Sir Henry Docwra, first baron Docwra of Culmore (in the Irish peerage), personified those who rose thanks to the opportunities offered by Ireland in the later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Docwra shows how minor gentlemen of obscure but solid backgrounds prospered thanks particularly to soldiering.
In the course of a single generation, the British empire was transformed from being a network of self-governing Atlantic communities into a cluster of largely Asian territories acquired, for the most part, through conquest. As countless historians note, the second half of the eighteenth century saw an ‘epochal shift in world power’.
Duncan Bell’s book comes with an intriguing picture on its front cover: Gustave Doré’s famous 1860 depiction of a New Zealander perched on a broken arch of London Bridge sketching the ruins of St Paul’s and its environs. The image, derived from an essay by Thomas Babington Macaulay, captures much of the Victorian premonition and anxiety about empire.
Scholars continue to find new things to say about the Irish Diaspora. For many of them-especially those in Ireland and America-the term Diaspora, when applied to the Irish, has a deep, politicised meaning. We can see this point exemplified in two observations.
The first decades of British rule in Cyprus have so far received by far too little academic interest. Ever since the fourth volume of George Hill’s epic A History of Cyprus was published in 1952, few books have added in depth analysis and new insights on this period.
As the volume of books and articles on eighteenth-century Ireland continues to expand, so Irish Jacobitism increasingly stands out as a glaring omission.
The War of 1812 has the unfortunate fate of being wedged between two of the most greatly studied events of modern world history, the American Revolution and Civil War. Indeed, the looming bicentennial of the 1812 conflict promises to be overshadowed by year two of the Civil War sesquicentennial.
In a 2009 review article on the study of Ireland’s relationship with the British Empire, Stephen Howe lamented the polarity of historiographical opinion surrounding the problems of Irish identity in a British imperial context.
A detailed biography of George II in English has been needed for some time. His is one of the longer reigns of an early modern British monarch (1727–60), encompassing both the final military defeat of the Stuart cause in 1745, and the high point of the first British Empire.
The rise of the Atlantic world as a framework for understanding early modern and 18th-century Britain has been one of the most significant historiographical developments of the last 25 years.