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BBC History Magazine

BBC History Magazine September 2019

BBC History Magazine aims to shed new light on the past to help you make more sense of the world today. Fascinating stories from contributors are the leading experts in their fields, so whether they're exploring Ancient Egypt, Tudor England or the Second World War, you'll be reading the latest, most thought-provoking historical research. BBC History Magazine brings history to life with informative, lively and entertaining features written by the world's leading historians and journalists and is a captivating read for anyone who's interested in the past.

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Immediate Media Company London Limited
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1 min

The fate of the princes in the Tower is one of the greatest historical mysteries, and the debate often centres around who was behind the boys’ murder. But what if, in fact, they were not murdered at all? That is the view of historian Matthew Lewis, and in this month’s cover feature, on page 42, he argues his case against fellow expert Nathen Amin in a quest to determine whether or not the princes survived. While we were making this issue, the streets around us – as in many other British cities – were disrupted by protesters from Extinction Rebellion. Though their tactics seem to divide opinion, it’s clear that the environment is only going to become a more urgent issue in the years to come. Yet green activism is not…

1 min
this issue’s contributors

Jerry Brotton I’ve spent 30 years writing about Ferdinand Magel- lan’s first circumnavigation of the globe, one of the most misunderstood of all the voyages of discovery. It has much to tell us about our current moment of globalisation. Jerry looks at how Magellan’s voyage changed the course of history on page 50 Emma Butcher PTSD caused by war is a current global issue. Recently, I’ve been reading historical accounts about how the world recognised and responded to war trauma when it had no name. Emma traces the changing attitudes to war veterans’ mental health on page 56 Brendan Simms Hitler wanted parity with the other great actors, principally the United States and the British empire, but felt that this desire was not reciprocated. Once he realised that, he had to try and carve out a more…

1 min
blast from the past

An undiscovered bomb dropped by the Allies during the Second World War caused a minor earthquake when it suddenly exploded in a corn field in central Germany. Residents near the town of Limburg were awoken in the early hours of 23 June by the shock of the blast, which measured 1.7 on the Richter scale. Although no injuries were reported, the buried device left a 10-metre wide crater in the ground, seen here in a drone photograph. Experts say the explosion would have been triggered by decomposition of the bomb’s chemical detonator. Have a story? Please email Jon Bauckham at jon.bauckham@immediate.co.uk…

2 min
the empire gives back?

The hashtag #TheEmpireGivesBack has recently been shared on Twitter following a Guardian article by Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, which asked: “Should museums return their colonial artefacts?” It comes in the midst of an ongoing debate about colonial repatriation and demands for the restitution of historic objects taken from Africa during the 19th century. Hunt made the case that “for a museum like the V&A, to decolonise is to decontextualise... for alongside colonial violence, empire was also a story of cosmopolitanism and hybridity.” Many disagreed, with Danielle Thom (@Danielle_J_Thom) tweeting “I’m still angry about this… mainly the disingenuous ‘misunderstanding’ of the concept of museum decolonisation.” Other historians, such as Katherine Cook (@KatherineR-Cook), rejected Hunt’s assertion that empire was also a “story of cosmopolitanism and hybridity”, implying that this…

1 min
photograph shows suffrage diversity

A newly discovered photograph at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has been cited as evidence of the “significant, but often unrecognised” role of women of colour in the suffrage movement. Found in the archives of the LSE Women’s Library, the picture – taken in Brighton in 1913 – shows two Indian women appearing among the council members of the Church League for Women’s Suffrage, Britain’s leading Anglican campaigning body at the time. The photograph was unearthed by Clare Wichbold, a research volunteer at Hereford Cathedral, while searching for material relating to Florence Canning, who became chair of the Church League in 1912. However, after spotting two south Asian women in the image, Clare contacted Dr Sumita Mukherjee, a historian at the University of Bristol, to see whether the…

1 min
a good month for...

TUDOR ECONOMICS A paper suggesting that Britain should take inspiration from the 1601 Poor Law to boost growth and reduce inequality has won a top accolade. Simon Szreter, Hilary Cooper and Ben Szreter were together one of two joint winners of the IPPR Economics Prize in July. (For more on the first Poor Law, see page 29.) BLACKPOOL Blackpool is to get its first civic museum thanks to a £4m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Opening in 2021, Show Town: The Museum of Fun and Entertainment will explore the role that the seaside resort has played in popular culture.…