History is full of great thinkers, brilliant military strategies, wise philosophers, ingenious inventors, bold activists, and all sorts of other virtuous people. Of course, being a great person isn't something that happens by accident. You have to have an opportunity to impress, perhaps because your family got an education, or your country was at war (or at peace) at the ideal time, or the key technology that your new business required to function was invented five years before you had your big idea.
Millions upon millions of marvelous minds have gone to their graves without ever achieving anything significant simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's one of the great injustices of history that we'll never know what such people might have done had they happened to be born some other time.
However, what we do know is when many of the great minds we admire were able to excel - and if we know that, we can start to see what factors helped facilitate their rise to greatness. As they say, cometh the hour, cometh the man (or woman). So we'll give you the man (or woman), and you tell us in which hour - or year, or period - they came!
How much do you know about how car engines work? And how much do you know about how the English language works? And what about how guns work? How much do you know? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks is about more than providing great answers about how the world works. We are also here to bring joy to your day with fun quizzes, compelling photography and fascinating listicles. Some of our content is about how stuff works. Some is about how much you know about how stuff works. And some is just for fun! Because, well, did you know that having fun is an important part of how your brain works? Well, it is! So keep reading!