Is that time of year where the essays are piling on, nights in the library are getting longer and exam revision is looming. But the end of the semester does lead to one good thing: Christmas. To whet your Christmassy appetites we have been looking at the history behind London’s Trafalgar square tradition that we all appreciate, but don’t know its origins andits links to World War II. Plus, with the yearly instalment of Manchester’s Christmas Markets filling the town centre, and the smell of hot dogs and mulled wine, we have also sent one of our writers to explore the origins of Christmas Markets, and how they have developed over time.

But our theme for this month is devoted to monasticism. Our writers have researched those that have ruled and those that have fallen from across the world. From India to Japan, to Egypt and Europe, they’ve looked at madness, infidelities and fashion, all offering a new perspective or angle on those that have ruled countries and whole empires (but of course we have thrown in a profile on Henry VIII). So read on to find out how Europe’s monarchs were all related, which rulers were truly mad and discover the awesome power of the divine right of kings.


Amidst all these powerful figures we have not forgot about those events that you should know. We’re trying to fill those gaps in your historical knowledge with The Middle Passage- the largest forced migration in history, Australian Apartheid where local nomadic tribes known as Aborigines were persecuted right up into the 20th century, The Great Schism dividing the Catholic Church for 50 years, and to inspire us, what we didn’t know about William Wilberforce and his lengthy list of achievements.


Our Headlines this month have covered a range of issues and the history behin d them:How did Sudan become two countries? And with a third British conflict in Afghanistan drawing to a close, has the Union Jack really seen the last of those Middle East Mountains?


For some more light-hearted history we have explored the history behind the bra and the real truth behind our well loved childhood hero, Robin Hood.

Our staff interview this month is a must read, exploring the career of one of the history department’s most enthusiastic and unique historians, Yangwen Zheng.


We would like to thank all of our writers who managed to find the time in these last few mad weeks of term to contribute to this issue. And of course we would like to thank the Manchester Historian team who have all managed to keep to their deadlines fantastically and make this issue possible by working hard.


We hope you enjoy this issue and have a wonderful Christmas!

Xan and Zoey


“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

-Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!