Love History? Then You’re Sure to Love These 9 Channels on YouTube
History was always my worst subject in school. All those names and dates made my head swim.
In my adulthood, however, I’m really digging history because I find ways to make it meaningful, even entertaining.
That’s where YouTube comes in. There are some fantastic history channels on YouTube that keep my interest and teach me stuff. Like, now I know why the Syrian civil war is so important.
If you watch any of these nine history channels on YouTube, you will walk away knowing way more about what came before.
Hands down, my favorite YouTube history channel is Crash Course.
The host, John Green, is super entertaining and hilarious. He’s the reason the videos are so good.
Well, that and the slick graphics.
He’s really funny and uses a lot of gimmicks to keep me interested. He also explains things so I understand the context. For example, his video The Clinton Years, or the 1990s, helped me understand how President Bill Clinton was able to help the U.S. economy. And Archdukes, Cynicism and World War I cleared up how an assassination led to a worldwide war.
The videos run 10 to 15 minutes, and they’re organized into helpful playlists.
If you’re a gamer, you might already know about Extra Credits. Extra Credits is mainly a YouTube channel about video games. But hidden in their playlists is a wealth of knowledge about U.S. and world history.
For example, I learned a ton about D-Day that I didn’t know before. They use cartoons to explain everything and the narrator has a very pleasant voice.
Kids will dig Extra Credits, too, because of the simplistic cartoons and “cool” slang they use.
The Great War
The Great War focuses on just one part of history. You guessed it: The Great War, which is actually World War I.
Host Indiana Neidell takes a deep, deep dive into the War to End All Wars in weekly episodes.
How can there be so many videos about World War I, you ask? Well, they package their videos every which way to make it easier for you to find the facts you need.
There are recaps and preludes and Q&As. Neidell discusses every move that every country made. Sometimes he focuses on the tiniest details to give you a really clear picture of what was happening.
One thing is very clear. Dude loves to talk about The Great War.
It’s History is for people who are serious about history. That’s because, unlike a lot of the other channels on this list, they’re not funny at all. It’s History is passionate about history.
The videos are five to ten minutes long and cover a wide range of topics. Some playlists cover whole eras, but other videos cover a single turning point in an era.
The host is engaging, which helps when the videos tend to be dry. And the production value is super high, so they’re nice to watch.
Look out for their provocative thumbnails!
HipHughes History stars Keith Hughes, a high school teacher who decided to make some crazy videos about history.
He’s that teacher who thinks he’s one of the “hip” kids when he says “on point” or “sick,” but he’s really not.
Although Hughes obviously loves being on camera — I mean very obviously — his videos are helpful. He breaks down gnarly historical events so they’re easy to understand.
His 10-minute videos cover specific events in history, as well as more current topics, like impeachment.
Feature History has a lot of slick videos for “historically-challenged adolescents.” But they came in handy for me, too.
The graphics are minimalistic, which makes everything easy on the eyes. And he [the Australian channel] overlays text on the videos, so you can watch without sound.
“Hamilton” fans should check out his video on the history of the duel.
Epic History TV
Their focus is to explain history so you can see how it fits in the big picture.
Epic History TV has information-packed videos that feature maps and images to help tell the story. A rather serious narrator explains a variety of historical events.
Some videos are only five minutes long, but others run around 15 minutes.
Simple History lives up to its YouTube channel name, as it’s the epitome of “just the facts.” Simple History is helpful for someone who is cramming for a test or just needs a refresher on a topic.
Simple History has well-organized playlists that make it really easy to find your topic.
The videos are usually only a few minutes long, so they don’t really give you any insight or background. They stick to the who, what, when, where and how of a topic.
The narrator speaks over basic Flash animations, which help keep it “simple.”
The History Channel has its own YouTube channel, of course.
It is the only channel on this list to use real-life actors and locations. The videos are mainly echoes of whatever they’re playing on TV. They do, however have some videos that address broad topics in a short amount of time.
Because they have a lot of promotional videos, or videos from their non-history TV shows, check out their playlists to find what you’re looking for.
The Biography Channel focuses on people, naturally. Although you won’t find a video explaining Hitler’s rise to power, you will find out more about him if you watch his mini bio.
The Biography Channel specializes in two different kinds of videos. They have mini bios, which are two- or three-minute videos about a specific person. They also have “On This Day” videos, that tell you what happened on a specific date in the past.
Like the History Channel, the Biography Channel’s production values are high. They often have interviews mixed into mini bios.
Who would have thought I’d ever think that learning about the Chechen Wars would be fun? After watching these YouTube channels, I’m ready to soak in all the history I can.
Nancy Basile has almost 20 years experience as a freelance writer for the web. She focuses on finding ways to squeeze more entertainment into your day for less. Catch her on Twitter @realmediamedusa.