Archive of 'Changed the World' Columns

Each Monday, this column turns a page in history to explore the discoveries, events and people that continue to affect the history being made today. Here are the articles posted so far:

How the Roaring Twenties Changed the World The exuberance of the 1920s laid the foundation for the modern age.

How Manchuria Changed the World It was in northeast China where the battle for world supremacy played out one century ago.

How the Wright Brothers Changed the World The Flyer made the first powered, controlled flight in 1903, changing aviation and the world forever.

How the Olympics Changed the World While the competitors in Beijing will become part of a 112-year-old tradition of sporting excellence, the history of the Olympics is also politically charged.

How a Monk and His Peas Changed the World Gregor Mendel's ideas made sense of our complex human workings, kicking off the scientific discipline of genetics.

How the Galapagos Islands Changed the World In the 19th century, the Galapagos Islands proved key in Charles Darwin's seminal study on the evolution of species.

How Shaka Zulu Changed the World He was both a brutal warrior and a symbol of African unity, inviting comparisons to the bloodthirsty but brilliant military leaders of ancient Sparta.

How Captain Cook Changed the World He was a latecomer to the Age of Exploration, but James Cook still managed to put his mark on world history.

How the Declaration of Independence Changed the World Ponder some of the most famous words ever penned.

How Smallpox Changed the World After 3,000 years decimating populations, a vaccine is discovered.

How the Steam Engine Changed the World The steam engine drove the Industrial Revolution.

How Isaac Newton Changed the World Follow Newton from his premature birth to his Principia.

How Sugar Changed the World Sugar: The sweet stuff once played a major role in one of the sourest eras in modern times.

How Gutenberg Changed the World He didn't invent printing. He didn't even invent movable type.

How Coffee Changed the World Did you hear the one about the goat, the monk and the Indian pilgrim?

How the Spice Trade Changed the World Pepper was once so valuable that it could be used to pay the rent.

How the Wealthy Medici Changed the World Like a medieval ATM, one family bankrolled the cultural movement that dragged Europe out of the Dark Ages and into modernity.

How the Black Death Changed the World Seven thousand people died per day in Cairo. Three-quarters of Florence's residents were buried in makeshift graves in just one macabre year. One third of China evaporated before the rest of the world knew what was coming.

How the Magna Carta Changed the World It is crumbling, water-stained and written in Medieval Latin, but the Magna Carta has managed to remain relevant to the cause of human rights even today, 800 years after it was scrawled on parchment and affirmed with the sticky wax seal of the English king.

How Charlemagne Changed the World Europe was mired in a centuries-long dark age before a king named Charlemagne came along and turned on the light switch.

How Gunpowder Changed the World Ironically, it was a quest for immortality that led to the invention of the deadliest weapon before the arrival of the atomic bomb.

How the Council of Nicea Changed the World When Constantine became the first Christian leader of the Roman Empire in the 4th century, his vast territory was populated by a hodgepodge of beliefs and religions.

How the Battle of Actium Changed the World It was the pivotal moment in an ancient soap opera, one marked by intrigue, romance, betrayal and widespread consequence.

How the Greek Agora Changed the World It was the heart of the city – where ordinary citizens bought and sold goods, politics were discussed and ideas were passed among great minds like Aristotle and Plato.

How One Chinese Emperor Changed the World Ever heard of Qin Shi Huang? Maybe not. But it's likely you have heard of the country he unified – China – and the Great Wall he built. Plus, there's that enormous army of terra-cotta warriors that watches over his mysterious mausoleum.

How the Iron Age Changed the World A thousand years before the age of empires in Rome and Greece, the Iron Age was ushered into the world with the clank and clatter of the blacksmith's anvil.

How the Eruption of Thera Changed the World The world map might look differently had the Greek volcano Thera not erupted 3,500 years ago in what geologists believe was the single-most powerful explosive event ever witnessed.

How Ancient Trade Changed the World You've got the gold I need for my necklace and I've got the silk you need for your robe.

How Writing Changed the World Humans had been speaking for a couple hundred thousand years before they got the inspiration or nerve to mark their ideas down for posterity.

How the Hyoid Bone Changed History Our gift of the gab is all due to a small horseshoe-shaped bone suspended in the muscles of our neck, like a piece of fruit trapped in Jell-O.

Heather Whipps
Heather Whipps writes about history, anthropology and health for Live Science. She received her Diploma of College Studies in Social Sciences from John Abbott College and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from McGill University, both in Quebec. She has hiked with mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and is an avid athlete and watcher of sports, particularly her favorite ice hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens. Oh yeah, she hates papaya.