11 December 1968

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, featuring the Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, the Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and the Dirty Mac with Yoko Ono, is filmed in Wembley, London.

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus
The Rolling Stones Rock-and-Roll Circus poster 300x417px.jpg
Directed byMichael Lindsay-Hogg[1]
Produced bySandy Leiberson[1][2]
StarringThe Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, the Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, the Dirty Mac, Yoko Ono, Sir Robert Fossett's Circus and the Nurses.[2]
CinematographyAnthony B. Richmond
Edited byRuth Foster, Robin Klein[1][2]
Release date
12 October 1996
(New York Film Festival),
6 December 1996
(TV premiere)
October 2004 (DVD)
Running time
66 min

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus was a concert show organised by the Rolling Stones on 11 December 1968. The show was filmed on a makeshift circus stage with Jethro Tull, the Who, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, and the Rolling Stones. John Lennon and his fiancee Yoko Ono also performed as part of a one-shot supergroup called the Dirty Mac, featuring Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell, and Keith Richards. The original idea for the concert was going to include the Small Faces, the Rolling Stones, and the Who, and the concept of a circus was first thought up between Mick Jagger, Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane. It was meant to be aired on the BBC, but instead the Rolling Stones withheld it. The Rolling Stones contended they did so because of their substandard performance, clearly exhausted after 15 hours (and some indulgence in drugs).[3] There is also the fact that this was Brian Jones last appearance with the Rolling Stones; he drowned some seven months later while the film was being edited. Some speculate that another reason for not releasing the film was that the Who, who were fresh off a concert tour, seemingly upstaged the Stones on their own production. Led Zeppelin was considered for inclusion but the idea was dropped.[4][5][6][7][8] The show was not released commercially until 1996.

Concept and performance

The project was originally conceived by Mick Jagger as a way to promote the new record Beggars Banquet beside conventional press and concert appearances.[3] Jagger approached Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who had directed two promos for Rolling Stones songs (and would go on to direct the Beatles' Let It Be documentary), to make a full-length TV show for them. According to Lindsay-Hogg, the idea of combining rock music and a circus setting came to him when he was trying to come up with ideas; he drew a circle on a piece of paper and free-associated.

The Rolling Stones and their guests performed in a replica of a seedy big top on a British sound stage—the Intertel (V.T.R. Services) Studio, Wycombe Road, Wembley[9]—in front of an invited audience. The performances began at around 2 pm on 11 December 1968, but setting up between acts and reloading cameras took longer than planned, which meant that the final performances took place at almost 5 o'clock in the morning on the 12th.[10]

By that time the audience and most of the Rolling Stones were exhausted. It was only due to Jagger's sheer enthusiasm and stamina that they kept going until the end. Regardless, Jagger was reportedly so disappointed with his and the band's performance that he cancelled the airing of the film, and kept it from public view. Pete Townshend recalled:

When they really get moving, there is a kind of white magic that starts to replace the black magic, and everything starts to really fly. That didn't happen on this occasion; there's no question about that. They weren't just usurped by The Who, they were also usurped by Taj Mahal – who was just, as always, extraordinary. They were usurped to some extent by the event itself: the crowd by the time the Stones went on were radically festive.[11]

This was the last public performance of Brian Jones with the Rolling Stones,[12] and for much of the Stones performance he is inaudible, although his slide guitar on "No Expectations", maracas on "Sympathy for the Devil", and rhythm guitar on "Jumpin' Jack Flash" remain clear. Ian Anderson remarked:

Brian Jones was well past his sell-by date by then… We spoke to Brian and he didn't really know what was going on. He was rather cut off from the others – there was a lot of embarrassed silence. But a delightful chap, and we felt rather sorry for him… I was approached for an interview by a chap from Record Mirror… I inadvertently remarked that the Stones were a bit under-rehearsed and that Brian couldn't even tune his guitar, which was literally the truth but a bit tactless and inappropriate for me to say. This was duly reported, whereupon Mick Jagger was mightily upset. I had to send a grovelling apology to his office.[11]

The last song, "Salt of the Earth", was sung live by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger to the pre-recorded tape from the Beggars Banquet studio album on which the song had been released.

According to Bill Wyman's book, Rolling with the Stones, the Rolling Stones also performed "Confessing the Blues", "Route 66" and an alternative take of "Sympathy for the Devil" with Brian Jones on guitar.[13] Nicky Hopkins supplemented the Rolling Stones on piano.



The project was abandoned until director Michael Lindsay-Hogg attempted to edit the film in 1992 but, due to missing principal footage, the project was put on hold. Some of the footage of the concert was thought to be lost or destroyed until 1993, when it was discovered in a bin in the Who's private film vault by director/producer team Michael Gochanour and Robin Klein. Subsequent to their discovery, Gochanour and Klein completed the unfinished film in fall of 1996.

A significant segment, featuring the Who, had been shown theatrically in the documentary The Kids Are Alright (1979), the only public viewing of the film until its eventual release. The Rolling Stones' film was restored, edited, and finally released on CD and video in 1996. Included on the recordings are the introductions for each act, including some entertaining banter between Jagger and Lennon.

This concert is the only footage of Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi performing as a member of Jethro Tull, during his brief two-week tenure as replacement for Mick Abrahams. Coincidentally this is also the first live footage of Jethro Tull ever made; no footage of the original lineup with Abrahams (December 1967 – December 1968) is known to exist. The band mimed to the album version of "A Song for Jeffrey" and "Fat Man," so the guitar heard is actually Abrahams, and not Iommi, who may not have known his part sufficiently after only a few days in the band. The Rolling Stones forced them to cut their rehearsal time short, although Ian Anderson sings and plays flute live on "A Song For Jeffrey". "Fat Man" never made the final release, although it is not unreasonable to assume he also sang that live, as the released version (which appears on Stand Up) wasn't recorded until four months later. Finally, the footage shows Ian Anderson's first clumsy attempts at his now famous flute-playing position of standing on one leg.


In a 1996 review, Janet Maslin lauded the "sleek young Stones in all their insolent glory presiding over this uneven but ripely nostalgic show"; although "rumor had it that the Stones... thought they looked tired and felt upstaged by the high-energy Who", "it hardly looks that way as Mick Jagger's fabulous performance nearly turns this into a one-man show."[2] She called Jethro Tull's performance a "shaky start" by "arguably the most unbearable band of their day", said The Who "turn up early and stop traffic, delivering a fiery [performance]", and notes Yoko Ono's "glass-shattering shrieks" are "dutifully" backed by the Dirty Mac. She calls the concert-ending sing-along of "Salt of the Earth" smug and condescending, a "song about little people living in the real world".[2]

Theatrical releases

October 1996

The film premiered on 12 October 1996 at the Walter Reade Theater as part of the New York Film Festival.[2]

April 2019

In March 2019, it was announced that the film would be receiving a limited theatrical release in Dolby Cinema in early April, as the first concert film was due to be remastered with Dolby's Atmos and Vision, in conjunction with what was—still then—the ongoing North American leg of the Rolling Stones' No Filter Tour (before it was later postponed). Indeed, a limited U.S. remastered theatrical release of the film run during the first week of April 2019.[14][15]

Home media

October 1996

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus was released in October 1996 on VHS and laserdisc following two days of screenings at the Walter Reade Theater as part of the New York Film Festival.[2]

October 2004

A DVD version, produced by Gochanour and Klein, was released in October 2004,[16] with audio remixed into Dolby Surround by Gochanour and co-producer Klein. The DVD includes footage of the show, along with extra features directed by Gochanour and Klein, which include previously "lost" performances, an interview with Pete Townshend, and three audio commentaries. Of particular interest in the Townshend interview is his description of the genesis of the Circus project, which he claims was initially meant to involve the performers travelling across the United States via train (a concept used for a short concert series in Canada that was later documented in the feature film Festival Express). The remastered DVD also includes a special four-camera view of The Dirty Mac's performance of The Beatles' "Yer Blues" (showing Yoko Ono kneeling on the floor in front of the musicians, completely covered in a black sheet).

DVD track listing

  1. David Dalton's written historic introduction (0:33)
  2. "Entry of the Gladiators" (Julius Fučík) – Orchester /
    The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus Parade /
    Mick Jagger's introduction of Rock and Roll Circus (2:10)
  3. Mick Jagger's introduction of Jethro Tull /
    "Song for Jeffrey" (Ian Anderson) – Jethro Tull (3:43)
  4. Keith Richards's introduction of The Who /
    "A Quick One While He's Away" (Pete Townshend) – The Who (7:40)
  5. "Over the Waves" (Juventino Rosas) – Orchester (1:20)
  6. "Ain't That a Lot of Love" (Willia Dean "Deanie" Parker, Homer Banks) – Taj Mahal (3:52)
  7. Charlie Watts' introduction of Marianne Faithfull /
    "Something Better" (Barry Mann, Gerry Goffin) – Marianne Faithfull (2:37)
  8. Keith Richards's introduction of Danny Camara /
    "Fire Eater and Luna (Donyale Luna)" (1:28)
  9. Mick Jagger and John Lennon's introduction of The Dirty Mac (1:05)
  10. "Yer Blues" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – The Dirty Mac (4:26)
  11. "Whole Lotta Yoko" (Yoko Ono) – Yoko Ono, Ivry Gitlis, The Dirty Mac (5:03)
  12. John Lennon's introduction of The Rolling Stones/
    "Jumping Jack Flash" (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – The Rolling Stones (3:38)
  13. "Parachute Woman" (Jagger, Richards) – The Rolling Stones (2:57)
  14. "No Expectations" (Jagger, Richards) – The Rolling Stones (4:07)
  15. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (Jagger, Richards) – The Rolling Stones (4:27)
  16. "Sympathy for the Devil" (Jagger, Richards) – The Rolling Stones (8:52)
  17. "Salt of the Earth" (Jagger, Richards) – The Rolling Stones (4:56)
  18. Credits, to the sound of "Salt of the Earth" (2:45)

Sideshows (DVD extras)



  1. ^ a b c "The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Maslin, Janet (12 October 1996). "Taking a Trip Back in Time To the Sleek Young Stones". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b "The Story of 'The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus'". Ultimate Classic Rock.
  4. ^ "The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus". CD Universe Store.
  5. ^ The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus on IMDb
  6. ^ Brusie, David (12 February 2009). "1996: The Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus". Tiny Mix Tapes.
  7. ^ See infobox picture for appearances
  8. ^ Fischer, Russ (4 February 2008). "STONES ON FILM: THE ROLLING STONES ROCK AND ROLL CIRCUS (1968/1996)". Chud.com. Archived from the original on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  9. ^ "London's old (and present) ITV studios". An incomplete history of London's television studios.
  10. ^ Dalton, David (19 March 1970). "The Rolling Stones' Masterful Rock & Roll Circus". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  11. ^ a b Mojo, issue number and date unknown
  12. ^ https://ultimateclassicrock.com/rolling-stones-rock-roll-circus-box-set/
  13. ^ Shooting The Rolling Stones Rock'n Roll Circus 10 – 12 December 1968: London, Intertel Studios
  14. ^ www.latimes.com > Rolling Stones' 'Circus,' once lost and unfinished, will receive a theatrical release (by Steve Appleford – 19 March 2019)
  15. ^ http://www.rockandrollcircusthefilm.com/
  16. ^ Farley, Christopher John (18 October 2004). "Starry Circus". Time. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  17. ^ "The Rolling Stones: Rock And Roll Circus [DVD] [2004] [Region 1] [NTSC]-The Rolling Stones – Rock and Roll Circus-PAL version-The Rolling Stones – Rock and Roll Circus-PAL version". Amazon.com. 25 October 2004.

External links

10 December 1901

The first Nobel Prize ceremony is held in Stockholm on the fifth anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.

Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize
A golden medallion with an embossed image of Alfred Nobel facing left in profile. To the left of the man is the text "ALFR•" then "NOBEL", and on the right, the text (smaller) "NAT•" then "MDCCCXXXIII" above, followed by (smaller) "OB•" then "MDCCCXCVI" below.
Awarded forOutstanding contributions for humanity in chemistry, literature, peace, physics, and physiology or medicine
  • Sweden (all prizes except the Peace Prize)
  • Norway (Peace Prize only)
Presented by
Reward(s)Prize money of 9 million SEK, approx. US$986,000 (2018);[1]
a medal;[2] and a diploma
First awarded1901; 118 years ago (1901)
Number of laureates590 prizes to 935 laureates (as of 2018)[1]

The Nobel Prize (/ˈnbɛl/, NOH-bel; Swedish: Nobelpriset, [nʊ²bɛlːˌpriːsɛt]; Norwegian: Nobelprisen) is a set of annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, or scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist, engineer and industrialist Alfred Nobel established the five Nobel prizes in 1895. The prizes in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine were first awarded in 1901.[1][3][4] The prizes are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards available in their respective fields.[5][6][7]

In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank, Sweden's central bank, established the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. The award is based on a donation received by the Nobel Foundation in 1968 from Sveriges Riksbank on the occasion of the bank's 300th anniversary. The first Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen in 1969. The Prize in Economic Sciences is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden, according to the same principles as for the Nobel Prizes that have been awarded since 1901.[8]

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Nobel Prize in Physics, and the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; the Swedish Academy grants the Nobel Prize in Literature; and the Norwegian Nobel Committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize.

Between 1901 and 2018, the Nobel Prizes (and the Prizes in Economic Sciences, from 1969 on) were awarded 590 times to 935 people and organizations.[1] With some receiving the Nobel Prize more than once, this makes a total of 27 organizations and 908 individuals.[1][9] The prize ceremonies take place annually in Stockholm, Sweden (with the exception of the Peace Prize ceremony, which is held in Oslo, Norway). Each recipient (known as a "laureate") receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money that has been decided by the Nobel Foundation. (As of 2017, each prize is worth 9,000,000 SEK, or about US$1,110,000, €944,000, or £836,000.[10]) Medals made before 1980 were struck in 23-carat gold, and later in 18-carat green gold plated with a 24-carat gold coating.

The prize is not awarded posthumously; however, if a person is awarded a prize and dies before receiving it, the prize may still be presented.[11] A prize may not be shared among more than three individuals, although the Nobel Peace Prize can be awarded to organizations of more than three people.[12]


A black and white photo of a bearded man in his fifties sitting in a chair.
Alfred Nobel had the unpleasant surprise of reading his own obituary, which was titled The merchant of death is dead, in a French newspaper.

Alfred Nobel (About this soundlisten ) was born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, into a family of engineers.[13] He was a chemist, engineer, and inventor. In 1894, Nobel purchased the Bofors iron and steel mill, which he made into a major armaments manufacturer. Nobel also invented ballistite. This invention was a precursor to many smokeless military explosives, especially the British smokeless powder cordite. As a consequence of his patent claims, Nobel was eventually involved in a patent infringement lawsuit over cordite. Nobel amassed a fortune during his lifetime, with most of his wealth coming from his 355 inventions, of which dynamite is the most famous.[14]

In 1888, Nobel was astonished to read his own obituary, titled The merchant of death is dead, in a French newspaper. It was Alfred's brother Ludvig who had died; the obituary was eight years premature. The article disconcerted Nobel and made him apprehensive about how he would be remembered. This inspired him to change his will.[15] On 10 December 1896, Alfred Nobel died in his villa in San Remo, Italy, from a cerebral haemorrhage. He was 63 years old.[16]

Nobel wrote several wills during his lifetime. He composed the last over a year before he died, signing it at the Swedish–Norwegian Club in Paris on 27 November 1895.[17][18] To widespread astonishment, Nobel's last will specified that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the "greatest benefit on mankind" in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace.[19] Nobel bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million SEK (c. US$186 million, €150 million in 2008), to establish the five Nobel Prizes.[20][21] Owing to skepticism surrounding the will, it was not approved by the Storting in Norway until 26 April 1897.[22] The executors of the will, Ragnar Sohlman and Rudolf Lilljequist, formed the Nobel Foundation to take care of the fortune and to organise the awarding of prizes.[23]

Nobel's instructions named a Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the Peace Prize, the members of whom were appointed shortly after the will was approved in April 1897. Soon thereafter, the other prize-awarding organizations were designated. These were Karolinska Institute on 7 June, the Swedish Academy on 9 June, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on 11 June.[24] The Nobel Foundation reached an agreement on guidelines for how the prizes should be awarded; and, in 1900, the Nobel Foundation's newly created statutes were promulgated by King Oscar II.[19] In 1905, the personal union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved.

Nobel Foundation

Formation of Foundation

A paper with stylish handwriting on it with the title "Testament"
Alfred Nobel's will stated that 94% of his total assets should be used to establish the Nobel Prizes.

According to his will and testament read in Stockholm on 30 December 1896, a foundation established by Alfred Nobel would reward those who serve humanity. The Nobel Prize was funded by Alfred Nobel's personal fortune. According to the official sources, Alfred Nobel bequeathed from the shares 94% of his fortune to the Nobel Foundation that now forms the economic base of the Nobel Prize.[citation needed]

The Nobel Foundation was founded as a private organization on 29 June 1900. Its function is to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes.[25] In accordance with Nobel's will, the primary task of the Foundation is to manage the fortune Nobel left. Robert and Ludvig Nobel were involved in the oil business in Azerbaijan, and according to Swedish historian E. Bargengren, who accessed the Nobel family archive, it was this "decision to allow withdrawal of Alfred's money from Baku that became the decisive factor that enabled the Nobel Prizes to be established".[26] Another important task of the Nobel Foundation is to market the prizes internationally and to oversee informal administration related to the prizes. The Foundation is not involved in the process of selecting the Nobel laureates.[27][28] In many ways, the Nobel Foundation is similar to an investment company, in that it invests Nobel's money to create a solid funding base for the prizes and the administrative activities. The Nobel Foundation is exempt from all taxes in Sweden (since 1946) and from investment taxes in the United States (since 1953).[29] Since the 1980s, the Foundation's investments have become more profitable and as of 31 December 2007, the assets controlled by the Nobel Foundation amounted to 3.628 billion Swedish kronor (c. US$560 million).[30]

According to the statutes, the Foundation consists of a board of five Swedish or Norwegian citizens, with its seat in Stockholm. The Chairman of the Board is appointed by the Swedish King in Council, with the other four members appointed by the trustees of the prize-awarding institutions. An Executive Director is chosen from among the board members, a Deputy Director is appointed by the King in Council, and two deputies are appointed by the trustees. However, since 1995, all the members of the board have been chosen by the trustees, and the Executive Director and the Deputy Director appointed by the board itself. As well as the board, the Nobel Foundation is made up of the prize-awarding institutions (the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute, the Swedish Academy, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee), the trustees of these institutions, and auditors.[30]

Foundation capital and cost

The capital of the Nobel Foundation today is invested 50% in shares, 20% bonds and 30% other investments (e.g. hedge funds or real estate). The distribution can vary by 10 percent.[31] At the beginning of 2008, 64% of the funds were invested mainly in American and European stocks, 20% in bonds, plus 12% in real estate and hedge funds.[32]

In 2011, the total annual cost was approximately 120 million krona, with 50 million krona as the prize money. Further costs to pay institutions and persons engaged in giving the prizes were 27.4 million krona. The events during the Nobel week in Stockholm and Oslo cost 20.2 million krona. The administration, Nobel symposium, and similar items had costs of 22.4 million krona. The cost of the Economic Sciences prize of 16.5 Million krona is paid by the Sveriges Riksbank.[31]

First prizes

A black and white photo of a bearded man in his fifties sitting in a chair.
Wilhelm Röntgen received the first Physics Prize for his discovery of X-rays.

Once the Nobel Foundation and its guidelines were in place, the Nobel Committees began collecting nominations for the inaugural prizes. Subsequently, they sent a list of preliminary candidates to the prize-awarding institutions.

The Nobel Committee's Physics Prize shortlist cited Wilhelm Röntgen's discovery of X-rays and Philipp Lenard's work on cathode rays. The Academy of Sciences selected Röntgen for the prize.[33][34] In the last decades of the 19th century, many chemists had made significant contributions. Thus, with the Chemistry Prize, the Academy "was chiefly faced with merely deciding the order in which these scientists should be awarded the prize".[35] The Academy received 20 nominations, eleven of them for Jacobus van 't Hoff.[36] Van 't Hoff was awarded the prize for his contributions in chemical thermodynamics.[37][38]

The Swedish Academy chose the poet Sully Prudhomme for the first Nobel Prize in Literature. A group including 42 Swedish writers, artists, and literary critics protested against this decision, having expected Leo Tolstoy to be awarded.[39] Some, including Burton Feldman, have criticised this prize because they consider Prudhomme a mediocre poet. Feldman's explanation is that most of the Academy members preferred Victorian literature and thus selected a Victorian poet.[40] The first Physiology or Medicine Prize went to the German physiologist and microbiologist Emil von Behring. During the 1890s, von Behring developed an antitoxin to treat diphtheria, which until then was causing thousands of deaths each year.[41][42]

The first Nobel Peace Prize went to the Swiss Jean Henri Dunant for his role in founding the International Red Cross Movement and initiating the Geneva Convention, and jointly given to French pacifist Frédéric Passy, founder of the Peace League and active with Dunant in the Alliance for Order and Civilization.

Second World War

In 1938 and 1939, Adolf Hitler's Third Reich forbade three laureates from Germany (Richard Kuhn, Adolf Friedrich Johann Butenandt, and Gerhard Domagk) from accepting their prizes.[43] Each man was later able to receive the diploma and medal.[44] Even though Sweden was officially neutral during the Second World War, the prizes were awarded irregularly. In 1939, the Peace Prize was not awarded. No prize was awarded in any category from 1940 to 1942, due to the occupation of Norway by Germany. In the subsequent year, all prizes were awarded except those for literature and peace.[45]

During the occupation of Norway, three members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee fled into exile. The remaining members escaped persecution from the Germans when the Nobel Foundation stated that the Committee building in Oslo was Swedish property. Thus it was a safe haven from the German military, which was not at war with Sweden.[46] These members kept the work of the Committee going, but did not award any prizes. In 1944, the Nobel Foundation, together with the three members in exile, made sure that nominations were submitted for the Peace Prize and that the prize could be awarded once again.[43]

Prize in Economic Sciences

Map of Nobel laureates by country

In 1968, Sweden's central bank Sveriges Riksbank celebrated its 300th anniversary by donating a large sum of money to the Nobel Foundation to be used to set up a prize in honour of Alfred Nobel. The following year, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was awarded for the first time. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences became responsible for selecting laureates. The first laureates for the Economics Prize were Jan Tinbergen and Ragnar Frisch "for having developed and applied dynamic models for the analysis of economic processes".[47][48] The Board of the Nobel Foundation decided that after this addition, it would allow no further new prizes.[49]

Award process

The award process is similar for all of the Nobel Prizes, the main difference being who can make nominations for each of them.[50]

The announcement of the laureates in Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009 by Gunnar Öquist, permanent secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
2009 Nobel Prize in Literature announcement by Peter Englund in Swedish, English, and German


Nomination forms are sent by the Nobel Committee to about 3,000 individuals, usually in September the year before the prizes are awarded. These individuals are generally prominent academics working in a relevant area. Regarding the Peace Prize, inquiries are also sent to governments, former Peace Prize laureates, and current or former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The deadline for the return of the nomination forms is 31 January of the year of the award.[50][51] The Nobel Committee nominates about 300 potential laureates from these forms and additional names.[52] The nominees are not publicly named, nor are they told that they are being considered for the prize. All nomination records for a prize are sealed for 50 years from the awarding of the prize.[53][54]


The Nobel Committee then prepares a report reflecting the advice of experts in the relevant fields. This, along with the list of preliminary candidates, is submitted to the prize-awarding institutions.[55] The institutions meet to choose the laureate or laureates in each field by a majority vote. Their decision, which cannot be appealed, is announced immediately after the vote.[56] A maximum of three laureates and two different works may be selected per award. Except for the Peace Prize, which can be awarded to institutions, the awards can only be given to individuals.[57]

Posthumous nominations

Although posthumous nominations are not presently permitted, individuals who died in the months between their nomination and the decision of the prize committee were originally eligible to receive the prize. This has occurred twice: the 1931 Literature Prize awarded to Erik Axel Karlfeldt, and the 1961 Peace Prize awarded to UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld. Since 1974, laureates must be thought alive at the time of the October announcement. There has been one laureate, William Vickrey, who in 1996 died after the prize (in Economics) was announced but before it could be presented.[58] On 3 October 2011, the laureates for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine were announced; however, the committee was not aware that one of the laureates, Ralph M. Steinman, had died three days earlier. The committee was debating about Steinman's prize, since the rule is that the prize is not awarded posthumously.[11] The committee later decided that as the decision to award Steinman the prize "was made in good faith", it would remain unchanged.[59]

Recognition time lag

Nobel's will provided for prizes to be awarded in recognition of discoveries made "during the preceding year". Early on, the awards usually recognised recent discoveries.[60] However, some of those early discoveries were later discredited. For example, Johannes Fibiger was awarded the 1926 Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his purported discovery of a parasite that caused cancer.[61] To avoid repeating this embarrassment, the awards increasingly recognised scientific discoveries that had withstood the test of time.[62][63][64] According to Ralf Pettersson, former chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee for Physiology or Medicine, "the criterion 'the previous year' is interpreted by the Nobel Assembly as the year when the full impact of the discovery has become evident."[63]

A room with pictures on the walls. In the middle of the room there is a wooden table with chairs around it.
The committee room of the Norwegian Nobel Committee

The interval between the award and the accomplishment it recognises varies from discipline to discipline. The Literature Prize is typically awarded to recognise a cumulative lifetime body of work rather than a single achievement.[65][66] The Peace Prize can also be awarded for a lifetime body of work. For example, 2008 laureate Martti Ahtisaari was awarded for his work to resolve international conflicts.[67][68] However, they can also be awarded for specific recent events.[69] For instance, Kofi Annan was awarded the 2001 Peace Prize just four years after becoming the Secretary-General of the United Nations.[70] Similarly Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres received the 1994 award, about a year after they successfully concluded the Oslo Accords.[71]

Awards for physics, chemistry, and medicine are typically awarded once the achievement has been widely accepted. Sometimes, this takes decades – for example, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar shared the 1983 Physics Prize for his 1930s work on stellar structure and evolution.[72][73] Not all scientists live long enough for their work to be recognised. Some discoveries can never be considered for a prize if their impact is realised after the discoverers have died.[74][75][76]

Award ceremonies

Two men standing on a stage. The man to the left is clapping his hands and looking towards the other man. The second man is smiling and showing two items to an audience not seen on the image. The items are a diploma which includes a painting and a box containing a gold medal. Behind them is a blue pillar clad in flowers.
A man in his fifties standing behind a desk with computers on it. On the desk is a sign reading "Kungl. Vetensk. Akad. Sigil".
Left: Barack Obama after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo City Hall from the hands of Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjørn Jagland in 2009; Right: Giovanni Jona-Lasinio presenting Yoichiro Nambu's Nobel Lecture at Aula Magna, Stockholm in 2008

Except for the Peace Prize, the Nobel Prizes are presented in Stockholm, Sweden, at the annual Prize Award Ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death. The recipients' lectures are normally held in the days prior to the award ceremony. The Peace Prize and its recipients' lectures are presented at the annual Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, usually on 10 December. The award ceremonies and the associated banquets are typically major international events.[77][78] The Prizes awarded in Sweden's ceremonies' are held at the Stockholm Concert Hall, with the Nobel banquet following immediately at Stockholm City Hall. The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony has been held at the Norwegian Nobel Institute (1905–1946), at the auditorium of the University of Oslo (1947–1989), and at Oslo City Hall (1990–present).[79]

The highlight of the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in Stockholm occurs when each Nobel laureate steps forward to receive the prize from the hands of the King of Sweden. In Oslo, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of the King of Norway.[78][80] At first, King Oscar II did not approve of awarding grand prizes to foreigners. It is said[by whom?] that he changed his mind once his attention had been drawn to the publicity value of the prizes for Sweden.[81]

Nobel Banquet

A set table with a white table cloth. There are many plates and glasses plus a menu visible on the table.
Table at the 2005 Nobel Banquet in Stockholm

After the award ceremony in Sweden, a banquet is held in the Blue Hall at the Stockholm City Hall, which is attended by the Swedish Royal Family and around 1,300 guests. The Nobel Peace Prize banquet is held in Norway at the Oslo Grand Hotel after the award ceremony. Apart from the laureate, guests include the President of the Storting, on occasion the Swedish prime minister, and, since 2006, the King and Queen of Norway. In total, about 250 guests attend.

Nobel lecture

According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, each laureate is required to give a public lecture on a subject related to the topic of their prize.[82] The Nobel lecture as a rhetorical genre took decades to reach its current format.[83] These lectures normally occur during Nobel Week (the week leading up to the award ceremony and banquet, which begins with the laureates arriving in Stockholm and normally ends with the Nobel banquet), but this is not mandatory. The laureate is only obliged to give the lecture within six months of receiving the prize, but some have happened even later. For example, US President Theodore Roosevelt received the Peace Prize in 1906 but gave his lecture in 1910, after his term in office.[84] The lectures are organized by the same association which selected the laureates.[85]



The Nobel Foundation announced on 30 May 2012 that it had awarded the contract for the production of the five (Swedish) Nobel Prize medals to Svenska Medalj AB. Between 1902 and 2010, the Nobel Prize medals were minted by Myntverket (the Swedish Mint), Sweden's oldest company, which ceased operations in 2011 after 107 years. In 2011, the Mint of Norway, located in Kongsberg, made the medals. The Nobel Prize medals are registered trademarks of the Nobel Foundation.[86]

Each medal features an image of Alfred Nobel in left profile on the obverse. The medals for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and literature have identical obverses, showing the image of Alfred Nobel and the years of his birth and death. Nobel's portrait also appears on the obverse of the Peace Prize medal and the medal for the Economics Prize, but with a slightly different design. For instance, the laureate's name is engraved on the rim of the Economics medal.[87] The image on the reverse of a medal varies according to the institution awarding the prize. The reverse sides of the medals for chemistry and physics share the same design.[88]

A heavily decorated paper with the name "Fritz Haber" on it.
Laureates receive a heavily decorated diploma together with a gold medal and the prize money. Here Fritz Haber's diploma is shown, which he received for the development of a method to synthesise ammonia.

All medals made before 1980 were struck in 23 carat gold. Since then, they have been struck in 18 carat green gold plated with 24 carat gold. The weight of each medal varies with the value of gold, but averages about 175 grams (0.386 lb) for each medal. The diameter is 66 millimetres (2.6 in) and the thickness varies between 5.2 millimetres (0.20 in) and 2.4 millimetres (0.094 in).[89] Because of the high value of their gold content and tendency to be on public display, Nobel medals are subject to medal theft.[90][91][92] During World War II, the medals of German scientists Max von Laue and James Franck were sent to Copenhagen for safekeeping. When Germany invaded Denmark, Hungarian chemist (and Nobel laureate himself) George de Hevesy dissolved them in aqua regia (nitro-hydrochloric acid), to prevent confiscation by Nazi Germany and to prevent legal problems for the holders. After the war, the gold was recovered from solution, and the medals re-cast.[93]


Nobel laureates receive a diploma directly from the hands of the King of Sweden, or in the case of the peace prize, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Each diploma is uniquely designed by the prize-awarding institutions for the laureates that receive them.[87] The diploma contains a picture and text in Swedish which states the name of the laureate and normally a citation of why they received the prize. None of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates has ever had a citation on their diplomas.[94][95]

Award money

The laureates are given a sum of money when they receive their prizes, in the form of a document confirming the amount awarded.[87] The amount of prize money depends upon how much money the Nobel Foundation can award each year. The purse has increased since the 1980s, when the prize money was 880,000 SEK per prize (c. 2.6 million SEK altogether, US$350,000 today). In 2009, the monetary award was 10 million SEK (US$1.4 million).[96][97] In June 2012, it was lowered to 8 million SEK.[98] If two laureates share the prize in a category, the award grant is divided equally between the recipients. If there are three, the awarding committee has the option of dividing the grant equally, or awarding one-half to one recipient and one-quarter to each of the others.[99][100][101] It is common for recipients to donate prize money to benefit scientific, cultural, or humanitarian causes.[102][103]

Controversies and criticisms

Controversial recipients

When it was announced that Henry Kissinger was to be awarded the Peace Prize, two of the Norwegian Nobel Committee members resigned in protest.

Among other criticisms, the Nobel Committees have been accused of having a political agenda, and of omitting more deserving candidates. They have also been accused of Eurocentrism, especially for the Literature Prize.[104][105][106]

Peace Prize

Among the most criticised Nobel Peace Prizes was the one awarded to Henry Kissinger and Lê Đức Thọ. This led to the resignation of two Norwegian Nobel Committee members.[107] Kissinger and Thọ were awarded the prize for negotiating a ceasefire between North Vietnam and the United States in January 1973. However, when the award was announced, both sides were still engaging in hostilities.[108] Critics sympathetic to the North announced that Kissinger was not a peace-maker but the opposite, responsible for widening the war. Those hostile to the North and what they considered its deceptive practices during negotiations were deprived of a chance to criticise Lê Đức Thọ, as he declined the award.[53][109]

Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin received the Peace Prize in 1994 for their efforts in making peace between Israel and Palestine.[53][110] Immediately after the award was announced, one of the five Norwegian Nobel Committee members denounced Arafat as a terrorist and resigned.[111] Additional misgivings about Arafat were widely expressed in various newspapers.[112]

Another controversial Peace Prize was that awarded to Barack Obama in 2009.[113] Nominations had closed only eleven days after Obama took office as President of the United States, but the actual evaluation occurred over the next eight months.[114] Obama himself stated that he did not feel deserving of the award, or worthy of the company in which it would place him.[115][116] Past Peace Prize laureates were divided, some saying that Obama deserved the award, and others saying he had not secured the achievements to yet merit such an accolade. Obama's award, along with the previous Peace Prizes for Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, also prompted accusations of a left-wing bias.[117]

Literature Prize

The award of the 2004 Literature Prize to Elfriede Jelinek drew a protest from a member of the Swedish Academy, Knut Ahnlund. Ahnlund resigned, alleging that the selection of Jelinek had caused "irreparable damage to all progressive forces, it has also confused the general view of literature as an art". He alleged that Jelinek's works were "a mass of text shovelled together without artistic structure".[118][119] The 2009 Literature Prize to Herta Müller also generated criticism. According to The Washington Post, many US literary critics and professors were ignorant of her work.[120] This made those critics feel the prizes were too Eurocentric.[121]

Science prizes

In 1949, the neurologist António Egas Moniz received the Physiology or Medicine Prize for his development of the prefrontal leucotomy. The previous year, Dr. Walter Freeman had developed a version of the procedure which was faster and easier to carry out. Due in part to the publicity surrounding the original procedure, Freeman's procedure was prescribed without due consideration or regard for modern medical ethics. Endorsed by such influential publications as The New England Journal of Medicine, leucotomy or "lobotomy" became so popular that about 5,000 lobotomies were performed in the United States in the three years immediately following Moniz's receipt of the Prize.[122][123]

Overlooked achievements

The Norwegian Nobel Committee declined to award a prize in 1948, the year of Gandhi's death, on the grounds that "there was no suitable living candidate."

The Norwegian Nobel Committee confirmed that Mahatma Gandhi was nominated for the Peace Prize in 1937–39, 1947, and a few days before he was assassinated in January 1948.[124] Later, members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee expressed regret that he was not given the prize.[125] Geir Lundestad, Secretary of Norwegian Nobel Committee in 2006, said, "The greatest omission in our 106 year history is undoubtedly that Mahatma Gandhi never received the Nobel Peace prize. Gandhi could do without the Nobel Peace prize. Whether Nobel committee can do without Gandhi is the question".[126] In 1948, the year of Gandhi's death, the Nobel Committee declined to award a prize on the grounds that "there was no suitable living candidate" that year.[125][127] Later, when the 14th Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi".[128] Other high-profile individuals with widely recognised contributions to peace have been missed out. Foreign Policy lists Eleanor Roosevelt, Václav Havel, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Sari Nusseibeh, and Corazon Aquino as people who "never won the prize, but should have".[129]

In 1965, UN Secretary General U Thant was informed by the Norwegian Permanent Representative to the UN that he would be awarded that year's prize and asked whether or not he would accept. He consulted staff and later replied that he would. At the same time, Chairman Gunnar Jahn of the Nobel Peace prize committee, lobbied heavily against giving U Thant the prize and the prize was at the last minute awarded to UNICEF. The rest of the committee all wanted the prize to go to U Thant, for his work in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis, ending the war in the Congo, and his ongoing work to mediate an end to the Vietnam War. The disagreement lasted three years and in 1966 and 1967 no prize was given, with Gunnar Jahn effectively vetoing an award to U Thant.[130][131]

James Joyce, one of the controversial omissions of the Literature Prize

The Literature Prize also has controversial omissions. Adam Kirsch has suggested that many notable writers have missed out on the award for political or extra-literary reasons. The heavy focus on European and Swedish authors has been a subject of criticism.[132][133] The Eurocentric nature of the award was acknowledged by Peter Englund, the 2009 Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, as a problem with the award and was attributed to the tendency for the academy to relate more to European authors.[134] This tendency towards European authors still leaves some European writers on a list of notable writers that have been overlooked for the Literature Prize, including Europe's Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, J. R. R. Tolkien, Émile Zola, Marcel Proust, Vladimir Nabokov, James Joyce, August Strindberg, Simon Vestdijk, Karel Čapek, the New World's Jorge Luis Borges, Ezra Pound, John Updike, Arthur Miller, Mark Twain, and Africa's Chinua Achebe.[135]

Candidates can receive multiple nominations the same year. Gaston Ramon received a total of 155[136] nominations in physiology or medicine from 1930 to 1953, the last year with public nomination data for that award as of 2016. He died in 1963 without being awarded. Pierre Paul Émile Roux received 115[137] nominations in physiology or medicine, and Arnold Sommerfeld received 84[138] in physics. These are the three most nominated scientists without awards in the data published as of 2016.[139] Otto Stern received 79[140] nominations in physics 1925–43 before being awarded in 1943.[141]

The strict rule against awarding a prize to more than three people is also controversial.[142] When a prize is awarded to recognise an achievement by a team of more than three collaborators, one or more will miss out. For example, in 2002, the prize was awarded to Koichi Tanaka and John Fenn for the development of mass spectrometry in protein chemistry, an award that did not recognise the achievements of Franz Hillenkamp and Michael Karas of the Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Frankfurt.[143][144] According to one of the nominees for the prize in physics, the three person limit deprived him and two other members of his team of the honor in 2013: the team of Carl Hagen, Gerald Guralnik, and Tom Kibble published a paper in 1964 that gave answers to how the cosmos began, but did not share the 2013 Physics Prize awarded to Peter Higgs and François Englert, who had also published papers in 1964 concerning the subject. All five physicists arrived at the same conclusion, albeit from different angles. Hagen contends that an equitable solution is to either abandon the three limit restriction, or expand the time period of recognition for a given achievement to two years.[145]

Similarly, the prohibition of posthumous awards fails to recognise achievements by an individual or collaborator who dies before the prize is awarded. The Economics Prize was not awarded to Fischer Black, who died in 1995, when his co-author Myron Scholes received the honor in 1997 for their landmark work on option pricing along with Robert C. Merton, another pioneer in the development of valuation of stock options. In the announcement of the award that year, the Nobel committee prominently mentioned Black's key role.

Political subterfuge may also deny proper recognition. Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann, who co-discovered nuclear fission along with Otto Hahn, may have been denied a share of Hahn's 1944 Nobel Chemistry Award due to having fled Germany when the Nazis came to power.[146] The Meitner and Strassmann roles in the research was not fully recognised until years later, when they joined Hahn in receiving the 1966 Enrico Fermi Award.

Emphasis on discoveries over inventions

Alfred Nobel left his fortune to finance annual prizes to be awarded "to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind".[147] He stated that the Nobel Prizes in Physics should be given "to the person who shall have made the most important 'discovery' or 'invention' within the field of physics". Nobel did not emphasise discoveries, but they have historically been held in higher respect by the Nobel Prize Committee than inventions: 77% of the Physics Prizes have been given to discoveries, compared with only 23% to inventions. Christoph Bartneck and Matthias Rauterberg, in papers published in Nature and Technoetic Arts, have argued this emphasis on discoveries has moved the Nobel Prize away from its original intention of rewarding the greatest contribution to society.[148][149]

Gender disparity

In terms of the most prestigious awards in STEM fields, only a small proportion have been awarded to women. Out of 210 laureates in Physics, 181 in Chemistry and 216 in Medicine between 1901 and 2018, there were only three female laureates in physics, five in chemistry and 12 in medicine.[150][151][152][153] Factors proposed to contribute to the discrepancy between this and the roughly equal human sex ratio include biased nominations, fewer women than men being active in the relevant fields, Nobel Prizes typically being awarded decades after the research was done (reflecting a time when gender bias in the relevant fields was greater), a greater delay in awarding Nobel Prizes for women's achievements making longevity a more important factor for women (Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously), and a tendency to omit women from jointly awarded Nobel Prizes.[154][155][156][157][158][159] Despite these factors, Marie Curie is to date the only person awarded Nobel Prizes in two different sciences (Physics in 1903, Chemistry in 1911); she is one of only three people who have received two Nobel Prizes in sciences (see Multiple laureates below).

Specially distinguished laureates

Multiple laureates

A black and white portrait of a woman in profile.
Marie Curie, one of four people who have received the Nobel Prize twice (Physics and Chemistry)

Four people have received two Nobel Prizes. Marie Curie received the Physics Prize in 1903 for her work on radioactivity and the Chemistry Prize in 1911 for the isolation of pure radium,[160] making her the only person to be awarded a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. Linus Pauling was awarded the 1954 Chemistry Prize for his research into the chemical bond and its application to the structure of complex substances. Pauling was also awarded the Peace Prize in 1962 for his activism against nuclear weapons, making him the only laureate of two unshared prizes. John Bardeen received the Physics Prize twice: in 1956 for the invention of the transistor and in 1972 for the theory of superconductivity.[161] Frederick Sanger received the prize twice in Chemistry: in 1958 for determining the structure of the insulin molecule and in 1980 for inventing a method of determining base sequences in DNA.[162][163]

Two organizations have received the Peace Prize multiple times. The International Committee of the Red Cross received it three times: in 1917 and 1944 for its work during the world wars; and in 1963 during the year of its centenary.[164][165][166] The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been awarded the Peace Prize twice for assisting refugees: in 1954 and 1981.[167]

Family laureates

The Curie family has received the most prizes, with four prizes awarded to five individual laureates. Marie Curie received the prizes in Physics (in 1903) and Chemistry (in 1911). Her husband, Pierre Curie, shared the 1903 Physics prize with her.[168] Their daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, received the Chemistry Prize in 1935 together with her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie. In addition, the husband of Marie Curie's second daughter, Henry Labouisse, was the director of UNICEF when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 on that organisation's behalf.[169]

Although no family matches the Curie family's record, there have been several with two laureates. The husband-and-wife team of Gerty Cori and Carl Ferdinand Cori shared the 1947 Prize in Physiology or Medicine[170] as did the husband-and-wife team of May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser in 2014 (along with John O'Keefe).[171] J. J. Thomson was awarded the Physics Prize in 1906 for showing that electrons are particles. His son, George Paget Thomson, received the same prize in 1937 for showing that they also have the properties of waves.[172] William Henry Bragg and his son, William Lawrence Bragg, shared the Physics Prize in 1915 for inventing the X-ray crystallography.[173] Niels Bohr was awarded the Physics prize in 1922, as was his son, Aage Bohr, in 1975.[169][174] Manne Siegbahn, who received the Physics Prize in 1924, was the father of Kai Siegbahn, who received the Physics Prize in 1981.[169][175] Hans von Euler-Chelpin, who received the Chemistry Prize in 1929, was the father of Ulf von Euler, who was awarded the Physiology or Medicine Prize in 1970.[169] C. V. Raman was awarded the Physics Prize in 1930 and was the uncle of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who was awarded the same prize in 1983.[176][177] Arthur Kornberg received the Physiology or Medicine Prize in 1959; Kornberg's son, Roger later received the Chemistry Prize in 2006.[178] Jan Tinbergen, who was awarded the first Economics Prize in 1969, was the brother of Nikolaas Tinbergen, who received the 1973 Physiology or Medicine Prize.[169] Alva Myrdal, Peace Prize laureate in 1982, was the wife of Gunnar Myrdal who was awarded the Economics Prize in 1974.[169] Economics laureates Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow were brothers-in-law. Frits Zernike, who was awarded the 1953 Physics Prize, is the great-uncle of 1999 Physics laureate Gerard 't Hooft.[179]

Refusals and constraints

A black and white portrait of a man in a suit and tie. Half of his face is in a shadow.
Richard Kuhn, who was forced to decline his Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Two laureates have voluntarily declined the Nobel Prize. In 1964, Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Literature Prize but refused, stating, "A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honourable form."[180] Lê Đức Thọ, chosen for the 1973 Peace Prize for his role in the Paris Peace Accords, declined, stating that there was no actual peace in Vietnam.[181]

During the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler hindered Richard Kuhn, Adolf Butenandt, and Gerhard Domagk from accepting their prizes. All of them were awarded their diplomas and gold medals after World War II. In 1958, Boris Pasternak declined his prize for literature due to fear of what the Soviet Union government might do if he travelled to Stockholm to accept his prize. In return, the Swedish Academy refused his refusal, saying "this refusal, of course, in no way alters the validity of the award."[181] The Academy announced with regret that the presentation of the Literature Prize could not take place that year, holding it back until 1989 when Pasternak's son accepted the prize on his behalf.[182][183]

Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, but her children accepted the prize because she had been placed under house arrest in Burma; Suu Kyi delivered her speech two decades later, in 2012.[184] Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 while he and his wife were under house arrest in China as political prisoners, and he was unable to accept the prize in his lifetime.

Cultural impact

Being a symbol of scientific or literary achievement that is recognisable worldwide, the Nobel Prize is often depicted in fiction. This includes films like The Prize and Nobel Son about fictional Nobel laureates as well as fictionalised accounts of stories surrounding real prizes such as Nobel Chor, a film based on the theft of Rabindranath Tagore's prize.[185][186]

The memorial symbol "Planet of Alfred Nobel" was opened in of Economics and Law in 2008. On the globe, there are 802 Nobel laureates' reliefs made of a composite alloy obtained when disposing of military strategic missiles.[187][188]

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8 December 1974

A plebiscite results in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.

1974 Greek republic referendum

Greek republic referendum, 1974
Date8 December 1974
Votes %
Yes 3,245,111 69.18%
No 1,445,875 30.82%
Valid votes 4,690,986 99.39%
Invalid or blank votes 28,801 0.61%
Total votes 4,719,787 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 6,244,539 75.58%
Results by constituency
Greek republic referendum results by region, 1974.png
  No referendum (Mount Athos)
Coat of arms of Greece.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Flag of Greece.svg Greece portal

A referendum on retaining the republic was held in Greece on 8 December 1974.[1] After the collapse of the military junta that ruled the country from 1967, the issue of the form of government remained unsolved. The Junta had already staged a plebiscite held on 29 July 1973, which resulted in the establishment of the Republic. However, after the fall of the military regime, the new government, under Constantine Karamanlis, decided to hold another one, as Junta legal acts were considered illegal. Constantine II, the former King, was banned by the new government from returning to Greece to campaign in the referendum, but the Karamanlis government allowed him to make a televised address to the nation.[2] The proposal was approved by 69.2% of voters with a turnout of 75.6%.[3]


The referendum campaign included television debates in which Constantine himself took part on the monarchist side, whilst those debating in favour of a republic included Marios Ploritis, Leonidas Kyrkos, Phaedon Vegleris, George Koumandos, Alexandros Panagoulis and Costas Simitis, who later (from 1996 to 2004) served as Prime Minister of Greece.

Political parties abstained from taking part in the referendum campaign, with the television debates confined to ordinary citizens who represented one side or the other. On 23 November 1974 Prime Minister Karamanlis requested that his parliamentary party group adopt a neutral stance on the issue. Two televised speeches a week were given to each side, with an additional two messages broadcast by the former king; a radio broadcast on 26 November and a television speech on 6 December.


On the day of the referendum, the electorate voted categorically in favour of republic. Crete gave more than 90% of its vote for a republic, whilst in around thirty constituencies the result for republic was around 60–70%. The biggest wins for monarchy were in Peloponnisos and Thrace, with around 45%. The constituencies with the highest votes for a monarchy were Laconia at 59.52%, Rhodope at 50.54%, Messenia with 49.24%, Elis at 46.88% and Argos at 46.67%.

Choice Votes %
For 3,245,111 69.2
Against 1,445,875 30.8
Invalid/blank votes 28,801
Total 4,719,787 100
Registered voters/turnout 6,244,539 75.6
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

By region

Region FOR (%) AGAINST (%)
Athens A 75.60 24.40
Athens B 79.59 20.41
Aetolia-Acarnania 65.63 34.67
Argolis 53.33 46.67
Arkadia 56.99 43.01
Arta 56.21 43.79
Achaea 68.54 31.46
Kavala 73.64 26.36
Boeotia 65.46 35.24
Corfu 63.47 36.53
Drama 67.41 32.59
Dodecanese 63.78 36.22
Evros 60.27 39.73
Evrytania 60.69 39.31
Euboea 65.38 34.62
Grevena 61.20 38.80
Heraklion 89.43 10.57
Ilia 53.12 46.88
Ioannina 68.70 31.30
Imathia 71.77 28.23
Thessaloniki A 79.99 20.01
Thessaloniki B 68.12 31.88
Thesprotia 64.21 35.79
Zante 62.63 37.37
Karditsa 68.79 31.21
Kastoria 55.74 44.26
Cephalonia 66.17 33.83
Kilkis 59.71 40.29
Kozani 66.11 33.89
Corinthia 62.36 37.64
Cyclades 61.72 38.28
Larissa 67.82 32.18
Laconia 40.48 59.52
Lasithi 88.42 11.58
Lesvos 77.74 22.26
Lefkada 71.22 28.78
Magnesia 71.25 28.75
Messenia 50.76 49.24
Xanthi 53.75 46.25
Piraeus A 71.95 28.05
Piraeus B 81.70 18.30
Pella 65.09 34.91
Pieria 65.54 34.46
Preveza 62.01 37.99
Rethymno 94.10 5.90
Rhodope 49.46 50.54
Samos 64.38 35.62
Serres 64.82 35.18
Trikala 67.40 32.60
Attica 65.07 34.93
Fthiotida 63.58 36.42
Florina 60.36 39.64
Fokida 62.44 37.56
Chalcidice 58.17 41.83
Chania 92.70 7.30
Chios 72.95 27.05


With the announcement of the results, Karamanlis said: "A cancer has been removed from the body of the nation today."[4][citation needed] On 15 December 1974, the incumbent President, Phaedon Gizikis, submitted his resignation, and Karamanlis thanked him with a personal visit and in writing for his services to the country. On 18 December 1974, Michail Stasinopoulos, a state list MP for New Democracy, was elected and sworn in as President of Greece.[citation needed]

In February 1988, Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis stated in an interview given in London that, although he was a republican, the manner in which the referendum was carried out was "unfair".[citation needed] The statement attracted wide criticism in Greece at the time and was debated in the media.[citation needed]

In April 2007, the newspaper To Vima carried out a survey in which only 11.6% of those polled wished for Greece to become a monarchy again.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p830 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Hope, Kevin. Referendum plan faces hurdles. Financial Times 1 November 2011.
  3. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p838
  4. ^ Kollias, Konstantinos (1984). Βασιλεύς και Επανάστασις 1967. Athens: Αθήναι. p. 115.

7 December 1732

The Royal Opera House opens at Covent Garden, London, England.

Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House logo.jpg
Logo of the Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House and ballerina.jpg
The Royal Opera House's Bow Street frontage with Plazzotta's statue, Young Dancer, in the foreground
AddressBow Street
London, WC2
United Kingdom
Public transitLondon Underground Covent Garden
DesignationGrade I[1]
TypeOpera house

The Royal Opera House (ROH) is an opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.

The current building is the third theatre on the site following disastrous fires in 1808 and 1856.[2] The façade, foyer, and auditorium date from 1858, but almost every other element of the present complex dates from an extensive reconstruction in the 1990s. The main auditorium seats 2,256 people, making it the third largest in London, and consists of four tiers of boxes and balconies and the amphitheatre gallery. The proscenium is 12.20 m wide and 14.80 m high. The main auditorium is a Grade I listed building.[3]

Davenant patent

"Rich's Glory": John Rich seemingly invades his new Covent Garden Theatre. (caricature by William Hogarth)

The foundation of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden lies in the letters patent awarded by Charles II to Sir William Davenant in 1662, allowing Davenant to operate one of only two patent theatre companies (The Duke's Company) in London. The letters patent remained in the possession of the patentees' heirs until the 19th century; their whereabouts were unknown for some time,[4] but as of 2019 are held in the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia.[5]

First theatre

Illustration of the first theatre before it burned down in 1808

In 1728, John Rich, actor-manager of the Duke's Company at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, commissioned The Beggar's Opera from John Gay. The success of this venture provided him with the capital to build the Theatre Royal (designed by Edward Shepherd) at the site of an ancient convent garden, part of which had been developed by Inigo Jones in the 1630s with a piazza and church. In addition, a Royal Charter had created a fruit and vegetable market in the area, a market which survived in that location until 1974. At its opening on 7 December 1732, Rich was carried by his actors in processional triumph into the theatre for its opening production of William Congreve's The Way of the World.[6]

During the first hundred years or so of its history, the theatre was primarily a playhouse, with the Letters Patent granted by Charles II giving Covent Garden and Theatre Royal, Drury Lane exclusive rights to present spoken drama in London. Despite the frequent interchangeability between the Covent Garden and Drury Lane companies, competition was intense, often presenting the same plays at the same time. Rich introduced pantomime to the repertoire, himself performing (under the stage name John Lun, as Harlequin) and a tradition of seasonal pantomime continued at the modern theatre, until 1939.[7]

In 1734, Covent Garden presented its first ballet, Pygmalion.[2] Marie Sallé discarded tradition and her corset and danced in diaphanous robes.[8] George Frideric Handel was named musical director of the company, at Lincoln's Inn Fields, in 1719, but his first season of opera, at Covent Garden, was not presented until 1734. His first opera was Il pastor fido followed by Ariodante (1735), the première of Alcina, and Atalanta the following year. There was a royal performance of Messiah in 1743, which was a success and began a tradition of Lenten oratorio performances. From 1735 until his death in 1759 he gave regular seasons there, and many of his operas and oratorios were written for Covent Garden or had their first London performances there. He bequeathed his organ to John Rich, and it was placed in a prominent position on the stage, but was among many valuable items lost in a fire that destroyed the theatre on 20 September 1808. In 1792[9] the architect Henry Holland rebuilt the auditorium, within the existing shell of the building but deeper and wider than the old auditorium, thus increasing capacity.

Second theatre

Satirical drawing, 1811, of the "Pigeon Holes" that flanked the upper gallery at Covent Garden
1810 illustration of the auditorium of the second theatre

Rebuilding began in December 1808, and the second Theatre Royal, Covent Garden (designed by Robert Smirke) opened on 18 September 1809 with a performance of Macbeth followed by a musical entertainment called The Quaker.[10] The actor-manager John Philip Kemble, raised seat prices to help recoup the cost of rebuilding and the cost of an increased ground rent introduced by the landowner, the Duke of Bedford, but the move was so unpopular that audiences disrupted performances by beating sticks, hissing, booing and dancing. The Old Price Riots lasted over two months, and the management was finally forced to accede to the audience's demands.[11]

During this time, entertainments were varied; opera and ballet were presented, but not exclusively. Kemble engaged a variety of acts, including the child performer Master Betty; the great clown Joseph Grimaldi made his name at Covent Garden. Many famous actors of the day appeared at the theatre, including the tragediennes Sarah Siddons and Eliza O'Neill, the Shakespearean actors William Charles Macready, Edmund Kean and his son Charles. On 25 March 1833 Edmund Kean collapsed on stage while playing Othello, and died two months later.[12][2]

In 1806, the pantomime clown Joseph Grimaldi (The Garrick of Clowns) had performed his greatest success in Harlequin and Mother Goose; or the Golden Egg at Covent Garden, and this was subsequently revived, at the new theatre. Grimaldi was an innovator: his performance as Joey introduced the clown to the world, building on the existing role of Harlequin derived from the Commedia dell'arte. His father had been ballet-master at Drury Lane, and his physical comedy, his ability to invent visual tricks and buffoonery, and his ability to poke fun at the audience were extraordinary.[13]

Early pantomimes were performed as mimes accompanied by music, but as Music hall became popular, Grimaldi introduced the pantomime dame to the theatre and was responsible for the tradition of audience singing. By 1821 dance and clowning had taken such a physical toll on Grimaldi that he could barely walk, and he retired from the theatre.[14] By 1828, he was penniless; Drury Lane held a benefit concert for him after Covent Garden refused.[15]

The theatre in the 1820s
Harlequin's escape into the bottle (print)

In 1817, bare flame gaslight had replaced the former candles and oil lamps that lighted the Covent Garden stage.[16] This was an improvement, but in 1837 Macready employed limelight in the theatre for the first time, during a performance of a pantomime, Peeping Tom of Coventry. Limelight used a block of quicklime heated by an oxygen and hydrogen flame. This allowed the use of spotlights to highlight performers on the stage.[17]

The Theatres Act 1843 broke the patent theatres' monopoly of drama. At that time Her Majesty's Theatre in the Haymarket was the main centre of ballet and opera but after a dispute with the management in 1846 Michael Costa, conductor at Her Majesty's, transferred his allegiance to Covent Garden, bringing most of the company with him. The auditorium was completely remodeled after an 1846 fire, during the following 1846–47 seasons, the company performed at the Lyceum Theatre.[18] The theatre reopened as the Royal Italian Opera on 6 April 1847 with a performance of Rossini's Semiramide.[19]

In 1852, Louis Antoine Jullien the French eccentric composer of light music and conductor presented an opera of his own composition, Pietro il Grande. Five performances were given of the 'spectacular', including live horses on the stage and very loud music. Critics considered it a complete failure and Jullien was ruined and fled to America.[20][21] Costa and his successors presented all operas in Italian, even those originally written in French, German or English, until 1892, when Gustav Mahler presented the debut of Wagner's Ring cycle at Covent Garden.[22][23] The word "Italian" was then quietly dropped from the name of the opera house.[24]

Third theatre

On 5 March 1856, the theatre was again destroyed by fire.[25] Work on the third theatre, designed by Edward Middleton Barry,[2] started in 1857 and the new building, which still remains as the nucleus of the present theatre, was built by Lucas Brothers[26] and opened on 15 May 1858 with a performance of Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots.

The Royal English Opera company under the management of Louisa Pyne and William Harrison, made their last performance at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 11 December 1858 and took up residence at the theatre on 20 December 1858 with a performance of Michael Balfe's Satanella[27] and continued at the theatre until 1864.

The theatre became the Royal Opera House (ROH) in 1892, and the number of French and German works offered increased. Winter and summer seasons of opera and ballet were given, and the building was also used for pantomime, recitals and political meetings.

During the First World War, the theatre was requisitioned by the Ministry of Works for use as a furniture repository.[25]

From 1934 to 1936, Geoffrey Toye was managing director, working alongside the Artistic Director, Sir Thomas Beecham. Despite early successes, Toye and Beecham eventually fell out, and Toye resigned.[28]

During the Second World War the ROH became a dance hall.[2] There was a possibility that it would remain so after the war but, following lengthy negotiations, the music publishers Boosey & Hawkes acquired the lease of the building. David Webster was appointed General Administrator, and Sadler's Wells Ballet was invited to become the resident ballet company. The Covent Garden Opera Trust was created and laid out plans "to establish Covent Garden as the national centre of opera and ballet, employing British artists in all departments, wherever that is consistent with the maintenance of the best possible standards ..."[29]

The Royal Opera House reopened on 20 February 1946 with a performance of The Sleeping Beauty in an extravagant new production designed by Oliver Messel.[25] Webster, with his music director Karl Rankl, immediately began to build a resident company. In December 1946, they shared their first production, Purcell's The Fairy-Queen, with the ballet company. On 14 January 1947, the Covent Garden Opera Company gave its first performance of Bizet's Carmen.

Before the grand opening, the Royal Opera House presented one of the Robert Mayer Children's concerts on Saturday, 9 February 1946.

Reconstruction from the 1980s forward

The Royal Opera House, Bow Street Façade, after reconstruction

Several renovations had taken place to parts of the house in the 1960s, including improvements to the amphitheatre but the theatre clearly needed a major overhaul. In 1975 the Labour government gave land adjacent to the Royal Opera House for a long-overdue modernisation, refurbishment, and extension. In the early 1980s the first part of a major renovation included an extension to the rear of the theatre on the James Street corner. The development added two new ballet studios, offices, a Chorus Rehearsal Room and the Opera Rehearsal room. Dressing rooms were also added.

The Royal Opera House auditorium, stage to the left
Facing the stage from the Amphitheatre

By 1995, sufficient funds from the Arts Lottery through Arts Council England[30] and private fundraising had been raised to enable the company to embark upon a major £213 million reconstruction of the building by Carillion,[31] which took place between 1997 and 1999, under the chairmanship of Sir Angus Stirling. This involved the demolition of almost the whole site including several adjacent buildings to make room for a major increase in the size of the complex. The auditorium itself remained, but well over half of the complex is new.

The design team was led by Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones of Dixon Jones BDP as architects. The acoustic designers were Rob Harris and Jeremy Newton of Arup Acoustics. The building engineer was Arup with Stanhope as developer.[32]

Sky bridge connects the Royal Ballet School (left) to the Royal Opera House (right) on the 4th floor. The bridge was designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects

The new building has the same traditional horseshoe-shaped auditorium as before, but with greatly improved technical, rehearsal, office, and educational facilities. Additionally, a new studio theatre, the Linbury, as well as more public space was created. The inclusion of the adjacent old Floral Hall, which had fallen into disrepair and was used as a scenery store before redevelopment, created a new and extensive public gathering place. The venue is now claimed by the ROH to be the most modern theatre facility in Europe.

Surtitles, projected onto a screen above the proscenium, have been used for all opera performances since they were introduced for school matinees in 1984. Since the reopening of the theatre in 1999 an electronic libretto system provides translations onto small video screens for some seats, and additional monitors and screens are to be introduced to other parts of the house.

In 2014 design work, known as the Open Up Project, began with the aim of improving the entrances, lobby areas and the Linbury Theatre.[33][34] As part of the Open Up Project, IQ Projects were tasked with the renovation of the upper floor bar area and restaurant utilising various elements of bespoke glazing.[35]


Paul Hamlyn Hall

Exterior of the Paul Hamlyn Hall

The Paul Hamlyn Hall is a large iron and glass structure adjacent to, and with direct access to, the main opera house building. The hall now acts as the atrium and main public area of the opera house, with a champagne bar, restaurant and other hospitality services, and also providing access to the main auditorium at all levels.

The redevelopment of the Floral Hall went ahead on the strength of a pledge of £10m from the philanthropist Alberto Vilar and for a number of years, it was known as the Vilar Floral Hall; however Vilar failed to make good his pledge. As a result, the name was changed in September 2005 to the Paul Hamlyn Hall, after the opera house received a donation of £10m from the estate of Paul Hamlyn, towards its education and development programmes.[36]

As well as acting as a main public area for performances in the main auditorium, the Paul Hamlyn Hall is also used for hosting a number of events, including private functions, dances, exhibitions, concerts, and workshops.

Linbury Studio Theatre

The Linbury Studio Theatre is a flexible, secondary performance space, constructed below ground level within the Royal Opera House. It has retractable raked seating and a floor which can be raised or lowered to form a studio floor, a raised stage, or a stage with orchestra pit. The theatre can accommodate up to 400 patrons and host a variety of different events. It has been used for private functions, traditional theatre shows, and concerts, as well as community and educational events, product launches, dinners and exhibitions, etc., and is one of the most technologically advanced performance venues in London with its own public areas, including a bar and cloakroom. [37][38]

The Linbury is most notable for hosting performances of experimental and independent dance and music, by independent companies and as part of the ROH2, the contemporary producing arm of the Royal Opera House. The Linbury Studio Theatre regularly stages performances by the Royal Ballet School and also hosts the Young British Dancer of the Year competition.

The venue was constructed as part of the 90s redevelopment of the Royal Opera House. It is named in recognition of donations made by the Linbury Trust towards the redevelopment. The Trust is operated by Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover and his wife Anya Linden, a former dancer with the Royal Ballet. The name Linbury is derived from the names Linden and Sainsbury.[39] It was opened in 1999 with a collaboration from three Croydon secondary schools (including Coloma Convent Girls' School and Edenham High School) in an original performance called About Face.[40]

Royal Opera House, Manchester

In 2008 the Royal Opera House and Manchester City Council began planning stages a new development known as Royal Opera House, Manchester. The proposal would have seen the Palace Theatre in Manchester refurbished, to create a theatre capable of staging productions by both the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera. It was intended that the Royal Opera House would take residence of the theatre for an annual 18-week season, staging 16 performances by the Royal Opera, 28 performances by the Royal Ballet and other small-scale productions.[41][42] A year later The Lowry sent an open letter to the then Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Ben Bradshaw, Arts Council England, Manchester City Council and the ROH, calling for the scheme, in its current form, to be scrapped.[43] In 2010 it was announced that the project was being shelved as part of larger arts-funding cuts.[44][45]

High House Production Park (High House, Purfleet)

ROH's Manoukian Production Facility at High House, Purfleet

The Royal Opera House opened a scenery-making facility for their operas and ballets at High House, Purfleet, Essex on 6 December 2010. The building was designed by Nicholas Hare Architects.[46] The East of England Development Agency, which partly funded developments on the park, notes that "the first phase includes the Royal Opera House's Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop and Community areas".[46]

The Bob and Tamar Manoukian Costume Centre, also designed by Nicholas Hare Associates, opened in September 2015, and provides a costume-making facility for the Royal Opera House and a training centre for students of costume-making from South Essex College. The building also houses the Royal Opera House's collection of historically important costumes.

Other elements at High House, Purfleet include The Backstage Centre, a new technical theatre and music training centre which is currently run by the National College for Creative Industries and was formally opened by Creative & Cultural Skills in March 2013, alongside renovated farm buildings. Acme studios opened a complex of 43 artist studios in Summer 2013.[47]

Opera at the Royal Opera House after 1945

Ballet at the Royal Opera House after 1945

Other uses

In addition to opera and ballet performances, the Royal Opera House has hosted a number of other events including:

See also



  1. ^ Historic England (9 January 1970). "The Royal Opera House (1066392)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e "11 Secrets of London's Royal Opera House". Londonist.
  3. ^ "Royal Opera House (London)" description on theatrestrust.org.uk Retrieved 10 May 2013
  4. ^ "The Killigrew and Davenant Patents | British History Online". www.british-history.ac.uk.
  5. ^ The original letters patent by Charles II, 15 January 1661/2 (illuminated, on vellum), authorizing Sir William Davenant to form a company of actors, are held in the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia. The charter is illustrated in Clive E. Driver, A Selection from our Shelves: Books, manuscripts and drawings from the Philip H. & A.S.W. Rosenbach Foundation Museum (Philadelphia, 1973), No. 44. A highly reduced facsimile also appeared in The Sunday Times, 5 December 1982. Source: "The Rosenbach Museum & Library, numbers 1 through 239". Catalogue of English Literary Manuscripts (CELM). Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  6. ^ Admission to the 55 boxes was 5 shillings (1/4 £), half a crown (1/8 £) to the 'pit', and the gallery cost one shilling (1/20 £). A seat on the stage cost ten shillings. It was allowed to send servants to arrive at three to save places on the stage for their masters and mistresses. £115 was taken at the box office on the first night.
  7. ^ John Rich as Harlequin[permanent dead link] (PeoplePlayUK – Theatre Museum) accessed 22 July 2008.
  8. ^ Early ballet history (North Eastern University) accessed 22 December 2006.
  9. ^ Sheppard, p. 91
  10. ^ Michael Kelly (2011). Reminiscences of Michael Kelly, of the King's Theatre, and Theatre Royal Drury Lane: Including a Period of Nearly Half a Century. Cambridge University Press. p. 257.
  11. ^ "The Old Price Riots". PeoplePlayUK – the Theatre Museum (at the V & A). Archived from the original on 31 May 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  12. ^ Edmund Kean (1789–1833) (NNDB) accessed 22 July 2008.
  13. ^ Early Pantomime Archived 5 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine (PeoplePlayUK – the Theatre Museum (at the V & A) accessed 22 July 2008.
  14. ^ "Boz" (ed.) (Charles Dickens), Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi, 1853 edition with Notes and Additions by Charles Whitehead, accessed 22 February 2007.
  15. ^ Arundell, Dennis, The Story of Sadler's Wells
  16. ^ "Theatres Compete in Race to Install Gas Illumination – 1817" (PDF). Over The Footlights. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  17. ^ Banham, p. 1026
  18. ^ "Madame Parepa-Rosa", Illustrated London News, 7 February 1874, p. 129; and Obituary: "Madame Parepa Rosa", The Times, 23 January 1874, p. 10
  19. ^ History Archived 7 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine (Royal Opera House) accessed 18 December 2012.
  20. ^ Louis-Antoine Jullien (in French) accessed 21 December 2007.
  21. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Jullien, Louis Antoine" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 551.
  22. ^ Parker 1900, p. 39.
  23. ^ Anton Seidl had conducted the very first Ring in England (sung in German) at Her Majesty's Theatre from 5–9 May 1882. Source: F. G. E. [F. G. Edwards] (1 September 1906). "Wagner's Music in England". The Musical Times. 47 (763): 593. JSTOR 903478. (Free registration required)
  24. ^ Gordon-Powell, Robin. Ivanhoe, full score, Introduction, vol. I, p. VIII, 2008, The Amber Ring
  25. ^ a b c "A History of the Royal Opera House". Royal Opera House.
  26. ^ "Charles Thomas Lucas at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxforddnb.com. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  27. ^ Reviews, "Drury-Lane Theatre", The Times, 13 December 1858, p. 10.
  28. ^ Jefferson, p. ?
  29. ^ Rosenthal, p. ?
  30. ^ Arts Council England annual review 2005, part 4 of 4 Archived 4 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine on artscouncil.org.uk Retrieved 10 May 2013
  31. ^ Royal Opera House case study on carillionplc.com Archived 4 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 March 2012
  32. ^ Stanhope company website on stanhopeplc.com Retrieved 10 May 2013
  33. ^ "Royal Opera House launches 'Open Up' project with architects", on architectnews.co.uk
  34. ^ Elizabeth Hopkirk, "Stanton Williams unveils £37m Royal Opera House revamp", 3 November 2014, on architectnews.co.uk. (with images)
  35. ^ "Royal Opera House | Commercial Architectural & Structural Glazing Specialists". IQ PROJECTS. 20 January 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  36. ^ "£10m pledged to Royal Opera House", 9 May 2007 on news.bbc.co.uk Retrieved 24 March 2012
  37. ^ Linbury Studio Theatre on londondance.com Retrieved 24 March 2012
  38. ^ Royal Opera House on everything2.com Retrieved 24 March 2012
  39. ^ The Linbury Trust on linburytrust.org.uk Retrieved 24 March 2012
  40. ^ "UKTW Archive, London Royal Opera House". UK Theatre Web. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  41. ^ Higgins, Charlotte (28 October 2008). "Disharmony over Royal Opera's plan to go north". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group.
  42. ^ Staff writer (31 October 2008). "Northern opera proposal evaluated". BBC News. BBC.
  43. ^ Brown, Mark (25 June 2009). "Threat to plan for Royal Opera House in the north". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group.
  44. ^ Staff writer (3 November 2010). "ROH shelves its plans to move north". The Stage. The Stage Media Company Ltd. Alternative link.
  45. ^ Sharp, Rob (27 October 2010). "Royal Opera House shelves move north". The Independent. Independent Print Ltd.
  46. ^ a b "Thurrock launches new creative and cultural hub", 13 December 2010, East of England Development Agency press release on its website eeda.org.uk Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 9 January 2011
  47. ^ Information (with illustration) about the Production Park from blog.roh.org.uk Archived 18 September 2011 at Wikiwix Retrieved 25 November 2010

Cited sources

  • Banham, Martin The Cambridge Guide to Theatre, Cambridge University Press, 1995 ISBN 0-521-43437-8.
  • Jefferson, Alan, Sir Thomas Beecham: a Centenary Tribute, London: Macdonald and Jane's, 1979 ISBN 0-354-04205-X
  • Parker, E. D. (1900). Opera under Augustus Harris. London: Saxon & Co.
  • Rosenthal, Harold, Opera at Covent Garden, A Short History, London: Victor Gollancz, 1967. ISBN 0-575-01158-0 ISBN 0-575-01158-0
  • Sheppard, F.H.W.,(ed.), Survey of London, Volume XXXV: The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London: The Athlone Press, 1972. ISBN 0-485-48235-5 ISBN 978-0-485-48235-5

Further reading

  • Allen, Mary, A House Divided, Simon & Schuster, 1998.
  • Beauvert, Thierry, Opera Houses of the World, The Vendome Press, New York, 1995.
  • Donaldson, Frances, The Royal Opera House in the Twentieth Century, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1988.
  • Earl, John and Sell, Michael Guide to British Theatres 1750–1950, pp. 136–8 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3.
  • Haltrecht, Montague, The Quiet Showman: Sir David Webster and the Royal Opera House, Collins, London, 1975.
  • Isaacs, Jeremy, Never Mind the Moon, Bantam Press, 1999.
  • Lebrecht, Norman, Covent Garden: The Untold Story: Dispatches from the English Culture War, 1945–2000, Northeastern University Press, 2001.
  • Lord Drogheda, et al., The Covent Garden Album, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1981.
  • Mosse, Kate, The House: Inside the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, BBC Books, London, 1995.
  • Tooley, John, In House: Covent Garden, Fifty Years of Opera and Ballet, Faber and Faber, London, 1999.
  • Thubron, Colin (text) and Boursnell, Clive (photos), The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1982.

External links

Coordinates: 51°30′47″N 00°07′21″W / 51.51306°N 0.12250°W / 51.51306; -0.12250

6 December 1912

The Nefertiti Bust is discovered.

Nefertiti Bust

Nefertiti Bust
Nofretete Neues Museum.jpg
The iconic bust of Nefertiti is part of the Egyptian Museum of Berlin collection.
MaterialLimestone and stucco
Size20 kilograms (44 lb)
Height48 centimetres (19 in)
Created1345 BC
Thutmose, Ancient Egypt
Discovered6 December 1912
Amarna, Khedivate of Egypt
Discovered byGerman Oriental Society
Present locationNeues Museum
Berlin, Germany

The Nefertiti Bust is a painted stucco-coated limestone bust of Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten.[1] The work is believed to have been crafted in 1345 B.C. by Thutmose because it was found in his workshop in Amarna, Egypt.[2] It is one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt. Nefertiti has become one of the most famous women of the ancient world and an icon of feminine beauty.

A German archaeological team led by Ludwig Borchardt discovered the bust in 1912 in Thutmose's workshop.[3] It has been kept at various locations in Germany since its discovery, including the cellar of a bank, a salt mine in Merkers-Kieselbach, the Dahlem museum, the Egyptian Museum in Charlottenburg, and the Altes Museum.[3] It is currently on display at the Neues Museum in Berlin, where it was originally displayed before World War II.[3]

The Nefertiti bust has become a cultural symbol of Berlin as well as ancient Egypt. It has also been the subject of an intense argument between Egypt and Germany over Egyptian demands for its repatriation, which began in 1924 once the bust was first displayed to the public. Egyptian inspectors were not shown the actual bust before they let it out of the country.



A "house altar" (c. 1350 BC) depicting Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three of their daughters. Note Nefertiti wears a crown similar to that depicted on the bust.

Nefertiti (meaning "the beautiful one has come forth") was the 14th-century BC Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. Akhenaten initiated a new monotheistic form of worship called Atenism dedicated to the Sun disc Aten.[4] Little is known about Nefertiti. Theories suggest she could have been an Egyptian royal by birth, a foreign princess or the daughter of a high government official named Ay, who became pharaoh after Tutankhamun. She may have been the co-regent of Egypt with Akhenaten, who ruled from 1352 BC to 1336 BC.[4] Nefertiti bore six daughters to Akhenaten, one of whom, Ankhesenpaaten (renamed Ankhesenamun after the suppression of the Aten cult), married Tutankhamun, Nefertiti's stepson. Nefertiti was thought to have disappeared in the twelfth year of Akhenaten's reign, though whether this is due to her death or because she took a new name is not known. She may also have later become a pharaoh in her own right, ruling alone for a short time after her husband's death.[4][5] However, it is now known that she was still alive in the sixteenth year of her husband's reign from a limestone quarry inscription found at Dayr Abū Ḥinnis.[6] Dayr Abū Ḥinnis is located "on the eastern side of the Nile, about ten kilometres north of Amarna."[7]

The bust of Nefertiti is believed to have been crafted about 1345 BC by the sculptor Thutmose.[4][8] The bust does not have any inscriptions, but can be certainly identified as Nefertiti by the characteristic crown, which she wears in other surviving (and clearly labelled) depictions, for example the "house altar".[9]


Nefertiti bust

The Nefertiti bust was found on 6 December 1912 at Amarna by the German Oriental Company (Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft – DOG), led by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt. It was found in what had been the sculptor Thutmose's workshop, along with other unfinished busts of Nefertiti.[10][11] Borchardt's diary provides the main written account of the find; he remarks, "Suddenly we had in our hands the most alive Egyptian artwork. You cannot describe it with words. You must see it."[12]

A 1924 document found in the archives of the German Oriental Company recalls a 20 January 1913 meeting between Ludwig Borchardt and a senior Egyptian official to discuss the division of the archeological finds of 1912 between Germany and Egypt. According to the secretary of the German Oriental Company (who was the author of the document and who was present at the meeting), Borchardt "wanted to save the bust for us".[13][14] Borchardt is suspected of having concealed the bust's real value,[15] although he denied doing so.[16]

While Philipp Vandenberg describes the coup as "adventurous and beyond comparison",[17] Time magazine lists it among the "Top 10 Plundered Artifacts".[18] Borchardt showed the Egyptian official a photograph of the bust "that didn't show Nefertiti in her best light". The bust was wrapped up in a box when Egypt's chief antiques inspector Gustave Lefebvre came for inspection. The document reveals that Borchardt claimed the bust was made of gypsum to mislead the inspector. The German Oriental Company blames the negligence of the inspector and points out that the bust was at the top of the exchange list and says the deal was done fairly.[14][19]

Description and examinations

The bust of Nefertiti is 48 centimetres (19 in) tall and weighs about 20 kilograms (44 lb). It is made of a limestone core covered with painted stucco layers. The face is completely symmetrical and almost intact, but the left eye lacks the inlay present in the right.[20][21] The pupil of the right eye is of inserted quartz with black paint and is fixed with beeswax. The background of the eye-socket is unadorned limestone. Nefertiti wears her characteristic blue crown known as the "Nefertiti cap crown" with a golden diadem band looped around like horizontal ribbons and joining at the back, and an Uraeus (cobra) over her brow – which is now broken. She also wears a broad collar with a floral pattern on it.[22] The ears also have suffered some damage.[21] Gardner's Art Through the Ages suggests that "With this elegant bust, Thutmose may have been alluding to a heavy flower on its slender sleek stalk by exaggerating the weight of the crowned head and the length of the almost serpentine neck."[23]

Right profile and front
Left profile and back

According to David Silverman, the Nefertiti bust reflects the classical Egyptian art style, deviating from the "eccentricities" of the Amarna art style, which was developed in Akhenaten's reign. The exact function of the bust is unknown, though it is theorized that the bust may be a sculptor's modello to be used as a basis for other official portraits, kept in the artist's workshop.[24]


Ludwig Borchardt commissioned a chemical analysis of the coloured pigments of the head. The result of the examination was published in the book Portrait of Queen Nofretete in 1923:[25]

Missing left eye

When the bust was first discovered, no piece of quartz to represent the iris of the left eyeball was present, as in the other eye, and none was found despite an intensive search and a then significant reward of £1000 being put up for information regarding its whereabouts.[26] Borchardt assumed that the quartz iris of the left eye had fallen out when the sculptor Thutmose's workshop fell into ruin.[27] The missing eye led to speculation that Nefertiti may have suffered from an ophthalmic infection, and actually lost her left eye, though the presence of an iris in other statues of her contradicted this possibility.[28]

Dietrich Wildung proposed that the bust in Berlin was a model for official portraits and was used by the master sculptor for teaching his pupils how to carve the internal structure of the eye, and thus the left iris was not added.[29] Gardner's Art Through the Ages and Silverman presents a similar view that the bust was deliberately kept unfinished.[21][23] Hawass suggested that Thutmose had created the left eye, but it was later destroyed.[30]

CT scans

The bust was first CT scanned in 1992, with the scan producing cross sections of the bust every five millimetres (0.20 in).[31][32] In 2006, Dietrich Wildung, the director of Berlin's Egyptian Museum, while trying a different lighting at the Altes Museum—where the bust was then displayed—observed wrinkles on Nefertiti's neck and bags under her eyes, suggesting the sculptor had tried to depict signs of aging. A CT scan confirmed Wildung's findings; Thutmose had added gypsum under the cheeks and eyes in an attempt to perfect his sculpture, Wildung explained.[29]

The CT scan in 2006, led by Alexander Huppertz, the director of the Imaging Science Institute in Berlin, revealed a wrinkled face of Nefertiti carved in the inner core of the bust.[32] The results were published in the April 2009's Radiology.[33] The scan revealed that Thutmose placed layers of varying thickness on top of the limestone core. The inner face has creases around her mouth and cheeks and a swelling on the nose. The creases and the bump on the nose are leveled by the outermost stucco layer. According to Huppertz, this may reflect "aesthetic ideals of the era".[8][34] The 2006 scan provided greater detail than the 1992 one, revealing subtle details just 1–2 millimetres (0.039–0.079 in) under the stucco.[31]

Later history

The bust of Nefertiti has become "one of the most admired, and most copied, images from ancient Egypt", and the star exhibit used to market Berlin's museums.[35] It is seen as an "icon of international beauty".[15][29][36] "Showing a woman with a long neck, elegantly arched brows, high cheekbones, a slender nose and an enigmatic smile played about red lips, the bust has established Nefertiti as one of the most beautiful faces of antiquity."[29] It is described as the most famous bust of ancient art, comparable only to the mask of Tutankhamun.[22]

Nefertiti has become an icon of Berlin's culture.[10] Some 500,000 visitors see Nefertiti every year.[14] The bust is described as "the best-known work of art from ancient Egypt, arguably from all antiquity".[37] Her face is on postcards of Berlin and 1989 German postage stamps.[36][38]

Locations in Germany

Neues Museum, Berlin is the present location of the Nefertiti bust

The Nefertiti bust has been in Germany since 1913,[13] when it was shipped to Berlin and presented to James Simon, a wholesale merchant and the sponsor of the Amarna excavation.[11] It was displayed at Simon's residence until 1913, when Simon lent the bust and other artifacts from the Amarna dig to the Berlin Museum.[39] Although the rest of the Amarna collection was displayed in 1913–14, Nefertiti was kept secret at Borchardt's request.[17] In 1918, the Museum discussed the public display of the bust, but again kept it secret on the request of Borchardt.[39] It was permanently donated to the Berlin Museum in 1920. Finally, in 1923, the bust was first revealed to the public in Borchardt's writings and in 1924, displayed to the public as part of the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.[17][39] The bust created a sensation, swiftly becoming a world-renowned icon of feminine beauty, and one of the most universally-recognised artifacts to survive from Ancient Egypt. The Nefertiti bust was displayed in Berlin's Neues Museum on Museum Island until the museum was closed in 1939; with the onset of World War II, the Berlin museums were emptied and the artifacts moved to secure shelters for safekeeping.[11] Nefertiti was initially stored in the cellar of the Prussian Governmental Bank and then, in the autumn of 1941, moved to the tower of a flak bunker in Berlin.[39] The Neues Museum suffered bombings in 1943 by the Royal Air Force.[40] On 6 March 1945, the bust was moved to a German salt mine at Merkers-Kieselbach in Thuringia.[11]

In March 1945, the bust was found by the American Army and given over to its Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives branch. It was moved to the Reichsbank in Frankfurt and then, in August, shipped to the U.S. Central Collecting Point in Wiesbaden where it was displayed to the public in 1946.[11][39] In 1956, the bust was returned to West Berlin.[11] There it was displayed at the Dahlem Museum. As early as 1946, East Germany (German Democratic Republic) insisted on the return of Nefertiti to Museum Island in East Berlin, where the bust had been displayed before the war.[11][39] In 1967, Nefertiti was moved to the Egyptian Museum in Charlottenburg and remained there until 2005, when it was moved to the Altes Museum.[39] The bust returned to the Neues Museum as its centerpiece when the museum reopened in October 2009.[15][40][41]


External video
Queen nefertiti1.jpg
Thutmose's Bust of Nefertiti (Amarna Period), Smarthistory[42]

Requests for repatriation to Egypt

Ever since the official unveiling of the bust in Berlin in 1924, the Egyptian authorities have been demanding its return to Egypt.[10][39][43] In 1925, Egypt threatened to ban German excavations in Egypt unless Nefertiti was returned. In 1929, Egypt offered to exchange other artifacts for Nefertiti, but Germany declined. In the 1950s, Egypt again tried to initiate negotiations but there was no response from Germany.[39][43] Although Germany had previously strongly opposed the repatriation, in 1933 Hermann Göring considered returning the bust to King Farouk Fouad of Egypt as a political gesture. Hitler opposed the idea, and told the Egyptian government that he would build a new Egyptian museum for Nefertiti: "In the middle, this wonder, Nefertiti, will be enthroned, ... I will never relinquish the head of the Queen."[15][43] While the bust was under American control, Egypt requested the United States to hand it over; the US refused and advised Egypt to take up the matter with the new German authorities.[39] In 1989, the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak viewed the bust and announced that Nefertiti was "the best ambassador for Egypt" in Berlin.[39]

Dr. Zahi Hawass, the former Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, believes that Nefertiti belongs to Egypt and that the bust was taken out of Egypt illegally and should therefore be returned. Dr. Hawass has maintained the stance that Egyptian authorities were misled over the acquisition of Nefertiti in 1913. He has demanded that Germany prove that it was exported legally.[13][44] According to Kurt G. Siehr, another argument in support of repatriation is that "Archeological finds have their 'home' in the country of origin and should be preserved in that country."[45] The Nefertiti repatriation issue sprang up again in 2003 over the Body of Nefertiti sculpture. In 2005, Hawass requested UNESCO to intervene to return the bust.[46]

In 2007, Hawass threatened to ban exhibitions of Egyptian artifacts in Germany if Nefertiti was not lent to Egypt, but to no avail. Hawass also requested a worldwide boycott of loans to German museums to initiate what he calls a "scientific war". Hawass wanted Germany to at least lend the bust to Egypt in 2012 for the opening of the new Grand Egyptian Museum near the Great Pyramids of Giza.[35] Simultaneously, a campaign called "Nefertiti Travels" was launched by cultural association CulturCooperation, based in Hamburg, Germany. They distributed postcards depicting the bust of Nefertiti with the words "Return to Sender" and wrote an open letter to the German Culture Minister, Bernd Neumann, supporting the view that Egypt should be given the bust on loan.[36][47] In 2009, when Nefertiti moved back to the Neues Museum – her old home, the appropriateness of Berlin as the bust's location was questioned.

Several German art experts have attempted to refute all the claims made by Hawass, pointing to the 1924 document discussing the pact between Borchardt and the Egyptian authorities,[13][14] though, as discussed earlier, Borchardt has been accused of foul play in the deal. The German authorities have also argued the bust is too fragile to transport and that the legal arguments for the repatriation were insubstantial. According to The Times, Germany may be concerned that lending the bust to Egypt would mean its permanent departure from Germany.[15][35]

In December 2009 Friederike Seyfried, the director of Berlin's Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, presented to the Egyptians documents held by the museum regarding the discovery of the bust which include a protocol signed by the German excavator of the bust and the Egyptian Antiquities Service. In the documents, the object was listed as a painted plaster bust of a princess. But in the diary of Ludwig Borchardt he clearly referred to it as the head of Nefertiti. "This proves that Borchardt wrote this description so that his country can get the statue," Hawass commented "These materials confirm Egypt's contention that (he) did act unethically with intent to deceive." However, Hawass said Egypt didn't consider the Nefertiti bust to be a looted antiquity. Still, it is one of a handful of truly singular Egyptian antiquities still in foreign hands. "I really want it back," he said.[35] Hawass' statement quoted the director of the museum as saying the authority to approve the return of the bust to Egypt lies with the Prussian Cultural Heritage and the German culture minister.[48]

Allegations over authenticity

The French language book, Le Buste de Nefertiti – une Imposture de l'Egyptologie? (The Bust of Nefertiti – a Fraud in Egyptology?) by Swiss art historian Henri Stierlin and the book Missing Link in Archaeology by Berlin author and historian Erdogan Ercivan both claimed that the Nefertiti bust was a modern fake. Stierlin claims that Borchardt may have created the bust to test ancient pigments and that when the bust was admired by Prince Johann Georg of Saxony, Borchardt pretended it was genuine to avoid offending the prince. Stierlin argues that the missing left eye of the bust would have been a sign of disrespect in ancient Egypt, that no scientific records of the bust appear until 11 years after its supposed discovery, and while the paint pigments are ancient, the inner limestone core has never been dated. Ercivan suggests Borchardt's wife was the model for the bust, and both authors argue that it was not revealed to the public until 1924 because it was a fake.[12] Another theory suggested that the existing Nefertiti bust was crafted in the 1930s on Hitler's orders, and that the original was lost in World War II.[19]

In 1989, a 70 pfennig stamp which featured the bust of Nefertiti was on issue in Germany.

Dietrich Wildung dismissed the claims as a publicity stunt, as radiological tests, detailed computer tomography, and material analysis have proved its authenticity.[12] The pigments used on the bust have been matched to those used by ancient Egyptian artisans. The 2006 CT scan that discovered the "hidden face" of Nefertiti proved  – according to Science News – that the bust was genuine.[19]

Egyptian authorities also dismissed Stierlin's theory. Dr Zahi Hawass said "Stierlin is not a historian. He is delirious." Although Stierlin had argued "Egyptians cut shoulders horizontally" and Nefertiti had vertical shoulders, Hawass said that the new style seen in the Nefertiti bust is part of the changes introduced by Akhenaten, the husband of Nefertiti. Hawass also claimed that the sculptor Thutmose had created the eye, but it was later destroyed.[30]

Body of Nefertiti

In 2003, the Egyptian Museum in Berlin allowed the Hungarian artist duo Little Warsaw, András Gálik and Bálint Havas, to place the bust atop a nearly nude female bronze for a video installation to be shown at the Venice Biennale modern art festival. The project called the Body of Nefertiti was, according to the artists, an attempt to pay homage to the bust. According to Wildung, it showed "the continued relevance of the ancient world to today's art."[49] However, Egyptian cultural officials took offence and proclaimed it to be a disgrace to "one of the great symbols of their country's history". As a consequence, they also banned Wildung and his wife from further exploration in Egypt.[35][49][50] The Egyptian Minister for Culture, Farouk Hosny, declared that Nefertiti was "not in safe hands", and although Egypt had not renewed their claims for restitution "due to the good relations with Germany," this "recent behaviour" was unacceptable.[39]

Cultural significance

In 1930, the German press described the Nefertiti bust as their new monarch, personifying it as a queen. As the "'most precious ... stone in the setting of the diadem' from the art treasures of 'Prussia Germany'", Nefertiti would re-establish the imperial German national identity after 1918.[51] Hitler described the bust as "a unique masterpiece, an ornament, a true treasure", and pledged to build a museum to house it.[12] By the 1970s, the bust had become an issue of national identity to both German statesEast Germany and West Germany—created after World War II.[51] In 1999, Nefertiti appeared on an election poster for the green political party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen as a promise for cosmopolitan and multi-cultural environment with the slogan "Strong Women for Berlin!"[38] According to Claudia Breger, another reason that the Nefertiti bust became associated with a German national identity was its place as a rival to the Tutankhamun found by the British, who then ruled Egypt.[38]

The bust became an influence on popular culture with Jack Pierce's make-up work on Elsa Lanchester's iconic hair style in the film Bride of Frankenstein being inspired by it.[52]


  1. ^ "Nefertiti - Ancient History - HISTORY.com". HISTORY.com. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  2. ^ e.V., Verein zur Förderung des Ägyptischen Museums und Papyrussammlung Berlin. "Nefertiti: (Society for the Promotion of the Egyptian Museum Berlin)". www.egyptian-museum-berlin.com. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Tharoor, Ishaan. "The Bust of Nefertiti: Remembering Ancient Egypt's Famous Queen". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Maryalice Yakutchik. "Who Was Nefertiti?". Discovery Channel. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  5. ^ Silverman, Wegner, Wegner pp.130-33
  6. ^ Athena van der Perre, The Year 16 graffito of Akhenaten in Dayr Abū Ḥinnis. A Contribution to the Study of the Later Years of Nefertiti, Journal of Egyptian History (JEH) 7 (2014), pp.67-108
  7. ^ A. Van der Perre, 'Nefertiti's last documented reference for now' F. Seyfried (ed.), In the Light of Amarna. 100 Years of the Nefertiti Discovery, (Berlin, 2012), pp.195-197 (academia.edu)
  8. ^ a b Christine Dell'Amore (30 March 2009). "Nefertiti's Real, Wrinkled Face Found in Famous Bust?". National Geographic Society. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  9. ^ Charlotte Booth (30 July 2007). The Ancient Egyptians for Dummies. for Dummies. ISBN 978-0-470-06544-0.
  10. ^ a b c Breger p. 285
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Siehr p.115
  12. ^ a b c d Connolly, Kate (7 May 2009). "Is this Nefertiti – or a 100-year-old fake?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
  13. ^ a b c d Dempsy, Judy (18 October 2009). "A 3,500-Year-Old Queen Causes a Rift Between Germany and Egypt". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2009.
  14. ^ a b c d "Archaeological Controversy: Did Germany Cheat to Get Bust of Nefertiti?". Spiegel Online. 10 February 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  15. ^ a b c d e Roger Boyes (20 October 2009). "Neues Museum refuses to return the bust of Queen Nefertiti to Egyptian museum". The Times. London. Retrieved 15 November 2009.
  16. ^ Berger p. 288
  17. ^ a b c Breger p. 286
  18. ^ "Top 10 Plundered Artifacts". TIME. 5 March 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
  19. ^ a b c "Nefertiti's 'hidden face' proves Berlin bust is not Hitler's fake". Science News. 27 April 2009. Archived from the original on 4 July 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2009. For pictures, "Nefertiti's 'Hidden Face' Proves Famous Berlin Bust is not Hitler's Fake". 3 April 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  20. ^ Horst Woldemar Janson; Anthony F. Janson (2003). History of art: the Western tradition. Prentice Hall PTR. ISBN 978-0-13-182895-7.
  21. ^ a b c Silverman, Wegner, Wegner pp. 21, 113
  22. ^ a b Schultz. Egypt the World of Pharaohs: The World of the Pharaohs. American Univ in Cairo Press. p. 203. ISBN 978-977-424-661-6.
  23. ^ a b Helen Gardner (2006). "Art of Ancient Egypt". Gardner's Art Through the Ages: the western perspective. Cengage Learning. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-495-00478-3.
  24. ^ Silverman, David P. (1997). Ancient Egypt. USA: Oxford University Press. p. 221. ISBN 0-19-521952-X.
  25. ^ Rudolph Anthes (1961). Nofretete – The Head of Queen Nofretete. Mann, Berlin: Verlag Gebr. p. 6.
  26. ^ Matthias Schulz (2012). "Die entführte Königin (German)". Der Spiegel. 49 (3 December 2012): 128.
  27. ^ Joyce A. Tyldesley, Nefertiti: Egypt's sun queen, Viking, 1999, p.196.
  28. ^ Fred Gladstone Bratton, A history of Egyptian archaeology, Hale, 1968, p.223
  29. ^ a b c d Lorenzi, R (5 September 2006). "Scholar: Nefertiti Was an Aging Beauty". Discovery News. Discovery Channel. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
  30. ^ a b Szabo, Christopher (12 May 2009). "Egypt's Rubbishes Claims that Nefertiti Bust is 'Fake'". DigitalJournal.com.
  31. ^ a b Patrick McGroarty (31 March 2009). "Nefertiti Bust Has Two Faces". Discovery News. Discovery Channel. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  32. ^ a b For comparative analysis between 1992 and 2006 CT scans: Bernhard Illerhaus; Andreas Staude; Dietmar Meinel (2009). "Nondestructive Insights into Composition of the Sculpture of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti with CT and the dependence of object surface from image processing" (PDF). NDT Database & e-Journal of Nondestructive Testing. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  33. ^ Alexander Huppertz, A; Dietrich Wildung; Barry J. Kemp; Tanja Nentwig; Patrick Asbach; Franz Maximilian Rosche; Bernd Hamm (April 2009). "Nondestructive Insights into Composition of the Sculpture of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti with CT". Radiology. Radiological Society of North America. 251 (1): 233–240. doi:10.1148/radiol.2511081175. PMID 19332855.[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ "Hidden Face In Nefertiti Bust Examined With CT Scan". Science Daily. 8 April 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  35. ^ a b c d e Dan Morrison (18 April 2007). "Egypt Vows "Scientific War" If Germany Doesn't Loan Nefertiti". National Geographic News. National Geographic Society. Retrieved 15 November 2009.
  36. ^ a b c Moore, Tristana (7 May 2007). "Row over Nefertiti bust continues". BBC News. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  37. ^ Siehr p.114
  38. ^ a b c Breger p. 292
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "The Bust of Nefertiti: A Chronology". "Nefertiti travels" campaign website. CulturCooperation. 2007. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  40. ^ a b Tony Paterson (17 October 2009). "Queen Nefertiti rules again in Berlin's reborn museum". The Independent. London. Retrieved 15 November 2009.
  41. ^ Isabelle de Pommereau (2 November 2009). "Germany: Time for Egypt's Nefertiti bust to go home?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 15 November 2009.
  42. ^ "Thutmose's Bust of Nefertiti (Amarna Period)". Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  43. ^ a b c Sieher p. 116
  44. ^ Kimmelman, Michael (23 October 2009). "When Ancient Artifacts Become Political Pawns". New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2009.
  45. ^ Siehr pp. 133–4
  46. ^ El-Aref, Nevine (14–20 July 2005). "Antiquities wish list". Al-Ahram Weekly (751). Archived from the original on 16 September 2010.
  47. ^ "Nefertiti travels". CulturCooperation. 2007. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  48. ^ The Associated Press:Egypt antiquities chief to demand Nefertiti bust
  49. ^ a b HUGH EAKIN (21 June 2003). "Nefertiti's Bust Gets a Body, Offending Egyptians". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
  50. ^ For a picture of "The Body of Nefertiti" see "Nefertiti's Bust Gets a Body, Offending Egyptians: A Problematic Juxtaposition". The New York Times. 21 June 2003. Archived from the original on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  51. ^ a b Breger p. 291
  52. ^ Elizabeth Young, "Here Comes the Bride: Wedding Gender and Race in Bride of Frankenstein"; Feminist Studies, Vol. 17, 1991. 35 pgs.

External links

5 December 1971

Battle of Gazipur: Pakistani forces stand defeated as India cedes Gazipur to Bangladesh.

Battle of Gazipur

Battle of Gazipur
Part of the Bangladesh Liberation War
Date4–5 December 1971
Gazipur Tea Estate
Result Indian-Bangladeshi victory[citation needed]
Gazipur ceded to Bangladesh
 India (formally Joined the war on 3 December 1971)
Commanders and leaders
Bangladesh Major Ziaur Rahman
Units involved
5 Gorkha Rifles, parts of the and other unknown forces
Unknown Unknown

The Battle of Gazipur (Bengali: গাজীপুরের যুদ্ধ) was a military engagement on 4 and 5 December 1971, during the Bangladesh liberation war. It took place at the Gazipur Tea Estate near Kulaura, in the Sylhet District of what was then East Pakistan. The advancing Mitro Bahini (comprising Mukti Bahini and Indian Army) attacked the 22 Baluch Regiment of the Pakistan Army. This battle was a prelude to the Battle of Sylhet.[1]


By the evening of 4 December 1971, the 5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) had fortified themselves at , a town close to the border opposite the Kulaura/Moulvibazar Sector of the Sylhet Division of East Pakistan. Small-scale attacks were planned to be employed to capture enemy territory. The 59 Mountain Brigade was to operate as a part of the 8 Mountain Division plan, possibly for thrust to Sylhet. The area had rolling hills with tea gardens dotting the area along the border. Further west, inside East Pakistan, low hills obscured most observations, and provided an excellent defensive and observational point into the Indian side of the border. The hills tapered off just east of Kulaura and the plains of the Sylhet division started from here. Kulaura was a communications center and rail head ten kilometers in depth, and was connected to Moulvibazar; along the Dharmanagar–Gazipur–MoulvibazarSylhet axis.


The task given to the 8 Mountain Division at this stage was:

  • The 59 Mountain Brigade was to capture the border posts along Dharmanagar–Gazipur-Kulaura and Dharmanagar-Jurithe axes
  • The 81 Mountain Brigade was to capture the border posts along the Shamshernagar-Fenchuganj-Moulvibazar axis
  • The rest of the division was to launch a multi-pronged attack against Sylhet

Pakistan's 313 Infantry Brigade, part of Pakistan's 14 Infantry Division, was located at Moulvibazar. Its 202 Infantry Brigade had moved to Sylhet, while its third brigade was covering Bhairab Bazar and the Ashuganj area further south. The 22 Baluch was defending the area enar , Gazipur, Kulaura, and Juri with additional companies consisting of reconnaissance forces and troops. One of this battalion's companies was deployed along the Dharmanagar-Juri axis with couple of border posts. Additional forces at that time included a border outpost of platoon size plus and unknown number of regular troops and EPCAF troops at Sagarnal, and a company at Gazipur with a platoon of scouts and a platoon of EPCAF troops. Lastly, there was the battalion headquarters at Kulaura and small reserve force at Moulvibazar.[citation needed]

The Indian 59 Mountain Brigade plan detailed capture of the Sagarnal border outpost by 5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) as a preliminary operation. The 9 Guards were to capture Juri, and the 6 Rajput was to capture Gazipur and advance up to Kulaura. The 5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) would then act as reserve for the 6 Rajput's operation and be given additional orders as the battle progressed. It was planned that once Kulaura was secured, both brigades would once again have a single objective, to be determined later.[citation needed]


At Gazipur, the Dharmanagar–Kadamtal–Sagarnal–Gazipur–Kulaura road passed through the area occupied by the Gazipur Tea Factory manager's bungalow and was overlooked by hills to the Southeast. The rows of the tea plantation created a maze and these alleys were covered by automatic fire. To its North was high ground with good observation of the area, with bunkers located around it. On 3 December 1971 around 21:00 hours, 6 Rajput attacked Gazipur but was met with stiff resistance. Before dawn it was apparent that the attack had failed and it was too late to employ reserves.[citation needed]

At this stage the 5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) were given orders to capture of Gazipur the next night; 4/5 December 1971. The 4 December was used for reconnaissance. With the attack launched the previous night, the Pakistanis were sensitive in the area, but had reorganized their defenses to prepare for an attack from any direction and were also supported by artillery guns. They also received reinforcements from Pakistan's 22 Baluch Company. In addition there was also a platoon-sized force supporting them in reserve. The Pakistani defenses were based on a built up area and well prepared bunkers. The 5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) planned to capture localities in phases, with Kela-Ka-Bagicha taken by Delta Company, the manager's bungalow by Alpha Company, and the factory by Bravo and Charlie Company. CO 2, Major was made overall commander of the factory assault by Bravo and Charlie Company.[citation needed]

Delta Company was the first to reach its objective. By about 20:30 hours the advancing column reached the height immediately North of Kela-Ka-Bagicha and were attacked by Pakistani artillery and machine gun fire. Soon after this the company charged at about 20:45 hours. Hand-to-hand fighting ensued and casualties were taken on both sides. Delta Company succeeded in the fighting and captured Kela-ka-Bagicha. However, the company commander was injured during the attack. The next objective, the manager's bungalow, had been turned into a fortress with bunkers strewn around the structure. The firing was on fixed lines, covering gaps in the tea plantation rows and the approach from Kela-Ka-Bagicha. Because of a loss of radio contact Alpha Company's progress was not known and as such Bravo Company was tasked to capture the manager's bungalow. Alpha Company didn't know about Bravo Company being employed in its place from the planned direction. Luckily Alpha had taken a slight detour and angled their thrust on the rear side while Bravo targeted it from the Kela-Ka-Bagicha side. Casualties were suffered which included Commander Coy of Bravo Company, however Alpha and Bravo Companies succeeded in capturing the bungalow. However, during the assault, Major Shayam Kelkar was shot in the head and died while leading a charge.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Battle of Sylhet". defenceindia.com. Archived from the original on 10 August 2007.[self-published source]

4 December 1954

The first Burger King is opened in Miami, Florida.

Burger King

Burger King
ISINUS1212201073 Edit this on Wikidata
GenreFast food restaurant
PredecessorInsta-Burger King
FoundedInsta-Burger King:
1953; 66 years ago (1953)
Jacksonville, Florida
Burger King:
1954; 65 years ago (1954)
Miami, Florida
FounderInsta-Burger King:
Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns
Burger King:
David Edgerton and James McLamore
Headquarters5505 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States
Number of locations
17,796 (2018)
Area served
Key people
  • Alexandre Behring (Chairman RBI)[1]:123
  • Daniel S. Schwartz (CEO)[1]:123
  • José E. Cil (President)[1]:123
  • Joshua Kobza (CFO)[1]:123
Revenue1,970,000,000 US dollar (2012) Edit this on Wikidata
363,000,000 US dollar (2012) Edit this on Wikidata
117,700,000 United States dollar (2012[2]Edit this on Wikidata
Number of employees
34,248 (2011) Edit this on Wikidata
ParentRestaurant Brands International
Footnotes / references

Burger King (BK) is an American multinational chain of hamburger fast food restaurants. Headquartered in the unincorporated area of Miami-Dade County, Florida, the company was founded in 1953 as Insta-Burger King, a Jacksonville, Florida–based restaurant chain. After Insta-Burger King ran into financial difficulties in 1954, its two Miami-based franchisees David Edgerton and James McLamore purchased the company and renamed it "Burger King". Over the next half-century, the company would change hands four times, with its third set of owners, a partnership of TPG Capital, Bain Capital, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, taking it public in 2002. In late 2010, 3G Capital of Brazil acquired a majority stake in the company, in a deal valued at US$3.26 billion. The new owners promptly initiated a restructuring of the company to reverse its fortunes. 3G, along with partner Berkshire Hathaway, eventually merged the company with the Canadian-based doughnut chain Tim Hortons, under the auspices of a new Canadian-based parent company named Restaurant Brands International.

The 1970s were the "Golden Age" of the company's advertising, but beginning in the early-1980s, Burger King advertising began losing focus. A series of less successful advertising campaigns created by a procession of advertising agencies continued for the next two decades. In 2003, Burger King hired the Miami-based advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B), which completely reorganized its advertising with a series of new campaigns centered on a redesigned Burger King character nicknamed "The King", accompanied by a new online presence. While highly successful, some of CP+B's commercials were derided for perceived sexism or cultural insensitivity. Burger King's new owner, 3G Capital, later terminated the relationship with CP+B in 2011 and moved its advertising to McGarryBowen, to begin a new product-oriented campaign with expanded demographic targeting.

Burger King's menu has expanded from a basic offering of burgers, French fries, sodas, and milkshakes to a larger and more diverse set of products. In 1957, the "Whopper" became the first major addition to the menu, and it has become Burger King's signature product since. Conversely, BK has introduced many products which failed to catch hold in the marketplace. Some of these failures in the United States have seen success in foreign markets, where BK has also tailored its menu for regional tastes. From 2002 to 2010, Burger King aggressively targeted the 18–34 male demographic with larger products that often carried correspondingly large amounts of unhealthy fats and trans-fats. This tactic would eventually damage the company's financial underpinnings, and cast a negative pall on its earnings. Beginning in 2011, the company began to move away from its previous male-oriented menu and introduce new menu items, product reformulations and packaging, as part of its current owner 3G Capital's restructuring plans of the company.[5]

As of December 31, 2018, Burger King reported it had 17,796 outlets in 100 countries.[6][7] Of these, nearly half are located in the United States, and 99.7% are privately owned and operated,[7] with its new owners moving to an almost entirely franchised model in 2013. BK has historically used several variations of franchising to expand its operations. The manner in which the company licenses its franchisees varies depending on the region, with some regional franchises, known as master franchises, responsible for selling franchise sub-licenses on the company's behalf. Burger King's relationship with its franchises has not always been harmonious. Occasional spats between the two have caused numerous issues, and in several instances, the company's and its licensees' relations have degenerated into precedent-setting court cases. Burger King's Australian franchise Hungry Jack's is the only franchise to operate under a different name, due to a trademark dispute and a series of legal cases between the two.


Wordmark used from 1954 until 1957

The predecessor to Burger King was founded in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida, as Insta-Burger King.[8] After visiting the McDonald brothers' original store location in San Bernardino, California, the founders and owners (Keith J. Kramer and his wife's uncle Matthew Burns), who had purchased the rights to two pieces of equipment called "Insta-machines", opened their first restaurants. Their production model was based on one of the machines they had acquired, an oven called the "Insta-Broiler". This strategy proved to be so successful that they later required all of their franchises to use the device.[9][10] After the company faltered in 1959, it was purchased by its Miami, Florida, franchisees, James McLamore and David R. Edgerton. They initiated a corporate restructuring of the chain, first renaming the company Burger King. They ran the company as an independent entity for eight years (eventually expanding to over 250 locations in the United States), before selling it to the Pillsbury Company in 1967.[9]:28

Logo from May 1, 1969 until April 30, 1994
Logo from May 1, 1994 until June 30, 1999
Burger King Big King XXL Meal

Pillsbury's management tried several times to restructure Burger King during the late 1970s and the early 1980s. The most prominent change came in 1978 when Burger King hired McDonald's executive Donald N. Smith to help revamp the company. In a plan called "Operation Phoenix",[10]:118 Smith restructured corporate business practices at all levels of the company. Changes included updated franchise agreements,[11] a broader menu[10]:119[11]:66 and new standardized restaurant designs. Smith left Burger King for PepsiCo in 1980[12] shortly before a system-wide decline in sales.

Pillsbury's Executive Vice President of Restaurant Operations Norman E. Brinker was tasked with turning the brand around, and strengthening its position against its main rival McDonald's. One of his initiatives was a new advertising campaign featuring a series of attack ads against its major competitors. This campaign started a competitive period between Burger King, McDonald's, and top burger chains known as the Burger wars.[13] Brinker left Burger King in 1984, to take over Dallas-based gourmet burger chain Chili's.[14]

Smith and Brinker's efforts were initially effective,[15] but after their respective departures, Pillsbury relaxed or discarded many of their changes, and scaled back on construction of new locations. These actions stalled corporate growth and sales declined again, eventually resulting in a damaging fiscal slump for Burger King and Pillsbury.[16][17] Poor operation and ineffectual leadership continued to bog down the company for many years.[17][18]

Pillsbury was eventually acquired by the British entertainment conglomerate Grand Metropolitan in 1989.[19][20] Initially, Grand Met attempted to bring the chain to profitability under newly minted CEO Barry Gibbons; the changes he initiated during his two-year tenure had mixed results, as successful new product introductions and tie-ins with The Walt Disney Company were offset by continuing image problems and ineffectual advertising programs.[21] Additionally, Gibbons sold off several of the company's assets in attempt to profit from their sale and laid off many of its staff members.[22][23][24]

After Gibbon's departure, a series of CEOs each tried to repair the company's brand by changing the menu, bringing in new ad agencies and many other changes.[25][26][27] The parental disregard of the Burger King brand continued with Grand Metropolitan's merger with Guinness in 1997 when the two organizations formed the holding company Diageo.[28] Eventually, the ongoing systematic institutional neglect of the brand through a string of owners damaged the company to the point where major franchises were driven out of business, and its total value was significantly decreased.[29] Diageo eventually decided to divest itself of the money-losing chain and put the company up for sale in 2000.[30][31]

An example of the 20/20 concept interior at a Burger King in Cork, Ireland

The twenty-first century saw the company return to independence when it was purchased from Diageo by a group of investment firms led by TPG Capital for US$1.5 billion in 2002.[21][32] The new owners rapidly moved to revitalize and reorganize the company, culminating with the company being taken public in 2006 with a highly successful initial public offering.[33][34] The firms' strategy for turning the chain around included a new advertising agency and new ad campaigns,[35][36][37] a revamped menu strategy,[38] a series of programs designed to revamp individual stores,[39] a new restaurant concept called the BK Whopper Bar,[40] and a new design format called 20/20.[40] These changes successfully re-energized the company, leading to a score of profitable quarters.[41] Yet, despite the successes of the new owners, the effects of the financial crisis of 2007–2010 weakened the company's financial outlooks while those of its immediate competitor McDonald's grew.[41][42] The falling value of Burger King eventually led to TPG and its partners divesting their interest in the chain in a US$3.26 billion sale to 3G Capital of Brazil.[43][44] Analysts from financial firms UBS and Stifel Nicolaus agreed that 3G would have to invest heavily in the company to help reverse its fortunes.[44][45] After the deal was completed, the company's stock was removed from the New York Stock Exchange, ending a four-year period as a public company.[46][47] The delisting of its stock was designed to help the company repair its fundamental business structures and continue working to close the gap with McDonald's without having to worry about pleasing shareholders.[45] In the United States domestic market, the chain has fallen to third place in terms of same store sales behind Ohio-based Wendy's. The decline is the result of 11 consecutive quarters of same store sales decline.[48]

In August 2014, 3G announced that it planned to acquire the Canadian restaurant and coffee shop chain Tim Hortons and merge it with Burger King with backing from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. The two chains will retain separate operations post-merger, with Burger King remaining in its Miami headquarters.[49] A Tim Hortons representative stated that the proposed merger would allow Tim Hortons to leverage Burger King's resources for international growth. The combined company will be the third-largest international chain of fast food restaurants.[50][51] The deal lead to a controversy over the practice of tax inversions, in which a company decreases the amount of taxes it pays by moving its headquarters to a tax haven, a country with lower rates but maintains the majority of their operations in their previous location. As a high-profile instance of tax inversion, news of the merger was criticized by U.S. politicians, who felt that the move would result in a loss of tax revenue to foreign interests, and could result in further government pressure against inversions.[51][52][53][54]

Structure and operations

Burger King Holdings is the parent company of Burger King, also known as Burger King Corporation and abbreviated BKC, and is a Delaware corporation formed on July 23, 2002.[1]: A subsidiary, it derives its income from several sources, including property rental and sales through company owned restaurants;[1]: however, a substantial portion of its revenue is dependent on franchise fees.[1]: During the transitional period after the acquisition of the company by 3G Capital, Burger King's board of directors was co-chaired by John W. Chidsey, formerly CEO and chairman of the company, and Alex Behring, managing partner of 3G Capital.[55] By April 2011, the new ownership completed the restructuring of Burger King's corporate management and Chidsey tendered his resignation, leaving Behring as CEO and chair.[56]

The company operates approximately 40 subsidiaries globally that oversee franchise operations, acquisitions and financial obligations such as pensions.[1]:Exhibit 21.1 One example of a subsidiary is Burger King Brands, Inc. which is responsible for the management of Burger King's intellectual properties. A wholly owned subsidiary established in 1990,[57] Burger King Brands owns and manages all trademarks, copyrights and domain names used by the restaurants in the United States and Canada. It is also responsible for providing marketing and related services to the parent company.[58]

In 2011, the majority of Burger King restaurants, approximately 90%, were privately held franchises.[59] In North America, Burger King Corporation is responsible for licensing operators and administering of stores. Internationally, the company often pairs with other parties to operate locations or it will outright sell the operational and administrative rights to a franchisee which is given the designation of master franchise for the territory. The master franchise will then be expected to sub-license new stores, provide training support, and ensure operational standards are maintained. In exchange for the oversight responsibilities, the master franchise will receive administrative and advertising support from Burger King Corporation to ensure a common marketing scheme.[60][61] The 3G Capital ownership group announced in April 2011 that it would begin divesting itself of many corporate owned locations with the intent to increase the number of privately held restaurants to 95%.[59] As of 2016, the percentage of privately owned Burger King establishments grew to 99.5%.[7]

As the franchisor for the brand, Burger King Holdings has several obligations and responsibilities; the company designs and deploys corporate training systems while overseeing brand standards such as building design and appearance.[39][62][63] The company also develops new products and deploys them after presenting them to its franchises for approval per a 2010 agreement between itself and the franchise ownership groups.[59] Burger King has limited approval over franchise operations such as minimum hours of operation and promotional pricing.[64][65] Additionally, Burger King designates approved vendors and distributors while ensuring safety standards at the productions facilities of its vendors.[1]:

Burger King is headquartered in a nine-story office tower by the Miami International Airport in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida.[66] Elaine Walker of the Miami Herald stated that the headquarters has a "Burger King" sign that drivers on State Road 836 "can't miss". In addition, the chain planned to build a neon sign on the roof to advertise the brand to passengers landing at the airport. On Monday July 8, 2002, 130 employees began working at the Burger King headquarters with the remainder moving in phases in August 2002. Prior to the moving to its current headquarters in 2002, Burger King had considered moving away from the Miami area to Texas; Miami-Dade County politicians and leaders lobbied against this, and Burger King stayed.[67] In August 2014, the future of the company's Miami headquarters was again in doubt as reports surfaced that Burger King was in talks about buying the Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons, with a view to relocating its headquarters to Canada where the corporate tax rate was lower.[68][69] The merger between Burger King and Tim Hortons created the fast food company now known as Restaurant Brands International Inc.[70]

The company's previous headquarters were in a southern Dade County campus located on Old Cutler Boulevard in the Cutler census-designated place.[71][72] The former Burger King headquarters as of 2007 houses rental offices for several companies.[73]


A Burger King in London, England
Burger King restaurant in Leicester Square, London, England

When Burger King Corporation began franchising in 1959, it used a regional model where franchisees purchased the right to open stores within a geographic region.[10]:117[11]:64 These franchise agreements granted BKC very little oversight control of its franchisees and resulted in issues of product quality control, store image and design, and operational procedures.[10]:118[11]:64

During the 1970s, structural deficiencies in Burger King's franchise system became increasingly problematic for Pillsbury. A major example was the relationship between Burger King and Louisiana-based franchisee Chart House,[11]:64 Burger King's largest franchisee group at the time with over 350 locations in the United States. The company's owners, William and James Trotter, made several moves to take over or acquire Burger King during the 1970s, all of which were spurned by Pillsbury.[21] After the failed attempts to acquire the company, the relationship between Chart House and Burger King soured and eventually devolved into a lawsuit.[21] Chart House eventually spun off its Burger King operations in the early 1980s into a holding company called DiversiFoods which, in turn, was acquired by Pillsbury in 1984 and absorbed into Burger King's operations.[74][75]

As part of the franchising reorganization segment of Operation Phoenix, Donald N. Smith initiated a restructuring of future franchising agreements in 1978. Under this new franchise agreement, new owners were disallowed from living more than one hour from their restaurants – restricting them to smaller individuals or ownership groups and preventing large, multi-state corporations from owning franchises. Franchisees were also now prohibited from operating other chains, preventing them from diverting funds away from their Burger King holdings. This new policy effectively limited the size of franchisees and prevented larger franchises from challenging Burger King Corporation as Chart House had.[11]:64 Smith also sought to have BKC be the primary owner of new locations and rent or lease the restaurants to its franchises. This policy would allow the company to take over the operations of failing stores or evict those owners who would not conform to the company guidelines and policies.[21] By 1988, parent company Pillsbury had relaxed many of Smith's changes, scaling back on construction of new locations, which resulted in stalled growth of the brand.[16] Neglect of Burger King by new owner Grand Metropolitan and its successor Diageo[29] further hurt the standing of the brand, causing significant financial damage to BK franchises and straining relations between the parties.[76]

A Burger King in Oaxaca, Mexico
A Burger King franchise adapted to operate in the historic district of Oaxaca, Mexico

By 2001 and after nearly 18 years of stagnant growth, the state of its franchises was beginning to affect the value of the company. One of the franchises most heavily affected by the lack of growth was the nearly 400-store AmeriKing Inc., one of the largest Burger King franchisees.[77] By 2002, the franchise owner, which until this point had been struggling under a nearly US$300 million debt load and been shedding stores across the US, was forced to enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[78] The failure of AmeriKing deeply affected the value of Burger King, and put negotiations between Diaego and the TPC Capital-led group on hold. The developments eventually forced Diaego to lower the total selling price of the chain by almost $750 million.[76] After the sale, newly appointed CEO Brad Blum initiated a program to help roughly 20 percent of its franchises, including its four largest, who were in financial distress, bankruptcy or had ceased operations altogether.[79] Partnering with California-based Trinity Capital, LLC, the company established the Franchisee Financial Restructuring Initiative, a program to address the financial issues facing BK's financially distressed franchisees. The initiative was designed to assist franchisees in restructuring their businesses to meet financial obligations, focus on restaurant operational excellence, reinvest in their operations, and return to profitability.[80]

Individual franchisees took advantage of the AmeriKing failure; one of BK's regional owners, Miami-based Al Cabrera, purchased 130 stores located primarily in the Chicago and the upper mid-west region, from the failed company for a price of $16 million, approximately 88 percent of their original value. The new company, which started out as Core Value Partners and eventually became Heartland Foods, also purchased 120 additional stores from distressed owners and revamped them. The resulting purchases made Cabrera the largest minority franchisee of Burger King, and Heartland one of the company's top franchises.[81] By 2006, the company was valued at over $150 million, and was sold to New York–based GSO Capital Partners.[82] Other purchasers included a three-way group of NFL athletes Kevin Faulk, Marcus Allen, and Michael Strahan who collectively purchased 17 stores in the cities of Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia;[83] and Cincinnati-based franchisee Dave Devoy, who purchased 32 AmeriKing stores. After investing in new decor, equipment and staff retraining, many of the formerly failing stores showed growth approaching 20 percent.[29]

As part of 3G's restructuring plan, the company decided to divest itself of its corporate owned locations by re-franchising them to private owners and become a 100% franchised operation by the end of 2013. The project, which began in April 2012, saw the company divest corporate-owned locations in Florida, Canada, Spain, Germany, and other regions.[84][85][86] The move gave the company a Q3, 2013 profit of US$68.2 million over the same quarter, 2012 of US$6.6 million.[84]

At the end of its 2013 fiscal year, Burger King was the second largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants in terms of global locations,[1]:123 behind industry bellwether McDonald's, which had 32,400 locations. At the end of 2014, Burger King ranked 4th among US food chains in terms of US sales, behind McDonald's, Starbucks, and Subway.[87] Burger King now has over 12,000 stores worldwide.[88]

International operations

Burger King located in Karl Johan's Street, Oslo, Norway

While BK began its foray into locations outside of the continental United States in 1963 with a store in San Juan, Puerto Rico,[89] it did not have an international presence until several years later. Shortly after the acquisition of the chain by Pillsbury, it opened its first Canadian restaurant in Windsor, Ontario in 1969.[11]:66[90] Other international locations followed soon after: Oceania in 1971 and Europe in 1975 with a restaurant in Madrid, Spain.[91][92] Beginning in 1982, BK and its franchisees began operating stores in several East Asian countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea.[21] Due to high competition, all of the Japanese locations were closed in 2001; however, BK reentered the Japanese market in June 2007.[93] BK's Central and South American operations began in Mexico in the late 1970s and by the early 1980s in Caracas, Venezuela, Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.[21] While Burger King lags behind McDonald's in international locations by over 12,000 stores, as of 2008 it had managed to become the largest chain in several countries including Mexico and Spain.[94] The company divides its international operations into three segments; the Middle East, Europe and Africa division (EMEA), Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).[1]:5 In each of these regions, Burger King has established several subsidiaries to develop strategic partnerships and alliances to expand into new territories. In its EMEA group, Burger King's Switzerland-based subsidiary Burger King Europe GmbH is responsible for the licensing and development of BK franchises in those regions.[1]:5, Exhibit 21:1[95] In APAC region, the Singapore-based BK AsiaPac, Pte. Ltd. business unit handles franchising for East Asia, the Asian subcontinent and all Oceanic territories.[1]:6, Exhibit 21:1[60][96] The LAC region includes Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean Islands and has no centralized operations group.[1]:6, Exhibit 21:1

Australia is the only country in which Burger King does not operate under its own name.[1]:6 When the company set about establishing operations down under in 1971, it found that its business name was already trademarked by a takeaway food shop in Adelaide.[97] As a result, Burger King provided the Australian franchisee, Jack Cowin, with a list of possible alternative names derived from pre-existing trademarks already registered by Burger King and its then corporate parent Pillsbury, that could be used to name the Australian restaurants. Cowin selected the "Hungry Jack" brand name, one of Pillsbury's US pancake mixture products, and slightly changed the name to a possessive form by adding an apostrophe "s" forming the new name Hungry Jack's.[91][98] After the expiration of the trademark in the late 1990s, Burger King unsuccessfully tried to introduce the brand to the continent. After losing a lawsuit filed against it by Hungry Jack's ownership, the company ceded the territory to its franchisee.[91] Hungry Jack's is now the only Burger King brand in Australia; Cowin's company Hungry Jack's PTY is the master franchise and thus is now responsible for oversight of the operations that country with Burger King only providing administrative and advertising support to ensure a common marketing scheme for the company and its products.[61]

A Burger King in Beijing, China
Burger King in Beijing International Airport, Beijing, China

Over a 10-year period starting in 2008, Burger King predicted 80 percent of its market share would be driven by foreign expansion, particularly in the Asia-Pacific and Indian subcontinent regional markets.[99] While the TPG-led group continued BK's international expansion by announcing plans to open new franchise locations in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Brazil, the company plan is focusing on the three largest markets – India, China, and Japan.[100][101][102][103] The company plans to add over 250 stores in these Asian territories, as well as other places such as Macau, by the end of 2012.[104] Its expansion into the Indian market has the company at a competitive disadvantage with other fast food restaurants such as KFC because of the aversion of the country's large Hindu majority to beef. BK hopes to use their non-beef products, such as their TenderCrisp and TenderGrill chicken sandwiches, as well as other products like mutton sandwiches and veggie sandwiches, to help them overcome this hurdle to expand in that country.[99][105] 3G has reported that it will continue with the plans to grow globally, even ramping up the planned expansion to help increase their return on investment.[20]:1 It is expected that 3G Brazilian-based management connections in the region may help Burger King expand in Brazil and Latin America, where it has been having problems finding acceptable franchisees.[20]:2[106]

Controversies and legal cases

The Hoot's family Burger King in Mattoon, Illinois, unrelated to Burger King Corporation
The Burger King restaurant in Mattoon, Illinois, originally owned by the Hoots family. This location was one subject of major litigation by Burger King.

Burger King has been involved in several legal disputes and cases, as both plaintiff and defendant, in the years since its founding in 1954. Depending on the ownership and executive staff at the time of these incidents, the company's responses to these challenges have ranged from a conciliatory dialog with its critics and litigants, to a more aggressive opposition with questionable tactics and negative consequences.[107][108][109][110] The company's response to these various issues has drawn praise[111][112] as well as accusations of political appeasement from different parties over the years.[113]

A trademark dispute involving the owners of the identically named Burger King in Mattoon, Illinois, led to a federal lawsuit. The case's outcome helped define the scope of the Lanham act and trademark law in the United States.[114] An existing trademark held by a shop of the same name in South Australia forced the company to change its name in Australia,[115] while another state trademark in Texas forced the company to abandon its signature product, the Whopper, in several counties around San Antonio.[116] The company was only able to enter northern Alberta, in Canada, in 1995, after it paid the founders of another chain named Burger King.[117]

Legal decisions from other suits have set contractual law precedents in regards to long-arm statutes, the limitations of franchise agreements, and ethical business practices.[118][119] Many of these decisions have helped define general business dealings that continue to shape the entire marketplace.[120][121][122]

Controversies and disputes have arisen with groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), governmental and social agencies, and unions and trade groups over various topics. These situations have touched on legal and moral concepts such as animal rights, corporate responsibility,[123] ethics,[124] and social justice.[124] While the majority of the disputes did not result in lawsuits, in many of the cases, the situations raised legal questions, dealt with legal compliance, or resulted in legal remedies such as changes in contractual procedure or binding agreements between parties. The resolutions to these legal matters have often altered the way the company interacts and negotiates contracts with its suppliers and franchisees, or how it does business with the public.[111][112][125][126]

Further controversies have occurred during the company's expansion in the Middle East. The opening of a Burger King location in Ma'aleh Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, led to a breach of contract dispute between Burger King and its Israeli franchise due to the hotly contested international dispute over the legality of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories in accordance to international law. The controversy eventually erupted into a geopolitical dispute involving Muslim and Jewish groups on multiple continents over the application of, and adherence to, international law.[127][128][129] The case eventually elicited reactions from the members of the 22-nation Arab League. The Islamic countries within the League made a joint threat to the company of legal sanctions including the revocation of Burger King's business licenses within the member states' territories.[128][129][130]

A related issue involving members of the Islamic faith over the interpretation of the Muslim version of canon law, Shariah, regarding the promotional artwork on a dessert package in the United Kingdom raised issues of cultural sensitivity,[131] and, with the former example, posed a larger question about the lengths that companies must go to, to ensure the smooth operation of their businesses in the communities they serve.[132]

On April 9, 2019 Nations Restaurant News reported that Burger King filed a lawsuit on Fritz Management LLC to remove Burger King trademarks from 37 units in South Texas after unsanitary conditions were found at a restaurant in Harlingen Texas.[133] In May 2019, the lawsuit was settled with the franchisee, Fritz Management (a subsidiary of Inc) keeping the trademarks on all 37 units.[134] [135]

On November 19, 2019 a lawsuit was filed by a vegan from Atlanta, Georgia against Burger King for allegedly selling Impossible Whopper burgers that were heated on the same grill as their beef burgers.[1]

Charitable contributions and services

Burger King has two of its own in-house national charitable organizations and programs. One is the Have It Your Way Foundation, a US-based non-profit (501(c)(3)) corporation with multiple focuses on hunger alleviation, disease prevention and community education through scholarship programs at colleges in the US.[136] The other charitable organization is the McLamore Foundation, also a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that provides scholarships to students in the US and its territories.[137]

In various regions across the United States, Burger King and its franchises have aligned themselves with several charitable organizations that support research and treatment of juvenile cancer. Each year, these coalitions hold a fund raising drive called "A Chance for Kids", in which Burger King restaurants sell lottery-style scratch cards for $1. Each card produces a winning prize that is usually a food or beverage product, but includes (rarer) items such as shopping sprees or trips. In the Northeast, BK has affiliated itself with the Major League Baseball team the Boston Red Sox and its charitable foundation, the Jimmy Fund. The group runs the contest in Boston. In the New York City area, it operates the contest in association with the Burger King Children's Charities of Metro New York and the New York Yankees. Funds raised in these areas go to support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, located in Boston.[138][139] In Nebraska, the company is affiliated with the Liz's Legacy Cancer Fund "BK Beat Cancer for Kids" program at the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.[140] In the Pittsburgh region, it funded the establishment of the Burger King Cancer Caring Center, a support organization for the families and friends of cancer patients.[141]


A Whopper sandwich
The Whopper sandwich, Burger King's signature product

When the predecessor of Burger King first opened in Jacksonville in 1953, its menu consisted predominantly of basic hamburgers, French fries, soft drinks, milkshakes, and desserts. After being acquired by its Miami, Florida, franchisees and renamed to its current moniker in 1954, BK began expanding the breadth of its menu by adding the Whopper sandwich in 1957. This quarter-pound (4 oz (110 g)) hamburger was created by Burger King's new owners James McLamore and David Edgerton as a way to differentiate BK from other burger outlets at the time.[142] Since its inception, the Whopper has become synonymous with Burger King and has become the focus of much of its advertising.[143] The company even named its new kiosk-style restaurants Whopper Bars.[144]

The menu component of Donald Smith's Operation Phoenix was initiated in 1978 and led to the addition of the Burger King Specialty Sandwich line in 1979. The new product line significantly expanded the breadth of the BK menu with many non-hamburger sandwiches, including new chicken and fish offerings. The new Specialty Sandwich line was one of the first attempts to target a specific demographic, in this case, adults 18–34, who would be willing to spend more on a higher quality product.[10]:119 One of Smith's other significant contributions to the menu was the addition of a breakfast product line, which until this time was not a market Burger King had entered.[21] Besides the addition of the Croissan'Wich in 1983, the breakfast menu remained almost identical to the McDonald's offerings until a menu revamp in 1985.[21] This expansion introduced BK's "Am Express" product line, which added new products such as French toast sticks and mini-muffins.[145]

As the company expanded both inside and outside the US, it introduced localized versions of its products that conform to regional tastes and cultural or religious beliefs. International variations add ingredients such as teriyaki or beetroot and fried egg to the Whopper;[146] beer in Germany, Italy, and Spain; and halal or kosher products in the Middle East and Israel.[147][148][149] To generate additional sales, BK will occasionally introduce limited time offers (LTOs) that are versions of its core products, or new products intended for either long or short term sales. Items such as the Texas Double Whopper and various sandwiches made with mushrooms and Swiss cheese have been rotated in and out of its menu for several years,[150][151] while products such as its 1993 Meatloaf Specialty Sandwich offering and accompanying limited table service, along with special dinner platters, failed to generate interest and were discontinued.[152][153]

A Burger King value meal
A meal including small French fries, a Whopper Jr., a drink, and packets of Heinz ketchup.

In order to appeal to as many demographic groups as possible and better compete with its competitor Wendy's, Burger King added a multi-tiered value menu in 1993 with items priced at 99¢, US$1.99 and $2.99.[21] The additions, part of then CEO James Adamson's back to basics program also called Operation Phoenix, were an attempt to add not only a value menu, but also a line of value meals.[154] The tiered menu was replaced with a more standard value menu in 1998 while the value meals were separated into their own menu segment.[155] This value menu featured seven products: Whopper Jr., five-piece Chicken Tenders, a bacon cheeseburger, medium-sized French fries, medium soft drink, medium onion rings, and small shake. In 2002 and 2006, BK revamped its value menu, adding and removing several different products such as chili and its Rodeo Cheeseburger.[156] Many of these items have since been discontinued, modified or relegated to a regional menu option.[157] To better appeal to a more adult palate and demographic, BK introduced several new products to its menu in 2003, including several new or revamped chicken products, a new salad line and its BK Joe brand of coffee. Some of the new products, including its Enormous Omelet Sandwich line and the BK Stacker line, brought negative attention due to the large portion size, and amounts of unhealthy fats and trans-fats.[158][159][160] Many of these products featured higher quality ingredients like whole chicken breast, Angus beef, and natural cheeses such as cheddar and pepper jack.[161] Again, not all these products, such as the BK Baguette line, have met corporate sales expectations.[35]

With the purchase of the company in 2010, 3G began a program to restructure its menu designed to move away from the male-oriented menu that had dominated under the previous ownership. The first major item to be introduced was a reformulation of its BK Chicken Tenders product in March 2011.[162] Over the next few months, approximately 20 new products were researched and developed while others were reformulated, including its Chef's Choice Burger.[163] Eventually pruned down to 10 items, Burger King began deploying the items in the United States throughout 2011–2012 with the official roll out beginning April 2012. The changes included new ice cream products, smoothies, frappés and chicken strips. The Whopper was the most prominently reformulated product in this round of introductions with a new type of cheese and packaging.[48]

At the end of 2015, Burger King's parent company, Restaurant Brands International, announced that none of its subsidiaries would use chicken that had been fed antibiotics that are "critically important" to human health; that announcement referred only to a small class of antibiotics for which there is only one drug that kill a kind of bacteria and the announcement was described as a "small step" by advocates for stopping all antibiotic use in livestock.[164]

In 2019, Burger King announced plans to release an "Impossible Whopper" burger, a vegetarian burger using a plant-based patty from Impossible Foods.[165]


An Burger King kitchen
Food being prepared in a Burger King kitchen in Italy

Like its menu, the equipment the company cooks its hamburgers with has also evolved as the company expanded. The burgers have always been broiled mechanically; the original unit, called an Insta-Broiler, was one of two pieces of equipment the founders of Insta-Burger King purchased before opening their new restaurant.[9]:27[142] The Insta-Broiler worked by cooking 12 burger patties in a wire basket, allowing the patties to be cooked from both sides simultaneously.[9]:27 When McLamore and Edgerton took over the company, besides dropping the "Insta-" prefix, they switched to an improved unit which they called a "Flame Broiler". Designed by the two and featuring stationary burners that cooked the meat on a moving chain, the unit broke down less often while maintaining a similar cooking rate.[142] The company would stay with that format for the next 40 years until Burger King began developing a variable speed broiler that could handle multiple items with different cooking rates and times.[166][167][168] These new units began testing in 1999 and eventually evolved into the two models the company deployed system-wide in 2008–2009. Accompanying these new broilers was new food-holding equipment, accompanied with a computer-based product monitoring system for its cooked products.[169] The monitoring system allows for more concise tracking of product quality while giving the company and its franchisees a method to streamline costs by more precisely projecting sales and product usage.[170]


A Burger King crown on Nick Van Eede
The Burger King "crown", worn by Nick Van Eede

Since its foundation in 1954, Burger King has employed varied advertising programs, both successful and unsuccessful. During the 1970s, output included its "Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce..." jingle, the inspiration for its current mascot the Burger King, and several well known and parodied slogans such as "Have it your way" and "It takes two hands to handle a Whopper".[171][172][173] Burger King introduced the first attack ad in the fast food industry with a pre-teen Sarah Michelle Gellar in 1981. The television spot, which claimed BK burgers were larger and better tasting than competitor McDonald's,[11]:66 so enraged executives at McDonald's parent company that they sued all parties involved.[174] Starting in the early 1980s and running through approximately 2001, BK engaged a series of ad agencies that produced many unsuccessful slogans and programs, including its biggest advertising flop "Where's Herb?"[175][176]

Burger King was a pioneer in the advertising practice known as the "product tie-in", with a successful partnership with George Lucas' Lucasfilm, Ltd., to promote the 1977 film Star Wars in which BK sold a set of beverage glasses featuring the main characters from the movie.[177][178] This promotion was one of the first in the fast food industry and set the pattern that continues to the present. BK's early success in the field was overshadowed by a 1982 deal between McDonald's and the Walt Disney Company to promote Disney's animated films beginning in the mid-1980s and running through the early 1990s. In 1994, Disney switched from McDonald's to Burger King, signing a 10-movie promotional contract which would include such top 10 films as Aladdin (1992), Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Lion King (1994), and Toy Story (1995).[21] A partnership in association with the Pokémon franchise at the height of its popularity in 1999 was tremendously successful for the company, with many locations rapidly selling out of the toys and the replacements.[179]

Shortly after the acquisition of Burger King by TPG Capital, L.P. in 2002, its new CEO Brad Blum set about turning around the fortunes of the company by initiating an overhaul of its flailing advertising programs. One of the first moves by the company was to reinstate its famous "Have it your way" slogan as the corporate motto. BK handed the effort off to its new advertising agency, Miami-based Crispin Porter + Bogusky (abbreviated as CP+B). CP+B was known for having a hip, subversive tack when creating campaigns for its clients, exactly what BK was looking for.[35][36] One of CP+B strategies was to revive the Burger King character used during BK's 1970s/1980s Burger King Kingdom children's advertising campaign as a caricatured variation, now simply called "the King".[180][181] The farcical nature of "the Burger King" centered advertisements inspired an internet meme where the King is edited into unusual situations that are either comical or menacing, many times followed with the phrase "Where is your God now?"

Additionally, CP+B created a series of new characters like the Subservient Chicken and the faux nu metal band Coq Roq, featured in a series of viral web-based advertisements on sites such as MySpace and various BK corporate pages, to complement various television and print promotional campaigns.[182][183][184] One of the more successful promotions that CP+B devised was the creation of a series of three advergames for the Xbox 360.[185][186] Created by UK-based Blitz Games and featuring company celebrity spokesman Brooke Burke, the games sold more than 3.2 million copies, placing them as one of the top selling games along with another Xbox 360 hit, Gears of War.[186][187] T