Second Decade

This is a historical show examining the momentous events and interesting people of the second decade of the 19th century, the 1810s. From Jefferson to Napoleon, from Iceland to Antarctica, historian Sean Munger will give you a tour of the decade's most fascinating highlights.

Second Decade Off Topic: Astoria, A Pacific Jou...
This bonus episode presents several vignettes from the history of Astoria, Oregon, including Lewis and Clark, the first American to visit Japan, and a famous shipwreck.
35 min
Second Decade Off Topic: The Oak Island Folly
In this bonus episode, the 150-year-old legend of buried treasure beneath a remote island in Nova Scotia is thoroughly examined—and refuted.
34 min
35: Bolivar, Part III
Venezuelan revolutionary Simon Bolivar turns his attention to liberating much of the rest of South America from Spanish rule, while at the same time his political power becomes dictatorial.
41 min
34: Bolivar, Part II
Plagued by infighting, racial and class resentment, bad luck and his own passionate nature, Bolivar’s revolution against the Spanish advances in fits and starts.
38 min
31: Bolivar, Part I
In Venezuela in 1810, fiery revolutionary Simon Bolivar begins his extraordinary journey to liberate Latin America from three centuries of Spanish rule.
41 min
32: Dawn of the Zulu
Born the illegitimate son of a minor tribal chieftain, a warrior named Shaka rises to build the mightiest empire in Africa in the early 19th century.
39 min
31: The Great Iceland Road Trip
A British botanist embarks on a bizarre booze-soaked boondoggle across Iceland in 1809, in a colorful example of early 19th century travel literature.
41 min
Second Decade Off Topic: The White House, Part II
Between 1820 and the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, eleven First Families come and go, each making a different mark on America’s most famous address.
39 min
30: The White House, Part I
During the War of 1812, the President’s mansion is burned to the ground by the British, but manages to rise from the ashes even more stately than before.
38 min
29: Australia, Part II
During the 1810s, bolters, bushrangers, explorers and aborigines all make their mark on the infant colony of Australia as it struggles to become more than just a prison.
39 min
28: Australia, Part I
In 1810, Britain’s dismal prison at the end of the earth spins badly out of control, until a tough Scottish army officer arrives determined to make it a real colony.
42 min
Second Decade Off Topic: Benihana Nights
In this bonus episode, delve into the love-hate relationship between Japan and the United States, which involves shipwrecked sailors, Pearl Harbor, Datsun trucks and sushi restaurants.
29 min
27: The Belle of Nagasaki
In 1817, a Dutch housewife and her servant almost unwittingly become the first Western women to visit Japan during its period of self-imposed isolation from the world.
39 min
26: The Queenston Hostages
A group of Irish-born American soldiers, captured by the British on the battlefield in the War of 1812, becomes the flash point of an international hostage crisis.
39 min
Second Decade Off Topic: The Sunn Also Rises
In this bonus episode, the history of Sunn Classic Pictures, a movie studio specializing in “fake history” documentaries during the 1970s, is examined.
30 min
25: The Man in the Buffalo Fur Suit
Wearing a rather odd costume, New England mountain man Estwick Evans sets off on a journey of self-discovery that illuminates what America was like in 1818.
37 min
24: New England's Cold Friday
In January 1810, an extreme cold snap and violent windstorm becomes a key event in New England’s history, memory and local folklore.
34 min
23: Murder in Charleston
In May 1815, Dr. David Ramsay, one of Charleston’s leading citizens, is gunned down in broad daylight, a sad end to a rich and fascinating life.
26 min
22: Old Ironsides
In the darkest days of the War of 1812, the USS Constitution scores two surprising naval victories against the overconfident British Navy.
39 min
21: Frankenstein
In 1816, four intense literary personalities spend a stormy week in a gloomy house telling ghost stories, giving rise to the ultimate masterpiece of horror in English literature.
42 min
20: Second Decade on Film
From “Becky Sharp” in 1935 to the 2016 BBC series “War and Peace,” depictions of the 1810s in movies and TV have ranged from lackluster to truly spectacular.
29 min
19: Curious King George
After having ruled 50 years, Britain’s King George III is forced from power by a mysterious mental illness that has a ripple effect on the whole royal family.
37 min
18: Let China Sleep
Beset by political corruption, internal rebellions and Western imperialism, China in the 1810s begins its century-long slide into chaos that will ultimately end in revolution.
41 min
17: The War of 1812, Part III
A series of military and political disasters, including the burning of Washington, ultimately makes the War of 1812 unwinnable for the United States.
43 min
16: The War of 1812, Part II
Plagued by government inepitude and military incompetence, the United States struggles to make headway against Britain in the first year and a half of the war.
44 min