Empire and Globalism

“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.)

Unfolding Empire in Adam Matthew Digital’s Colonial America.
05 September 2018

Adam Matthew Digital's Colonial America is a magnificent achievement, testimony to the company's vision and the skill and dedication of the staff in providing accessible, machine readable facsimiles of original historical documents. As a research resource, it is unquestionably enriching the research process. Together with printed collections, online repositories, and archival collections, scholars today have opportunities to scope projects on larger scales. The publication of module IV, covering the proceedings and legislation of the continental American Colonies, enables intercolonial comparative research like no other resource.

An Island, Alone in the Sea
27 July 2018

The expansionist route that Japan pursued during the 1930s has historically been linked with domestic issues during this decade. However, ahead of the upcoming publication of Foreign Office Files for Japan 1919-1930, I found myself uncovering documents telling a different tale and presenting reasons, during the ‘20s, as to why Japan chose this route.

 

 

 

 

Marko Marulić and the 'Kirishitan ban': The Jesuits in Japan
09 July 2018

When we’re indexing historical documents at Adam Matthew we’ll sometimes come across one in a language we can’t read. Occasionally we’ll not only be unable to read it but also be unable to identify what the language is, even after consulting multilingual colleagues.

False witness, coercion, and the Cooper River conspiracy
29 June 2018

Our upcoming resource, Colonial America Module 4: Legislation and Politics in the Colonies, contains many records of petitions, land grants, and legislation, but an entry in the South Carolina Minutes of Council marks the beginning of a drama which demanded the council’s almost entirely undivided attention (and my own) for no fewer than eighty pages.

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.
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