BBC World Histories Magazine10 min letti
Ibn Battuta’s Medieval Journeys Across Africa And Asia
On a piercingly clear day in June 1325, a 21-year-old Moroccan from Tangier fastened his sandals, checked he had everything he needed, and said his goodbyes to family and friends. He was setting out on Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca – a long an
BBC World Histories Magazine6 min letti
The British Invasion Of Tibet
Late in 1903, a handful of Nepalese yak herders strayed across the (unmarked) northern border. Unfortunately that incursion was into Tibet. They were met by a party of armed men who promptly dispersed their yaks. Not very friendly – but hardly a just
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
Ibn Battuta: Scholar, Judge, Explorer, Travel Writer
Revered today as the ‘Traveller of Islam’, Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Lawati al-Tanji ibn Battuta was born in the Moroccan port of Tangier in 1304. Of Berber stock, rather than an Arab, his was a family of Islamic legal scholars, an in
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
Sir Francis Edward Younghusband: Soldier, Spy, Explorer And Mystic
Francis Younghusband (1863–1942) was born in Murree, British India, son of a general in the Indian army. Taken to England at a very young age, he was schooled at Clifton College, Bristol. By nature inclined towards cavalry patrol work – ahead of the
BBC World Histories Magazine6 min letti
A 15th-century Grand Tour Of Spain And Portugal
More than a century after the Black Death devastated Europe, the danger from plague had receded but was certainly not eradicated. Periodic disease outbreaks prompted many to flee their homes. So it was in the early 1480s that a Nuremberg-based doctor
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
Hieronymus Münzer: Roaming Renaissance Man
Born in Feldkirch in Vorarlberg (now in Austria), Hieronymus Münzer (1437 or 1447–1508) studied at the University of Leipzig, where he became a lecturer. He then learned medicine in Pavia, south of Milan, where he qualified as a physician in 1477 or
BBC World Histories Magazine7 min letti
A 17th-century French Explorer’s Mission To Colonise Canada
When the French navigator and geographer Samuel de Champlain first set sail for New France (the area of North America colonised by France, some of which later became part of Canada) on 15 March 1603, it was the start of a love affair with North Ameri
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
Samuel De Champlain: Explorer, Diplomat, Cartographer, Coloniser
Samuel de Champlain (c1574–1635) was born in Brouage, a small port on the west coast of France; little is known of his childhood. He learned navigation from his father and his aunt’s husband (both mariners), and from around 1595 served with the army
BBC World Histories Magazine8 min letti
The First Known Circumnavigation By A Woman
In April 1768, two French ships, the Boudeuse and the Étoile, rode at anchor off the coast of Tahiti. Until that time, France had been unaware of the existence of the volcanic Polynesian island that later gained a reputation as an earthly paradise, b
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
Welcome
Welcome to this special issue of BBC World Histories magazine, following in the footsteps of some of history’s greatest pioneers. Combining features originally published between 2016 and 2019 with new pieces, the articles collected here offer the cha
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
Jeanne Baret: Naturalist, Pioneer, Circumnavigator
Jeanne Baret (1740–1807) was born to poor parents in the Burgundy region of central France. In her early twenties she was engaged as housekeeper to one of the brightest young scientists in France, Philibert Commerson (or Commerçon), and became his mi
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
BBC World Histories
The website of BBC World Histories and our sister magazines, BBC History Magazine and BBC History Revealed, is packed with thought-provoking world history content. New episodes of our award-winning podcast are published each week, and feature discuss
BBC World Histories Magazine7 min letti
A 19th-century Revolutionary Campaign Across The Andes
In January 1817, a band of soldiers particularly ill-suited to the cold, breathless conditions of the high Andes tramped over lofty passes from western Argentina into Chile. Not only had they little or no experience of the effects of altitude, around
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
World Histories
Editor Matt Elton matt.elton@immediate.co.uk Group editor Rob Attar Group art editor Susanne Frank Senior deputy art editor Rachel Dickens Art editor, special editions Sarah Lambert Group production editor Spencer Mizen Subeditor Rhiannon Davies Sect
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min lettiInternational Relations
José De San Martín Soldier, Politician, Reluctant Hero
José Francisco de San Martín y Matorras (1778–1850) was born in Yapeyú, near the modern-day Argentina-Brazil border, but at the age of seven moved with his Spanish parents to Málaga. He joined the Spanish army when he was 11, serving in north Africa,
BBC World Histories Magazine6 min letti
The First Greek Mission To Britain And The Arctic
On the outer facade of the Palais de la Bourse in Marseille, France, a statue of a man stands high on a plinth. Flanked by columns and protected by a pedimental roof, his body is wrapped in layers of clothing as if to ward off the chill. His face is
BBC World Histories Magazine6 min letti
An American Adventurer’s Pioneering Circuit Through The Peaks Of Central Asia
In 1826 a ragtag party of eight men, injured and starving, stumbled into the lofty Hindu Kush north-east of Kabul. They had no map, no compass, no money, not even provisions. In fact, they had no clear destination: unlike most explorers, who aim to f
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
Pytheas Of Massalia: Explorer, Geographer, Adventurer
We know almost no hard facts about Pytheas (c350–c285 BC). He is believed to have been born in the early to mid-fourth century BC in Massalia (now Marseille), on the Mediterranean coast of France, which at the time was a Greek colony. The Greek histo
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
Colonel Alexander Gardner: Traveller, Free-lance, Soldier
According to his own accounts, Alexander Haughton Campbell Gardner (c1790–1877) was born on the shores of Lake Superior, the youngest son of a Scots doctor and his half-Spanish wife, and schooled by Jesuits near the mouth of the Colorado river. After
BBC World Histories Magazine6 min letti
Pliny The Younger’s Journey To Asia Minor
When Pliny the Younger set out from Rome to what’s now Turkey in the baking-hot summer of AD 111, he must have experienced at least a hint of trepidation. One trait rarely attributed to this Roman author is bravery. Today, he is best known for what h
BBC World Histories Magazine7 min lettiNature
Charles Darwin’s Expedition Through Chile
On 10 June 1834, HMS Beagle emerged from the Strait of Magellan into the open Pacific Ocean. It was a moment of huge relief in particular for one long-suffering voyager, after facing dangers “enough to make a landsman dream for a week about death, pe
BBC World Histories Magazine2 min letti
Pliny The Younger: Writer, Lawyer, Reluctant Traveller
Born in lakeside Como in northern Italy, Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 61 or 62 – c113) was probably tutored at home before being taken under the wing of his uncle, Pliny the Elder. This would be the defining relationship of the younger man’s life. The
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min lettiBiology
Charles Darwin Naturalist, Geologist, Pioneering Thinker
Charles Darwin (1809–82) was born in Shrewsbury, son of a doctor and grandson of Enlightenment thinker Erasmus Darwin. His interest in natural history having been nurtured during studies at Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities, in 1831 he sailed as n
BBC World Histories Magazine6 min letti
A Roman Poet’s Trek Through Eastern Gaul
In AD 368, the Roman emperor Valentinian I marched east from Augusta Treverorum (now Trier, in western Germany), the imperial capital of Roman Gaul, to campaign beyond the Rhine. Later that year he won a hard-fought victory against the Alamanni at th
BBC World Histories Magazine8 min letti
A Victorian Quest To Find The Source Of The Nile
It was a hot day in September 1854 when John Hanning Speke, a tall, fair-haired young former officer in the East India Company army, stepped ashore from a P&O steamship at Aden. He intended to cross from this British-held port on the southern coast o
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
Decimus Magnus Ausonius: Professor, Poet, Prime Minister
Ausonius (c310–c394) was born in Burdigala (Bordeaux), an important port in the Roman province of Aquitaine Gaul. He had a good education, studying Greek and Latin in Bordeaux and Toulouse. In 334, Ausonius became a teacher in Bordeaux. He wrote poet
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
John Hanning Speke Soldier and explorer
John Hanning Speke (1827–64) was born in north Devon to a reclusive landowner, who sent young ‘Jack’ to Barnstaple Grammar School. In 1844, Speke was commissioned into the British East India Company Army and served in the 46th Bengal Native Infantry,
BBC World Histories Magazine1 min letti
World Histories
Editor Matt Elton matt.elton@immediate.co.uk Group editor Rob Attar Group art editor Susanne Frank Senior deputy art editor Rachel Dickens Art editor, special editions Sarah Lambert Group production editor Spencer Mizen Subeditor Rhiannon Davies Sect
BBC World Histories Magazine11 min letti
Is The World Changing Faster Than Ever?
“Although life is more complex than it was, complexity itself is not change” We must start with another question: what do we mean by ‘the world’? Some regions saw their most rapid development in the distant past – Mexico on the arrival of Cortés in 1
BBC World Histories Magazine10 min lettiWorld
Why Did The West Dominate For So Long?
“Europe has always been culturally, religiously, and – most importantly – politically diverse” For most of the time since the dawn of human civilisation, Asia has been in the lead, economically and technologically. Exactly when the ascent of Europe a
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