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Jessica Hanser, in her book Mr. Smith Goes to China, tells a tale of 18th-century globalisation involving three international actors–Britain, China and India–through the lives of three British (more precisely, Scottish) merchants. All of them bore the name of George Smith, an extremely common name at the time. And all of them were ‘private traders’” (i.e.
In Caribbean New Orleans Cécile Vidal has brought together a prodigious volume and range of archival research in what is the most detailed social history of the city during the French period.
Jonathan Scott, Professor of History at the University of Auckland, in his recent book, How the Old World Ended (2019), has provided an intellectual bridge between the early modern period and the modern world, which was born out of the Industrial Revolution.
Environmental history is one of the most dynamic, innovative, and though-provoking areas of current academic enquiry, and the connection between environmental change, imperialism, and expanding global economies has recently received increased scholarly attention. Building on the foundational works of historians such as William Cronon, Co
How did the world of nation-states come about? What happened to the world of empires that preceded it? How did the transition take place and how inevitable was it? These may seem (and indeed are) old questions.
People down on their luck fleeing to the colonies on the first available ship is a mainstay of 19th century fiction. It was a convenient way for an author to either get rid of an unnecessary character, or to bring a surprise new person into the narrative mix with dramatic effect.
Chinese history for English readers is a quietly contested field: quiet because discussion and developments take place in the margins of the English-speaking world; and contested both because the market for trade books is growing and, more importantly, because new publications are offering ever more diverse and complex ways of seeing China. Two seminal events, the Opium War (1839-42) and the Cu
Crossing the Bay of Bengal, came out at a time when I had just begun to explore another history of the Bay through my research into the experiences of Bengali refugees who were rehabilitated in the Andaman Islands in the years between 1949 and 1971.(1) Hounded by the violence and brutality of the post -partition riots that ravaged the deltaic
How can you know about somewhere you’ve never been? This predicament is at the heart of David Lambert’s superb new book, Mastering the Niger: James MacQueen’s African Geography and the Struggle over Atlantic Slavery. In 1841 the Scottish geographer and proslavery propagandist James MacQueen published A New Map of Africa. MacQueen had never visited the continent.
Slavery defined the Atlantic world. African forced labour produced the primary materials that drove European mercantile economies. The plantation complex lay at the core of societies from Brazil and the West Indies to the American mainland and West Africa.