History

Updated October 2, 2021 at 3:08 PM ET

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Descendants of the czarist Romanov dynasty were married in the country's first royal wedding in over a century — kicking off a weekend of lavish events that sparked public curiosity, awe and derision in seemingly equal measure.

Nadine Seiler has an activist spirit, very "noisy, she says," but always "in the crowd."

"I'm the voice that you hear that you don't know where it's coming from," says Seiler in an interview with NPR.

California will replace a former statue on state capitol grounds honoring a Spanish missionary with one celebrating Sacramento-area Native American tribes.

Erected more than 50 years ago, the statue of Father Junipero Serra was forcefully toppled by racial justice protesters in July 2020 and has been in storage since.

The legislation, which officially removes the statue of Serra, was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, at a virtual ceremony attended by Native American leaders from throughout the state.

A map of America touted as being one of the oldest on record has turned out to be a convincing forgery, according to new studies.

For decades, many believed that the Vinland Map was an important historical artifact that showed an early version of North America. Yale has been the map's home since the 1960s, but during that time, debate regarding its authenticity has never completely ceased.

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MOSCOW — It has been more than a month since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Sergei Opalev is still trying to wrap his head around the chaotic end to America's 20-year war.

It's not the defeat that confounds him — he understands that part all too well. Opalev served as a captain in the Soviet army as it was gradually humbled by Afghan mujahedeen fighters during a decade of war in the 1980s.

The problem, he says, is how U.S. forces left.

Updated September 30, 2021 at 4:55 PM ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill allowing a plot of beachfront land along the Southern California coast to be returned to the descendants of a married Black couple who lost it to eminent domain nearly a century ago.

Bruce's Beach, a once thriving resort for Black families owned by Willa and Charles Bruce, was seized by the town of Manhattan Beach in 1924 with the stated goal of building a park.

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NASA does not plan to rename its new $10 billion technological marvel, the James Webb Space Telescope, despite concerns about it being named after former NASA administrator James Webb, who went along with government discrimination against gay and lesbian employees in the 1950s and 1960s.

The space agency tells NPR it has investigated the matter and decided to keep the telescope's name as is, ahead of the long-awaited launch in December.

A tape of John Lennon speaking with a group of student journalists and singing an unpublished song fetched 370,000 kroner — or $58,240 — at an auction in Denmark on Tuesday.

The 33-minute conversation, which was recorded in January 1970, spans several of the topics that Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneer says "defined Lennon in that period": His peace campaign with Yoko Ono, The Beatles and his hair.

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Next, we're going to tell you the story of a dream almost deferred. It begins with a little girl raised in the segregated South of the '30s and '40s.

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This was most of America's introduction to nuclear power.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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The man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 is on his way to full freedom.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

The National Inventors Hall of Fame has been around for nearly five decades but hasn't included any Black women in its ranks — until now.

Engineer Marian Croak and the late ophthalmologist Patricia Bath will make history as part of the next cohort of inductees, the nonprofit announced this past week. They are the first Black female inventors to receive this honor, which has been bestowed on some 600 other innovators both living and dead.

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Sotheby's will auction off a very old copy of the U.S. Constitution in about two months. It is the first printing of the final text that delegates of the Constitutional Convention settled on in 1787.

California has become the first state to implement a law that addresses working conditions for warehouse workers, like those for Amazon and other major companies.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 701, which takes effect in the new year, into law on Wednesday. The law aims to address the impact of quotas on worker injuries and health.

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Betty Soskin has accomplished a lot over the course of her life.

She's been a published author, a songwriter-activist during the civil rights movement and a businesswoman and now serves with the National Park Service — holding the title as the country's oldest ranger.

Now Soskin can add another milestone to her story: turning 100.

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A 3,500-year-old clay tablet that was looted from an Iraqi museum 30 years ago is headed back to Iraq.

Known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, it was acquired by the company Hobby Lobby in 2014 for display in the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. U.S. authorities seized it in 2019, saying it was stolen and needed to be returned.

That return is happening Thursday at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. It is part of a group of about 17,000 looted antiquities that the U.S. agreed to return to Iraq. Some of them went back in July.

Thousands of LGBTQ veterans who were discharged from the military under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy have gained new access to full government benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Last month, hundreds of Afghans flooded into small photo studios in Kabul, seeking photographs for passports and ID cards before the last of the previous government's institutions closed their doors.

The Taliban have now taken Afghanistan, the U.S. has left — and thousands of Afghans are also trying to leave. As the international evacuation window narrowed, there was a rush to fill out visa applications for countries that many knew very little of, but hoped would offer them safety and a new home.

Bad predictions are an occupational hazard for forecasters. And, on this front, the late futurist Alvin Toffler was not immune. Human cloning by the 1980s? Nope. Toffler was a renowned writer who accurately described many forces that would reshape the world. But along with his many good predictions, there were many bad ones. And what only a few years ago looked like another one of his duds — that remote work would kill the office and lead to urban decline — may now seem prophetic.

As the country celebrates all things Latino, we think it's time to show some culinary appreciation for some of the tastiest foods indigenous to Latin America but that over centuries have been victim to some bad PR, and are commonly associated with European countries.

Mmmm ... chocolate

Television commercials and magazine ads make it seem that the Swiss and the Belgians must be somehow connected to the very origins of chocolate, but the caffeinated treat's history stretches back millennia to what is now southeastern Mexico.

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Sir Clive Sinclair has died. The British inventor helped revolutionize the computer industry.

WILL GUYATT: Well, you had everything going on in Palo Alto. And you had Wozniak and Jobs. We had our very own guy, and this was Sir Clive Sinclair.

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The Queen's Gambit on Netflix won over tens of millions of viewers last year, triggering a national run on chess sets and making an instant icon out of its fictional protagonist.

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