300 episodes

History as told by the people who were there.

Witness History BBC

    • History

History as told by the people who were there.

    How Liberia wrote off its debts

    How Liberia wrote off its debts

    How the Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was negotiated to write off billions of dollars of debt, accumulated over two decades of civil war. Coming to power in 2006, Johnson Sirleaf had to govern the West African country with little tax revenue and owing large sums to countries and institutions it could never hope to pay back. Over four years, with intensive negotiations with multiple parties and even support from the Irish rock star Bono, in 2010 the World Bank and International Monetary Fund announced they would forgive 4.6 billion dollars of the country’s debt.Bob Howard speaks to former president Johnson Sirleaf about the long road to debt forgiveness.

    Photo: Ellen John Sirleaf Credit: Olivier Polet/Getty Images

    • 8 min
    The Galileo project

    The Galileo project

    The Galileo mission to examine the planet Jupiter had its beginnings in the 1970s. It finally came to an end on 21st September 2003. Professor Fred Taylor is one of the few scientists who worked on it from start to finish and he has been telling Dan Whitworth about some of the highs and lows of the project.

    Photo: The Galileo Jupiter probe being tested before launch. Credit:Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

    • 9 min
    The mothers of Argentina's disappeared

    The mothers of Argentina's disappeared

    In April 1977 a group of women in Argentina held the first ever public demonstration to demand the release of thousands of opponents of the military regime. It was the start of a long campaign by the women, who became known as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. In 2017 Mike Lanchin spoke to Mirta Baravalle who has spent decades searching for her missing daughter and son-in-law, and for the grandchild she has never met.

    (Photo: Mirta Baravalle, with the photograph of her daughter, Ana Maria. Credit: BBC)

    • 9 min
    Tank Man

    Tank Man

    A photo of a man confronting a tank in Tiananmen Square in Beijing caught the world's imagination. Carrying two plastic shopping bags, unarmed and alone, he seemed to embody the protest movement crushed by the Chinese authorities in 1989. Stuart Franklin was one of the photographers who captured the image of Tank Man - he has been speaking to David Edmonds for Witness History.

    Photo: Tank Man on Tiananmen Square, June 4th 1989. Credit: Stuart Franklin/Magnum.

    • 8 min
    The Greensboro lunch counter sit-in

    The Greensboro lunch counter sit-in

    Franklin McCain was one of four young black men who took a stand against racial segregation in the USA in 1960. They sat down at a "whites only" lunch counter and asked to be served. When they were asked to leave, they refused, and soon their quiet protest was attracting attention from around the country. In 2011 Franklin McCain spoke to Alan Johnston about that time.

    This programme is a rebroadcast.

    Photo: Franklin McCain in 2010. Credit: Getty Images.

    • 9 min
    The Mau Mau struggle against British rule

    The Mau Mau struggle against British rule

    During the 1950s in Kenya, armed rebels known as the Mau Mau fought against British rule. Thousands were taken captive and interned in camps by the British authorities. In 2011 Gitu wa Kahangeri, a Mau Mau veteran, spoke to Louise Hidalgo about his experiences.

    Photo: Gitu wa Kahangeri speaking to the BBC in 2016. Credit: BBC

    • 9 min

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