Revolutions

Revolutions

From the expeditions of Captain Cook to the famous battles of the Napoleonic Wars, enjoy our large range of documentaries, interviews with historians such as David Olusoga and podcasts on this fascinating period in history. The period between the 18th and mid-19th Century saw a complete transformation of Western Culture. The Age of Revolution saw long-established monarchies, religious institutions, social systems and hierarchies challenged from below and a philosophical search for human improvement. Ideas of equality, liberty and religious tolerance traversed Europe, creating social upheaval, revolution and change. It was also a period of intense domestic and global conflict. Born out of increased globalisation was a brutal, transatlantic slave trade and the rise of imperialism.

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Revolutions
  • Sir Joseph Banks: Pioneer of British Botany

    ‘Dictator of British Botany’. ‘Autocrat of the Philosophers’. Sir Joseph Banks has been called many things over the past few centuries. A towering figure in the development of British botany and British natural history during the 18th century, he voyaged across the World with famous navigators su...

  • Rise Of Napoleon

    He was the man who would define the start of the 19th century. He has more documented victories than any other battlefield commanders in history. From a relatively humble background, he rose to become master of Europe. This is the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. Featuring historians Dr Michael Rowe, ...

  • Life and Death in Nelson's Navy

    200 years ago, Britain's Royal Navy was the most technologically advanced and supremely efficient force in the history of naval warfare.

    But what was it like to live and work on board these ships? What did the men eat? How did the ships sail? What were the weapons they used?

    In this documentar...

  • Hogarth: Into the Streets of Georgian London

    Born in London at the turn of the 18th Century, William Hogarth became one of the most iconic English painters, printmakers, pictorial satirists, social critics, and editorial cartoonists of his generation.

    Often dubbed the mirror of 18th Century London, Hogarth's most notable works include, A ...

  • 1833: The Year Britain Abolished Slavery

    1 season

    On 28 August 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act was given royal assent in Britain. This legislation terminated an institution that, for generations, had been the source of an incredibly lucrative trade and commerce.

    It was not only planters who benefitted from the significant West Indian branch of ...

  • An Indigenous History of Australia

    To date, there are over 500 different aboriginal 'nations' in Australia, all with distinctive cultures, beliefs, languages and unique histories. Since the arrival of Captain James Cook and the subsequent colonisation of the continent, many of these indigenous populations were, and continue to be ...

  • Mutiny on the Bounty: To the Ends of the Earth and Back

    In early 1789, Captain Bligh in the South Pacific suffered a mutiny among his crew on HMS Bounty. Put to sea with a small group of loyal sailors in one of the ship's boats, what followed was one of the epic stories of maritime history. For more than 40 days, Bligh and his men sailed across open P...

  • The Battle for North America

    On 13 September 1759, on the Plains of Abraham near the city of Quebec, an outnumbered British army fought a battle that would change the history of the world: the Battle of Quebec. For the past three years, Britain and France were locked in a bitter struggle for dominance in the Seven Years War:...

  • Total Victory: The Battle of Trafalgar

    Victory was total. An enemy fleet obliterated. The course of a great war determined. A hero struck down and a legend born. In October 1805 the British Royal Navy defeated the combined battle fleets of the French and Spanish empires 20 miles northwest of a promontory of rock and sand in southern S...

  • Africa: Written out of History

    Historian Luke Pepera looks at how and why the history of Africa was written out of world history. He also explores how and why, as a consequence of this, the history of Africans in Britain was written out of British history.

  • Edinburgh New Town: From Squalor to Splendour

    Alice Loxton uncovers the thrilling transformation of Edinburgh, a city which was once the most overcrowded, dangerous and pungent cities in the whole of Europe, where tottering medieval tenement blocks were surrounded by a bubbling cesspit of raw sewage. With the city bursting at its seams - and...

  • 1807: The Year Britain Abolished its Slave Trade

    1 season

    Documentary, using the academic expertise of Professor Christer Petley at the University of Southampton, exploring the rise of the Abolition movement in Britain in the late 18th century and its ultimate success in passing a bill (1807 Abolition Act) that outlawed the trade in Africans across the ...

  • Independence or Death: The Haitian Revolution

    The Haitian Revolution caused a seismic shift in global politics. When a mixture of different groups on the French colony of Saint Domingue rose against the colonists, few expected the rebellion to succeed. However, under the leadership of figures such as Toussaint L'Ouverture, Henry Christophe a...

  • Drake's Island: Plymouth's Island Fortress

    For generations, Drake's Island, situated just outside of Plymouth harbour, had been owned by the Ministry of Defence. Recently, however, this island bastion has gone into private ownership. In this documentary Bob King, the gatekeeper of Drake's Island, gives Dan an exclusive tour of this extrem...

  • A Colony in Chains: Sydney's Convict Origins

    Today, Sydney is one of the World's great metropolises. 200 years ago, it was a very different place. Sydney was a rudimentary British penal colony, established on the far side of the World in one of the most hostile environments on the planet. For the first Europeans who called Australia home, l...

  • Sir Joseph Banks: Endeavour

    This short documentary features Sir David Attenborough discussing the life and legacy of Sir Joseph Banks, botanist, scientist, explorer and President of the Royal Society. Filmed during the opening of a new Banks exhibit at The Collection Lincoln, it is a unique insight into the journey of one ...

  • Lucy Worsley on The Death of Jane Austen

    Famous the world over for her wit, social observation and insight into the lives of early 19th century women, Jane Austen remains one of the Britain’s most respected and beloved novelists. She famously lived a ‘life without incident’, but in fact new research reveals a passionate woman who fought...

  • Inside Windsor Castle: The State Rooms

    Windsor Castle has a legendary connection to the British monarchy: the longest-serving royal palace in the whole of Europe. Ever since the days of William the Conqueror, the Castle has dominated this strategic point on the banks of the Thames, overlooking west London. Over the next 1,000 years ki...

  • Waterloo: Napoleon's Final Battle

    In Spring of 1815 the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte, one of history's most accomplished generals, escaped his jailers and returned to Paris in what is known as the 'Hundred Days'. After receiving the news, the powers of Europe formed the Seventh Coalition to remove Napoleon from the French throne and...

  • Saint Helena

    They needed a prison for the most dangerous man in the World. Napoleon had seized supreme power in France. He’d marched his armies from Portugal to Moscow. But now he was a prisoner. His captors needed a prison from which escape was unthinkable. Their answer lay in the South Atlantic. A scrap of ...

  • Austerlitz: Napoleon's Greatest Victory

    The night was freezing cold. The hard ground shrouded in mist. By dawn the soldiers were on the move. It was 2 December 1805 and just outside what is now Brno, 3 mighty armies were about to fight one of the greatest battles in history. By the time the sun set, the French Emperor Napoleon Bonapart...

  • The Military Maps of George III

    Though perhaps better-remembered today for his late-reign madness and the slight issue of losing the Thirteen Colonies, King George III was also one of the world's greatest collectors of military maps. Preserved in excellent condition within Windsor Castle, these highly-detailed maps cover a rang...

  • Captain Cook's Endeavour

    Captain James Cook is one of the greatest maritime navigators in history. Born in 1728 to a Scottish father and English mother, Cook grew up in Yorkshire and soon developed a great fascination with the sea and exploration. In 1746 Cook joined the merchant shipping industry when he moved to the ne...

  • The French Revolution with David Andress

    The French Revolution was one of complete transformation, the first time in European history that the population of a country rose up with a political agenda. Professor of Modern History David Andress talks Dan through the French Revolution: the causes, the context, its significance and its wide-...