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Ahmed Ben Bella

Ahmed Ben Bella was born in Marnia, near the Algerian-Moroccan border, although some doubt remains about whether the year of his birth was 1916 or 1918. One of five brothers of a farmer, in sociological terms Ben Bella’s family was part of the countryside elite that had been impoverished by French colonialism. From these rural roots Ben Bella rose to become the first post-Independence President of Algeria in 1963 and, until his overthrow in June 1965, one of the most famous leaders of the third world revolutionary movement that took off across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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Kenyatta sentenced to seven years hard labor

This Day in World History
On April 8, 1953, Jomo Kenyatta and five associates were sentenced by a British judge to seven years hard labor for allegedly directing the Mau Mau rebellion, a bloody, ongoing violent protest against European domination of what is now Kenya.

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A quiz on the Great Sea — the Mediterranean

The Trojan War. The history of piracy. The great naval battles between Carthage and Rome. The Jewish Diaspora into Hellenistic worlds. The rise of Islam. The Grand Tours of the 19th century. The mass tourism of the 20th. We may have missed World Maritime Day on March 17, but we can still admire the watery wonder of the sea and its peoples. And now a quick quiz on the history of the Mediterranean…

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An Englishman’s fascination for Egypt’s grand hotels

Imagine luxury hotels during the bygone days when explorers, travelers, and foreign occupying forces mingled. Walk into the lavish lobbies and moonlit terraces of these “gilded refuges.” Mix with delighted high-society, dining and dancing while “wintering on the Nile.” Journalist, editor, and author Andrew Humphreys recreates this world with well-documented accounts, extracts, and anecdotes; vintage photography; and full-color illustrations of travel posters, luggage labels, postcards, decorated letterheads, menus, and invitations in Grand Hotels of Egypt: In the Golden Age of Travel. We sat down with Andrew Humphreys to discuss the glamorous guests, glorious architecture, and regrettable colonialism.

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Nelson Mandela, 22 years after his release from prison

By Kenneth S. Broun
Twenty-two years ago, on the 11th of February 1990, Nelson Mandela walked out of a South African prison, a free man for the first time in twenty-seven years. He immediately assumed the leadership role that would move South Africa from a system of apartheid to a struggling but viable democracy. No one person, not even Nelson Mandela, was solely responsible for this miracle.

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Idi Amin takes power in Uganda

On January 25, 1971, General Idi Amin took advantage of the absence of President Milton Obote to stage a coup and seize power in Uganda. Amin’s turbulent rule lasted only eight years, but in that time he earned him the nickname the “Butcher of Uganda.”

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Algeria’s televised coup d’état

By Martin Evans
On 11 January 1992 the Algerian President, the white-haired sixty-one year old Chadli Bendjedid, announced live on television that he was standing down as head of state with immediate effect. Nervous and ill at ease, the president read out a brief prepared statement. In it he explained his decision as a necessary one. Why? Because the democratic process which he had put in place two years earlier could no longer guarantee law and order on the streets.

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Frantz Fanon: Third world revolutionary

By Martin Evans
Frantz Fanon died of leukaemia on 6 December 1961 at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, USA where he had sought treatment for his cancer. At Fanon’s request, his body was returned to Algeria and buried with full military honours by the Algerian National Army of Liberation, shortly after the publication of his most influential work, The Wretched of the Earth.

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In your face in Cairo

By Brian K. Barber
I had learned from Kholoud that Aly would be in Cairo this week. So, as soon as I arrived on Monday night I called while walking through Tahrir Square. He picked up but the reception wasn’t good. He said he was also in the Square, that he was headed to drop off his bags, and would call later. I didn’t hear back from him.

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Barnard performs first heart transplant

This Day in World History
For five hours, the thirty-person surgical team worked in an operating room in Cape Town, South Africa. The head surgeon, Dr. Christiaan Barnard, was leading the team into uncharted territory, transplanting the heart of a young woman killed in a car accident into the chest of 55-year-old Louis Washkansky.

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Carter finds King Tut’s tomb

This Day in World History – For years, archeologist Howard Carter had poked and probed in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, hoping to repeat the success he had enjoyed in 1902, when he discovered the tombs of the pharaohs Hapshetsut and Thutmose IV. On November 4, 1922, he discovered his first sign of his greatest success. His crews had been digging among a cluster of ancient stone huts that had housed Egyptian workers thousands of years before. In the morning of Saturday, November 4, Carter found an ancient step.

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Soon facing Iranian nuclear missiles

By Professor Louis René Beres
Admiral Leon “Bud” Edney
General Thomas G. McInerney

For now, the “Arab Spring” and its aftermath still occupy center-stage in the Middle East and North Africa. Nonetheless, from a regional and perhaps even global security perspective, the genuinely core threat to peace and stability remains Iran. Whatever else might determinably shape ongoing transformations of power and authority in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Saudi Arabia, it is apt to pale in urgency beside the steadily expanding prospect of a nuclear Iran.

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Haile Selassie I takes throne of Ethiopia

This Day in World History – On Sunday, November 2, 1930, thirty-eight-year old Ras (Prince) Tafari Makonnen was proclaimed emperor of Ethiopia, taking the name Haile Selassie I, which means “Power of the Trinity.” Though taking place in the twentieth century, the ceremony reached back thousands of years, as Ethiopia’s Menelik dynasty claimed descent from Solomon, ancient king of Israel, and the Queen of Sheba, one of his wives. To prepare for the coronation, seven groups of seven priests gathered in the seven corners of the national cathedral and chanted for seven days and seven nights psalms written by King David. The morning of the coronation, priests chanted and drummers drummed.

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Why should anyone care about Sudan?

2011 Place of the Year

By Andrew S. Natsios
For more than two centuries, Sudan has attracted an unusual level of attention beyond its own borders. This international interest converged in the last decade of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century as four independent forces met.

First, there is the rebellion in Darfur, which has generated greater international concern than any other recent humanitarian crisis. This long-neglected western region has been intermittently at war since the 1980s and claimed the lives of 300,000 Darfuris in its most recent phase. The rebellion beginning in 2002 led to an ongoing humanitarian emergency, costing Western governments

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