South American History

Teresa Carreño

Not only was Teresa Carreño the most famous pianist of her day, she is considered to be Venezuela’s first international super star. And her personal life was just as compelling as her public persona. 


Pisadiera & Baba Yaga

These are two entities with a number of similarities: They’re both women, often described as crones or hags, and there’s no clear origin point for either of them. But they’re very different as well. They come from different parts of the world. One has a scientific explanation; the other has a fantastical and colorful story that persists and has spread far beyond her origins. 




The Colorful Life of Carmen Miranda

Carmen Miranda is one of those historical figures who remains hugely iconic – we STILL see her image, or some derivative of it, on a regular basis. She was luminous on camera and an excellent singer, with a personality much larger than her small stature.

Cajamarca and the End of the Inka Empire

The Battle of Cajamarca, also known as the Massacre of Cajamarca, ultimately led to the end of the Inka Empire. But it might have gone much differently had the Inka not just been through a massive epidemic and a civil war. 

The Last Carolina Parakeet and Other Endlings

On February 21, 1918, the last known Carolina parakeet died at the Cincinnati Zoo. We examine the stories of this endling and two others to see how abundant species can quickly become extinct.

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."

Asia and the 'New World': An Interview with Dennis Carr

It's easy to think of globalization as a new invention, but it really has its roots in the 16th century. Museum of Fine Arts Boston curator Dennis Carr talks to us about Asian influences on art in the colonial Americas thanks to this global trade.

The Nazca Lines

About 200 miles southeast of Lima, Peru, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, there are lines etched into the desert. The glyphs have remained intact for centuries, and have been avidly studied since their discovery in the late 1920s.

In this classic episode, former hosts Candace and Jane explain how the Mayan long count calendar works. We also discuss some other doomsday prophesies from 1666 and 1910, when people feared Halley's Comet would poison them with gasses from its tail.

Eva Peron died on July 26, 1952. After a 13-day wake, Dr. Pedro Ara mummified the body -- but it would take more than twenty years to bury the corpse. Learn more about Eva Peron's decades-long travel to the grave in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.