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Forty-Five Years Undercover: An Ottoman Spy in 17th Century Paris

During the 17th century, the Franco-Ottoman relations were quite stable. The alliance, established in 1536, continued during the majority of this period. There were no large conflicts. Despite that, intelligence activity during this period was very lively. The example of Mahmut, an Ottoman spy undercover, gives us valuable information on the Ottoman international politics.

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“Public functionaries alone are excepted”: Napoleon’s Passport System in Europe

One of the many ways Napoleon Bonaparte attempted to control populations was the mandating of passports. Passports in various forms have been around for centuries but not in the manner most people associate with them today.

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The Fall of the Iron Curtain in One Photo

A symbolic depiction of the end of the Cold War.

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“Never really subdued nor reconciled to our rule”: The 1842 Retreat from Kabul

The massacre of Major General Sir William Elphinstone’s army and its auxiliaries in early 1842 while attempting to retreat from Kabul, Afghanistan, was a shock to British statesmen and the public. The expeditionary force, many of whom were sent there in 1839 to assert British control, was made up of roughly 700 British soldiers, 3,800 Indian troops, and 14,000 civilians and workers attached to lend it support. Lord Auckland, the Governor General of India, was so shocked upon learning of the disaster that he had a stroke.

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The Year America Praised Russia: The Great Game and Sale of Alaska, 1867

The Crimean War (1853-1856) pitting Imperial Russia against the combined forces of the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain, and France, had devastating consequences. Emerging military technology combined with disease led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

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