banner image


    Angola was rich in natural resources, had a large petroleum industry, and had the potential to be a major agricultural producer. From 2002 to 2010, Angola experienced astounding economic growth. In 2004 the GDP grew by 12.2%, by 19% in 2005, and by over 20% in 2000. In 2010, Angola surpassed Nigeria as the largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

    As of 2011, Angola was producing about 1.6 million barrels per day, which for technical reasons, was well under its estimated capacity of 1.9 million barrels. Angola was a member of OPEC, but OPEC was not enforcing quotas. Crude oil accounts for 95% of exports, more than 72% of government revenues, and over 50% of the country's GDP. On the UN Human Development Index (HDI), Angola ranked 148th of 187 countries worldwide in 2010, falling within the “low development” category. The HDI is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standards of living for countries worldwide. It is a standard means of measuring well-being, especially child welfare.

    Adapted from: "Angola." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations, edited by Timothy L. Gall and Derek M. Gleason, 13th ed., vol. 2: Africa, Gale, 2012, pp. 19-34

    "War-torn Angola on Brink of Great Expanison of Oil Output as Black Gold Starts to Flow." Financial Times, 7 Jan. 2000

    "Angola Aims to Redistribute Its Oil Wealth." Financial Times, 1 Dec. 2005

    Lapper, Richard. "Systemic problems threaten progress." Combating Malaria. Financial Times, 23 Apr. 2010


    Apartheid existed in South Africa from 1948 until 1991, allowing institutionalized racism and segregation across many areas of daily life. During this time, many anti-apartheid groups such as the African National Congress (ANC) were banned, and notable anti-apartheid leaders – such as Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) – were imprisoned.

    Following president P.W. Botha’s (1916-2006) stroke and subsequent resignation in 1989, his successor F.W. de Clerk (1936-present) announced in his first address to parliament (February 1991) that the ban on anti-apartheid groups such as the ANC were to be lifted. Alongside this, figures such as Mandela would be released, press freedom was restored, and the death penalty was repealed, among other sweeping changes. 

    During the early 1990s, negotiations were held that gradually deconstructed the legal framework that allowed apartheid to be enforced, and in 1993 de Klerk and Mandela were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Despite violence during these years, in 1994 South Africa had its first election under universal suffrage. The ANC won the election on 27 April, with Nelson Mandela sworn in as South Africa’s first post-apartheid president – April 27 is still celebrated as Freedom Day in South Africa.

    Waldmeir, Patti. "De Klerk Lifts Ban OnANC." Financial Times, 3 Feb. 1990

    "The Economics of Ending Apartheid." Financial Times, 12 Mar. 1991

    "A Powerful Spirit of Unity." South Africa: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 18 July 1994


    From 1952 to 1960, violent conflict took place between parts of the British Army and Mau Mau in British Kenya. “Mau Mau” was used as an overall name for various aligned factions of the Kikuyu, Kenya’s largest ethnic group.

    After some early acts of violence, a State of Emergency was declared, and military activity mobilised. Mau Mau leaders were arrested, including Jomo Kenyatta (c.1890-1978), with various operations launched to detain key figures and gain intelligence on the various Mau Mau groups operating throughout the country. In January 1955, Governor-General of Kenya Evelyn Baring (1903-1973) offered an amnesty to the Mau Mau, revoked in June after receiving no response. The end of the rebellion and British military activity came in 1956 with the capture of Dedan Kimathi (1920-1957), though the conflict is regarded as ending in 1960 when native Kenyan majority rule was established and Kenya began to move toward independence.

    After being released in 1959 and living in exile until 1961, Jomo Kenyatta became leader of the Kenya Africa National Union (KANU), and won the general election in 1963. He became the first Prime Minister of Kenya, overseeing the transition from a British Colony to an independent republic, of which he became President until his death.

    "Kenya Situation Deteriorates." Financial Times, 26 Nov. 1952

    Hogg's, S. R. "Dwa Plantations." Financial Times, 17 June 1954

    Our Foreign Staff. "Corfield Report on Mau Mau." Financial Times, 1 June 1960


    On Valentine's Day (February 14th) 2013, Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius (1986-) killed his partner Reeva Steenkamp (1983-2013rius claimed he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder, and shot her through the door of the bathroom. Pistorius had become the first Paralympian to compete in the Summer Olympics in 2012, and had become one the most recognised athletes of the modern era.

    The case opened on March 3rd 2014 at the High Court of South Africa, with portions of the trial broadcast on television, and the entire broadcast through audio. Initially, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide, and on October 21st 2014 was sentenced to (a maximum of) five years prison time. The verdict received a mixed review, with some claiming the short duration showed that bias and preferential treatment toward white South African's was still present in post-Apartheid South Africa, while some felt the sentence was too harsh and that Pistorius was used being used as an example. In December 2015 the sentence for culpable homicide was overturned, and Pistorius was convicted of murder, with a six year prison sentence. After a state appeal, the prison sentence was more than doubled, making Pistorius' prison term over thirteen years.

    England, Andrew. "Pistorius Tells Court He Feared 'Intruder' Attack." Financial Times, 20 Feb. 2013

    England, Andrew. "Pistorius Begins Five-Year Jail Term for Killing." Financial Times, 22 Oct. 2014

    England, Andrew. "Pistorius Faces 15 Years' Jail for Murder." Financial Times, 4 Dec. 2015


    From 1990, Rwanda had been in a state of civil war, fought between the Hutu-led government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), largely formed of Tutsi refugees. Violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions had been ongoing since Rwandan independence in 1963, until a ceasefire in 1993 after international pressure on Juvénal Habyarimana’s (1937-1944) government.

    The ceasefire ended when Habyarimana was assassinated in April 1994, starting with Tutsis and moderate Hutus being executed by police, soldiers and militia. The genocide occurred between April and July 1994, when nearly 70% of the Tutsi population were killed, with estimates of 500,000 to 1,000,000 people killed over a 100-day period, and another 2,000,000 Rwandans were displaced. The RPF gained control of the northern part of Rwanda and eventually the capital, Kigali, by the end of July 1994, beginning the end of the massacre. The depopulation had severe consequences on the economy, and many Hutu’s fled to neighbouring countries, prompting further cross-border military actions.

    The genocide has had many legacies in the international world, especially as a contributing factor to the establishment of the International Criminal Court to prosecute crimes against humanity and war crimes, and many countries (including the United Kingdom, France and Belgium) were heavily criticized for their inaction during the atrocities.

    "Death Toll at Hutu Refugee Camp is 5,000, Says UN." Financial Times, 24 Apr. 1995

    "Zaire Thinks the Unthinkable on Refugess." Financial Times, 24 Aug. 1995

    "Much to Answer for." Financial Times, 24 July 1996

  • ASIA


    China realized its Olympic goal on July 13, 2001, when the International Olympic Committee voted to make Beijing the host city for the 2008 Olympics. Having won the right to host the Olympics, the city of Beijing splurged on preparations for tens of thousands of visitors. Taxi drivers were taught English. The city constructed new subways and light rails, new highways, and a new airport terminal. Construction sites appeared all over the city. The Chinese government contracted with world-famous architects to build a new Olympic stadium, dubbed the Bird’s Nest, for its intricate steel webbing, and a swimming site known as the Water Cube because of its unique exterior.

    The Beijing Olympics opened on August 8, 2008, with a total of 10,500 athletes from every one of the 204 member nations of the International Olympic Committee except Brunei. In the competitions, China led the world in gold medals with 51; the United States was second with 36, followed by Russia with 23 and Great Britain with 19. Chinese athletes accumulated 100 medals overall. China did best in gymnastics, earning 11 gold medals, while garnering 8 in weightlifting, 7 in diving, 4 in shooting, 4 in table tennis, and 3 in badminton.

    Adapted from: "Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympic Games." Encyclopedia of Modern China, edited by David Pong, vol. 3, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2009, pp. 54-57

    Kuper, Simon. "Beijing strikes gold in the propaganda Olympics." Financial Times, 29 Sept. 2007

    Dickie, Mure, and Justine Lau. "Attack on journalists puts China under fire." Financial Times, 26 July 2008

    Dyer, Geoff. "Beijing's burden." Financial Times, 23 Sept. 2008


    After 156 years of British rule, midnight on the 30th June 1997 saw the transition to the Hong Kong special administrative region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China, with Hong Kong officially transferring to Chinese sovereignty.

    The transition process had begun 13 years previously, with the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong being signed by the two governments in December 1984. The relationship had run steadily until the appointment of Chris Patten (1944-present) as Governor of Hong Kong in 1992, who introduced many policies designed to introduce democratic elections to the Legislative Council, that would have given the population of Hong Kong a greater voice in the running of the country – China saw this a going back on earlier agreements, and voted to have the Legislative Council disbanded. There were many concerns in Hong Kong and abroad that China would not stick to the "one country, two systems" plan, fearing that China would reduce and limit the rights of Hong Kong’s residents, imposing a similar method of rule used in Singapore.

    After a lavish ceremony attended by important political figures, the handover went ahead as planned, and – despite the concerns - Hong Kong remained stable for several months after the handover was complete.

    Dodwell, David. "Both Sides Ratify Hong Kong Pact." Financial Times, 28 May 1985

    "Fine-tuning or a Complete Overhaul?" Hong Kong Returns to China: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 16 June 1997

    Jonquiéres, Guy De. "Risks and Rewards." Hong Kong Returns to China: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 16 June 1997


    From 1986 to 1991, the Japanese asset price bubble (baburu keiki) saw highly inflated prices on the stock market, and especially in the property market. Rapid credit expansion and uncontrolled money supply, among other factors, began to take their toll, and the economy finally crashed in 1992.

    Signs of a possible collapse had been visible as early as 1988, and commercial land prices in the capital began to plateau, and residential land prices dropped by over 4%. In 1991, asset price began to fall, and by 1992 the economy entered a decline that lasted over a decade, often referred to as the 'Lost Decade'. Many financial institutions entered periods of great difficulty, and land prices in Tokyo fell sharply. By 1992, land prices in urban areas had dropped by nearly 2%, with the six major cities being worst hit, where residential land prices dropped by nearly 18%. 

    Consumption and investment dropped, and consumer confidence was severely shaken, and there was a drop in average household income. This led to long term deflation, and property prices did not begin to rise again until 2007. 

    "Japan's Downturn Reaches the Provinces." Financial Times, 11 Dec. 1992

    "Foreign Investors Sniff Recovery." Japan: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 13 July 1999

    Whipp, Lindsay. "Decades of pain but still no relief for Japan." Financial Times, 28 Oct. 2008


    The Khmer Rouge were a radical movement that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, during which time an estimated 1.5 to 2 million Cambodians died. The atrocities prompted a joint operation between the United Nations and the government of Cambodia - the Khmer Rouge Tribunal – which began indicting former leaders and key figures in 2007.

    In 1951 the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party was founded, eventually becoming the Communist Party of Kampuchea. After years of clandestine activity against Prince Norodom Sihanouk (1922-2012), the King of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge entered into a coalition with Sihanouk, gaining more support from countryside followers due to Sihanouk’s popularity. A civil war ran from 1970 to 1975 while the support grew, culminating in the Khmer Rouge successfully taking Phnom Penh in 1975 and establishing a national government.

    The Khmer’s leader, Pol Pot (1925-1998) became Prime Minister, until invading Vietnamese troops deposed the Khmer Rouge in 1979, though the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (incorporating the remains of the Khmer Rouge) were internationally recognized as the government of Cambodia until 1993. In 1997, after years of continued guerrilla fighting, Pol Pot was arrested, before he died in 1998.

    Dalby, Stewart, and Kevin Rafferty. "Cambodia: Some Facts and a Lot of Queries about Khmer Rouge." Financial Times, 15 Apr. 1975

    "How the Khmer Rouge Began to Change the Face of Cambodia." Financial Times, 9 May 1975

    "The Khmer Rouge Inheritance." Financial Times, 19 Mar. 1990


    On 3 June 1959, Singapore became a self-governing state, and on 16 September 1963, it joined the new Federation of Malaysia (formed by bringing together the previously independent Malaya and Singapore and the formerly British-ruled northern Borneo territories of Sarawak and Sabah). However, Singapore, with its predominantly urban Chinese population and highly commercial economy, began to find itself at odds with the Malay-dominated central government of Malaysia. Frictions mounted, and on 9 August 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia to become wholly independent as the Republic of Singapore

    In November 1965, following separation from Malaysia, Singapore's newly independent government introduced measures to restrict the flow of Malaysians entering the country in search of work. These immigrants, who averaged 10,000 a year up to 1964, had to establish residence for several years to qualify for citizenship. 

    Adapted from: "Singapore." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations, edited by Timothy L. Gall and Jeneen M. Hobby, 12th ed., vol. 4: Asia and Oceania, Gale, 2007

    Our Own Correspondent. "Singapore's Split with Malaysia." Financial Times, 10 Aug. 1965

    Our Commodities Staff. "Singapore Rubber Exports up." Financial Times, 14 Jan. 1966

    Our Own Correspondent. "Malaysian Move against Singapore Citizens." Financial Times, 20 Apr. 1966



    On 22nd July 2011, a car bomb exploded outside the office of the Norwegian prime minister in Oslo, killing at least eight, wounding dozens, and causing havoc in the government district of one of Europe's most tranquil capitals. Two hours later, a man disguised as a police officer opened fire at a youth retreat organized by Norway's ruling Labour Party. Many children were among the 86 shot to death on the island of Utøya. Some reports in the immediate wake of the bombing suggested the likelihood that an Islamic terrorist group was responsible.

    However, later in the day, police announced the arrest of Anders Behring Breivik (1979–), a 32-year-old Norwegian. The police had captured Breivik, with weapons in hand, shortly after arriving on Utøya, more than an hour after the shooting spree began. Breivik also confessed to detonating the car bomb. It was soon revealed that on the day of the attacks, Breivik had circulated online a manifesto more than 1500 pages long, calling for the defense of European Christianity from the long-term effects of immigration and multiculturalism, particularly from the growing presence of Muslims on the continent.

    Adapted from: "Echoes of Oklahoma in Scandinavian Horror." Global Issues in Context Online Collection, Gale, 2018.

    Robin Wigglesworth and Quentin Peel. "Killer Personifies Rise of New Far-Right." Financial Times, 25 July 2011

    Sandbu, Martin. "I Would Have Done It Again, Says Breivik." Financial Times, 18 Apr. 2012

    Sandbu, Martin. "Breivik Given 21 Years for Norwegian Massacre." Financial Times, August 25-26 2012


    On April 25-29 1986, a series of experiments led to a catastrophic accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, with the lid being blown off reactor 4 followed by a partial meltdown of the reactor. In the immediate aftermath, the Soviet Union attempted to cover up the accident, but the eventual revelation of the incident led to international condemnation, and raised concerns about the safety and use of nuclear power.

    The radiation released into the atmosphere was greater than that caused by the atom bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and had economic and environmental consequences for several years afterwards, including births of deformed livestock and expectations of significant cancer-related deaths. Aftereffects in vegetation and plant life were forecast to last up to a century after the release of the radiation, and the movement of livestock as far away as the United Kingdom was in effect until 2012.

    Although only just over 30 deaths occurred initially, many more contracted radiation sickness which caused deaths later on. Thousands of people were evacuated from the area, and the remaining reactors were progressively closed over the next fourteen years, with the station fully decommissioned in 2000.

    Our Foreign Staff. "Serious Accident Hits Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Union." Financial Times, 29 Apr. 1986

    Fishlock, David, Science Editor. "Russia's Dangerous Secret." Financial Times, 30 Apr. 1986

    "After Chernobyl." Financial Times, 10 May 1986


    The Berlin Wall divided East and West Berlin for twenty-nine years, acting as a physical and intellectual barrier between the two sides of the city, and of Europe. After the East German Volkskammer signed a decree on August 12th 1961, construction began over the following two days, and by the early 1980s the structure extended for 28 miles (45 km) through the city.

    The plan was triggered by socio-economic concerns: between 1949 and 1961, an increasing ‘brain drain’ in East Germany threatened its economic stability. Around 2.5 million East Germans left for the West, including trained professionals and intellectuals. As a result, the East decided to stem the flow by erecting a physical barrier, blocking East German’s access to the West.

    After a series of revolutions in Eastern European countries, in 1989 the leadership of East Germany was forced from power, and on 9th November the borders between East and West were opened. Parts of the Wall were opened, and people could travel freely between the two sides. The physical demolition of the Wall happened between 1990 and 1992.

    Connock, Michael, Our East European Correspondent. "The Other Side of the Berlin Wall." Financial Times, 23 Sept. 1964

    "A Slow Return from the Cold." Financial Times, 31 July 1989

    "Cheers and Tears as the Wall Crumbles." Financial Times, 10 Nov. 1989


    In January 1999, 11 of the 15 countries in the European Union merged their national currencies into a single European currency, the Euro. This decision was motivated partly by politics and partly by hoped-for economic benefits from the creation of a single, integrated European economy. These benefits included currency stability and low Inflation, underwritten by an independent European Central Bank (a particular boon for countries with poor inflation records, such as Italy and Spain, but less so for traditionally low-inflation Germany). Furthermore, European businesses and individuals stood to save from handling one currency rather than many. Comparing prices and wages across the Euro Zone became easier, increasing competition by making it easier for companies to sell throughout the euro zone and for consumers to shop around.

    In its first few years, the euro fell sharply against the dollar, though it recovered during late 2002. Sluggish growth in some European economies led to intense pressure for interest rate cuts, and to the stability and growth pact being breached, though not scrapped. Even so, by 2009 16 of the 27 member countries of the European Union had adopted the euro, and the currency was informally used by five other countries.

    Adapted from: Bishop, Matthew. "Economic and Monetary Union." The Economist Economics: An A-Z Guide, Profile Books, 2009

    "Euro-zone Poised to Slip the Shackles." Financial Times, 11 Sept. 1999

    "The Construction of Europe." Financial Times, 1 Jan. 2000

    Lombardi, Domenico, and Jim O'Neill. "How Europe can shape the Fund." Financial Times, 9 Apr. 2008


    The Srebrenica massacre occurred in July 1995, with over 20,000 civilians displaced, and estimates of between 7,000-8,000 Bosnian Muslim men killed by Bosnian Serb forces. In 1992, Bosnian Serbs aimed to take control of Srebrenica, culminating in a cordon being established in 1995 under the orders of the president of the Bosnian Serb Republic, Radovan Karadžić (1945-present). The cordon limited important supplies, forcing Bosnian Muslims to leave the area. Later in 1995, operation Krivaja was started, and the offensive began in July with Serb forces marching on Srebrenica.

    Despite a group of Dutch peacekeeprs being present in the nearby town of Potočari (where many from Srebrenica fled), little resistance was made. On July 11, Bosnian Serb forces promised security if the opposition surrendered: when they did surrender, many were executed. Over the next few days, a wave of executions continued in more towns along the Bosnian-Serbian border. In following years, the UN accepted partial blame for failing to protect the Bosnian Muslims, after they had designated it a “safe area” in 1993. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia ruled that the events combined to genocide, the first in Europe since World War II.

    Mauthner, Robert, Diplomatic Editor. "Bosnian Push 'To Prevent a Massacre'." Financial Times, 9 Mar. 1993

    "Breakthrough for a Broken Land." Financial Times, 2 Aug. 1993

    Martin, Harriet, and Sarajevo Correspondent. "Serbs Begin the Ethnic Cleansing of Srebrenica." Financial Times, 13 July 1995



    On November 12 19670, the deadliest tropical cyclone on record hit the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta in East Pakistan. Estimates of the death toll vary from 300,000 to 500,000, with the Tazumuddin Upazila (the worst affected area) seeing 45% of its population killed.

    The remnants of Tropical Storm Nora had moved from the South China Sea over the Malay Peninsula on November 5th, and contributed to the formation of a new depression in the Bay of Bengal on November 8th. The storm made landfall on the east coast of Pakistan at high tide on November 12th, causing an accompanying storm surge that flooded large areas. Of the casualties, most died from drowning in the floods. The immediate aftermath had a significant effect on the history of the country: the heavily criticized response to the disaster contributed to a change in government a few weeks after the cyclone, and the deteriorating political condition culminated in a war that saw East Pakistan become independent in 1971 under the name it is now known: Bangladesh.

    It was also a decisive factor in improved natural disaster responses: the League of Red Cross Societies drafted a new plan for disaster response in similar areas, and later the UN General Assembly adopted proposals for improved aid provision to avoid similar fallout in the future.

    "The Disaster That Looks Beyond Relief." Financial Times, 21 Nov. 1970

    "Big Pakistani Plan to Rebuild Disaster Area." Financial Times, 30 Nov. 1970

    Rafferty, Kevin. "Still a Great Deal to Be Done." Financial Times, 22 Dec. 1970


    On December 3 1984, thousands of people were killed in Bhopal, India, after 45 tonnes of methyl isocyanate escaped from an insecticide plant. The final death toll is estimated to be between 15,000 and 20,000 people, with several hundred thousand survivors suffering a range of medical complications from blindness to respiratory problems. 

    Tens of thousands attempted to flee Bhopal as the gas drifted through densely populated neighbourhoods around the plant: investigators later concluded that substandard operating and safety procedures, coupled with understaffing, caused the leak. In 2010, several former Union Carbide executives (the American owners of the plant at the time of the disaster) were convicted of negligence.

    As late as the early twenty-first century, over 400 tonnes of industrial waste were still present at the Bhopal site, with reports of ongoing health issues and high rates of birth defects attributed to elevated levels of soil and water contamination.

    Jackson, Tony. "Insecticide Ingredient Cause of Tragedy." Financial Times, 4 Dec. 1984

    Jackson, Tony. "The Grim Lessons of Bhopal." Financial Times, 7 Dec. 1984

    Sharma, K. K., et al. "Paralysis Fear for Bhopal Survivors." Financial Times, 7 Dec. 1984


    Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) played a pivotal role in India’s move for independence, leading the Indian independence movement. His advocacy and example of nonviolent civil disobedience became inspirational to many subsequent movements worldwide, and has had a lasting cultural impact. He was assassinated on January 30 1948 by Nathuram Godse (1910-1949), a Hindu nationalist.

    Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) – no relation to Mohandas – served as prime minister from 1966 until 1977, and again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984. She was the first female prime minister of India, and was noted for her strong leadership and centralising policies. She was assassinated in October 1984 by Sikh nationalists working as her bodyguards.

    Rajiv Gandhi (1944-1991) – son of Indira – served as Prime Minister from 1984 until 1991. He was sworn in to office following the assassination of his mother, becoming the youngest prime minister of India. His tenure was marked by many incidents, including the Bhopal gas disaster and the Bofors scandal. He was assassinated by a suicide bomber in May 1991, in an explosion that also killed over twenty other people during election campaigning.

    "Mr. Gandhi Killed." Financial Times, 31 Jan. 1948

    "World Mourns a Forceful Figure." Financial Times, 1 Nov. 1984

    Our Foreign Staff. "Ganhi Dies in Bomb Blast before Election Meeting." Financial Times, 22 May 1991


    On April 13, 1919, British troops fired on a peaceful protest in the city of Amritsar in northern India. An estimated one thousand people were killed and another fifteen hundred injured. In the wake of the massacre, many of those who had previously been content to live under British rule began to rally on the side of those supporting independence.  The INC (Indian National Congress party) leader, Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948), launched a campaign of nonviolent protest and non-cooperation with British rule. In 1929 the INC created a resolution asking Britain to give India full independence and promised a new campaign of civil disobedience if the petition was not granted.

    On August 16, 1946, the Direct Action Day ended in a week-long violent clash between Muslims and Hindus in Calcutta that left four thousand people dead. The violence spread throughout the country, and was enough to convince the British government that it could no longer maintain order in India. In 1947 the British viceroy, Lord Mountbatten (1900–1979), announced that India would be given independence. On August 14, 1947, independent Pakistan came into being, led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1876–1948) as governor-general. Just after midnight on August 15, INC leader Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964) proclaimed India's independence.

    Adapted from: "India Gains Independence from Great Britain." Global Events: Milestone Events Throughout History, edited by Jennifer Stock, vol. 2: Asia and Oceania, Gale, 2014, pp. 362-365

    Our Own Correspondent. "India's Economic Problems." Financial Times, 13 Aug. 1949

    "India's Crisis Grows More Serious." Financial Times, 18 Feb. 1965

    "India 50 Years of Independence." India 50 Years of Independence: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 24 June 1997


    Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (1899–1959) was a Sri Lankan political leader and prime minister (1956–59). In 1936, he founded the Sinhala Maha Sabha, a radical pro-Singhalese organization that operated as a faction in the dominant Ceylon National Congress (CNC). When the CNC was transformed into the United National Party (UNP) in 1946, Bandaranaike feared he would be sidelined by the dominant party leaders and after independence (1948) he established in 1951 his own party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). From the beginning, the SLFP, which advocated an anti-imperialist, anti-minority, and pro-Singhalese program, attempted to mobilize voters that had not been reached by the UNP or that felt alienated by its pro-Western policy and attitudes. 

    In 1956, Bandaranaike, under the slogan "Sinhala only," succeeded in integrating diverse Singhalese special interest and social groups in a de facto movement: the ad hoc party alliance, Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP). Based on this network, the SLFP persuaded voters that "Sinhala only" meant the reestablishment of the political, economic, and cultural hegemony of the "Sinhala" people, the "lion race," in addition to the establishment of Sinhala as the exclusive language of state. The SLFP was unable immediately to fulfil these ambitions, and in 1959 Solomon Bandaranaike was shot by a disgruntled Buddhist monk.

    Adapted from: Roesel, Jakob. "Bandaranaike, Solomon West Ridgeway Diaz." Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, edited by Karen Christensen and David Levinson, vol. 1, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002

    a Financial Times Correspondent. "Ceylon's New Leader." Financial Times, 12 Apr. 1956

    Sir Percival Griffiths. "Unrest in Ceylon." Financial Times, 19 Aug. 1958

    "Bid to Kill Premier of Ceylon." Financial Times, 26 Sept. 1959



    Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (1928-1967), better known as “Che” Geuvara, was a prominent figure in the Cuban Revolution, and guerrilla leader in South America. During his medical studies, he travelled extensively throughout South America, and his experiences were pivotal in forming his philosophy that revolution was the solution to the various social problems. His experience of a CIA-supported overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz (1913-1971) in Guatemala in 1954 prompted Guevara to bring about socialism by revolution.

    He left for Mexico and met brothers Fidel (1926-2016) and Raúl Castro (1931-present), and after the successful campaign to overthrow Fulgencio Batista (1901-1973) in Cuba, Guevara served in various notable positions in the new government. After becoming disillusioned, he left Cuba: after supporting various efforts in Africa, he travelled to Bolivia, where he was detained and killed by the Bolivian army in 1967. Guevara has served as a strong symbol in both revolutionary politics and popular culture since his death, and debates about his life and legacy continue to this day.

    Rutherford, Malcolm, Diplomatic Correspondent. "An Island Road to Communism." Financial Times, 11 Aug. 1967

    "The Unimportance of 'Che' Guevara." Financial Times, 16 Oct. 1967

    Smith, Charles. "Military Coup in Bolivia." Financial Times, 27 Sept. 1969


    François Duvalier (1907-1971), better known as “Papa Doc”, was elected president of Haiti in 1957. During his despotic rule, electoral manipulation in 1961 led to the United States withdrawing aid to Haiti, and he declared himself president for life in 1964. Along with his aide Clèment Barbot (1914-1963), they formed the Tontons Macoutes as a private militia to enforce their rule. Duvalier had Barbot imprisoned in 1959, and then assassinated after his release in 1963 after he had plotted to overthrow Duvalier by kidnapping his children. 

    His son Jean-Claude Duvalier (1951-2014), better known as “Baby Doc”, took over the role of president aged 19 after his father’s death. Despite instigating reforms under the guise of democratization, very little about the regime changed. Baby Doc fled Haiti in 1986 due to increasing social unrest, and a military council led the country in his absence. The council urged Baby Doc to be extradited to face charges of human rights violations, and he was arrested on his return to Haiti in 2011 (though later released). He died in 2013, after attending a pre-trial hearing, avoiding possible conviction.

    Jean-Bertrand Aristide (1953-present) became president in 1990, winning the country’s first democratic election, and was inaugurated in 1991. Making sweeping reforms, positive progress was halted as he was ousted in a coup later that year. Living in exile until 1994, he returned to lead the country again, but rules against consecutive terms meant he had to stand down in 1996. After forming a new party in 1997, he was elected president for a third time in 2000.

    a Special Correspondent. "Papa Doc Rides out the Storm." Financial Times, 30 June 1967

    "Violence Threatens Haiti's Struggle for Democracy." Financial Times, 29 Oct. 1987

    Spindler, William, and Jurek Martin. "Porous Haiti Embargo Hits the Poor Most." Financial Times, 9 June 1993


    In 1973, General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte (1915-2006) led the military junta that deposed Salvador Allende (1908-1973) as the president of Chile, and led the military government from 1974 until 1990. During his tenure (and beyond), Pinochet’s regime was accused of torturing opposition and condemned for its suppression tactics, but inversely during the late 1970s Chile saw an economic boom due to the policies put in place by the government. Despite a recession in the early 1980s, Chile’s economy stayed largely stable during Pinochet’s rule. Despite losing a referendum in 1988, Pinochet stayed in power until the free elections in 1990, and was succeeded by Patricio Alwyn (1918-2016).

    During a visit to London in 1998, Pinochet was arrested after Spain requested his extradition, on the grounds of accusations of torture of Spanish citizens in Chile during his presidency. The international interest sparked several major investigations, and in 2000 he was stripped of his diplomatic immunity, but charges were dropped in 2002 after he was deemed mentally incapable of defending himself in court. He was ruled capable of standing trial for illegal financial dealing among other charges in 2005, but died in 2006.

    "Chileans Prepare for the Era of Democracy." Financial Times, 14 Dec. 1989

    "Government Defends Arrest of 'Brutal Dictator' Pinochet." Financial Times, 19 Oct. 1998

    "Ruthless Despot Who Presided over Terror and Economic Reform." Financial Times, 11 Dec. 2006


    Maurice Bishop (1944-1983) was a leader of the New Jewel Movement which proclaimed the independence of Grenada in 1974. After a 1979 coup he served as prime minister of Grenada until his death in a subsequent coup in 1983.

    On November 18 1973, Bishop and five members of the New Jewel Movement were attacked and brutally beaten by Eric Mathew Gairy's Mongoose Gang (1922-1997). "Bloody Sunday," as the event came to be called, coalesced the opposition to Gairy. On March 13 1979, Bishop and his followers seized control of the government of Grenada and suspended the constitution. Bishop's government, despite its achievements, failed to hold elections and stifled a free press and the opposition.

    On October 13 1983, Bishop was placed under house arrest. On October 19, a crowd of supporters released him and marched to the military compound at Fort Rupert. There troops captured and executed Bishop, three cabinet members, two labour leaders, and nearly a hundred civilians. Within six days the United States invaded Grenada, arrested the leaders of the coup, established an interim government, and terminated the Grenadian experiment.

    Adapted from: "Maurice Bishop." Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2004, pp. 292-293

    Cozier, Tony. "Grenada Coup Ousts Gairy." Financial Times, 14 Mar. 1979

    "Grenadians Fear 'Bay of Pigs' Invasion." Financial Times, 12 Apr. 1983

    "A New Start for Grenda." Financial Times, 5 Dec. 1984


    In 1976, President Carlos Perez nationalized the oil industry, though he permitted foreign firms to partner with Venezuela in exploring for, producing, re fining, transporting, and marketing oil. Perez hoped to use Venezuela’s oil wealth to improve living standards, raise the quality of education, and alleviate poverty, but he made little progress in these areas. By 1980, the government derived 70 percent of tax revenues from oil, which accounted for 26 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Perez believed that oil wealth should benefit all of Latin America.

    Yet the 1980s were a difficult decade for Venezuela. Oil prices declined, and with them so did the country’s national income. In 1998, Hugo Chavez won the presidency on the promise of sharing oil wealth with the masses. In December 2002, a strike in the oil fields and elsewhere crippled the economy. Gasoline became scarce, and the country lost 2.8 million barrels of oil per day. In May 2003, the strike ended with Chavez’s promise to use oil wealth to improve education and help the poor. 

    Adapted from: Cumo, Christopher. "Venezuela." Oil: A Cultural and Geographic Encyclopedia of Black Gold, edited by Xiaobing Li and Michael Molina, vol. 2: Countries, ABC-CLIO, 2014

    Fuad, Kim. "The World's Largest Accumulation of Heavy Oil." Venezuela: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 8 June 1981

    Mann, Joseph. "Slow Progress Despite Lavish Spending." Venezuela: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 8 June 1981

    O'shaughnessy, Hugh, Recently. "Venezuela's Rising Star." Financial Times, 19 Apr. 1974



    In 1971, seven Gulf emirates formed a federation, creating the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE consists of Abū Ẓaby (Abu Dhabi), Dubayy (Dubai), Al-Shāriqah (Sharjah), ʿAjmān, Umm al-Qaywayn, Raʾs al-Khaimah and Al-Fujayrah, with the city of Abu Dhabi serving as the capital.

    Under a treaty signed in 1892, the United Kingdom promised to protect the Trucial Coast from all aggression by sea and to lend its good offices in case of land attack. In 1955, the United Kingdom effectively intervened on the side of Abu Dhabi in the latter's dispute with Saudi Arabia over the Buraymi oasis, control of which is now shared by Abu Dhabi and Oman.

    When, in 1968, the United Kingdom announced its intention to withdraw its forces from the area, a decision to establish a federation of Arab emirates—embracing the seven Trucial States, Bahrain, and Qatar—was agreed on in principle. However, it proved impossible to reconcile the differences among all the members. Six Trucial States (excluding Ra's al-Khaimah) agreed on the establishment of the United Arab Emirates, which was officially proclaimed a sovereign, independent nation on 2 December 1971, with Ra's al-Khaimah joining in early 1972.

    Adapted from: "United Arab Emirates." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations, edited by Timothy L. Gall and Jeneen M. Hobby, 12th ed., vol. 4: Asia and Oceania, Gale, 2007, pp. 893-904

    "Gulf States Form New Federation." Financial Times, 28 Feb. 1968

    "Divisions in New Gulf Federation." Financial Times, 23 Apr. 1968

    Graham, Robert. "Union of Arab Emirates Comes into Being." Financial Times, 3 Dec. 1971


    During the early 1970s, Lebanon saw the rise of many social and political movements, sectarian militias and a growing presence of guerrilla groups. Escalating violence in the country proved too much for the state to control, especially between the Christian Phalangists and their leader Pierre Gemayel (1905-1984), and the LMN (Lebanese National Movement), a predominantly Muslim group led by Kamal Jumblatt (1917-1977).  Violence between Phalangists and the LNM escaletd after a Phalangist attack on a Palestinian refugee bus in 1975, starting a conflict that saw Beirut split between a Muslim west and Christian East. Stable negotiations were persistently undermined by in-fighting within communities and outside intervention, notably from Syria. 

    In 1982, Bachir Gemayel (1947-1982) became president, having unified various militias into the Lebanese Forces. Three weeks later, he was assassinated, sparking retaliation from Christian militiamen that led to hundreds of deaths. Bashir’s brother Amine Gemayel (1942-present) was elected in 1982, but the violence did not recede. After many more years of violence and Gemayal stepping down in 1988, his successor General Michel Aoun (1933-present) accepted a ceasefire, and remained president until 1989, succeeded by René Moawad (1925-1989) who was assassinated later that year, in turn succeeded by Elias Hrawi (1926-2006). Conflict between Aoun and the LF led to more violence, though the civil war was generally regarded as finishing in 1990 when Syrian forces forced Aoun into exile.

    "The Civil War in Lebanon." Financial Times, 19 Jan. 1976

    R. J. "Beirut Eclipsed by Civil War." Middle East Banking and Finance: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 29 Mar. 1976

    Our Own Correspondent. "Arab Summit Attempt to End Lebanese Civil War." Financial Times, 18 Oct. 1976


    Early on the morning of September 5, 1972, eight members of the Black September Organization (BSO) associated with Yasser Arafat’s (1929-2004) al-Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), dressed as athletes, gained entrance to the Olympic Village. Carrying their weapons in gym bags, they sought out the apartment building housing the Israeli athletes.

    The terrorists then took nine Israelis hostage. At about 9:30 A.M. the terrorists opened negotiations with German authorities: the hostage takers demanded that Israel free 234 Arab prisoners and that West Germany release two German terrorist leaders imprisoned in Frankfurt. That evening the two sides reached a deal providing for a plane that would take both the terrorists and their hostages to Cairo.

    Certain that the incident would end in the deaths of the hostages, German officials were determined to prevent the departure. At 3:00 A.M. on September 6, German sharpshooters opened fire on two terrorists who had just inspected the plane. After a bloody shoot-out, the incident had claimed the lives of 11 Israelis, 5 terrorists, and 1 German policeman.

    Adapted from: Tucker, Spencer C. "Munich Olympic Games Massacre." Encyclopedia of Terrorism, edited by Peter Chalk, vol. 2, ABC-CLIO, 2013, pp. 515-517

    "Munich… Dd New Pattern of Terror Emerges." Financial Times, 6 Sept. 1972

    Foster, Denis. "Munich Shootings: What Went Wrong." Financial Times, 8 Sept. 1972

    Our Own Correspondent. "Black September 'Part of Fatah'." Financial Times, 14 Sept. 1972


    In January 1968, the United Kingdom announced its intention to withdraw its forces from the Persian Gulf states by the end of 1971. Discussions took place among the Trucial States, Bahrain, and Qatar, with a view to forming a federation. The Trucial States formed the United Arab Emirates, but Qatar could not agree to the terms of the union. On 3 September 1971, the independent State of Qatar was declared. A new treaty of friendship and cooperation was signed with the United Kingdom, and Qatar was soon admitted to membership in the Arab League and the United Nations (UN).

    On 22 February 1972, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani, the deputy emir and prime minister, seized power in a peaceful coup, deposing his cousin, Sheikh Ahmad. Following his accession, Sheikh Khalifa pursued a vigorous program of economic and social reforms, including the transfer of royal income to the state. On 31 May 1977, Sheikh Khalifa appointed Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, his son, as heir apparent and minister of defense. In 1981, Qatar, along with the other Persian Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, established the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

    Adapted from: "Qatar." Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations, edited by Timothy L. Gall and Jeneen M. Hobby, 12th ed., vol. 4: Asia and Oceania, Gale, 2007

    "Britain and the Gulf: The Arithmetic of Withdrawal." Financial Times, 12 Mar. 1971

    Johns, Richard, Middle East Correspondent. "Coup in Qatar May Bring Reforms to Feudal State." Financial Times, 23 Feb. 1972

    Johns, Richard, Middle East Correspondent. "Qatar's New Ruler Plans First Move to Democracy." Financial Times, 9 Mar. 1972


    Owing to the initiatives of Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894), the Compagnie Internationale du canal maritime de Suez (Suez Maritime Canal International Company) was founded in 1857.He succeeded in convincing the Egyptian authorities to concede the location of a future waterway to a company with roots in both France and Egypt. Lesseps persuaded investors of the canal's feasibility and collected the funding to complete the lock-free waterway. 

    The canal was opened in November 1869, The gain in time was substantial: In 1900, the journey from London to Calcutta required 32 to 69 days, covering some 7,260 miles via the Cape, compared to only 22 to 47 days (5,038 miles) passing through the Suez. Similarly, going from Marseille to Saigon via the Cape required 33 to 71 days (7,450 miles), while it took only 20 to 42 days (4,454 miles) through the Suez.

    Great doubts about the canal's success marked the first years of operation. The expected increase in traffic never materialized because the Great Depression of 1880–1890 brought all investment in steamships and sailboats (mainly clippers) to a virtual halt. Moreover, technical glitches surfaced and cast a shadow on the safety of the transit through the canal. 

    Adapted from: Bonin, Hubert. "Suez Canal." Seas and Waterways of the World: An Encyclopedia of History, Uses, and Issues, edited by John Zumerchik and Steven L. Danver, vol. 1, ABC-CLIO, 2010, pp. 257-270

    "A New Suez Canal." Financial Times, 12 Jan. 1905

    "Suez Canal." Financial Times, 11 June 1937

    "Suez Canal Company's Policy." Financial Times, 9 June 1933



    Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) was the most prominent and visible civil rights campaigner of the 1950s and 1960s. A Baptist minister, he encouraged the Civil Rights Movement to progress through methods of nonviolence and civil disobedience. He led many of the most notable activist activities of the time, including nonviolent protest in Alabama (1963), the March on Washington (1963), and the Selma marches (1965). He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work promoting racial equality, and posthumously awarded both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

    Whilst in Memphis, Tennessee, planning the Poor People’s Campaign, he was assassinated by James Earl Ray (1928-1988). After the news broke, riots followed across the United States, and Ray fled the country – he was arrested in London two months later and sentenced to 99 years in prison. Shortly after the assassination, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed, removing many discriminatory limitations placed on minorities relating to housing. Internationally, his work was influential, cited by central figures in progressive movements in many countries where various forms of discrimination existed, including countries as distant as South Africa and Northern Ireland.

    "Luther King Shot in Head." Financial Times, 5 Apr. 1968

    Rogaly, Joe, U. S. Editor. "America's Great Loss." Financial Times, 6 Apr. 1968

    Rogaly, Joe, U. S. Editor. "America Pays Last Homage to Dr. Luther King." Financial Times, 10 Apr. 1968


    In a speech delivered in January 2014, President Barack Obama (1961-present) stated: “Throughout American history, intelligence has helped secure our country and our freedoms.” However, numerous reports about the intelligence-collecting activities of the National Security Agency have created controversies about the extent to which the federal government had infringed upon privacy rights of ordinary Americans.

    The release of thousands of classified documents by a former NSA contractor in 2013 increased the concerns, especially given that many of the documents referred to the everyday activities of ordinary individuals inside and outside the United States.

    When former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden (1983-present) released a trove of classified information in June 2013, detailing the electronic surveillance programs of the agency, he ignited public debate as to whether one of these programs violated U.S. law. In addition, the information led to the filing of federal lawsuits claiming that the program, which required U.S. telecommunication companies to provide phone metadata about their customers to the NSA, was a violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.

    Adapted from: American Law Yearbook 2014: A Guide to the Year's Major Legal Cases and Developments, Gale, 2015





    Separatism in the mostly French-speaking province of Quebec has for almost half a century constituted the single biggest threat to the unity of Canada. The high watermark of the secessionist movement came in 1995 when the francophone Quebeckers, or Quebecois, came within a hair’s breadth of splitting away from Canada in a referendum. 

    The Quebec independence movement gathered steam in the 1970s. A watershed moment for French Canadians came in 1976 when the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ) won the provincial elections for the first time and entered government. It called a referendum on independence in 1980, but 60 percent of the voters rejected secession. In 1987, to try to persuade Quebec to ratify the constitution, the Canadian government signed the Meech Lake Accord in which Quebec was recognized as a “distinct society,” but the accord was never ratified as some English-speaking provinces opposed it. While many Quebecois are ardent secessionists, others passionately support a continued union with Canada. For example, two of Canada’s longest-serving prime ministers in recent years have been French-speaking Quebeckers who were among the fiercest campaigners against Quebec separatism. These were Pierre Trudeau (1919-2000) and Jean Chrétien (1934-present).

    Adapted from: Beary, Brian. "Quebecois (Canada)." Separatist Movements: A Global Reference, CQ Press, 2011, pp. 129-134

    W. L. Luetkens in Montreal. "Quebec Vote Gives Canadian Federalism Another Chance." Financial Times, 22 May 1980

    "Trudeau, Scourge of the Separatists." Financial Times, 1 Mar. 1984

    "Quebec Rallies to the Tories' Call." Financial Times, 23 Nov. 1988


    On April 18 1906, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit the west coast of the United States. The most severe damage occurred in San Francisco, even though motion was felt as far south as Los Angeles and as far north as Oregon.

    San Francisco had been hit by several earthquakes in the previous five decades, but 1906 was more destructive than the earthquakes in 1864, 1898 and 1900. Whilst the tremors from the earthquake caused significant destruction, they were followed by a fire that lasted for four days and flattened over 4 square miles (10 square km) in the centre of the city. Over 28,000 buildings were destroyed, and current estimates suggest over 3,000 people died, with over 250,000 left homeless. 

    Large areas of the city were rebuilt over the following years, most importantly with increased emphasis on fire resistance. The culmination of the rebuilding work came in 1915, when San Francisco hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, showcasing to the world the recovery that the city had made.

    "Earthquake in San Francisco." Financial Times, 19 Apr. 1906

    "Cotton Weak Owing to the San Francisco Disaster—Wheat Firm." Financial Times, 19 Apr. 1906

    "City Doomed to Destruction—Estimated Damage, £20,000,000." Financial Times, 20 Apr. 1906


    In June 1972, reports began to emerge of an attempted break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in the Watergate complex, Washington D.C, in the run up to president Richard Nixon’s (1913-1994) re-election campaign. Initially the White House denied any connection to the burglary attempt, but it was later uncovered through the ‘Nixon tapes’ that the president had asked the FBI to pull away from the investigation.

    The White House managed to suppress press revelations about the administration’s involvement by suggesting the press had a vendetta against the government, and in pre-election polls, public trust levels in Nixon were above those for his opponent. Following the trial of the burglars, the Senate voted to start a committee investigating abuses in the 1972 election campaign, while the judge presiding over the burglary trial passed long sentences on the burglars, offering to reduce their sentences if they spoke freely to the Watergate grand jury.

    As a result, revelations and information began to emerge, and despite repeated protests of his own innocence, the recorded conversations from the president’s office—finally released after public protest—revealed the depth of the president’s role in the scandal. To avoid being impeached, Nixon resigned in August 1974, becoming the first president to resign from office.

    Dicks, Adrian. "The Scandals That Won't Go Away." Financial Times, 22 Mar. 1973

    Dicks, Adrian. "Nixon Denies All Advance Knowledge of Watergate." Financial Times, 8 May 1973

    "Nixon's Resignation... The Text in Full." Financial Times, 10 Aug. 1974



    In 1985 Fiji's national politics changed forever with the formation of the Fiji Labor Party (FLP). Its inaugural president was a Fijian from the west, Dr. Timoci Bavadra (1934-1989), a retired community health specialist. As the 1987 general election approached, the FLP decided to form a coalition with the National Federation Party (NFP). After a successful election, Bavadra was sworn in as Fiji's second prime minister on April 13, 1987.

    Parliament was in its third day of sitting when the drama that is now called "the first coup" unfolded, but Fijian anti-coalition sentiment arose as soon as the election results were announced. Though the Fijian community was divided along regional, social class, and other lines, it has never been difficult to gather large groups against a perceived threat of Indo-Fijian control. The Taukei (roughly, "ethnic Fijian") Movement articulated and organized this sentiment. Despite the actual and threatened unrest that followed the election, the coalition did not crumble until Sitiveni Rabuka (1948-present) made his move and initiated a coup on May 14, 1987. Rabuka led a second and more tightly controlled coup on September 25, 1987. A curfew was imposed, communications with the outside world were restricted, and some 200 individuals who were perceived as unfriendly to the Taukei Movement were detained. Rabuka declared Fiji a republic, with himself as head of an interim government.

    Adapted from: Ogan, Eugen. "Overthrowing Democracy: Fiji's Coup." History Behind the Headlines: The Origins of Conflicts Worldwide, edited by Sonia G. Benson, et al., vol. 3, Gale, 2002, pp. 124-134

    "A Familiar Third World Tale." Financial Times, 15 May 1987

    Sherwell, Chris. "Fiji's Military Coup Ends Peacefully." Financial Times, 20 May 1987

    "Paradise Postponed." Financial Times, 9 July 1987


    Bougainville is one of the 600 islands that, along with the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, make up the independent nation of Papua New Guinea. Unrest stirred in April 1988 when landowners on Bougainville demanded compensation for environmental damages from the Australian-owned Bougainville Copper Limited. The company refused to pay, and in late 1988, a Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) led by Francis Ona, a landowner and former mine worker, appeared and began to carry out acts of sabotage against the mine. The owners then closed down the mine and refused the government's request to resume operations, citing fear of further attack. Because the mine was extremely important to the national economy, Prime Minister Rabbie Namaliu sent Papua New Guinea troops to the island in December, and production began again. After further BRA violence, a curfew was imposed. 

    After years of conflict, negotiations to end the conflict began in July 1997, with a truce signed in October between the government and the rebels. By year's end, the New Zealand-led Truce Monitoring Group had begun to deploy on the island. In April 1998, a permanent cease-fire was signed, and the Australian-led Peace Monitoring Group replaced the New Zealand team. A final agreement was not reached, however, until 2001.

    Adapted from: MacMichael, David. "Papua New Guinea: Bougainville Independence Struggle, 1988–1998." Encyclopedia of Conflicts Since World War II, edited by James Ciment, Sharpe Reference, 2013

    Parker, Leslie, Mining Editor. "Bougainville's Earnings Take a Plunge." Financial Times, 8 Aug. 1975

    "Bougainville Copper." Papua New Guinea: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 16 Sept. 1975

    Buxton, James. "Independence for Papua." Financial Times, 16 Sept. 1975


    Sir Robert Muldoon's (1921-1992) long career in New Zealand politics was highlighted by his nine-year turn as prime minister of the country. He is mostly remembered for his conservative, authoritarian leadership style and traditional values. Though his politics were generally conservative, he was known for making decisions without consensus. In 1975, the National Party with Muldoon in charge defeated Labor Party Prime Minister Wallace Rowling. Muldoon's turn as prime minister was known for low economic growth, high unemployment, and increased national debt. He was criticized in 1981 when he allowed the South African rugby team to tour New Zealand, while South Africa was still an apartheid nation. He also initiated a Closer Economic Relations (CER) free trade agreement with Australia to liberalise trade. The aim of total free trade between the two countries was achieved in 1990, five years ahead of schedule.

    A 1984 election was dominated by issues Muldoon and the National Party held unpopular positions on. Muldoon's traditional social values, close ties with the United States and United Kingdom, and authoritarian leadership style weren't well loved. Muldoon found no support from indigenous New Zealanders--the Maoris or feminist groups. New Zealanders were frustrated by Muldoon and the depressed state of the nation's economy, and strongly supported social, political, and economic reforms. After nine years as prime minister, Muldoon and the National Party were defeated in the 1984 vote.

    Adapted from: "Robert Muldoon." Gale Biography in Context, Gale, 2002

    "A Tough and Abrasice Leader." New Zealand: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 4 Aug. 1981

    Tonge, Recently David. "Muldoon's Tough Approach Wins Helpful Enemies." Financial Times, 27 Nov. 1981

    "Australia and New Zealand in 'Historic' Step." Financial Times, 11 Nov. 1982


    Roger Douglas (1937-present) was seen as an innovative thinker early in his career, gaining a reputation for innovation during his role as a junior minister in New Zealand’s government in the early 1970s. He was critical of New Zealand’s economic policies, which had left the country in debt and maintaining and economic approach that rendered New Zealand unable to match the progress of other developed countries. The successes and failures of the philosophy and its reforms—which are commonly referred to as “Rogernomics”—have been debated since their introduction in the 1980s. 

    After Labour victory in the 1984 election, Douglas was made Minister of Finance, and along with his colleagues, brought in large reforms based around a market-first restructuring of the economy, going against the methods commonly adopted by Australasian countries for nearly a century. The main feature was the devaluation of the New Zealand dollar by 20 per cent, deregulation of the financial market, the removal of controls on foreign exchange, increased industry subsidies and tariff protection. To offset costs, a single Goods and Services Tax was introduced, alongside a surtax on superannuation.

    "The Pain of Being a Fiscal Pioneer." Financial Times, 15 Mar. 1988

    "A Winter of Discontent." New Zealand: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 20 July 1988

    "The Job Stands Half-finished." New Zealand: Financial Times Survey. Financial Times, 27 July 1989


    The Sydney Opera House is located on Port Jackson in Sydney Harbour, situated on Bennelong Point, a promontory on the south side of the harbour just east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The building began with an international competition run by the New South Wales government in 1956, to design a new venue that included a main hall for large productions and a second for smaller, more intimate productions. 233 entries were submitted from over 30 countries, with Danish architect Jørn Utzon (1918-2008) providing the winning entry.

    The building did not go smoothly: construction began in 1959, but the innovative design led to overspending and engineering difficulties, causing many delays that turned public opinion against the project. Disagreements with government authorities saw Utzon resign from the project in 1966, with the remainder of the construction overseen by a structural engineering firm. Utzon did return in 1999 to oversee an improvement project, his last engagement with the building before his death in 2008. The building was officially opened in October 1973, and the main hall now holds over 2,500 people for performances across the arts. One of Sydney's—and Australia's—most recognised and iconic buildings, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007.

    Our Melbourne Correspondent. "Will the Opera House Be a White Elephant?" Financial Times, 14 June 1962

    Southern, Michael, Australia Editor. "Sydney Opera House May Cost over $A100m." Financial Times, 5 Nov. 1971

    Porter, Andrew. "Sydney's Opera House." Financial Times, 15 Oct. 1973



    The draw for the group stage of the tournament was seen as kind to England, one of the two seeded teams (as hosts) along with Brazil (as current holders). England were drawn in group one against France, Mexico and Uruguay: three teams that England had beaten in their last matches against them, including an 8-0 victory over Mexico in 1961. England’s group had some significant matches: they would play Uruguay (the first winners of the cup in 1930), and Mexico (who would host the next World Cup in 1970). After a 0-0 draw with Uruguay, they beat Mexico 2-0 in front of 85,000 fans, before beating France 2-0.

    The press were reserved about England’s chances heading into the quarter-final match against Argentina. England would make history, beating Argentina 1-0 to reach their first semi-final. England finally conceded their first goal of the tournament in a 2-1 victory over Portugal in the semi-final, with two goals from Bobby Charlton enough to win the match: Portugal’s goal came from Eusebio, arguably the star of the tournament.

    There was still little real confidence that England would win from the English press. Despite reminding the public that England had won eight and drawn one of the ten games against West Germany (and yet to be defeated by them), the final became one of the most iconic of all time, England eventually winning 4-2.

    Barnes, Walley. "A Disappointing Start by England." Financial Times, 12 July 1966

    Financial Times Correspondent. "Who's Made Money out of the World Cup?" Financial Times, 30 July 1966

    Barnes, Walley. "England's Determination Succeeds." Financial Times, 1 Aug. 1966


    The 1997 election was one of the greatest examples of the British press misjudging the course of an election and its result. The Conservative Party, under the leadership of John Major (1943-present), faced a strong challenge from the Labour Party, led by Tony Blair (1953-present). Labour had moved to a more centrist position, moving away from the more traditionally left-wing position, in what came to be known as “New Labour”. 

    In the run up to the election, many of the newspapers were pessimistic about Labour’s chances of a victory, with many actively dismissing the chance of a dominant win: they were proved wrong when the results came in, with Labour gaining a decisive landslide victory. It ended 18 years of Conservative government, in the last British election—as of 2017—to achieve a voter turnout above 70%. Labour remained in power for three consecutive terms: Blair resigned in 2007 and was succeeded by Gordon Brown (1951-present) as leader until the Conservatives won the 2010 General Election under the leadership of David Cameron (1966-present).

    Peston, Robert, Political Editor. "Major on Attack in Spite of Poll Gloom." Financial Times, 11 Jan. 1996

    Peston, Robert. "Tories Limber up for Big Fight." Financial Times, 1 Apr. 1996

    Peston, Robert. "Landslide Victory for Labour." Financial Times, 2 May 1997


    The National Health Act was passed in the United Kingdom in 1946, leading to the formation of the National Health Service (NHS) as part of wider social reforms in the formation of the welfare state.

    Cross-party agreement was reached on the formation of a national service after the 1942 Beveridge Report, and the appointment of Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960) as Health Minister in 1945 began the process that ended with the creation of the NHS. The process did not run smoothly, with opposition from doctors and dentists: while agreement was finally reached with the British Medical Council and doctors began working for the service when it launched, dentistry took longer to resolve.

    The National Health Service was launched on 5 July 1948, but three years later Bevan resigned after charges were introduced for dentures and glasses: later additions, such as prescription charges, were the first of many controversies which many argued contradicted the three core principles of the service: it meets the needs of all, is free at the point of delivery, and treatment is based on clinical need.

    Our Parliamentary Correspondent. "Sharp Attack on Mr. Bevan." Financial Times, 18 Feb. 1949

    a Correspondent. "How the Nation's Health Bill Has Grown." Financial Times, 14 Mar. 1950

    "First Effects of the Health Charges." Financial Times, 26 June 1951


    After Labour won a landslide victory in the general elections of May 1997, the Labour government of Tony Blair (1953-present) called a referendum for establishing a Scottish Parliament with a broad range of powers, including control over the country’s education and health systems. Supported by the SNP (Scottish National Party) and the Liberal Democrats—but opposed by the Conservatives—the referendum passed with more than 74 percent of voters in favour. At the first elections to the Scottish Parliament in May 1999, Labour won 56 seats, the SNP 35, the Conservatives 18, and the Liberal Democrats 17. Labour and the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government, with Labour’s Donald Dewar (1937-2000) assuming the title of first minister. Despite being led by three first ministers in the first three years of the Scottish Parliament, the governing coalition endured.

    In the 2007 elections, the SNP staged a historic upset, winning the most seats (47) in the Scottish Parliament to end some 50 years of Labour Party dominance in Scotland. SNP leader Alex Salmond (1954-present) was subsequently elected first minister of Scotland, becoming the first Nationalist to hold the post. Salmond won a second term in 2011, and vowed to put forward a vote on Scottish independence by 2015.

    Adapted from: "Scotland Since the 18th Century." The United Kingdom: Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, edited by Jeff Wallenfeldt, Britannica Educational Publishing, 2014, pp. [113]-125

    "Brave Talk—why Scotland is Weighing the Chance to Go It Alone." Financial Times, 20 Dec. 2006

    Bolger, Andrew, and George Parker. "Scotland the brave?" Financial Times, 10 May 2008

    Swinney, John, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth. "Scotland must be set free to achieve greater success." Financial Times, 18 May 2009


    During its maiden voyage, the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic sank on April 14-15 1912 after colliding with an iceberg in the Atlantic. The Titanic was one of three ships to be built by Belfast firm Harland and Wolff, commissioned by White Star, one of the two main transatlantic passenger ship lines. The Titanic, Olympic and Britannic were the vessels that would be built to rival the two ships planned by White Star’s man Rival Cunard: the Lusitania and the Mauretania. The Titanic and Olympic were built simultaneously, and the Titanic focused on luxury, with the second-class offering a rival to first-class accommodation on many other liners. The Titanic also focused heavily on safety, with confidence so high in the engineering that it was claimed to be unsinkable.

    The Titanic embarked from Southampton on April 10 1912, sailing for New York, with many prominent figures on board. After stops to pick up more passengers in Cherbourg (France) and Queenstown (Ireland), it set off for New York with roughly 2,200 people on board. After entering an iceberg zone, the warning message of an upcoming ice field was not relayed to the bridge, and the ship scraped an iceberg that ruptured the hull. More than 1,500 died, despite rescue efforts from nearby ships.

    "Disaster to the 'Titanic'." Financial Times, 16 Apr. 1912

    "Effect of the News in Thecity." Financial Times, 17 Apr. 1912

    "The Lost 'Titanic'." Financial Times, 20 Apr. 1912


Any views and opinions expressed in the articles selected are those of the author in question, and any views or opinions from the original source material are those of the publication in question. Gale, a Cengage Company, provide facsimile reproductions of original sources, and do not endorse or dispute the content contained in them.

These essays, unless otherwise stated, are © Gale, a Cengage Company. Further reproduction of this content is prohibited.