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History’s Great Mysteries

Britannica can answer many of your burning questions, but there are some mysteries that have yet to be solved.
Where is Jimmy Hoffa?
Read our list of nine mysterious disappearances of people, including the controversial labor leader who went missing on July 30, 1975.
Where is D.B. Cooper?
After hijacking a plane in 1971, he parachuted out of the aircraft with the ransom money and disappeared.
What happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 370?
While it seems incredible that a passenger jet could go missing, that’s exactly what happened in 2014.
Who was Jack the Ripper?
The identity of the man who brutally killed at least five women in 1888 has obsessed detectives and armchair sleuths for decades.
Did Edgar Allan Poe die from rabies?
While that’s one theory, we don’t really know. The cause of his death is one of literature’s great unsolved mysteries—fitting for the man who created the genre of detective fiction.

All About Pyramids!

You probably know about the pyramids in Egypt and Central and South America, but did you know that pyramids have been built at different times in such regions as Thailand, western Asia, Greece, Italy, India, Sudan, and Ethiopia? These massive constructions had different purposes: in ancient Egypt they functioned as royal tombs, while in the Americas they served as temples to the gods. Learn more about these fascinating buildings!
The Architecture
article / Technology
? Zbiq/Fotolia
What’s Inside the Great Pyramid?
Demystified / Visual Arts
? Alex Brosa/Shutterstock.com
And What’s Inside the Pyramid at Chichén Itzá?
Demystified / Visual Arts
Goodshoot/Thinkstock

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American singer and political activist Joan Baez performing at the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963. Photo by Rowland Scherman. See Content Notes.
Who Said It? Women Musicians, Artists, and Writers
“Art transcends its limitations only by staying within them.” Can you match these writers and musicians to their quotes?
Washington Monument. Washington Monument and fireworks, Washington DC. The Monument was built as an obelisk near the west end of the National Mall to commemorate the first U.S. president, General George Washington.
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Who was the original Edsel? When did a U.S. president first appear on TV? Go back in time for the all-American answers.
Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris, France.
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American jazz singer Billie Holiday (1915-1959). Photo taken New York, February 1947
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James Watt as a young man, c1769. Scottish engineer and instrument maker. Invented the modern steam engine which became the main source of power in Britain's textile mills. His engine had a separate condenser in which steam from the cylinder; (see notes)
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View of the Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31, M31).
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Events of the Summer Olympics
Go for gold with this crossword puzzle about the sports of the Summer Olympics!
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Famous Olympians
From the pool to the track, we're testing your knowledge of famous Olympic athletes in this crossword puzzle. (Answers are...
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How much do you know about the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union (and, later, Russia) in the Olympics?...
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Memorable Moments at the Summer Olympics
The Olympic Games have generated many truly memorable moments over the years. Click Play to find out how many you know about.
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Shakespeare-Inspired Titles
William Shakespeare profoundly influenced the English language and the direction of British drama. And if that weren't enough,...
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Geography of Japan
Japan, the host country of the Summer Olympic Games in 2021, is a country composed of four main islands and numerous smaller...
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Racket and Paddle Sports
Test your knowledge of racket and paddle sports in this crossword puzzle.
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The Summer Olympics: A History
Use this puzzle to find out how well you know the history of the Olympic Games, ancient and modern.
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Alphabetized your bookshelf recently? That may help with this puzzle, because each answer starts with the letter B.
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The Olympic Games
Test your knowledge of the Olympics with this puzzle.
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Podcasts

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Botanize Podcast logo
Botanize!
Botanize!, hosted by Melissa Petruzzello, is a podcast that will introduce you to some of the world’s most remarkable plants, fungi, and algae. These overlooked organisms have fascinating evolutionary stories to tell about survival, exploitation, adaptation, and general scrappiness, and every episode will pique your curiosity. From parasitic plants to kelp forests, Botanize! aims to showcase some of Earth’s finest nonanimal life-forms and their brilliant ecologies.
Postcards from the 6th Mass Extinction. audio series, podcast logo
Postcards from the 6th Mass Extinction
So far there have been five notable mass extinctions on Earth. A growing number of scientists argue that we’re now in the midst of a sixth. Postcards from the 6th Mass Extinction is a podcast hosted by John P. Rafferty that attempts to personalize extinction, emphasizing the survival challenges that familiar forms of life currently face, while at the same time considering the pivotal roles they play in their own ecosystems.
On This Day. Audio Series, Podcast logo
On This Day
Hear the stories that propelled us to the present day through insights that lend perspective to our world with a nod to our own humanity. Britannica media editor Kurt Heintz, together with Emily Goldstein and Meg Matthias, is on a mission to spotlight poignant and noteworthy events for every day of the year.

New on Britannica

Dancers at the Cinco de Mayo parade, May 8, 2017, Denver, Colorado.
Hispanic Americans

Hispanics make up the largest ethnic minority in the United States, forming more than one-sixth of the country’s population. There are more than 50 million Hispanic Americans, living in all 50 states.

Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 1942. An Army Air Force B-25B bomber takes off from USS Hornet (CV-8) at the start of the raid, April 18, 1942. Note men watching from the signal lamp platform at right..
Doolittle Raid

On April 18, 1942, Lieut. Col. James H. Doolittle of the U.S. Army Air Forces led a spectacular surprise attack on Tokyo that caused little damage but boosted Allied morale.

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Browse by Category

Entertainment & Pop Culture Entertainment & Pop Culture
Entertainment and leisure activities have been a part of all cultures in one form or another since the ancient times, whether the activity in question involved participating in a dance performance, attending a Broadway show, going to a music festival, or watching a movie.
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Geography & Travel Geography & Travel
Planet Earth contains some extraordinarily diverse environments, some of which are easily habitable and some not so much. In different areas of Earth, one might find sweltering deserts, dense tropical rainforests, or bone-chilling tundras. Each biome and habitat comes with its own selection of flora and fauna, and it may include physical features such as canyons, volcanoes, rivers, or caves. Human beings have built homes in many different environments, settling the area and organizing it into units such as cities, states, regions, and countries, each with its own points of interest. Shifting trends in human migration have resulted in a human geography that is profoundly different from that of centuries ago.
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Health & Medicine Health & Medicine
The study of the human mind and body, how these function, and how they interact—not only with each other but also with their environment—has been of utmost importance in ensuring human well-being. Research on potential treatments and preventive medicine has expanded greatly with the development of modern medicine, and a network of disciplines, including such fields as genetics, psychology, and nutrition, aims to facilitate the betterment of our health.
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Lifestyles & Social Issues Lifestyles & Social Issues
It's easy enough to agree that human beings all around the world have certain basic requirements that must be fulfilled in order to ensure their individual and collective well-being. History has shown us, however, that it's not so easy to form societies or communities that fulfill these requirements for all members. The fight over human and civil rights has persisted for hundreds of years and remains alive today, both within the borders of nations and on an international scale. It has led to large-scale social movements and reforms concerning issues such as suffrage, slavery, women's rights, racial discrimination, environmentalism, gay rights, and more.
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Literature Literature
With the development of language, the human imagination has found a way to create and communicate through the written word. A literary work can transport us into a fictional, fantastic new world, describe a fleeting feeling, or simply give us a picture of the past through novels, poems, tragedies, epic works, and other genres. Through literature, communication becomes an art, and it can bridge and bond people and cultures of different languages and backgrounds.
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Philosophy & Religion Philosophy & Religion
Humans have long pondered not only how we came to be but also why we came to be. The earliest Greek philosophers focused their attention upon the origin and nature of the physical world; later philosophers have theorized about the nature of knowledge, truth, good and evil, love, friendship, and much more. Thus, philosophy involves a methodical assessment of any and all aspects of human existence and experience. The realms of philosophy and religion have sometimes intersected in conducting inquiries such as these. As with philosophy, the study of religion underscores how humankind has long speculated about its origins. The possibility of a higher being (or beings) to which livings things owe their existence has long captived human thought. Many religions also offer their own views on the nature of good and evil, and they may prescribe guidelines and judgment on different kinds of human behavior.
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Politics, Law & Government Politics, Law & Government
The world today is divided territorially into more than 190 countries, each of which possesses a national government that claims to exercise sovereignty and seeks to compel obedience to its will by its citizens. Governments can be classified in any number of ways. For example, they might be classified by the number of rulers, thus distinguishing government by one (as in a monarchy or a tyranny) from government by the few (in an aristocracy or oligarchy) and from government by the many (as in a democracy). Governments can also be classified by mode of succession; for example, ascension to governmental leadership may follow the rules of hereditary succession, or it may be determined through elections or by force. Governments also vary in terms of the laws and rules of conduct that each political entity follows.
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Science Science
How can the sky be blue one day and stormy the next? Why do heavy objects tend to fall downwards when dropped? How are birds able to fly (and why can’t I do the same?)? Human beings have long been curious about the world in which we live, striving to identify connections among the phenomenons we witness and to understand how it all works. The field of science has developed over many centuries as a way of studying and understanding the world, beginning with the primitive stage of simply noting important regularities in nature and continuing through the rise of modern science. The modern-day sciences cover a vast range of fields, including biology, chemistry, meteorology, astronomy, physics, and much more.
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Sports & Recreation Sports & Recreation
Physical contests and recreational games have long played a part in human society. In both team and solo sports, the human body has been pushed to its limits in the name of improving athletic performance and to break record upon record. The ancient Olympic Games are an early example of the contests in which humans have engaged to showcase physical prowess. In modern times, sports and games have evolved into a lucrative and competitive industry, while other leisure activities, such as card and video games, can be competitive or can just be a way to unwind or socialize.
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Technology Technology
Humankind has long striven to improve its living conditions through the development of tools, instruments, and transportation and communications systems, all with the goal of making our lives easier, more productive and—why not—more fun, too! Thanks to human curiosity and technological research, many significant inventions have been made throughout history that in turn made a difference in our daily lives.
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Visual Arts Visual Arts
These are the arts that meet the eye and evoke an emotion through an expression of skill and imagination. They include the most ancient forms, such as painting and drawing, and the arts that were born thanks to the development of technology, like sculpture, printmaking, photography, and installation art, the latter a combination of multiple creative expressions. Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different eras in art history have had their own principles to define beauty, from the richly ornamented taste of the Baroque to the simple, utilitarian style of the Prairie School.
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World History World History
Does history really repeat itself, or can we learn from the mistakes of those who came before us? History provides a chronological, statistical, and cultural record of the events, people, and movements that have made an impact on humankind and the world at large throughout the ages. Investigating the causes and results of past events is critically important in gaining a full understanding and perspective of present-day issues.
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