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Ken Burns' Vietnam War Is 'Required Viewing'

Critic calls 18-hour series a 'masterpiece'

(Newser) - A decade in the making, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's documentary series, The Vietnam War, premieres on PBS Sunday, but it's already gaining quite the reputation among critics. The 18-hour documentary, told in 10 episodes, digs deep into the conflict, meshing first-person interviews with historical footage. Then it... More »

Salem's 'Witches' Finally Getting Their Due

City will honor them at site of hangings more than 300 years ago

(Newser) - In the late 1600s, three mass executions took place on a rocky ledge on the outskirts of Salem, Mass. Yes, the result of the witch trials. The city-owned site is undeveloped and largely out of view, but a new memorial aims to respectfully commemorate those who lost their lives because... More »

One of Pennsylvania's Oldest Homes Hid in Plain Sight

1704 log home hidden by 5 layers of exterior

(Newser) - Based on a line in a local history book, Jude Plum suspected the two-story home he purchased out of pre-foreclosure in 2013 was old. He just didn't know it was one of the oldest surviving homes in Pennsylvania. That fact, and more of the home's history, surfaced only... More »

Lost Islamic City Held Riches From a World Away

It was a trade center in Ethiopia beginning in the 10th century

(Newser) - Residents of the small town of Harlaa in eastern Ethiopia have long suspected that ancient coins and pottery fragments uncovered there represented a trail to undiscovered riches. They weren't far off, reports Quartz . After two years of digging in Harlaa, archaeologists have found ancient beads in almost every color... More »

University Uncovers Songs From Holocaust Survivors

Songs were sung in Krakow cellars to inspire people to resist the Germans

(Newser) - At the end of World War II, a Jewish trauma psychologist in Illinois went to Europe to record conversations with Holocaust survivors in the hopes of better understanding how they were coping, reports Newsweek . He often broke the ice by having people sing, but when he died in 1961 and... More »

How to Buy a Piece of Parisian Real Estate for $75

Old cobblestones from the city are for sale

(Newser) - Parisian streets have been paved with stones since the 12th century, and while asphalt now covers large swaths of the city, the cobblestones still adorn squares, boulevards, and alleyways. For years as the city dug them up (about 10,000 tons a year) to continue building or repaving, it paid... More »

The History of Why the Feds Spell Pot 'Marihuana'

Plant formerly known as cannabis got a new name thanks to Spanish-American War

(Newser) - The Washington Post wades through the weeds to get the linguistic scoop on weed—specifically, why an "archaic" spelling of marijuana is still in use. A Federal Register post last week announcing that CBD hemp oil is now considered a Schedule 1 drug offered a new code for "... More »

5 Most Significant Historic Events of Americans' Lifetimes

9/11 overwhelmingly tops the list

(Newser) - The Pew Research Center recently asked 2,025 US adults to name the 10 most significant historic events of their lifetimes and found that "nothing else has come close to being as important or as memorable" to Americans as the September 11 terrorist attacks, which ranked No. 1 on... More »

Teacher Suspended After Comparing Trump to Hitler

'I’m not pulling these facts out of my hat'

(Newser) - A California high school teacher is on administrative leave after a parent complained about him drawing parallels between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler. Frank Navarro, a recognized academic expert on the Holocaust at Mountain View High School, tells the Oracle student newspaper that he was not equating Trump with Hitler.... More »

Austria to Tear Down House Where Hitler Was Born

Feared the house becoming a rallying point for neo-Nazis

(Newser) - After a long national debate, Austria has agreed—in principle—to demolish the house where Adolf Hitler was born, the BBC reports. The infamous German dictator was born on April 20, 1889, in a rented room on the top floor of a guesthouse in the town of Braunau am Inn,... More »

Tourist Shatters Historic Statue in 'Boneheaded' Selfie Attempt

24-year-old awaits trial

(Newser) - Portugal's revered King Sebastiao, also known as the child king, was crowned as a 3-year-old when his grandfather died in 1557. His father, having died two weeks before his birth, never got to meet the near-mythical figure. And now, reports the International Business Times , tourists are being denied a... More »

Austria Wants to Seize Hitler's Birth Home

The vacant building, sometimes a Neo-Nazi hot spot, is proving quite a headache

(Newser) - In an effort to prevent the "increasingly decrepit" building from falling into further disrepair, Austrian officials say they plan to draft a law that would allow them to seize Adolf Hitler's birth home in Braunau, a quaint town of 17,000 on the German border, reports the New ... More »

Horse Manure Helps Crack Ancient Military Mystery

Researchers think they know where Hannibal crossed the Alps

(Newser) - Ace history students might remember that Hannibal led his Carthagian army across the Alps around 200BC and soundly defeated the Roman army in one of the most epic military maneuvers of all time. But not even actual historians can tell you with any degree of certainty where Hannibal crossed those... More »

Note That Led to Falklands War Up for Sale

It can be yours for $34K

(Newser) - Have $34,000 to spare? A scrap of paper that helped bring about the Falklands War could be yours. On March 18, 1982, members of the British Antarctic Survey set out for whaling stations on the island of South Georgia, 1,400 miles east of the Falklands Islands. A day... More »

Lone Bullet Backs Up Lawrence of Arabia's Story

Scientists have unearthed evidence that aligns with tales from Great Arab Revolt

(Newser) - Ten years into a broader hunt throughout the Arabian desert, archaeologists have unearthed a bullet they are "almost 100% certain" is the one Lawrence of Arabia claimed to have fired in 1917 in a guerrilla attack on the Hallat Ammar train. Many, including his own biographers, have suspected that... More »

Our Greatest Con Man Remains a Mystery

'Count Victor Lustig' once sold the Eiffel Tower

(Newser) - He called himself Count Victor Lustig. Others knew him as "the smoothest con man that ever lived" and a "top man in the modern world of crime." After all, he did sell the Eiffel Tower. And his counterfeit US banknotes were so authentic that authorities were concerned... More »

Hidden Notes in Old Bible Shed Light on Reformation

It was a 'slow, complex' process, not a clean break, says researcher

(Newser) - The scribbles sat hidden for nearly 500 years. Then, while perusing one of seven surviving copies of England's first printed Bible, historian Eyal Poleg of Queen Mary University made a surprising discovery. "At empty spaces at the end of prologues and sections, or at blank margins, a very... More »

America's Oldest European Settlement Has Been Found

The colony in Pensacola predates Jamestown by nearly 50 years

(Newser) - The Pensacola News Journal has a highly interactive and informative look at a major discovery out of Florida: the oldest multi-year European settlement in the United States. “This is one of those almost once-in-a-lifetime type things,” University of West Florida professor John Worth says. "I didn’t... More »

1st Basketball Game Was Basically a Giant Fight

According to a newly discovered audio recording of James Naismith

(Newser) - If any of the old-timers at your holiday gatherings this year complain about how basketball players have gotten soft and the fouls aren't as hard as they used to be, tell them to blame the game's inventor. A newly discovered audio recording of James Naismith—thought to be... More »

Alabama Junkyard Scraps Important Piece of NASA History

50-year-old lunar rover prototype was spotted in tiny town

(Newser) - Some deep document diving by Motherboard brings us this story of a massive and massively historical NASA lunar rover prototype and the Alabama junkyard that destroyed it for some reason. Motherboard reports a US Air Force historian was visiting his mother in Blountsville, Alabama—population 1,700—when he spotted... More »

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