History Today

History Today is a monthly magazine published by History Today, Ltd. Founded in 1951, it is owned by Andy Patterson and has a circulation of roughly 30,000 subscribers. Headquarters are based in London, England.The magazine, which is geared towards teachers, students, and those with an interest in history, publishes essays written by some leading history scholars covering myriad periods, regions, topics, and themes in history. It is available in print and online.The print version was founded by Brendan Backen, who worked as the Minister of Information during World War II. He was also the publisher of the Financial Times. Currently, both print and online versions are published under the vision and guide of editor-in-chief, Paul Lay.History Today offers readers articles ranging from atomic medicine to the rise and fall of empires. Each essay comes with illustrations selected by picture editor Sheila Corr. The web edition includes a news digest from web editor, Kathryn Hadley.Subscribers can buy an annual subscription for either the web or print version. Web subscribers can also purchase access to articles from the publication's archives dating back to 1980. The magazine also has a sister publication, History Review, which is aimed at students and is published three times each year.

Articles from Vol. 59, No. 12, December

Africans in the Indian Mutiny: For Centuries, Africans Were Shipped to the Indian Subcontinent and Sold as Slaves to Regional Rulers. Rosie Llewellyn-Jones Tells the Story of Those Who Went to Lucknow to Serve the Nawab of Oudh and Who Joined the Indian Mutiny When He Was Deposed by the British. for This Allegiance Their Descendants, Whom She Has Traced, Still Pay a Price
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] During the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58, the British were faced by highly professional opponents in the city of Lucknow. Soldiers were repeatedly picked off by a sniper who was positioned up a tree. When finally dislodged, the...
A Gathering Storm: The Writer and Director Stephen Poliakoff Talks to Charlotte Crow about How His View of the Recent Past Has Informed His New Film, Glorious 39, a Historical Thriller
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 'I got really gripped with the idea of what a close-run thing it was that I and my family and so many other people are here at all today as Jews, and the fact that Britain didn't do a deal with Hitler', says the renowned playwright,...
A Passion for the Post: For 400 Years the Delivery of Letters Has Been Integral to British Life. as Royal Mail Confronts an Uncertain Future, Susan Whyman Charts the Post Office's Development and Discovers, through the Correspondence of Ordinary People, Just How Much Letter Writing Meant to Them
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The Post Office has aroused passions in every century and it still does today. This was demonstrated by the response to the government's recent plans to sell off part of the Royal Mail. Email may...
By Jove! It's Christmas: Did the First Christian Roman Emperor Appropriate the Pagan Festival of Saturnalia to Celebrate the Birth of Christ? Matt Salusbury Weighs the Evidence
It was a public holiday celebrated around December 25th in the family home. A time for feasting, goodwill, generosity to the poor, the exchange of gifts and the decoration of trees. But it wasn't Christmas. This was Saturnalia, the pagan Roman winter...
December 14th, 1809: Napoleon Divorces Josephine
The future Empress of the French was born in Martinique in 1763 as Marie Josephe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, daughter of a minor aristocrat. She was known as Rose or Marie and it was Napoleon who called her Josephine. At 16 she was sent to France to...
December 15th, 1859: Birth of Ludwig Zamenhof
The creator of Esperanto was born to a Jewish family in Bialystok in Poland, then under Russian rule. He was given the Hebrew name Eliezer, or Leyzer in Yiddish, which later mutated into Lazar or Lazarus and eventually to Ludovic or Ludwig. Zamenhof...
December 4th, 1959: Pu Yi, Last Emperor of China, Is Pardoned
The man known as Henry Pu Yi led one of the strangest lives of the 20th century. The last of the Manchu emperors, he succeeded to the throne as a boy of two in 1908. Three years later a revolution turned the country into a republic but, although his...
Dr Trelawney's Cabinet of Historical Curiosities: This Month's Subject: The Holly & the Ivy
The severed head of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales (c. 1228-82), killed as a rebel against Edward I, was sent to London where it was crowned with ivy and set on a pole at the Tower. Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81) would carry a hatchet with him...
Favourite Historical Experiences of 2009
Since the Christmas season is a traditional time for relaxation and reflection, it has become customary for newspapers and magazines to ask their contributors to choose the best book they have read in course of the previous year. History Today has...
From the Editor
The History and Policy Network, a group of distinguished historians eager to demonstrate the relevance of their subject to contemporary policy making, has launched a project called Bad History. It is inspired by Bad Science, the excellent and very...
Gladstone and His Cloud in the West: This Month Marks the Bicentenary of the Birth of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. Kevin Haddick Flynn Looks at the Attempt of the Grand Old Man of Liberalism to Solve the Irish Question and His Conversion to Home Rule in the Mid-1880s
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Ireland! Ireland! That cloud in the west, that coming storm, the minister of God's retribution upon cruel and inveterate and half-aroused ill justice! Gladstone, 1845. In the opinion of some, William Ewart Gladstone...
Ho, Ho Hoffnung: Mark Bryant on the Lesser-Known Caricature Work of the German-Born Gerard Hoffnung, One of Postwar Britain's Best-Loved Cartoonists
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] This year marks the 50th anniversary of the sudden death at just 34 of Gerard Hoffnung. Best known for his comic drawings for Punch and as a broadcaster, raconteur, tuba player and the creator of...
It Could Be Worse: Wallowing in Misery over This Admittedly Awful Year Betrays a Lack of Historical Perspective
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In his Guardian column of September 10th, Simon Jenkins cited an international survey which showed that, in the rankings of each countries' confidence in their national institutions, for their judiciary Britons came 16th;...
Keeping Conflict on Ice: The Antarctic Treaty, Signed 50 Years Ago, Kept the Cold Continent out of the Cold War and Fostered Collaboration on Scientific Research. the World Now Faces a Different Challenge as Climate Change Affects This Vast Region
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In November 2007 Ban Ki-moon made the first-ever visit to Antarctica by a United Nations Secretary-General. He reported that 'what I found was a place that would probably be unrecognisable to the likes of Robert Scott or Ernest...
Mithradates Scourage of Rome: The Legendary Ruler of Pontus and Creator of a Formidable Black Sea Empire Was, until Recently, One of the Most Celebrated Figures of the Classical World, a Hero of Opera, Drama and Poetry. Adrienne Mayor, Author of a New Study of the 'Poison King', Explains Why
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In the autumn of 88 BC, a massacre of more than 80,000 unsuspecting civilians took place in Anatolia (western Turkey). The victims were Roman and Italian merchants, slave-traders and tax collectors, the deeply detested settlers...
Radio: A History of Private Life
RADIO A History of Private Life Presented by Amanda Vickery BBC Radio Four [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Isn't it curious that history programming on TV has remained so resolutely focused upon wars, rulers and epoch-making turning points even...
The Afghan Quagmire: David Loyn, the Only Reporter with the Taliban When They Took Kabul in 1996, Takes Issue with Military Historian Thomas Tulenko's Analysis of Britain's 19th-Century Invasions of Afghanistan, First Published in June 1980
It is 30 years since Russia's Christmas invasion of Afghanistan, the event that tipped the country into a conflict that has still not ended and that inspired Thomas Tulenko's piece on British involvement in that country. Written within months of the...
The Battle That Gave Birth to an Empire: Two Hundred and Fifty Years Ago, Admiral Hawke Secured a Daring Victory over the French Fleet at Quiberon Bay. It Surpasses Nelson's Triumph at Trafalgar in Its Significance
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] On November 20th, 1759, the British admiral Sir Edward Hawke won a battle at sea that for its courage and elan was the equal of Trafalgar. Hawke's demolition of a French fleet in Quiberon Bay off the coast of France at St...
What Shall We Do about the Rich? as Bankers Gain Pariah Status, William D. Rubinstein Discusses Britain's Changing Attitudes towards the Wealthy
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The most important lesson to be drawn from modern history about the wealthy is that they are challenged and hated in societies where upward social mobility is blocked; but are tolerated, even lauded, in societies where upward...