The West Coast of the United States has always been a center of mystery. Native American legends, tantalizing traces of Chinese visits in the Middle Ages, lost gold mines, and supernatural visitations are only some of the phenomena in a region rich with stories of the unknown.
The American South has given birth to many of the nation's great stories and legends. From the earliest Colonial times, it's been a place of mystery, replete with disappearing colonies and strange apparitions in the woods, but the South's long and proud history has always had a darker, and stranger, side to it. One of America's most famous mysteries was its first. Despite the fact he had left over 100 colonists at the island of Roanoke in 1587, John White returned to literally nothing, with all traces of the settlement gone.
Space may be the final frontier, but no frontier has ever captured the American imagination like the Wild West, which still evokes images of dusty cowboys, outlaws, gunfights, gamblers, and barroom brawls over 100 years after the West was settled. A constant fixture in American pop culture, the 19th-century American West continues to be vividly and colorfully portrayed not just as a place but as a state of mind.
The US Census Bureau defines the Midwest as consisting of a dozen states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Outsiders often deride the region, and for many who have never been there, America's heartland is just a bunch of "flyover states" with little influence, little history, and little interest.
World War I, also known in its time as the "Great War" or the "War to End all Wars", was an unprecedented holocaust in terms of its sheer scale. Fought by men who hailed from all corners of the globe, it saw millions of soldiers do battle in brutal assaults of attrition which dragged on for months with little to no respite.
The Wild West has made legends out of many men after their deaths, but like Wild Bill Hickok, Jesse James was a celebrity during his life. However, while Hickok was (mostly) a lawman, Jesse James was and remains the most famous outlaw of the Wild West, with both his life of crime and his death remaining pop culture fixtures. James and his notorious older brother Frank were Confederate bushwhackers in the lawless region of Missouri during the Civil War.
In the time period between the fall of Rome and the spread of the Renaissance across the European continent, many of today's European nations were formed, the Catholic Church rose to great prominence, some of history's most famous wars occurred, and a social class system was instituted that lasted over 1,000 years.
The Apaches of the American Southwest have achieved almost legendary status for their fierceness and their tenacity in fighting the US Army. Names like Nana, Cochise, and Geronimo are synonymous with bravery and daring, and the tribe had that reputation long before the Americans arrived. Indeed, among all the Native American tribes, the Spanish, Mexicans, and Americans learned the hard way that the warriors of the Apache were perhaps the fiercest in North America.
England is an ancient land steeped in history and tradition, filled with prehistoric ruins, majestic castles, and a countryside sculpted from millennia of human habitation. Its rolling countryside is dotted with prehistoric burial mounds and stone circles. Brooding castles hold tales of bloodshed and honor. Medieval churches have elaborate stained glass windows and gruesome carvings, reflecting a mixture of hope and darkness.
"interesting English folklore."
In 1860, New Orleans was just as unique a city as it is today. It was racially and linguistically diverse, with many French, German, and Spanish speakers, and a population of white, black, and mixed-race inhabitants. Louisiana's population was 47% slave and also had one of the largest numbers of free blacks in the country.
A constant fixture in American pop culture, the 19th century American West continues to be vividly and colorfully portrayed not just as a place but as a state of mind. In Charles River Editors' Legends of the West series, listeners can get up to speed on the lives of America's most famous frontier figures in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.