History Matters

Thoughts, opinions and commentary on all things historical.

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President Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai toast during Nixon's 1972 visit to China.

President Trump’s recent foreign adventures are unlikely to match Nixon’s actions of July and August 1971 in historic significance.

Celebrated memory: The Defence of Rorke’s Drift, by Alphonse Marie de Neuville, 1880.

Why is the siege such a popular and controversial imperial episode?

Strange beasts: centaurs from the Triumph of Centaurs, AD 120-130.

In their quest to collect all the knowledge of the known world, Roman authors also recorded the strange and the fabulous.

The joys of adulthood: haymaking in June, from the Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 15th century.

When does a boy become a man? Medieval millennials were just as hard to define as those of today.

Women’s realm: a birthing room, Dutch, 17th century.

The propagation of humanity has been a bloody struggle for women.

The unusual circumstances of the founding of New Orleans have had lasting impact on its culture. 

'Poem Written in a Boat on the Wu River', by Mi Fu, c.1095.

From cave paintings to Kindle, our history is written in ink – adapted and reinvented to reflect, and influence, the needs of the day.

Equal rewards: returning soldiers are welcomed at a railway station, 1917.

Why did only some women get the vote in 1918 and what did they do with it?

The six titles on the shortlist for our annual book prize.