Through the mountains and jungles of Colombia, Cooper goes in search of the truth behind one of the greatest stories ever told - the legend of El Dorado. His journey takes him from Bogota to the Caribbean coast, through territories once dominated by two cultures, the Muisca and the Tairona, who flourished for centuries before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. Cooper reveals forgotten peoples who valued gold in a way the Western world still struggles to understand, travelling to an astonishing lost city and meeting the last survivors of an ancient civilisation.
It was the world's last Islamic empire - a super-power of a million square miles. From its capital in Istanbul it matched the glories of Ancient Rome. And after six centuries in power it collapsed less than a hundred years ago. Rageh Omaar sets out to discover why the Ottomans have vanished from our understanding of the history of Europe. Why so few realise the importance of Ottoman history in today's Middle East. And why you have to know the Ottoman story to understand the roots of many of today's trouble spots from Palestine, Iraq and Israel to Libya, Syria, Egypt, Bosnia and Kosovo. (Part 3: Mustafa Kemal-Ataturk) Rageh Omaar explains how the collapse of this Islamic super-power following the first World War left problems that still exist in Europe and the Middle East today. From its capital in Istanbul the Ottoman Empire matched the glories of Ancient Rome. Yet its achievements have been largely lost in the trauma of its last few years. Brutality, massacres and the carve-up of former Ottoman lands created a legacy of tension and conflict that continue to this day. The heartland of the former empire - modern day Turkey - turned its back on its Islamic, Ottoman past. It underwent a social revolution led by military commander and secular visionary Mustafa Kemal-Ataturk. So why is Ottomanism back on the political agenda? And why are many politicians in the West hoping that Turkey can provide a role model as a modern, Islamic democracy?
59m • 2013 • The Ottomans: Europe's Muslim Emperors
Second part is looking at Czechoslovakia's attempts to reform communism, which were brutally crushed in an invasion by Warsaw Pact allies in 1968. What followed was the reimposition of hardline communist rule known as 'Normalisation' - under which the reformers were removed, the reforms reversed and history rewritten, leaving the country known as 'the Kingdom of Forgetting'.
How did an insignificant cluster of Latin hill villages on the edge of the civilised world become the greatest empire the world has known? In the fifth programme of the series, archaeologist and historian Richard Miles examines the phenomenon of the Roman Republic, from its fratricidal mythical beginnings, with the legend of Romulus and Remus, to the all too real violence of its end, dragged to destruction by war lords like Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar. Travelling to Sicily and North Africa, Richard tells the story of Rome's century-long struggle for dominance with the other great regional power, Carthage. It was a struggle that would end with the total destruction of this formidable enemy and the transformation of landlubber Rome into a seapower, and the Republic into an Empire. But with no-one left to beat, the only enemy that Rome had left was itself.
59m • 2010 • Ancient Worlds
He continues his personal account of Britain's empire by looking at how traders, conquerors and settlers spread the British way of doing things around the world - in particular how they created a very British idea of home. He begins in India, where early traders wore Indian costume and took Indian wives. Their descendants still cherish their mixed heritage. Victorian values put a stop to that as inter racial mixing became taboo. In Singapore he visits a club where British colonials gathered together, in Canada he finds a town whose inhabitants are still fiercely proud of the traditions of their Scottish ancestors, in Kenya he meets the descendants of the first white settlers - men whose presence came to be bitterly resented as pressure for African independence grew. And he traces the story of an Indian family in Leicester whose migrations have been determined by the changing fortunes of the British empire.
58m • 2012 • Empire