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Historical Period

Death of Wat Tyler during the Peasants' Revolt
In May 1381, government demands to pay a poll tax started widespread rebellion in what became known as the Peasants' Revolt. Groups of people from Essex and Kent marched on London seeking social reform, inspiring others as they went. Leaders of…
John Deare's Relief of Caesar's Invasion
What could possibly have encouraged the Romans to invade a land on the edge of the known world, whose 'sky is obscured by continual rain and cloud'? Surely the Romans had enough to be doing: in western Europe, they were still occupied with…
King Henry VI
Henry VI has gone down in history as a weak and mentally unstable king, swayed too easily by his court favourites and his over-bearing wife. He is compared unfavourably with his father who had success in battle and in laying siege to towns.
Suffragettes in London
On 4 June 1913 suffragette Emily Davison stepped in front of King George V’s horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby. She was trampled and died in hospital four days later. She is recognised as a hero and martyr for women’s rights, although most of her…
John sealing the Magna Carta by Frank Wood, 1925
Magna Carta (meaning 'Great Charter') has gone into myth as the foundation of modern human and civil rights, and of our current systems of government and law. Many look to its legend to give themselves authority legally or politically, and…
Napoleon crossing the Alps
In Britain, Napoleon is seen as a villain, mainly remembered for overthrowing the government and for war. His reputation is such that a (disproven) neurosis is named after him – the ‘Napoleon complex’, which suggests all those of limited height act…
Waterloo by Denis Dighton
In 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated the French throne and was exiled to the island of Elba in the Mediterranean. By February 1815 he'd escaped, thanks to the carelessness of his 'guard', his charisma, and his ability to discern…
Operation Barbarossa
On 22 June 1941 the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa, the biggest invasion force in the history of warfare against their ally, the Soviet Union. The invasion date was planned for 15 May 1941, which would have given Hitler much more of the summer…
David Low cartoon, 1934
Starting on the night of the 30 June 1934, the Nazis removed their political opponents and paramilitary supporters in a single purge in what became known as the Night of the Long Knives. Having gained political power in the 1933 election, Hitler…
Holbein's portrait of Anne of Cleves, 1539
On 9 July 1540, Henry VIII had his marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, annulled after just six months of marriage. Following the death of his favourite wife Jane Seymour,and under the advice of Thomas Cromwell, Henry had set about finding a…
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