A Journey in Search of Empire
William Paterson's dream to establish, along with a trading company in Scotland, a Scottish colony on the isthmus of Panama was enthusiastically embraced by the Scots. Caledonia was founded on the Caribbean coast, but the settlers fell foul of disease, poor leadership and their Spanish rivals: the Darien scheme was a disaster. McKendrick gives a detailed account of the whole venture, from the earlier travellers' tales that fired Paterson's imagination, to the Darien legacy in South Carolina, Georgia and Panama.
Against the view of a liberal, commercial Anglo-American empire of the early 18th century, Stephen Saunders Webb argues that the American provinces, on a war footing, became capitalist, coercive and aggressive owing to their leaders: career army officers, trained and nominated to office by the captain general of the allied armies, the first Duke of Marlborough. His influence, according to Webb, prevailed throughout the 18th century in America.
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 impeccably researched 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.
Gladstone, Gordon and the Sudan Wars
The Battle over Imperial Intervention in the Victorian Age
General Gordon's death in Khartoum in January 1885 was a crucial episode in British history and one that has remained controversial. Gordon has been usually depicted as the hero of the story, while Gladstone is often portrayed as the villain, responsible for a 'policy of drift' in Sudan. Nicoll's radical reappraisal, based on previously unpublished materials, refutes the conventional image of both men and offers insight into British policy in Africa and the influence of the press and public opinion.
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 Australia Became British
Empire and the China Trade
The discovery of the Eastern Passage to China in the mid-18th century, which meant that ships no longer had to wait for the monsoon winds, sparked fierce competition for trade between the warring nations of Britain and France. This revealing study explains how the need to safeguard its sea-lanes to China and India drove Britain to explore the great Australian landmass – glimpsed by the Dutchman Abel Tasman in the previous century – and erect a 'ring fence' around it.
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.