Philip Hensher

Women of the Raj

Many adventurous Englishwomen tried their luck in India from the 17th century on, providing some of the most interesting accounts we have of imperial rule

Despite efforts to prevent them, British women formed a part of the Indian empire almost from the start. Although the East India Company warned them off, citing difficulties of climate, disease, morality, religion and culture, a few managed to travel there all the same. By the late 18th century their numbers had increased considerably, making women some of the most interesting witnesses to the British Raj.

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