Twilight is still riding the high of its resurgence, amassing new fans and delighting old fans with its ever-growing popularity. It’s safe to say that the vampire love story captured the zeitgeist of the 2010s, and has reared its fantastical head in the 2020s, too. Apart from the gushy romance between Edward and Bella, the historical flashbacks added much depth to the series.
Fans loved to see and hear about the backstories of their favorite Cullen and Volturi vampires, in the four books and the companions that followed. From Greece in 1340 B.C. to the deadly Spanish Flu, Twilight covered ancient and modern history through character origin stories and references.
9The Spanish Influenza Pandemic
He was a beloved character, but some unfortunate things happened to Edward in Twilight which led him down the path of vampirism. Unlike his siblings, he came from a decent family, but the Spanish Influenza took a hold of him in 1918 Chicago.
As the bodies piled up high in hospital wards, Edward was one of the victims of the deadly pandemic that would finish off a large chunk of the population. The books and movies briefly depicted the state of hospitals at the time, which was how Carlisle was able to turn Edward into a vampire without people noticing.
8The American Civil War
Book fans would know that Twilight’s Jasper played a questionable role in the American Civil War of the early 1860s, where he defended the Confederacy that promoted slavery. Fans remain confused as to why he would be made a Confederate soldier, let alone one who rose through the ranks very quickly to become a Major.
The series referenced the Civil War multiple times, especially in Eclipse where Jasper’s fighting abilities came into play. The references then slipped into the fictional Southern Vampire Wars which happened simultaneously, after Jasper was turned by Maria and led her army of newborns.
7The Great Depression
Not a lot is discussed about the Great Depression, but Rosalie was born in 1915, and she lived through the economic crisis during the late ’20s and ’30s as a human. She was a beloved daughter to a nice family, and her father’s job at the bank helped tide them over through the Great Depression.
This meant that wealthy Rosalie and her folks never felt the pain of the downturn, but poor Rosalie had an unfortunate fate ahead of her at the hands of the bank owner’s son, Royce.
6The Puritan Era
Born in 1640, Carlisle was the oldest of the Olympic coven and had been through several periods of history during his long lifetime. He was different from conventional vampires, and being a part of the Puritan Era had a lot to do with it.
The late 16th and 17th centuries were marked by this social upheaval where the churches were determined to purify religion and live spiritual lives (per PBS). Carlisle’s father was an Anglican pastor, so he was in very close proximity to this stream of thought.
5Witch Trials Of The Early Modern Period
From the late 1640s till about twenty years, England and surrounding areas were plagued by the witch trials, which also included executing people on the suspicion that they were vampires and werewolves (via History). In the fictional universe of Twilight, these creatures did of course exist during the 17th century.
Carlisle used to lead these witch hunts on behalf of his father once he got old, and he did come across a real coven. as opposed to the innocents who were being killed in the name of God. Unfortunately, he was attacked and turned, but his innate compassion made him find a way to stay a vampire and not hurt people.
4World War I
Almost every member of the Olympic coven was alive during the First World War, but Esme’s life was most directly affected by it. Upon her parent’s insistence, she had married Charles Evenson, a man who later turned out to be abusive to her.
After a few miserable years with him, she only got respite in 1914 when he was drafted to fight the World War. She spent close to 4 years without him, but his return at the end of the war in 1918 only signaled tougher times in her future.
The late 1700s and early 1800s are significant for many reasons, but for Bella Swan, the Austenian period of British gentry, their ways of life, and a woman’s struggle in the marriage market for all reasons other than love was the most important.
The Phoenix native mentioned her love for Jane Austen’s novels several times in Twilight, even drawing comparisons between them and her own story. Austen’s works are well-loved to date because of how her heroines weren’t afraid to break social norms and chart their own paths of love and work the way they wanted to.
2Greece In 1340 B.C.
Perhaps the oldest time period referenced in Twilight, 1340 B.C. was the approximate year of the Volturi leader, Aro’s, birth. Besides the Romanian coven, Aro and his family were the oldest vampires, and they were originally Greek. Aro kept it in the family by turning his sister Didyme, who fell in love with Marcus, but he killed her to keep the Volturi together.
This was the Mycenaean period of Greek history, and Aro worked hard, for centuries, to dethrone the Romanians, and build a formidable army and government to rule over the vampires.
1The Quileute Tribe
When Twilight was released, many people were unaware of the fact that the Quileute tribe is a real Native American tribe that lives in the Quileute Indian Reservation as a result of signing the Treaty of Quinault River of 1855
Stephanie Meyer created a fictional legend of Taha Aki and the spirit warriors around a real tribe, which contributed to erasing their actual history and culture (via Burke Museum). Wolves figure into their legends, but very differently. The tribe is known for their canoe-making skills, their sustainable ways of life, and their own complex language.