Category: Political and Economic History

The Chungking Legation: Australia’s first diplomatic mission to China, as soon to be wartime allies

Reading time: 6 minutes
Gough Whitlam’s visit to China in 1971 is an iconic moment in the history of Australia-China relations. As prime minister, he officially recognised the People’s Republic of China the following year, heralding a new era of engagement with China.
But Whitlam’s visit overshadows an earlier and equally significant moment in Australia’s relationship with China.
On October 28 1941, Australia opened its first diplomatic mission in China, a legation in the wartime capital of Chungking (Chongqing) in central Szechwan (Sichuan) province.

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Jamaica’s Morant Bay Rebellion and it’s brutal repression

Reading time: 11 minutes
On 12 October 1865, John Davidson, a magistrate in the east of Jamaica, wrote to the island’s Governor, Edward John Eyre:
‘The people at Morant Bay [on the island’s southeast coast, St. Thomas-in-the-East parish] have risen, burnt down the Court-house, released all the prisoners, murdered several white people.’

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Archaeology is unravelling new stories about Indigenous seagoing trade on Australia’s doorstep

Reading time: 6 minutes
It has long been assumed that Indigenous Australia was isolated until Europeans arrived in 1788, except for trade with parts of present day Indonesia beginning at least 300 years ago. But our recent archaeological research hints of at least an extra 2,100 years of connections across the Coral Sea with Papua New Guinea.

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Five myths about the partition of British India – and what really happened

Reading time: 6 minutes
This August marks 75 years since the partition of the Indian subcontinent. British withdrawal from the region prompted the creation of two new states, India and Pakistan.
The process of transferring power grossly simplified diverse societies to make it seem like dividing social groups and drawing new borders was logical and even possible. This decision unleashed one of the biggest human migrations of the 20th century when more than ten million people fled across borders seeking safe refuge.

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A Cuban Catastrophe: The Bay of Pigs Invasion

Reading time: 11 minutes
The 1959 Cuban Revolution resulted in rule by a communist regime under Fidel Castro. This period also saw counter-revolutionaries forming anti-Castro movements, complicating the already tumultuous political landscape. In 1961 the United States would intervene with a force made up of Cuban exiles, the infamous ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion.

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Dispatches from Red Square: reporting Russia’s revolutions then and now

Reading time: 9 minutes
“No news from Petrograd yesterday”, was the headline in the Daily Mail on March 14, 1917. The story – or non-story – which followed, was only a few dozen words: “Up to a late hour last night the Russian official report, which for many months has come to hand early, had not been received”, it ran. So why publish it? The non-appearance of the daily news bulletin from the Russian government had led the Mail’s writer, trying to prepare a report in London, to suspect something was going on.

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