Empire and Globalism

Hope and Empire Building: Prester John and the Mongols
29 November 2019

Prester John, the fictional Asian Christian ruler, dwelt within the western medieval psyche for centuries and features heavily in Medieval Travel Writing. He is the subject of numerous letters and as an artistic subject of the period. How, when there was so little physical evidence for his existence, did his legend persist?

From the Great Exhibition to London Design Festival
20 September 2019

This week sees the opening of London Design Festival, an annual event ‘held to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world and as the gateway to the international creative community.’

From the Mayflower to Massachusetts Bay: Colonial America V
06 September 2019

On September 6th, 1620, a group of pilgrims left Plymouth aboard a ship called the Mayflower, bound for a new life in what was then the British colonies of America. Almost 400 years on from one of the most well-known events from America’s colonial beginnings, it feels fitting that, here at Adam Matthew, work on our long-running Colonial America resource has finally reached its conclusion with the publication of Module V: Growth, Trade and Development.

Sub-Contracting Empire: F D Lugard
17 April 2019

Sub-contracting might seem like quite a modern phenomenon, indeed many of the world’s biggest companies have built their entire business model around outsourcing and subcontracting

Taxing Times: The Stamp Act of 1765
22 March 2019

On Friday 22 March 1765, the British Parliament voted to pass one of the most incendiary and politically damaging pieces of legislation in its history - the Stamp Act.

“All the world’s a stage”: diplomatic entertainment in inter-war Japan
08 February 2019

In 1929, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester travelled to Japan to invest Emperor Hirohito with the Order of the Garter and in honour of the visit, the prince was treated to a presentation of a Kabuki drama by the famous Kabuki-za theatre in Tokyo. Browsing through Foreign Office Files for Japan, 1919-1930: Japan and Great Power Status, the newly released third section of Adam Matthew’s Foreign Office Files for Japan, 1919-1952 collection, I came across a programme prepared specifically for the drama’s performance for Prince Henry.

The Fate of a Nation, on a Single Page
16 January 2019

Upon the conclusion of the First World War, the victorious countries convened for the Paris Peace Conference. At the conference, peace terms were stipulated for the defeated Central Powers. One of the major discussion points was the confiscation of the Central Powers overseas territories.

An emperor in exile: Napoleon in St Helena
11 January 2019

Before its airport opened in 2016, St Helena was accessible only by a five-day voyage by Royal Mail ship from Cape Town, making it a candidate, given its position in the middle of the Atlantic between Brazil and Angola, for the most isolated inhabited place on earth.

The Empire Writes Back: ‘Christmas in its true aspect’
21 December 2018

One of the many collections from Adam Matthew’s microfilm catalogue which we’ve digitised in 2018 – and also, I’m confident in asserting, the best-named – is The Empire Writes Back.

Christmas Greetings from the North Pole!
14 December 2018

The Adam Matthew Christmas party is imminent, with alcohol flowing, plenty of mingling and, of course, an abundance of food. Feeling festive, I decided to venture around AM Explorer, reflecting on Christmas parties and dinners over time and the difference between celebrations now and in times gone by. During this search, a rather unusual Christmas Day menu caught my eye from the Age of Exploration collection, for the crew on the Ziegler Polar Expedition, 1904.

Around the World in 1,663 Days: Vancouver's Expedition
16 November 2018

A highlight from the forthcoming Colonial America: Module V: Growth, Trade and Development is the despatches of a certain Captain George Vancouver, from his ship, HMS Discovery, during his expedition to the Pacific Northwest.

The Armistice: A Global Experience 100 Years On
06 November 2018

This Sunday will mark 100 years since the signing of the Armistice that ended the First World War, and acts of remembrance are planned across the world for communities to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who came before.

Documents in our forthcoming resource, The First World War: A Global Conflict, offer some real gems for those interested in how the Armistice was experienced globally in 1918. Here I have selected three items, created by people based in Japan, France and Constantinople.

Frontier Football
15 October 2018

Everyone knows that modern football [soccer] players are soft yet crafty. The recent evidence is endless: Rivaldo in the 2002 World Cup, Neymar in 2018, Klinsmann at Italia 90, Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets … and who can forget Sheffield Wednesday’s pitiful antics vs Cambridge Utd in in the 1998/9 edition of the Worthington Cup? But if you like a time when men were men in your football I refer you to this match up on Christmas Day, 1882. Mounties vs Civilians in the frontier town of Battleford in modern-day Saskatchewan, Canada.

“To be, or not to be”: Writing to survive in the Arctic
21 September 2018

On the 21st December, 1852, whilst enduring extreme temperatures and surrounded by nature at its most treacherous, a group of Royal Navy men stranded in the Arctic seemingly put on a production of Hamlet. At least, that’s what the local Arctic news source of the time, The Queen’s Illuminated Magazine and North Cornwall Gazette, informs us.

Unicorns: 'fierce and extremely wild?'
14 September 2018

Recently digitised for Adam Matthew’s Age of Exploration, the papers of Sir Joseph Banks offer fascinating insights into European maritime exploration, scientific developments and the intellectual life of his day. As well as accompanying Cook on his first voyage to the Pacific, Banks patronised numerous expeditions, and played a leading role in European academia. The range of individuals who corresponded with Banks is astounding; his correspondents include the naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, the astronomer William Herschel, the polymath explorer Alexander von Humboldt, and even revolutionaries (Benjamin Franklin and Jean-Paul Marat.)

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