Feature

Great Britain and Ireland, from the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, by Willem Blaeu, 1635 © Bridgeman Images.

The path to Britain’s Civil Wars of the 17th century was paved in the three very different realms of England, Scotland and Ireland. But it was in the richest and most populous of these that crisis escalated into conflict.

Antisemitic riots in Algiers, 1898-99 © Bridgeman Images.

Since the late 19th century, French politics has provided a testing ground for right-wing populism.

Promotional photo of Lyudmila Pavlichenko ‘defending Sevastopol’, 6 June 1942 © Ozersky/AFP/Getty Images

The ‘Guerrilla Queen’ of Soviet Russia became a role model for women in combat.

Interrogation at an inquisition tribunal, 17th-century coloured engraving © Bridgeman Images.

With the aim of converting souls rather than punishing them, the Jesuits were vital collaborators in the Roman Inquisition.

Members of the Liberian Senate, mostly comprising freed African American slaves, 1893 © Corbis/Getty Images.

The creation of an African American colony was supported by slave holders and abolitionists, but founded by a few dozen black families.

‘Rabbet’, etching, 18th century. Wellcome Images.

In 1726, Mary Toft gave birth to rabbits. The case became a test of the doctors’ scientific principles.

Reflections on the Thames, by Claude Monet, 1905. Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris/Bridgeman Images.

Recent political crises have shown the importance – and neglect – of constitutional history.

The Saracens besiege a Christian city, detail from The Song of Saint Mary, 1221-84 Photo © Luisa Ricciarini/Bridgeman Images.

Acre was the most cosmopolitan city in the medieval world. Its inhabitants thought it too valuable to destroy. They were wrong.

Mahomed’s Baths on Brighton seafront, c.1820 © Hulton Getty Images.

Shampooing was brought to Britain by a Bengali immigrant who knew his craft – and how to sell it.

View of Hampton Court, by Leonard Knyff, c.1702. Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2020/Bridgeman Images.

Stately homes surrounded by extravagant gardens are a staple of the English countryside, but how were they funded?