This is an important, revisionist account of the origins of the British Empire in Asia in the early modern period. In The Origins of the British Empire in Asia, 1600-1750 (Cambridge University Press, 2020), David Veevers uncovers a hidden world of transcultural interactions between servants of the English East India Company and the Asian communities and states they came into contact with, revealing how it was this integration of Europeans into non-European economies, states and societies which was central to British imperial and commercial success rather than national or mercantilist enterprise. As their servants skillfully adapted to this rich and complex environment, the East India Company became enfranchised by the eighteenth century with a breadth of privileges and rights – from governing sprawling metropolises to trading customs-free. In emphasizing the Asian genesis of the British Empire, this book sheds new light on the foreign frameworks of power which fueled the expansion of Global Britain in the early modern world.
David Veevers is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. He has published articles in the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History and the Journal of Global History, and won the Royal Historical Society's Alexander Prize in 2014. He is co-editor of The Corporation as a Protagonist in Global History, c.1550 to 1750 (2018).
Samee Siddiqui is a PhD Candidate at the Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His dissertation explores discussions relating to religion, race, and empire between South Asian and Japanese figures in Tokyo from 1905 until 1945. You can find him on twitter @ssiddiqui83
Samee Siddiqui is a former journalist who is currently a PhD Candidate at the Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can find him on twitter @ssiddiqui83