Sovereign of the Isles
How the Crown Won the British Isles
From the movements of peoples in the 8th century to the modern politics of independence, this regional history records how England brought all the nations of Britain under its control between the 12th and 18th centuries. Including the stories of outlying islands such the Hebrides and the Channel Islands, it describes the conquests, rebellions and treaties that led to union and the campaigns that have sought to break it since.
Captain Elliot and the Founding of Hong Kong
Pearl of the Orient
After retiring from the Royal Navy, Charles Elliot (1801–75) took up diplomatic assignments in British Guiana, China and Texas. Using previously unpublished documents, this biography highlights his controversial actions in the First Opium War and the ceding of Hong Kong to Britain. It also discusses Elliot’s role in the abolition of slavery and his liberal beliefs on racial equality.
Empire of Crime
Organised Crime in the British Empire
When Britain banned the lucrative export of opium from Imperial India to China, organized criminals were quick to develop an illegal trade in narcotics. Using government files and personal letters Tim Newark reveals the extent to which gangsters exploited global trade routes, including those made secure by the British Empire itself, and how they became the setting for a turf war involving Shanghai smugglers, American drugbusters and Afghan criminal gangs.
The British Empire
A History and a Debate
Offering a dispassionate and evidence-based study of the British Empire as a form of government, an economic system and a method of engagement with the world, Professor Black presents an overview of the Empire across the centuries, considering it from both British and colonial perspectives. His history is accompanied by a commentary on the public historiography of empire and the politically charged character of much discussion of that history.
The Creation of the British
Although British traders had been present in India since the 17th century, the subcontinent was under direct rule for just 90 years, from 1857 to 1947. This study focuses on the 20 aristocratic men who wielded supreme power as Viceroy – literally the monarch’s deputy – from Charles Canning to Louis Mountbatten. It assesses their characters, policies, achievements and failures, and examines the continuing influence of this autocratic system of government in both Britain and India today.
The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books
Young Columbus and the Quest for a Universal Library
Christopher Columbus’s illegitimate son Hernando Colón dreamed of creating a universal library to rival his father’s achievement by bringing order to the vast amount of information that was becoming available in the burgeoning age of print. This biography follows Hernando on travels with his father in the New World; on visits to the great European figures of the age; and on his quest to assemble, organize and catalogue an unprecedented collection of 15,000 books, ephemera, printed images and music.
Ribbons Among the Rajahs
A History of British Women in India Before the Raj
During the 18th and early 19th centuries, legions of women made the long, costly and hazardous journey to India, some accompanying husbands, others seeking a husband or employment, others still from a sense of adventure; but while the women of the Raj are familiar from literature, these pioneers are generally forgotten. Between the voyage out and their deaths in India, Patrick Wheeler’s social history offers an account of everyday life for these ‘Indian British’ women during the pre-imperial era.
We Die Like Brothers
The Sinking of the SS Mendi
On a foggy morning in 1917, a large British mail ship travelling dangerously fast off the Isle of Wight collided with SS Mendi, a steamship carrying more than 600 members of the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLAC). The Mendi sank in 20 minutes, leaving few survivors. Drawing on recent archeological evidence from the wreck, the book reconsiders this terrible tragedy and tells the story of the SANLAC in the British war effort.
The English Assault on the New World, 1497–1630
English colonizing efforts in North America were painfully unsuccessful in comparison with Spain's empire-building further south. Investigating the reasons for England's slow progress, Childs uses primary sources to examine vessels and voyages from Cabot's Matthew in 1497 to Winthrop's fleet in 1630; the unrealistic ambitions of promoters like Ralegh; the nature of the conflict with Native Americans; and the lack of leadership and co-operation that doomed English attempts to settle on the American coast to failure.
How British Aristocrats Staked a Claim to the American West 1830–1890
From the 1830s onwards, a succession of British aristocrats headed for the American West, taking with them their valets, their dogs – and their prejudices. This sparkling account describes the newcomers' experiences as they crossed the country to meet Native Americans, hunt buffalo and build cattle empires. Packed with lively incident and colourful personalities, it also charts their reception by Americans often less than pleased at the return of their former colonial overlords.
Bringers of War
The Portuguese in Africa during the Age of Gunpowder and Sail
Long before steamships and machine-tooled artillery, the Portuguese established an empire in Africa, capturing trading towns, seizing slaves and plundering mineral riches. This history describes how, between the 15th and the late 18th centuries, they fought their ancient Muslim foes, overthrew African kingdoms and resisted Dutch, Omani and Ottoman rivals in a quest for wealth and power as ruthless as the Spanish conquests in the Americas.