Davina Morgan-Witts, BookBrowse editor

Each year, as the holiday season comes around and news becomes thin on the ground, we look back into history for a snapshot of the news in centuries past. This time we travel to 1808:

In the USA, the Theatre St Philip opened in New Orleans.  In Germany, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published the first part of Faust. In Britain, the first Royal Opera House in Covent Garden was destroyed by fire and Sir Walter Scott published Marmion, an epic poem about the Battle of Flodden Field.  In France, Francois Marie Charles Fourier (credited by modern scholars with originating the word feminisme) argued in his Theory of the Four Movements that the extension of the liberty of women was the general principle of all social progress, though he disdained 'equal rights'. Followers of Fourier would go on to establish about 30 socialist colonies based on his principles in various parts of the USA.

Meanwhile, on the wider stage: The US Congress prohibited the importation of slaves; Sierra Leone became a British colony; the Spanish rose up against the French occupation in Madrid; Napoleon annexed Tuscany; James Madison was elected president of the USA, and a future US president, Andrew Johnson, was born.

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