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Cocoa plantation on Grenada, 18th century © Bridgeman Images.

In the 18th century, Europeans in the tropics found themselves beset by an array of unpleasant afflictions. They blamed black women, the climate and the strength of their own masculinity.

Crowds on top of the Berlin Wall, 10 November 1989 © Tom Stoddart/Getty Images.

The fall of the Berlin Wall was as much about beginnings as it was about endings. Out of the rubble came a new hope: techno music.

Caravel from 'Atlas of Lázaro Luis (detail), 1563. Bridgeman Images.

The first ‘New World’ reached by Europeans was not in the Americas, but in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, where previously uninhabited islands were transformed forever.

A technician wiring a Cray computer, May 1983, akg-images.

Britain’s largest intelligence agency marks its centenary this year. While its home is a distinctive architectural structure, what goes on inside remains little known.

The Angry Husband, by Thomas Rowlandson, 18th century © Bridgeman Images.

Early modern historians, obsessed by widows and spinsters, have neglected the sexuality of other middle-aged women.

Plate 38, from 'World in Miniature', 1816, Thomas Rowlandson. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In the Victorian countryside, what did going to church on Sundays actually mean?

Edith Cavell, c.1910 © Getty Images

How did an executed English nurse become the unlikely protector of the German poet who pronounced her dead?

Propaganda poster, c.1970 © Getty Images

What do the tyrants of the 20th century have in common? Terror, confusion and quasi-religious followings.

Friedrich Nietzsche, by Edvard Munch, c.1906. © Munch Museet, Oslo, Norway/Bridgeman Images

As a frontline soldier in the First World War, the German artist Otto Dix fell under the spell of the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and his assault on Christian morality.

Nativity, from the Psalter of Ingeborg of Denmark, c.1210 © Bridgeman Images

Medieval French monarchs used – and abused – the charismatic power of religious women.