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The History Channel is a satellite and cable TV channel, devoted mainly to historical events and persons. Programming covers a wide array of periods and topics, while similar topics are often organized into themed weeks or daily marathons. Subjects include military history, medieval history, the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, modern engineering, and historical biographies.

41 episodes

2006x02 Eighty Acres of Hell

  • 2006-06-01T04:00:00Z — 60 mins

This is the long-overlooked story of the Union prison that was more than a match for the horrors of Andersonville. More than the spoils go to the victor; sometimes they win silence as well. That is certainly the case when it comes to the Civil War prison at Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois. While the Confederate camp at Andersonville, Georgia is infamous, the tale of Camp Douglas has long been overlooked. EIGHTY ACRES OF HELL reveals that the Union was more than capable of matching the Confederates atrocity-for-atrocity. While 12,000 prisoners entered Camp Douglas, only 6,000 left. The rest were victims of calculated cruelty, torture and neglect. And southern soldiers were not the only targets of this treatment--many prominent Chicago citizens were incarcerated under the banner of martial law, unjustly convicted of imagined offenses by ruthless military tribunals. From the establishment of the camp to the terrible toll it ultimately took, EIGHTY ACRES OF HELL is a troubling look at a long-ignored chapter of the Civil War.

2006x03 The Egyptian Book of the Dead

  • 2006-08-22T04:00:00Z — 60 mins

The Book of the Dead is the name now given to a collection of religious and magical texts known to the ancient Egyptians as The Chapters of the Coming-forth by day . Their principle aim was to secure for the deceased a satisfactory afterlife and to give them the power to leave the tomb when necessary. Copies of the book written on papyrus scrolls were placed in the tombs of important Egyptians, each roll containing a selection of chapters. Many examples have survived from antiquity, dating mostly from c.1500 BC to 250 BC. In this volume the text, translated by the late Dr R.O. Faulkner, is that found in the papyrus prepared for the scribe Ani. The vignettes are taken from the finely illustrated copies which are preserved in the collection of the British Museum.

The Pilgrims' 1620 voyage from England to America aboard The Mayflower, their establishment of the Plymouth Colony and their relationship with the Wampanoag Indians are chronicled in a docudrama that relies heavily on William Bradford's eyewitness account documented in “Of Plymouth Plantation.”

2006x05 Civil War Terror

  • no air date — 60 mins

This is the largely untold story of a war waged by secret agents and spies on both sides of the Mason Dixon Line. These are tales of hidden conspiracies of terror that specifically targeted the civilian populations. Engineers of chemical weapons, new-fangled explosives and biological warfare competed to topple their enemy. With insight from Civil War authorities, we debunk the long-held image of a romantic and gentlemanly war. To revisit the past, we incorporate written sources, archival photographs and newspaper headlines. Our reenactments bring to life key moments in our historical characters' lives and in each of the horrific terrorist plots.

2006x07 Warrior Empire - The Mughals

  • 2006-05-12T04:00:00Z — 60 mins

a/k/a Warrior Empire: The Mughals of India WARRIOR EMPIRE: THE MUGHALS is a sweeping in-depth portrait of India's most colorful violent and majestic era. From 1526 to 1858 this dynasty of nomadic warriors indulged their appetite for territorial expansion spreading their rule throughout the Indian subcontinent. Though they conquered their kingdom with crushing brutality the Mughals were also brilliant technological innovators and masters of art and architecture. This program offers lush detailed images of Mughal accomplishments such as the glorious Taj Mahal palaces forts water systems elaborate gardens and richly crafted artwork. Step-by-step scientific recreations of advanced Mughal metallurgy and weaponry show the meticulous production of chain mail armor for a battalion of elephants lethally flexible composite bows rocketry and swordsmith techniques passed down through the generations and still alive today. Join us for an enthralling history of the inventive warfare material excess architectural marvels and cultural flowering that shaped modern India. DVD Features: Interactive Menus; Scene Selection They paired military prowess and rapacity with a discerning eye for beauty and appreciation of culture. In three centuries, the nomadic Mughals created a vast empire that dominated South Asia, covering most of modern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. WARRIOR EMPIRE rides with the Mughal forces, showing how they revolutionized warfare with such innovations as composite bows, matchlock guns, rocketry, chain mail, and cannons. Masters of intimidation, they deployed war elephants to demoralize their opponents, while skilled archers on horseback formed the core of devastating strike forces. But the Mughals also built some of the most enduring architecture in South Asia, including palaces, forts, water systems, gardens, and the Taj Mahal--a tomb that took 22 years to construct. Join us for a sweeping history of the military ambition, innovative weapons and strategies, material excess, architectural wonders, and cultural flowering that shaped modern India.

2006x08 The Sahara

  • 2006-09-17T04:00:00Z — 60 mins

A certain mystique lingers in its very name. It's a haunting and hostile arena with a past as captivating as its landscape. In this desert blanketing 11 nations in Northern Africa, nature has crafted a world of mesmerizing desolation and across its scorching sands humanity has dared to carve history. Our cameras explore a land of mirage and myth--from a mountain fortress of ancient freedom fighters to a vast stadium filled with gladiators' gore to the vibrant chaos of a camel auction to the fabled metropolis of Timbuktu. Historians chronicle how a devastating climate change turned a lush savanna into the world's harshest desert. The Sahara...sinister and seductive, mythic and mysterious...as tantalizing and elusive as a mirage.

Never-before-seen government footage shows the first steps in Japan's transformation at the end of World War II. The footage includes harrowing images that linger in the mind: unforgettable shots of the devastation wreaked in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the atomic bomb; the efforts of thousands of people to rebuild homes among the rubble; overloaded hospitals trying to cope with a scourge that had never been encountered before. But they also show the roots of one of the most incredible political and material transformations in history: the rebuilding of Japan after World War II and its evolution from an implacable foe to one of the United States' most important allies. JAPAN UNDER AMERICAN OCCUPATION features never-before-seen footage shot by a camera crew in the first days after World War II. The US government feared the images captured were too disturbing to be seen, and for a long time they were classified as top secret. Now, the project' director and others who were there tell of the events that marked the beginning of a new era in Japan, from the nuclear cleanup to the nation's first free elections.

Digging up the Trenches is a two-hour special that reveals each stage of trench warfare by focusing on the remarkable finds made by this unique excavation. As each rifle and artifact is unearthed, dramatic re-enactments show how these tools and weapons were used by soldiers 90 years ago. We see how men fired sniper rifles, reeled from artillery, and destroyed enemy machine gun nests. The result is a glimpse into how trenches helped define the progress of the entire war, starting as shallow rifle pits, and evolving to become vast underground fortresses housing thousands of men. Among the astounding discoveries found by the dig are the bones of four soldiers, believed to have died in the war’s first gas attack. The archaeologists also find scores of bullets, live shells, underground shelters, and the scars left by mining tunnels. Historians and archaeologists at the dig are our guides. As each mud-coated artifact is cleaned off, historians like Peter Barton explain how it was used on this very spot 90 years ago. Archaeologists explain trench warfare tactics as they discover bones and rifles. Dramatic re-enactments show how these same artifacts were once the key to life and death struggles in these same trenches. Digging up the Trenches tells the remarkable story of a dig and a war defined by trenches. Trenches that were built as shelter against machine guns became so sophisticated that they were almost impossible to conquer. Understand the birth and death of these trenches, and you understand the war.

2006x12 Warrior Queen Boudica

  • 2006-03-10T05:00:00Z — 60 mins

Leader of the Iceni tribe in modern day Great Britain, hear the story of a wife, mother, and queen that challenged the Roman army, Boudicca. Sift through history and mythology for the real story of the legendary uprising that pitted a small band of warrior How did a small island defy the might of the Roman army? Discover the motivations for Boudicca's revolt. See new evidence and hear new theories about her historic uprising. Her story exists in ancient Roman history and Celtic myth. She was a wife, mother, and queen who dared to challenge one of the greatest empires in human history. She is Boudicca. Boudicca's story has been repeated for nearly two thousand years. Pitting herself against the Roman army, she dared to break her Iceni tribe's peace with the empire. Leading a band of warriors against this massive force, she razed London to the ground. Her actions kept her island removed from mainstream Europe for years. Scholars and archaeologists sift through new discoveries and theories about this warrior queen. New evidence has come to light about the life and exploits of this extraordinary woman. Hear her story and find out which parts are fact or fiction. Was she motivated by revenge? How did she manage to stave off Roman retaliation? Why is this case unique in world history? Hear the answers to these questions and more in WARRIOR QUEEN BOUDICCA.

2006x13 Washington the Warrior

  • 2006-08-29T04:00:00Z — 60 mins

As one of the nation's most recognizable faces, he appears in every American history textbook and graces the dollar bill. Yet although he acts as the iconic figurehead of America, little is known about the man behind the myth. Before George Washington became America's first president and an enduring national symbol, he was a soldier. In this landmark release, THE HISTORY CHANNEL® presents an intimate chronicle of Washington's little-known military life. Follow him from his first officer's commission in the Virginia militia through the difficult lessons of his youth and his 17-year retirement. Witness his reemergence as the soul of the American Revolution and see how he transformed a ragtag band of men into an army that could battle--and beat--the greatest military in the world. Featuring stunning location footage, gripping re-enactments, and candid interviews with historical and military experts, WASHINGTON THE WARRIOR narrates one man's epic journey to greatness--and the birth of a nation.

2006x14 Aftershock: Beyond the Civil War

  • 2006-12-01T05:00:00Z — 60 mins

Despite common belief, the Civil War does not end in 1865, and the blood of many Americans, mostly blacks, continues to flow freely. It is a period known as "Reconstruction," a time many consider to be the darkest in American History. America is supposed to be reuniting, healing its wounds, and moving past civil discord. But by examining what is really going on in the post-Civil War South, one can see snapshots of a larger, more menacing picture, a picture shadowed by murder, terrorism, and chaos as "free" black men and women remain enslaved by a South that does not completely surrender. Insurgencies led by disgruntled ex-Confederate soldiers rip through nearly every southern state. America's first terrorist group, the Ku Klux Klan is formed in Tennessee and uses scare tactics and murder to keep blacks down

The "code" referred to in the History Channel's Da Vinci and the Code He Lived By has nothing to do with theories about the High Renaissance master's involvement with secret societies (as explored in Dan Brown's bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code). Instead, it refers to Da Vinci's implacable work ethic, his insatiable curiosity and the talent and discipline required to keep his busy mind satisfied.

2006x16 American Vesuvius

  • 2006-09-10T04:00:00Z — 60 mins

On August 25th, 79 AD, the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were flash-frozen in time when Mount Vesuvius erupted, destroying all life in its path. Noted paleontologist, archaeologist, and forensic physicist Charles Pellegrino is the author of Ghosts of Vesuvius, a fascinating look at this ancient volcanic eruption. In AMERICAN VESUVIUS, Pellegrino uses the emerging science of forensic archaeology to decipher clues and gather evidence that helps him reconstruct the final moments of the victims. Using the same forensic techniques, Pellegrino undertakes an investigation of the ruins of the World Trade Center. By processing evidence and interviewing witnesses, he illustrates dramatic physical parallels between Vesuvius's eruption and the collapse of the Twin Towers. His scientific exploration results in an array of startling connections between the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the man-made devastation at Ground Zero.

Watch as veterans and devotees of the WWII bomber work to keep some of these important planes airborne. - Review the career of the most versatile bomber of WWII. - Meet the men who flew it into battle. - Watch as surviving examples return to the air after years of restoration. In the Pacific, it flew just feet off the ground at more than 200 miles per hour, strafing and skip-bombing Japanese ships and fixed targets. In Europe, it roared at 12,000 feet through intense German anti-aircraft fire, dropping 500-pound bombs on rail lines and bridges. The B-25 bomber is widely regarded as the most versatile plane of WWII. In this hour, host Steve Thomas uncovers the story of the crucial roles the B-25 played during the war. He watches close up as several B-25s are being restored today, meets six veterans who flew them in intense combat--including during the legendary Doolittle Raid--and experiences the thrill of flying in one of the greatest warplanes ever built.

2006x18 The Plot to Kill Jesse James

  • 2006-12-29T05:00:00Z — 60 mins

This one-hour special tells the story of Robert Ford, the man who joined James's gang only to become resentful of the legendary outlaw and hatch a plan to kill him. With expert interviews, archival materials, dramatic re-enactments, and eyewitness accounts, this program brings to life the man, motives, and means focused on doing away with the "fastest gun in the West."

Fighting Nazis; grabbing golden treasure; fleeing angry natives; dodging pitfalls in a booby-trapped temple--we all know how fictional explorers and archaeologists spend their days. But does real life compare? We follow some of the most daring archaeologists and take on the dangers they face--Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass steps into a booby-trapped tomb; American Arthur Demarest fights looters in the jungles of Cancuen; and in Chiapas, angry villagers kidnap Australian-born Peter Mathews. We also examine stories of past explorers who helped shape the "Indiana Jones" stereotype--paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews battled venomous snakes and Mongol bandits in the Gobi Desert; John Pendlebury, the British archaeologist, fought Nazis on Crete; and Sylvanus Morely, who was the first American archaeologist/spy. There are no special effects, no stuntmen, and no retakes...and for these eal-life archaeologists, no guarantee they'll survive for a sequel.

You've got a cell phone at one ear, an iPod at the other. You know that Blackberry is now a verb and Spam is not only canned meat. But just how did we get here? Blame William Shatner--yes, that William Shatner--Captain Kirk. We'll boldly go where few have gone before to reveal how scientists, inspired by he series, would revolutionize medicine and are surpassing the far-out vision of the future foreshadowed in Star Trek in the 1960s. From cell phones to computers to even leading-edge medical advancements, this 2-hour special explores how those sci-fi inventions have now permeated everyday life as we know it. Hosted and narrated by Shatner and based on his book, I'm Working on That, we'll meet the brightest minds of Silicon Valley and the Trek-inspired inventions that have help change the world. In his current TV-series, Shatner's cell-phone has a familiar sound when he opens it as a nod to Star Trek.

2006x21 The Miracle of Stairway B

  • 2006-08-14T04:00:00Z — 60 mins

It is perhaps the single most amazing story of 9/11--the story of how 12 firefighters, three office workers, and a Port Authority cop lived through the devastating collapse of the North Tower, survived for hours under half-a-million tons of debris and were rescued when all hope seemed lost. We reveal the chain of uncanny coincidences and bizarre events that enabled these individuals to stay alive when so many were dying all around them. We tell their interlocking stories from the time they woke on 9/11, to the moment they were finally reunited with their families. In doing so, we also tell the bigger story of the heroic efforts of the firefighters to save lives--and of the 2,700 men and women who never made it home.

2006x22 Rogue Waves

  • no air date — 60 mins

Explore the mystery of this powerful phenomenon of nature.

2006x23 Who Killed the Maya

  • no air date — 60 mins

One of the greatest empires history has ever known is on the verge of collapse. In desperation its leaders look to the heavens for answers. Little do they know that their future lies in bloodshed of their people and that in the space of a single century they will be wiped out. Why a 2000 year old civilization disappeared so suddenly has been one of the world's greatest enigmas. How could a civilization which thrived for over two thousand years just suddenly disappear? Today many believe that a giant drought killed off the Maya, but is this really the case? World Maya Expert, Nikolai Grube began by looking at the Maya's own historical records their fantastic hieroglyphic writing. Hidden within them he found two extraordinary figures - Dark Bat King and a Cold Killer Queen. Never before has the story of these remarkable individuals been brought to life. By resurrecting their spirit, Grube has come to the groundbreaking theory that the Maya collapse cannot be blamed on natural forces, but on the violent world of human politics and power struggles. His journey presents a new vision of the Mayan world a vision where bloodshed and battle hold the key to unlocking the Mystery of the Maya.

Titanic's Final Moments: Missing Pieces has made international headlines announcing their location of two new pieces of the legendary ship at 12,400 ft below the Atlantic, These pieces shed new light on the World's most famous ship wreck.

2006x25 True Caribbean Pirates

  • 2006-06-01T04:00:00Z — 60 mins

Blackbeard, Henry Morgan, Ann Bonny and Black Bart Roberts. Larger than life, more dangerous than legend - pirates and buccaneers set sail for plunder. Shot in high definition - True Caribbean Pirates recreates the rise of piracy in the Caribbean and its climactic, inevitable downfall.

Major General Julian Thompson, commander of land forces during the Falklands war, brings his years of soldiering experience to bear on this extraordinary battle. The battle of Verdun was one of the longest and one of the bloodiest engagements of World War I. Two million men were involved in the struggle. It began on February 21st 1916, when the Germans, commanded by Crown Prince Frederick William, launched a massive offensive against Verdun, an awkward salient in the French line.The outlying forts of Douaumont and Hardaumont soon fell, but the French rallied under General Pétain and resistance stiffened. A British offensive on the Somme relieved the pressure on Verdun in July, 1916, and by December the French had recovered most of the ground lost. The intention of the Germans had been a battle of attrition in which they hoped to bleed the French army white. In the end, they sustained almost as many casualties as the French; an estimated 328,000 to the French 348,000.

Saddam and The Third Reich" Few people realize that the Baath party was actually formed upon the principles and organizational structure of the Nazi party. Iraq, because of its oil and hatred of Jews, was an important battleground between the Axis and Allied powers in World War II. Nazi propaganda was broadcast throughout Baghdad, and Iraqis often went on rampages against Jews throughout the war. One of the most ardent Nazi supporters during WWII was named Khairallah Talfah. Talfah was Saddam's uncle. After the war, many of the key Iraqi Nazi supporters, all of whom evaded prosecution, wound up involved in Saddam's rise to power. This special examines the key individuals of the Iraqi-Nazi connection, the little-known battle for Iraq in WWII, and the strange link to Saddam Hussein.

2006x29 Last Days on Earth

  • 2006-08-30T04:00:00Z — 60 mins

How smart are we as a civilization? Smart enough to control our own destiny and avoid the cataclysms that could end life as we know it? Using state-of-the-art computer-generated graphics and interviews with the world’s top scientists, Last Days on Earth takes viewers inside seven of the deadliest threats to humanity. Some have the power to render us extinct, others can destroy the planet; all could entail the end of our civilization. How likely are they to occur, what exactly would happen if they did, and could we survive? Last Days on Earth goes beyond science fiction to science fact, as it takes viewers on a roller-coaster ride through black holes, intelligent robots, asteroid strikes and deadly plagues. Viewers will journey from the outer reaches of the universe to the inner world of DNA.

2006x30 Heaven: Beyond the Grave

  • 2006-04-10T04:00:00Z — 60 mins

Heaven has influenced politics, decided the course of nations, become the obsession of learned scholars, and inspired countless works of art. Most of all, the promise of heaven has determined how people have lived their lives...and how they've died. Through interviews with religious scholars and leaders, we explore the concept of heaven and its rich history. We trace the evolution of the idea of an afterlife--from ancient Egypt, through Renaissance writers and artists whose work it inspired, to the uniquely American vision that traveled across the sea on the Mayflower--and explore other religious views of heaven. Our experts also tackle the difficult subject: Can only those who accept Jesus Christ be admitted to heaven? What of the virtuous of other religions? Will they be excluded because they aren't Christian? Our experts discuss this delicate question, reflecting on the idea that perhaps a heaven as we know it waits for each of us on the other side of death.

From the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, Lincoln's 1863 declaration naming it a national holiday, to turkey, Macy's parade, and football, share the abundant feast of Thanksgiving history.

2006x250 Hitler's End

  • 2006-04-25T04:00:00Z — 60 mins

Legends, lies, and half-truths for a long time have surrounded Hitler's last days in his bunker beneath Berlin's Reich Chancellery. What exactly happened in the days leading up to his suicide on April 30, 1945? Why did the dictator protract the end for so long? Was he still capable of making decisions? A Russian secret service dossier discovered in Moscow sheds new light on events in the bunker. Contemporary witnesses such as Hitler's secretary Traudl Junge, officers Ulrich de Maiziere and Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven, together with renowned historians and Hitler researchers Ian Kershaw and Joachim Fest, analyse events in the bunker from April 20 to 30-from Hitler's last birthday to suicide.

2006x251 Mount Vesuvius: The Fury Within

  • 2006-10-30T05:00:00Z — 60 mins

Rising 4,000 feet above Italy's Campania region, Mount Vesuvius is one of the world's most active volcanoes, unleashing its lethal fire time and again. We examine the 79 A.D. eruption that destroyed the city of Pompeii, sealing the volcano's place in history; a 1631 eruption, at the height of the Black Plague, when the fiery mountain killed around 18,000; and a 1944 eruption that killed 26 as WWII raged across Southern Italy. Is Vesuvius in a resting period or gearing up for another explosion?

Afghanistan, 1981. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, threatening to expand its huge hold of territory and edge closer to the rich oilfields of the Middle East. President Reagan decided to send CIA officers in to train Afghan rebels to fight against the Soviets. But he didn't want to tip America's hand, so he sent in a small team of undercover officers from the CIA's Islamabad station in Pakistan. Working in dark alleys and traveling on Pakistani military helicopters, Milt Bearden and his team of CIA officers gradually built a network to funnel arms and cash into Afghanistan and train the rebels to fight. Dodging bullets and risking their lives, the CIA officers became secret warriors fighting America's last battle of the Cold War.

2006x253 Inside The Volcano

  • 2006-12-01T05:00:00Z — 60 mins

Travel around the globe, and below its surface, to plumb the mysteries of the always-fascinating volcano. From gorgeous, pyrotechnic lava floes on Hawaii to awe-inspiring mushroom-clouds, humans cannot help but be fascinated by the earth-shaking grandeur of volcanoes. For four billion years, volcanoes have impacted life on earth. Empires have been destroyed, civilizations decimated – not to mention the possible extinction of dinosaurs and spurring of Ice Ages. And, like tuning a car engine by measuring its emissions, we can learn how our planet works by measuring the elements emitted from its diabolical vents.

When a team of Dracula hunters, notably members of a family linked to the real-life Prince Vlad Dracul, tries to unearth the truth about the tyrant, they are haunted by mystifying events, misfortune, and tragedy 500 years after the 15th-century prince died.

2006x255 Battle of Long Tan

  • no air date — 60 mins

On the 40th Anniversary of Australia and New Zealand's most pivotal Military Battles, the History Channel tells its true story. An Exclusive Australian and New Zealand, Television First Premiering on The History Channel. Filming takes place in a number of locations across Australia, New Zealand and in Vietnam and features rare interviews with the seven surviving commanders who fought the frontline at Long Tan.

"BLACK WATCH: MASSACRE AT VERRIERES RIDGE tells the bloody story of how an elite well trained regiment gets massacred on a field in Normandy during an operation codenamed Spring. Through dramatic recreations and first hand accounts this untold story is brought to life and the reasons for the massacre are analyzed. It is hosted by Professor David O'Keefe, Black Watch historian and leading expert on Operation Spring."

2006x257 Strange Egypt

  • no air date — 60 mins

This informative program takes a look at the more mysterious aspects of ancient Egypt, following historians and archaeologists as they reveal a side to the innovative civilization that includes unexpected sexual behavior , beliefs in mysticism and magic, and more. We all know the Egypt of the pyramids and King Tut's tomb. But there's much, much more. The daily life of ancient Egyptians was filled with magic, mystery, and sex. We'll take a closer look at the beliefs and habits of one of the world's oldest cultures. There was incest in the royal palace, divine cats, and an entire industry devoted to ushering the dead into the next world. Spells, potions, and incantations ruled every aspect of life. Yet even in these unusual customs, we'll find the human face of the ancient people of Egypt.