Photography: 98for98 The century in photographs: today 1902

Three down and 95 to go. Wednesday's photograph of Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, and his wife with their trophy kill takes The Independent's "98 for 98" series on to 1902. As part of "Photo 98 - The Year of Photography and Electronic Image", The Independent has been given exclusive access to the Hulton Getty Picture Library to celebrate every year from 1900 to 1998 with a photograph that encapsulates the spirit of the age.

A typical Raj scene, the photograph above (taken in April near Hyderabad) bears witness to a favourite colonial pastime. One of late Victorian Britain's most brilliant young men, Curzon became Viceroy of India at the age of 39, but his American wife paid for his success, succumbing to the sub-continent's harsh climate.

1902 brought some hope for endangered species, however. In America, the game laws which aimed to save the 500 remaining buffalo of the Great Plains' original 60 million population had produced two herds of over a thousand head, one in Yellowstone Park and one in Canada.

Marconi sent his first transatlantic telegraph message in December to a suitably worthy addressee: King Edward VII, who himself was lucky to be alive at the end of the year. The sixty-year-old king had undergone a high-risk appendectomy in June, delaying the Coronation and giving rise to doubts about his longevity.

The end of May also saw British victory in the Boer War. The Boers agreed to accept British colonial rule with the promise of self-government later.

Martinique, on the other hand, was forced to deal with the decimation of its capital's population when St Pierre was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Pele. Of its 30,000 inhabitants, it is believed one Monsieur Cyparis, who had been imprisoned for drunkenness when Mt Pele blew, was the only survivor.

Mike Higgins

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