The Peninsular War, 1808-1813 | Napoleon and Europe

In Europe the political and military consequences of the Continental System formed a decisive and disastrous chapter in Napoleonic history, a chapter that opened in 1807 when the emperor decided to impose the system on Britain’s traditional ally, Portugal.

The Portuguese expedition furnished Napoleon with an excuse for the military occupation of neighboring Spain. In 1808 he overthrew the Spanish royal family and made his brother Joseph his puppet king of Spain.

The United States After World War One | The Democracies

Neither the human nor the material losses of the United States in World War I were at all comparable with those of Britain and France. American casualties were 115,000 dead and 206,000 wounded; the comparable French figures were 1,385,000 dead and 3,044,000 wounded in a population one-third as large.

Moreover, in purely material terms, the United States probably gained from the war. Yet in some ways the American postwar revulsion against the war was as marked as that in Britain, France, and defeated Germany.

Le Grand Monarque

At age twenty-two Louis XIV already displayed an impressive royal presence, as reported by Madame de Motteville (d. 1689), an experienced observer of the French court:

The Battle of Britain | The Second World War

The Germans had not really worked out a plan for dealing with Britain. Hitler seems to have believed that with France out of the war, Britain would make a separate, compromise peace in which Germany would dominate the Continent of Europe and Britain would retain its overseas empire.

The Christian Triumph as a Historical Problem | Judaism and Christianity

Why did Christianity triumph in the fourth century? It began as a despised sect in a rich, well-organized, sophisticated society, yet it took over that society. In general, we might postulate the need for a religion of peace in the savage and insecure world of Rome. Jesus’ teachings gave Christianity certain advantages over the mystery cults. For example, the cult of Isis lacked a missionary priesthood and was chiefly for women. The complexity of its rites and the lack of a great leader or teacher to make clear the ideas associated with the cult gave it little sustained popular appeal.

The Fall of Byzantium, 1081-1453 | The Late Middle Ages in Eastern Europe

During its last 372 years, the fate of the Byzantine Empire increasingly depended upon western Europe. The flood of crusaders first made the Byzantines uneasy and ultimately destroyed them. From 1204 to 1261, while the Byzantine government was in exile from its own capital, its chief aim was to drive out the hated Latins. But even after the Byzantine leaders had recaptured Constantinople in 1261, they still could not shake off the West.

The Western attitude is revealed in the crisp words of the great fourteenth-century Italian poet Petrarch:

The Industrial Society

When the Liverpool and Manchester Railway line opened in September of 1830, the railway train—drawn by the Rocket, then the fastest and strongest of the locomotives—ran down and killed William Huskisson, a leading British politician and an ardent advocate of improving transport and communication, who had under-estimated its speed. This, the first railway accident in history, was symbolic of the new age to come, which benefited many, brought destruction to some, and transformed society far more rapidly than anyone had predicted.

The November Revolution | The Russian Revolution of 1917

The provisional government faced a crisis. Kerensky, now war minister, emerged as the dominant leader. He failed to realize that it was no longer possible to restore the morale of the armies. A new offensive ordered on July 1 collapsed as soldiers refused to obey orders, deserted their units, and hurried home to their villages, eager to seize the land. The soviets became gradually more and more Bolshevik in their views. Although the June congress of soviets in Petrograd was less than 10 percent Bolshevik, the Bolshevik slogans of peace, bread, and freedom won overwhelming support.

Egyptian Society | The First Civilizations

The chief social unit was the monogamous family, and thus even a pharaoh, who was entitled to have a harem of wives and concubines, would have a chief wife. Women were not fully subordinate to men: They could own property and, under certain conditions, inherit it; they might also enter into business agreements. Most unusual in ancient societies, women could succeed to the throne. Though in theory all of the land was the property of the pharaoh, it was in fact generally held by individuals.

After Charlemagne: The Northmen | The Early Middle Ages in Western Europe

Charlemagne’s conquests in Germany had for the first time brought the home ground of many of the barbarians into Christendom. Still outside lay Scandinavia, from whose shores there began in the ninth century a new wave of invasions that hit Britain and the western parts of the Frankish lands with savage force. The Northmen conducted their raids from small ships that could easily sail up the Thames, the Seine, or the Loire.