The eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano last month sent an ash-cloud across Europe and ground air traffic to a halt. But it could have been much worse. Lost Worlds: Iceland's Killer Volcano is the story of the huge eruption of an Icelandic volcano in 1783 that sent a cloud of poisonous gases across Europe and killed thousands.
Follows New York into a new century, examining the interplay of capitalism, democracy and transformation in the wake of an extraordinary wave of immigration. During a single generation, over 10 million immigrants arrived in New York. The city itself became an even more dramatic lure with the construction of the first subways and skyscrapers.
This episode details New York's enormous growth as a booming commercial centre and multi-ethnic port, and the mounting tensions that set the stage for the nation's bloodiest riot. Already established as America's premier port, New York City swelled into the nation's greatest industrial metropolis as a massive wave of German and Irish immigration turned the city into one of the world's most complex urban environments, bringing with it a host of new social problems.
In this short but dazzling period, New York became the focal point of an extraordinary array of human and cultural energies. In just over a decade, New York gave birth to its signature skyscrapers, the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, and to artistic creations like F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and George Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue'.
This episode turns the spotlight on a period of greed and wealth that fuelled the expanding metropolis - even as politics and poverty defined it. It explores the incomparable wealth of the robber barons and the unabashed corruption of political leaders, such as Tammany Hall boss William M Tweed. It also examines the era when the expansion of wealth and poverty - and the schism between them - built to a crescendo.