The Honourable Company

The Honourable Company

by John Keay
     
 

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Ex the English East India Company, there would be no British Empire - not even a British India. Over two centuries, the Company grew from a casual association of Elizabethan tradesmen to an empire that controlled half of the world's trade and provided a tenth of Britain's revenue. Its armed forces were greater than those of many nations.

John Keay builds this epic

Overview

Ex the English East India Company, there would be no British Empire - not even a British India. Over two centuries, the Company grew from a casual association of Elizabethan tradesmen to an empire that controlled half of the world's trade and provided a tenth of Britain's revenue. Its armed forces were greater than those of many nations.

John Keay builds this epic tale of expansion from records and diaries of the Company's employees. The Company reached from southern Africa to Northwest America, and lasted from the reign of Elizabeth I to that of Victoria. The story is filled with pirates, rogues, brigands, mercenaries, royalty - and thousands of savvy traders.

"Full of delicious anecdotes...stylish and entertaining." (The Spectator)

Editorial Reviews

David Rouse
Conventional wisdom has it that the commercial imperialism of the early English trading companies was intertwined with the political imperialism of the expanding British empire. In this reexamination of the English East India Company, Keay, an author and broadcaster specializing in Asian history, acknowledges that "but for the Company there would have been not only no British India but also no global British Empire." But he also shows that the triumph of imperialism helped bring about the downfall of the company by eliminating its monopolies and creating conditions for the 1857 Indian mutiny. Keay's title is intentionally ironic; he reports, "venal and disreputable, [the company's] servants were believed to have betrayed their race by begetting a half caste tribe of Anglo-Indians, and their nation by corrupt government and extortionate trade." Published two years ago in Britain and cited as one of that year's three best books by the "Financial Times" (London), "The Honourable Company" fascinatingly illuminates one of the lesser-known chapters of Asian history.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780025611696
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
05/28/1994
Pages:
496

Meet the Author

John Keay is a writer, broadcaster and historian whose books include ‘Into India’, ‘India Discovered’, ‘When Men and Mountains Meet’, ‘Highland Drove’, ‘The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company’, ‘The Great Arc’, ‘China: A History’ and (with his wife, Julia Keay) the ‘Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland’. He has travelled extensively in India and the Far East, and specialised in Asian history and current affairs.

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