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From Egypt to the moon: 10 films to learn about history from CBC Docs

From the ancient to the recent, history class is in session

From the ancient to the recent, history class is in session

CBC Docs shows you the history of our world, from the ancient to the recent. (CBC)

Across the country, hundreds of thousands of students are homeschooling right now. If you suddenly find yourself in charge of one, or more, of those students, you're probably looking for a way to conduct history class in your living room. CBC Docs has films that cover history from ancient Egypt to modern Canada and explain how the past affects the world we live in today.

Colonization Road

Anishnaabe comedian and activist Ryan McMahon takes us to his hometown of Fort France, Ont., where the main drag is called "Colonization Road." Similarly named streets exist all over Northern Ontario and Manitoba, and they aren't named that by accident. These roads were literally built to bring colonizers to the area. McMahon looks at the legacy these roads have left on the region's First Nations communities, and asks what "decolonization" means in a place where colonization is so deeply embedded.

The Lost Secrets of the Pyramids

The Great Pyramid of Giza was built as a final resting place for the Pharaoh Khufu. To complete the massive structure while the pharaoh was still alive, its builders and architects used trigonometry — over 2000 years before the Greeks codified it. They built canals and locks, tackled complex navigation problems, and utterly transformed the way ancient Egyptians lived. Find out why the pyramid isn't just a monument to a king, but also to the visionaries who built it. 

Stonehenge Uncovered

New archeological advances are unlocking ancient secrets at Stonehenge, one of Europe's most famous prehistoric sites. The area around Stonehenge gives us clues as to how ancient Britons, lived, worshipped and even waged war. There is, incredibly, evidence of early surgery, and feats of early engineering previously thought impossible. 

The Oka Legacy

In the summer of 1990, the town of Oka, Que., attempted to take over unceded Kanehsatà:ke Mohawk land to expand a municipal golf course. This would set off a series of escalating clashes between the Kanehsatà:ke Mohawks and their allies and the supporters of the town, in what would become known as the Oka Crisis. By September, Mohawk Warriors were in a standoff with the Canadian Armed Forces and the Sûreté du Québec. The Oka Crisis would leave long lasting scars on Kanehsatà:ke, its people, and the residents of neighbouring communities, but it would also set off a wave of Indigenous activism that still continues today. 

One Hour That Changed the World: The Moon Landing

On July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon, taking "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." This is the story behind that moonwalk, and how those two astronauts managed to overcome bad luck, accidents, and impossibly tough conditions to land on the moon and change our world forever.

Forgotten No More

Although no one knew it at the time, The Battle of Amiens in 1918 was the beginning of the end of World War I. Among the Allied forces were 100,000 Canadians. Thousands died, and many bodies were never recovered. But modern technology is making it possible to identify these unknown soldiers. Nearly a hundred years later, a French teenager discovered the remains of eight Canadian soldiers from this battle in his back garden. In Forgotten No More, the descendents of these soldiers travel to France to learn more about their ancestors and see them finally put to rest.

Pompeii's People

We are still learning things about the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, which was buried under a volcanic eruption in 79 CE. Host David Suzuki walks you through the excavated ruins to learn more about Pompeiian life. He 'meets' some of the city's residents, learns more about how they lived, worked, and played. From the bedrooms of society ladies to a rough-and-tumble working class tavern, it's Pompeii as you've never seen it before.


The G20 summit in June of 2010 was the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. More than 1,000 people were arrested over the two day summit. Over 300 of those were arrested as the result of the "kettling" — or intentional boxing in — of protestors, journalists, and innocent bystanders by police at the intersection of Queen and Spadina. Here's the story of that event, as told by some of the people who were there.

Franklin's Lost Ships

How do two enormous ships just disappear? That's what happened to Sir John Franklin's ships in 1845. The English explorer set out to find the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic, and then was never heard from again. But in 2014his flagship, the HMS Erebus, was found off the coast of the Adelaide Peninsula in what's now Nunavut. Watch as a team of Parks Canada underwater archaeologists take a look inside the Erebus to find out more about that fateful expedition.


Secret Life Of…

The juicy, little-known stories behind some of history's best known figures, including Napoleon, Catherine the Great, and more.