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british history

Horace de Vere Cole and the Dreadnought Hoax

Cole was a lifelong prankster, but none of his stunts could compare with his scheme to gain access to the HMS Dreadnought by getting his friends -- including Virginia Woolf -- to pretend they were Abyssinian royalty. See more »

The Cato Street Conspiracy

Urbanization and mechanization, and all the downsides they brought with them, had continued in Great Britain in the years since the Luddite Rebellion. In response, a radical group plotted to assassinate the Prime Minister's entire cabinet. See more »

Aphra Behn, Writer and Spy

There's really not a lot concretely known about the life of Aphra Behn, who, in addition to being a spy, was a dramatist, poet, novelist, translator, and the first woman in English literature known to have made her living as a writer. See more »

Lady Jane Grey, the Nine-day Queen

For a very short time between Edward VI and Mary I, Lady Jane was, at least nominally, Queen of England and Ireland, but whether she had any right to the title is still the subject of dispute. See more »

Jamaica's Maroon Wars

Maroons are Africans and people of African ancestry who escaped enslavement and established communities in the Caribbean and parts of the Americas. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Jamaica's Maroon communities clashed with British colonial government. See more »

The Hagley Woods Murder

In 1943, a skeleton was found in a tree near Birmingham, England. More than 70 years later, it's still unknown who the deceased was and how the body ended up in an elm tree. See more »

The Cod Wars

Fishing plays vital role in the culture and economy of both the United Kingdom and Iceland. A dispute between the countries over fishing territory started off with cordial tone, and then escalated into a serious conflict. See more »

Thomas Day’s Quest for the Perfect Wife

Eighteenth-century Englishman Thomas Day decided that the only way to have a perfect wife was to create one. So he adopted two orphans and attempted to train them, sometimes in incredibly abusive ways. See more »

Knitting's Early History

Because of its functionality in providing needed clothing for humans, knitting has been around for a long time. Exactly how long isn't entirely clear, but we do know a good bit about how knitting has traveled with us humans through time. See more »

Sophia Duleep Singh, Part 2: Suffragette Princess

Sophia Duleep Singh's education was focused on turning her into a proper lady, in line with her status as a princess. But she also became deeply involved in the Women's Social and Political Union, a radical arm of the women's suffrage movement in Britain. See more »