300 episodes

History as told by the people who were there.

Witness History BBC World Service

    • History
    • 4.5 • 804 Ratings

History as told by the people who were there.

    Demolishing the Babri Masjid

    Demolishing the Babri Masjid

    Hindu extremists demolished a 16th century mosque in the Indian city of Ayodhya in December 1992 prompting months of communal violence across India.

    Photojournalist Praveen Jain witnessed rehearsals for the demolition the day before the activists stormed the mosque.

    He spoke to Iknoor Kaur in 2019.

    (Photo: Hindu extremists rehearsing the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Credit: Praveen Jain)

    • 9 min
    Quebec’s 1995 referendum

    Quebec’s 1995 referendum

    In October 1995, the people of Quebec went to the polls to decide whether the province should declare independence from Canada.

    Kevin Caners hears the first-hand testimony of Jean-François Lisée and Stephane Dion, who represented opposite sides of a debate which nearly split the country in two.

    A Whistledown Production for BBC World Service.

    (Photo: Voters at the 1995 Quebec referendum. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 9 min
    Miss World protest

    Miss World protest

    In 1970, feminists stormed the stage at the Miss World pageant in London.

    They were protesting against the objectification of women.

    Sally Alexander was one of the young protesters who was arrested for her part in the demonstration. She spoke to Andrew Whitehead in 2014.

    (Photo: Protestors outside the 1970 Miss World pageant. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 8 min
    The woman who smuggled HIV into Bulgaria in her handbag

    The woman who smuggled HIV into Bulgaria in her handbag

    In 1985, at the height of the Cold War, Bulgaria was a strictly controlled communist dictatorship.

    It was also facing a wave of infection and death caused by a mysterious new virus. The authorities refused to recognise the threat of HIV and AIDS, so one of Bulgaria’s virologists took the initiative.

    In this programme for World Aids Day, Professor Radka Argirova tells Janet Barrie how she smuggled the live HIV virus back from Germany to start testing in Bulgaria for the first time.

    (Photo: Professor Radka Argirova in her laboratory. Credit: BBC)

    • 9 min
    The islands Japan and Russia can’t agree on

    The islands Japan and Russia can’t agree on

    In 1947, thousands of Japanese families were expelled from their island homes by Soviet troops. They were taken from the Northern Territories, also known as the Southern Kurils, after the Soviet Union took control of the islands.

    Japan and Russia have failed to sign a peace agreement after World War Two because of the dispute.

    Yuzo Matsumoto, who's now 81, has been speaking to Laura Jones.

    (Photo: Yuzo Matsumoto with photos of his parents, standing in front of a map of Etorofu. Credit: BBC)

    • 10 min
    CrossFit: The fitness phenomenon that changed the industry

    CrossFit: The fitness phenomenon that changed the industry

    In 2000, an American personal trainer invented CrossFit.

    They now have gyms around the world and hold an annual international competition.

    Rachel Naylor speaks to two-time world champion Annie Thorisdottir, from Iceland.

    (Photo: Annie Thorisdottir. Credit: CrossFit LLC)

    • 9 min

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804 Ratings

804 Ratings

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