Empire and Globalism

In Search of Captain Kidd's Lost Treasure
01 June 2018
Last week saw the anniversary of the execution of one of history’s most notorious pirates - Captain William Kidd. Late in the afternoon of Friday 23 May 1701 William Kidd stepped up to the gallows on the shore of the River Thames at Wapping, east of London.
A Chilling Mystery: Franklin's Fatal Arctic Expedition
18 May 2018

Nineteenth century exploration produced countless thrilling tales of derring-do, but the epic story of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated Arctic expedition is a blockbuster.

Edward S. Morse: A look at Meiji Japan
09 May 2018

The late 19th century was a period of immense social, economic and political change in Japan, known as the Meiji Restoration. It was into this time of turmoil and opportunity that American zoologist Edward Sylvester Morse (1838 – 1925) visited Japan for the first time in 1877 to study coastal brachiopods. ... He had a keen eye for observation and was talented in making detailed sketches which accompanied his academic work.

The Last Heroic Stand in the Age of Exploration
04 May 2018

Age of Exploration, Adam Matthew's new collection for May 2018, contains over 2,400 documents that reveal the history of maritime exploration; explorers, navigators, diplomats, pirates and spies all feature in the pages of this fantastic resource. Well-known voyages of Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Captain Cook, Abel Tasman, Bligh’s Bounty and the infamous mutiny aboard its decks, and Franklin’s lost expedition, to name a few, are represented within the collection. One such famous expedition is Shackleton’s aptly named Endurance.

Putting Together the Pieces:  Preparing a Highly Fragmented Book for Digitisation
01 May 2018

At The National Archives, before a historical document is digitised, it passes through a team of conservators to ensure it is fit for scanning. This ‘stamp of approval’ requires that all information contained within the document be legible and that any damage repaired so that it may be safely handled.

Preventing disorder at the East India Company factories
13 March 2018

More than 1500 volumes of East India Company Factory Records are being digitised through a partnership between the British Library and Adam Matthew Digital. The factories were the Company’s overseas trading posts from the 17th to 19th centuries. The Factory Records are copies of documents sent back to London to be added to the archive at East India House.

Ballooning in the Arctic? Two overtures to Elisha Kent Kane, 1852-53
02 March 2018

Polar explorers throughout history have attempted to harness new technologies. Among the more famous examples are Sir John Franklin’s expedition of 1845, which utilised ships propelled by repurposed locomotive engines, and Robert Falcon Scott’s 1910-12 expedition to the South Pole, which utilised motorised sledges and even installed a telephone line. Perhaps even more unusual was S. A. AndrĂ©e's 1897 doomed attempt to pass over the North Pole in a hot air balloon. However, AndrĂ©e was not the first to suggest that balloons might be used in the Arctic.

A Global Conflict; Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab Revolt
23 February 2018

The popular narratives of the First World War told today (and particularly those used by supermarkets to sell chocolates at Christmas) usually play out against a familiar backdrop of a frosty northern France, complete with mud-sodden khaki, rat infested trenches, and a quaint football match dashed out between the barbed wire fences. Our collective memory latches on to the parts of the First World War that we deem to be significant to us, and consequentially allow other theatres of the conflict to fall by the wayside of our remembrance. 

 

Guildford Courthouse and an Eighteenth-Century Adonis of War
21 February 2018

1775 and the American colonies were in turmoil. A young, newly-volunteered cavalry Cornet by the name of Banastre Tarleton set sail for America with Lord General Cornwallis, hoping to play a part in the rising conflict. Like many young men with modest fortunes, a debauched London lifestyle had left its mark and the army offered excellent prospects to make a name for himself.

A Batavian prison break: sodomy, execution and an East India Company ship
06 February 2018

On the 1st April 1762, an employee of the English East India Company who was stationed in Batavia received a report that a prisoner named John Smith had escaped house confinement. Smith had been detained for nearly two months after being accused of sodomy by an apprentice stationed on an English East India Company ship; the Earl Temple.

16,306 Convicts
21 September 2017

Between 1788 and 1868, the British government transported more than 160,000 convicts to Australia. A popular punishment since the early seventeenth century, transportation was second in severity only to execution. Following the War of Independence, however, the defeated Crown could no longer banish undesirable elements of society to their American colonies. Conditions in overcrowded gaols and prison hulks began to deteriorate following the outbreak of war, and continued to slide until some bright spark suggested the establishment of a penal colony far, far removed from English shores.

Attacking Japanese Morale, 1940-1945
20 September 2017

Among the gems in the Foreign Office Files for Japan are two files that consider the role of the enemy’s “civilian morale” in war and diplomacy. In both, British officials presupposed that targeting civilians might be an effective means of deterring or defeating the Japanese war machine.

“Sedgwick Boys”: An Experiment in Colonial Labour
14 August 2017

On 25 January 1911 a party of 50 British boys arrived in Wellington, New Zealand as part of an unusual colonial experiment. Varying in age from 16 to 20 and coming predominantly from lower class occupations such as domestic service, the lads were part of a trial scheme to ascertain the feasibility of sending city boys with no previous agricultural experience to rural farms within the British Dominions. This three-year apprenticeship scheme was the brain child of Thomas E. Sedgwick and other like-minded philanthropists, who felt increasing alarm at the enforced idleness of youth.

Rumour, Religion and Revolt: Fears of Indian and Catholic conspiracy during Maryland’s Glorious Revolution (1689-1690)
12 June 2017

Maryland’s Glorious Revolution (1689-1690) removed the Catholic Lords Baltimore from government in perpetuity. The family would only return in 1715 as Anglican converts. Maryland’s revolution coincided with the Glorious Revolution in England (1688), which replaced the Catholic King James II with the Protestant William III, and the Nine Years War (1689-1697) with France, known in the American colonial context as King William’s War. In 1684 rumour of a Catholic-American Indian conspiracy circulated amongst colonists. The rumours implicated Colonels Henry Darnall and William Pye, and Major William Boreman Sr., a former mariner and Indian trader, each of whom was a wealthy and distinguished planter in Maryland.

Trade, Governance and Empire 1600-1947: From the East India Company to the Indian Independence Act.
31 March 2017

Just 3 months into 2017 Adam Matthew have already published a wealth of exciting new collections, one of which I particularly had my eye on: East India Company Module 1: Trade, Governance and Empire, 1600-1947.

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