History is full of things, so it makes sense that we miss a lot during regular education. We can always learn more about the world and its history, whether it’s through unknown battles, little-known historical figures, or times that are misunderstood as a whole.
Here are a few of Reddit users’ favorite historical events that should be taught more often and better understood.
1. The Struggle For Labor Rights In The US Is Often Overlooked
Context: When people learn about US history, class struggles don’t usually get as much attention as, say, racial struggles. But since the 18th century, the American labor movement and attempts to stop it have been very important parts of the country’s history.
Even now, the status of unions in the US is still very fluid, so history is still very important. The Battle of Blair Mountain happened in 1921, and it was a real fight between West Virginia coal miners and local law enforcement.
2. The Seven Years’ War Was An 18th-Century World War
Context: Great Britain, France, Prussia, and Austria were all involved in the Seven Years’ War, which took place in Europe in the middle of the 18th century and spread as far as North America and India. Winston Churchill, who used to be Prime Minister of Britain, even called it “the first world war.”
3. Cyrus The Great’s Relatively Tolerant Policies Shaped The World We Live In
Context: Cyrus the Great, who started Achaemenid Persia, not only built the largest empire in history up to that point, but he also freed Jews from Babylonian captivity and let them worship as they pleased.
4. Reconstruction Was As Important And Tragic As The Civil War That Preceded It
Context: Most people know about the Civil War because its battles were so big and its political and military leaders were so interesting. But what happened after that had a big effect on American history for the next 100 years. Even though newly freed slaves got some help at first, the Southern states were soon able to bring back white supremacy and start the harsh Jim Crow era.
5. The Tulsa Massacre Is Woefully Undertaught
Context: In 1921, a race riot that lasted two days and killed as many as 300 people destroyed the Black neighborhood of Greenwood in Tulsa. Still, the event wasn’t talked about much in American history classes.
6. Late Antiquity (AKA The ‘Dark Ages’) Gets Short Shrift
Context: People have made fun of the time after the Roman Empire fell by calling it the “Dark Ages.” Most people think of it as a retreat from the knowledge and beauty of classical antiquity. But you can’t really understand the Middle Ages without knowing about this important time. It was during this time that the Catholic Church grew, Islam quickly spread, the Anglo-Saxons lived in England, and the Byzantine Empire did well.
7. The Mexican-American War Made The Modern US What It Is
Context: It’s hard to think of the US without California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. But all of these states were made when the US fought a war of conquest against Mexico in the middle of the 19th century.
The California Gold Rush and the debate over whether to allow slavery in the new territories were two of the many things that happened as a result. Both of these things helped speed up the start of the Civil War.
8. The Thirty Years’ War Was An Epochal Conflict Most People Know Little About
Context: The Thirty Years’ War isn’t taught very much in high schools in the United States. But it was a very important (and deadly) war that changed Europe’s politics just as much as the Napoleonic Wars and World Wars would in the centuries that followed.
9. The Franco-Prussian War Was A Key Moment Between Napoleon And WWI
Context: The Franco-Prussian War was one of the most important wars in Europe between Waterloo and World War I. It ended Napoleon III’s rule, led to the Paris Commune and its violent overthrow, and established a newly united Germany as a major power on the continent. The effects of this war could still be felt until 1945.
10. The Haitian Revolution Had A Huge Impact On World Affairs
Context: Even before Spartacus, slaves often rose up against their masters and caused a lot of trouble. But the Haitian Revolution was the most successful in history because it led to a free state run by people who had been slaves.
Abolitionists in the 19th century used it as a model. It had an effect on French politics and, indirectly, on American politics as well. John Brown wanted to start something similar in the South of the United States, and his raid helped start the American Civil War.
11. The Jim Crow Period Of US History Is Not Taught Enough
Context: In US history, the time between the end of the Civil War and the start of the civil rights movement is often glossed over. It’s as if not much happened between Emancipation and Brown v. Board of Education. But this was a terrible time for Black people, and the damage is still being felt today.
12. British Education Gives The Plantagenet Monarchs Short Shrift
Context: The charisma of Tudor monarchs Henry VIII and Elizabeth I may have overshadowed the careers of their Plantagenet predecessors. But the Plantagenets were the longest-ruling English dynasty, holding power for more than 300 years, and their importance to UK history is hard to overstate.
13. The Last Byzantine-Sasanian War Set The Table For The Rise Of Islam
Context: In the Byzantine-Sasanian War, which took place from 602 to 628, the Eastern Roman Empire and the powerful Persian Empire fought against each other.
Both sides were worn out by the long, destructive war, which ended with a Byzantine victory. This gave the Rashidun Caliphate the chance to make its amazing territorial gains, turning Islam from a small sect into a major world religion.
14. Portugal’s Victory At The Battle Of Diu Had Huge Consequences For Asia
Context: At least in part, the success of the Portuguese fleet at the Battle of Diu can be traced back to how long European ships ruled the seas in Asia. Portugal took control of the Indian Ocean by beating a group of Muslim powers led by Venice, the Ottoman Empire, and others.
15. The Islamic Golden Age Was A Key Predecessor To The Renaissance
Context: People say that the Renaissance was a return to classical knowledge and culture in Europe, but it might not have happened if Islamic society hadn’t kept old texts and made progress in science and math.