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2019-20 saw another seven months of interesting topics curtailed by only one meeting because of the Covid-19 crisis. At our first meeting in September we discussed the Scramble for Africa from 1881 to WW1, a time which saw many countries trying to take control. October’s discussions centred on China in the late 19th century from its decline and rise following the Boxer Rebellion. In November we looked at the history of coffee, from its early development on the Arabian Peninsula to the coffee houses in Britain, its competition with tea, its supposed health benefits and why some countries tried to ban it. The Huguenots was the topic under discussion in December. We discussed who they were, why they were persecuted, their contribution to the world, their way of life and the diaspora.
January saw us discussing Disraeli and Gladstone, their backgrounds and personality, key political events, their relationship with each other and with Queen Victoria and their legacy. In February we discussed the rather large and complicated topic of the Unification of Italy, in some ways simplifying it to contain it in a 1½ hour discussion. March was our last meeting for this year when we talked about the Kurds and Armenians, their cultures, religion, the connection between them, their geographical position between USSR and Turkey, the diaspora and as they are today.