History Today

Kate Wiles introduces a map highlighting the diversity of indigenous tribes that was in danger of being lost.

The first day of the Somme has become synonomous with incompetent leadership and a callous disregard for human life. Gary Sheffield offers a more complex picture of the battle and the role played by General Sir Douglas Haig.

It comes in many forms and often disappoints, yet democracy has come to be regarded as the most desirable of all political systems. Paul Cartledge offers a guide to its roots in ancient Greece and reminds us of its long absence in the West.

The desert city of Palmyra, ravaged recently by ISIS, held a key position on the Silk Route, connecting the Chinese, Persian and Roman Empires. Raoul McLaughlin describes how a remote caravan settlement assumed a leading role in international affairs, generating enormous wealth. 

Though many writers, film-makers and other artists found it difficult to work in Fascist Italy, modernist architecture flourished under the less than watchful gaze of Mussolini. Jonathan Meades wonders why.

In April 2002, Robert Knecht wrote an article about his quest to find Napoleonic treasure. Now, suspecting the letter which prompted it might be a hoax, he revisits the evidence.

The royal flight to Varennes took place on June 20th, 1791.

Life for the poor in 18th- and 19th-century Ireland was hard and, for many women, prostitution was the only option. But the bawdy houses were rife with disease and police did little to protect women from violent customers.

The Civil Wars of the 17th century prompted pioneering medical care and welfare, provided by the state not just for soldiers but for the widows and children they left behind, as Eric Gruber von Arni and Andrew Hopper show.