the East India Company

Piracy pays: how history’s greatest buccaneer got off scot-free

27 June 2020 9:00 am

In 1694 London’s streets echoed with a call to the piratical life: Come all you brave boys, whose courage is…

Joshua Reynolds’s portrait of Tysoe Saul Hancock, his wife Philadelphia (née Austen) and daughter Eliza (rumoured to have been the child of Warren Hastings) with their Indian maid Clarinda, c. 1764–5. Eliza was Jane Austen’s cousin and later sister-in-law, and is said to have inspired several of Austen’s characters, including the playful Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park

The scourge of Christian missionaries in British-Indian history

1 September 2018 9:00 am

Objectivity seems to be difficult for historians writing about Britain’s long and complicated relationship with India, and this makes the…

Portrait of William Farquhar by John Graham, c. 1830.

How Raffles stole the jewel of Singapore

27 January 2018 9:00 am

Accounts of the founding of the British Empire once echoed the pages of Boy’s Own, featuring visionaries, armed with a…

The execution of mutineers by the Bengal Horse Artillery, in a painting by Orlando Norie

Did the reprisals following the Indian mutiny seal Britain’s fate in the subcontinent?

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Many and various are the things one finds in Kentish pubs (I’m told); but few could top the sepoy’s skull…

An epic journey (in Hobson-Jobsonese) through the first Opium War to the British seizure of Hong Kong

23 May 2015 9:00 am

T.H. White complained that the characters in Walter Scott’s historical novels talked ‘like imitation warming pans’: those in Amitav Ghosh’s…

Lieutenant William Alexander Kerr earns the Victoria Cross in the Great Uprising of 1857

British India — the scene of repeated war crimes throughout the 19th century

14 March 2015 9:00 am

William Dalrymple is uncomfortably reminded of the astonishing savagery by which the East India Company maintained the Raj throughout the 19th century

An idealised view of a cotton plantation beside the Mississippi, c. 1880

The turbulent reign of King Cotton: the dark history of one of the world’s most important commodities

10 January 2015 9:00 am

If not for cotton, we would still be wearing wool. To equal current cotton production, we would need seven billion…