English Language and History .com is a collection of two-minute tales drawn from history, myth and fiction. Each tale is accompanied by word games testing grammar and expression, based on textbooks used in British schools from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Latest
A Many-Chorded Lyre
Music: Jan Ladislav Dussek
Stylish batting in cricket is about variety, invention and frankly anything that works, and we have Dr W.G. Grace to thank for it.
By Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar
(1872-1933)

“BEFORE W. G. batsmen were of two kinds, — a batsman played a forward game or he played a back game. Each player, too, seems to have made a specialty of some particular stroke. The criterion of style was, as it were, a certain mixed method of play. It was bad cricket to hit a straight ball; as for pulling a slow long-hop, it was regarded as immoral.

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Six Posts
Clive of India
Robert Clive helped to establish a lasting bond between India and Britain, laying the foundations of modern India.

IN 1744, eighteen-year-old Robert Clive went out to India as a lowly clerk, bearing a reputation for indiscipline.

But after enlisting in the militia of the British East India Company, which was vying with the French government for the control of trade with India, Clive proved to be a resourceful and daring leader.

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The Man Who Would Be King
two-part story
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Two rascally former British soldiers in India set off to become kings of Kafiristan.
Based on the short story by Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)

TWO rascally former soldiers in the British Army, Danny Dravot and Peachey Carnehan, arrived one day in the cramped offices of a newspaper in Lahore. The sole correspondent remembered them as two fellow-freemasons, for whom he had recently done a small favour.

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David Livingstone
two-part story
Music: Malcolm Arnold
The Scottish missionary and medic believed that slavery could better be eradicated by trade than by force.

IT was at a public meeting, on 1st June, 1840, that with the words ‘Christianity, commerce, civilisation’ Sir Thomas Buxton, an anti-slavery campaigner, awoke medical student David Livingstone to his lifelong calling: to destroy the slave trade by persuading Africa to trade in farm and factory goods rather than people.

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The Battle of Plassey
Music: George Frideric Handel
A year after the infamous ‘Black hole of Calcutta’, Robert Clive was sent to exact retribution.

DEFEAT at the hands of the Kingdom of Travancore in 1741 was a body blow to the Dutch in India. And to the disappointment of the French, Robert Clive’s victory at Arcot in 1751 ensured that Britain’s friend, Mohammed Ali Khan Wallajah, became Nawab of the Carnatic in the south.

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The Boer Wars
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
South African settlers of Dutch descent could not escape the march of the British Empire.

IN 1836, disaffected colonists of Dutch descent from the British-run Cape Colony made their ‘Great Trek’ north, and founded Natal, Transvaal and Orange Free State. British governance followed close behind, however, occupying Natal in 1842, and invading Transvaal in 1877 after it fell into bankruptcy.

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Mir Kasim
two-part story
Music: William Herschel
The East India Company installed Mir Kasim as Nawab of Bengal, only to find that he had a mind of his own.

AFTER the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the East India Company rewarded Mir Jafar for his betrayal of Siraj-ud-Daulah by creating him Nawab of Bengal in Siraj’s place.* Jafar, however, failed to fulfil his promises of large payments from his Treasury once in power, and when his son-in-law Kasim offered to do better, the Company gave him Jafar’s throne.

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All Posts
Tagged British Empire (23 posts)
page 1
1 A Many-Chorded Lyre
By Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar
(1872-1933)
Stylish batting in cricket is about variety, invention and frankly anything that works, and we have Dr W.G. Grace to thank for it.
2 Hooked
By Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji of Nawanagar
(1872-1933)
The great British public leaves a German tourist speechless during a county match at the Oval in London.
3 Mir Kasim
The East India Company installed Mir Kasim as Nawab of Bengal, only to find that he had a mind of his own.
4 Hyder Ali and Tipu
The British encountered no stouter resistance in India than Mysore’s gifted commmander Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu.
5 Mysore’s Golden Age
The Princely State of Mysore (today in Karnataka) was hailed as an example of good governance to all the world.
6 India’s First Railway
The opening of the Bombay to Thane line was the real beginning of British India.
page 2
7 Britain’s Best Gift to India
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Samuel Smiles reminds us that until we brought the railways to India, we had little to boast about as an imperial power.
8 Ranji
A young Indian student from Cambridge was selected for England’s cricket team after public pressure.
9 The Boer Wars
South African settlers of Dutch descent could not escape the march of the British Empire.
10 Wellington’s Secret
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
The future hero of Waterloo dealt with political ambush as comfortably as he dealt with the military kind.
11 The Battle of Plassey
A year after the infamous ‘Black hole of Calcutta’, Robert Clive was sent to exact retribution.
12 Victoria and the Munshi
Abdul Karim’s rapid rise in Victoria’s household made him enemies.
page 3
13 David Livingstone
The Scottish missionary and medic believed that slavery could better be eradicated by trade than by force.
14 The ‘Black Hole’ of Calcutta
The inhuman cruelty of the Nawab of Bengal’s men brought swift retribution on their master.
15 Courage Under Fire
Robert Clive turned seven hundred frightened recruits into crack troops by sheer force of personality.
16 Cecil Rhodes
The ruthless diamond magnate who donated his fortune to the education and empowerment of Africans.
17 The Siege of Khartoum
General Gordon’s death was a sensation and a scandal in its day.
18 Clive of India
Robert Clive helped to establish a lasting bond between India and Britain, laying the foundations of modern India.
page 4
19 The Massacre at Amritsar
After one of the worst outrages in modern British history, Winston Churchill made sure there was no cover-up.
20 The Indian Mutiny
Army unrest spread throughout northeast India, and brought direct rule from London.
21 The Anglo-Zanzibar War
It lasted barely forty minutes, but it brought slavery to an end in the little island territory.
22 The Man Who Would Be King
Based on the short story by Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Two rascally former British soldiers in India set off to become kings of Kafiristan.
23 The Siege of Arcot
By Thomas Babington Macaulay
(1800-1859)
A young Robert Clive’s extraordinary daring helped to prevent India falling into the hands of the French King.
Authors
Samuel Smiles (1812-1904)
2 posts

Word Play: Subject and Object

Use each of the words below as either the subject or the object of a verb.

Outside. Attack. Day.

New Stories
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
To the poor of England, the Worcestershire man gave affordable pots and pans, and to all the world he gave the industrial revolution.
After Louis XIV’s grandson Philip inherited the throne of Spain, the ‘Sun King’ began to entertain dreams of Europe-wide dominion.
New Puzzles
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Try writing complete sentences using these nouns as either the subject or the object of a verb.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Polyword ‘Eventide’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Do you know ‘conclusive evidence’ (5 letters), and ‘perceptive realisation’ (6 letters)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Show you know the difference between these frequently confused words.
Do you know ‘popular Asian chilled fruit drink’ (7 letters), and ‘bear witness’ (6 letters)?
Do you know ‘beg’ (7 letters), and ‘a single game in the sport of darts’ (3 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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History (359)
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letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: ‘Scrabble’ letters game Games with Words

numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps Mental arithmetic