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From the contemporary publication, 'Experiments and observations on different kinds of air', Joseph Priestley c. 1775-1784

The work of Elizabeth Fulhame made huge leaps in science, despite the obstacles she faced as a woman.

On board a factory ship: gutting, cleaning and storing cod in the hold. Engraving from Encyclopedia of Natural History, Augsburg, 1804 © Bridgeman Images.

The Portuguese national dish with a global past of ingenuity and exploitation.

Members of the Musgrove family, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, 1935.

Tough, lawless and often violent, the outlook of the Anglo-Scottish borderlands profoundly shaped the culture of the southern United States.

Shuttlecocks and Mackerel, or Members Going to Vote on the Corn Bill, 14 March 1815, by George Cruikshank © Bridgeman Images.

A troubled UK is in desperate need of politicians and commentators who can think historically.

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.

A sailor’s return: a display case of smoking paraphernalia at Nottingham’s Brewhouse Yard Museum. Alamy.

Provincial museums, easy to overlook, remind us that everywhere matters.

‘A Grecian Harvest Home, or Thanksgiving to the Rural Deities, Ceres, Bacchus Sylvanus and Pan’, from The Progress of Human Culture and Knowledge, by James Barry, c.1777-84, Royal Society  of Arts, London © Bridgeman Images.

A scene of ancient Arcadian bliss which hints at the coming of modernity.

Capitals in the centre of the main entrance of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. Auguste Salzmann, 1854. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

There is nothing exclusively modern about the dream of a world transformed by Reformation, Enlightenment, or revolution.

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.