 1869

This case fed an already growing anti-Catholic movement in England in the 1860s. Additionally, it played on the shock of women being incredibly cruel to one another – something that was even used by the plaintiff’s legal team when speaking to the jury.

The Peterloo Massacre

The Peterloo Massacre took place during a peaceful protest for parliamentary reform in Manchester, England. And there was a lot feeding into why people in Britain, and specifically in the region around Manchester, thought that reform was needed.

Thomas Harriot: Mathematician, Astronomer, Relative Unknown

Harriot's story is tied to SO MANY other notable historic things, including a lot of business with Sir Walter Raleigh. He’s really not a household name like many of his contemporaries, even though he was neck-and-neck with them in terms of discoveries. 

Ferdinand and Barbara, Married Mad Royals

Despite ascending to power in a court filled with intrigue, juggling relations with Britain and France, and both likely having mental health conditions, the reign of Ferdinand VI of Spain and his wife Barbara was surprisingly stable.