At the start of the year we take a look at some significant anniversaries
As we greet 2021 we're still in the throes of the global pandemic. But we hope that, at a time when we're forced to be increasingly dependent on online learning and resources, the Map Archive will be a valuable and stimulating companion in the months that lie ahead. Don't allow your imagination to be locked down, instead enjoy exploring world history through our infinitely varied map selection. And why not start by looking at some significant anniversaries:
The Battle of Plataea 479 BCE
It's 2,500 years since the Battle of Plataea, which followed the torching of the city of Athens by the Persian army, commanded by Mardonius. The Greeks, led by the Spartans, were unprepared to negotiate and the battle became chaotic, with much hand-to-hand combat and periods of stalemate. The Spartans eventually rounded on Mardonius and, despite the fact that he was protected by 1,000 bodyguards, killed him, impaling his head on a pole. The Persians had nearly broken the Greek defensive positions, but ultimately they were were defeated.
It is 500 years since the priest and theologian Martin Luther's protest against the Church's sale of indulgences, the penance-free absolution for certain sins, sparked the Reformation. Following his publication of his 'Ninety-FIve Theses', he was excommunicated in 1521. His movement was threatened with armed suppression but gained recognition in the Empire at Augsburg (1555), on a ‘ruler’s choice’ basis.
It is 75 years since prime minister WInston Churchill delivered his 'iron curtain' speech, when he condemned Soviet policy in eastern Europe, firing one of the opening volleys of the Cold War. Following the installation of puppet regimes in Soviet-occupied territories, tensions were further heightened when the Soviet Union, under Joseph Stalin, blockaded Berlin and launched a successful Soviet-sponsored coup in Czechoslovakia (1948).
It is 10 years since increasing discontent across the Arab world boiled over in early 2011, resulting in a series of uprisings and conflicts across the region against the existing structures of government. Efforts to stop the protests demonstrated varying degrees of severity, with harsh crackdowns against protestors in Syria deteriorating into a brutal civil war. The beginnings of a regime change also led to eventual civil war in Libya.