Archive for the ‘History’ Category


How did America come to be called America?

October 15th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

This is an interesting letter in the “Guardian” newspaper: I fear Thomas Eaton (Weekend Quiz, 12 October) is giving further credence to “fake news” from 1507, when a German cartographer was seeking the derivation of “America” and hit upon the name of Amerigo Vespucci, an obscure Florentine navigator. Derived from this single source, this made-up […]

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Remembering Gandhi 150 years after his birth

October 2nd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 and this 150th anniversary will be celebrated around the world today. I recall seeing the 1982 film “Gandhi” and this is my review of that work: “When I first saw this classic film at the cinema, the audience applauded at both the intermission and the end […]

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Have you ever been to Tiananmen Square?

September 30th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I have been to China four times and, on each occasion, I have visited Tiananmen Square in the heart of the capital Beijing. Inevitably, each time I have recalled the massacre of June 1989. In my account of the first visit in 2000, I wrote: “One advantage of seeing the palace [the Forbidden City] from […]

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‘1944: Should we bomb Auschwitz?’ – BBC2 at 9pm

September 19th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

In April 1944, two Jewish prisoners miraculously escaped from Auschwitz. When they recounted what they had left behind, their harrowing testimony revealed the true horror of the Holocaust to the outside world for the first time. They described in forensic detail the gas chambers and the full extent of the extermination programme. The news they […]

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Today is International Slavery Day …

August 23rd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

… or, to give it the full official name, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims of the tragic trans-Atlantic slave trade, one of the darkest chapters in human history. 23 August of each year […]

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Why does Iran hate Britain?

July 23rd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

They blame us (and the Russians) for the Persian famine of 1917-1919 when some two million (out of a population of 10M) died. Britain and Russia occupied the country at the time. More information here. They remember that we (and the Americans) emgineered a coup in 1953. This overthrew the democratically elected government of Mohammad […]

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A review of the new documentary film “Apollo 11”

July 16th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I was 21 and a student union leader when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon and I kept the student union building open all night so that we could witness this historic occasion live – even though they were hazy pictures on a small screen. So I thoroughly enjoyed the […]

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Did you know about these air crashes?

July 13th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

This week, I saw a really good play titled “Napoli, Brooklyn” which featured an air crash. Only when I went on the Net did I find that the crash really happened. If you’re an American reader of this blog, did you know about the incident? On Friday, 16 December 1960, a United AirlinesDouglas DC-8, bound for […]

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How can we summarise the history of the United States? Let me try …

May 29th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

My review of “A Little History Of The United States” by James West Davidson This is not just a short account (300 pages) but it is conveniently broken up into 40 brief chapters and the writing style is very accessible, even conversational, with an emphasis on personalities and stories rather than dates and statistics. The overall […]

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Have you ever heard of the city of Potosi?

May 13th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I am currently reading “A Little History Of The United States” by James West Davidson. In one of the very early chapters, he makes a mention of a place called Potosi located in what is now Bolivia. When the Spanish conquered Latin America, they discovered a huge deposit of silver at Potosi which inconveniently is […]

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