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World history is full of Ozymandiases!

A verse in Psalm 135, in the Old Testament, goes, “[God] struck down many nations, and killed mighty kings. – Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan….”. Sihon and Og were clearly seen as great rulers in their time. Today, however, apart from tiny walk-on parts in the Bible, they are completely […]

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The Rohingya – a Muslim people in a deeply Buddhist country

Every now and again a crisis boils up which brings into the headlines a group which are not widely known about, but who have deep historical roots. When the Islamic State was on the rise a few years ago, we suddenly heard of the Yazidis, a heterodox religious group with a history stretching back to […]

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Native Americans and Buffalo: a Conundrum

I’ve been working on articles to do with Native Americans (after a reviewer pointed out that we had very little on this topic). It’s funny how questions occur while reading up on a topic you’re not very familiar with, and you can’t find any source which even tackles the problem, let alone provides an answer. […]

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Be careful what you wish for – you might get it!

My reading of world history tells me that the saying, “Be careful what you wish for – you might get it!”, can be as true for nations as it is for individuals. Britain against France The British comprehensively defeated the French in the Seven Years’ War (1756-63). In US history this is known as the […]

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Christopher Gadsden: American Revolutionary and Designer of the Don’t Tread on Me Flag

This is the third guest article contributed by Jen Grant, blogger for American Flags What I’ve found really interesting in this thoughtful article is the insight it gives into the careers of one of the many minor figures involved in the American War of Independence. Great historical events have their leading lights, but they could […]

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Whatever happened to the Ancient Mesopotamians?

By time of fall of the Babylonian empire to the Persians, in 539 BC, the civilization of ancient Mesopotamia had lasted for some three thousand years. It can be divided into different periods, the major ones being the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian. Some historians view these as distinct civilizations, but there was such […]

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Unlamented victims of the Industrial Revolution

I am often grateful for the industrial revolution. Cheap, mass-manufactured goods, inexpensive food produced with modern farming methods, exotic fruits and fish shipped in from thousands of miles away, swift travel to far away places to experience new sights and sounds, good and (comparatively) painless dental treatment – none of this could have happened without […]

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Could the Russians have defeated Germany by themselves?

An article in The Times newspaper over the weekend reported that a majority of Russians think that their country could have defeated Germany in World War 2 without any help from the Western Allies. Could they, I wonder? Hitler’s invasion of Russia In June 1941 the Germans launched Operation Barbarossa: the invasion of the Soviet Union. […]

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China was not poorer than Europe throughout history!

This weekend’s Economist magazine had an article (“A not-so-golden age”) which I found odd. It questioned the claim that China had historically been a wealthy country. In recent years historians have come to believe that, until the late 18th century, China was wealthier than Europe. It was only then that a “Great Divergence” set in. […]

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Labels in world history

I have received quite a few comments over the years from folk who feel that organising history – especially world history – in terms of such labels as “Iron Age”, “Industrial Revolution” and so on, is misleading. They feel that they are all rough approximations of reality, and therefore can give an impression of simplicity which bears […]

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