Category Archives: MODERN HISTORY

How child labour changed the world

How child labour changed the world


Britain’s industrial revolution – the first in the world – would never had happened without child labour. That’s the startling conclusion drawn by a leading economic historian following the most detailed analysis of relevant contemporary sources ever carried out.

How many prisoners were freed by the storming of the Bastille?

How many prisoners were freed by the storming of the Bastille?

Actually, only seven. In France, 14th July, Bastille Day, is a national holiday and a glorious national symbol, equivalent to 4th July in the United States of America. From the rousing paintings of the scene, you might think hundreds of proud revolutionaries flooded into streets waving tricolours. In fact, only just over half a dozen people were being held at the time of the siege.

The last royal execution in Britain

The last royal execution in Britain

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, the eldest of Charles II’s numerous illegitimate children, lived in Holland and in 1685 attempted to claim the English throne from his uncle James II. His rebellion, the last popular uprising in England, culminated in the last pitched battle on English soil, the Battle of Sedgemoor, on 6th July 1685.

The lost colony on Roanoke Island

The lost colony on Roanoke Island

Sir Walter Ralegh was rather a poser, and a dandy. He was the man who according to legend got into the Queen Elizabeth’s good books when they first met by laying his plush new cloak over a puddle so that she would not wet her feet as she crossed the muddy road; in the town of Raleigh in North Carolina there is a motel called The Velvet Cloak. It was said at one point that he had spent 6,000 gold pieces on his shoes alone. But he was also a visionary who organized the world’s first scientific expedition, and he laid the foundations of the British Empire.

Toussaint Louverture

Toussaint Louverture

The Chateau de Joux, high in the mountainous region of Franche-Comt√© close to the Swiss border, was one of the great state prisons of France, along with the Bastille and the Chateau d’If (described by Dumas in The Count of Monte-Cristo). The huge fortress dates back nearly 1,000 years, its medieval walls augmented by Charles V, Vauban and finally by the young Joffre as engineer officer.