the East India Company

Joshua Reynolds’s portrait of Tysoe Saul Hancock, his wife Philadelphia (née Austen) and daughter Eliza (rumoured to have been the child of Warren Hastings) with their Indian maid Clarinda, c. 1764–5. Eliza was Jane Austen’s cousin and later sister-in-law, and is said to have inspired several of Austen’s characters, including the playful Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park

The scourge of Christian missionaries in British-Indian history

1 September 2018 9:00 am

India’s wealth made it irresistible to the British. But over the centuries, plundering it also cost them dear, says Peter Parker

Portrait of William Farquhar by John Graham, c. 1830.

How Raffles stole the jewel of Singapore

27 January 2018 9:00 am

Accounts of the founding of the British Empire once echoed the pages of Boy’s Own, featuring visionaries, armed with a…

The execution of mutineers by the Bengal Horse Artillery, in a painting by Orlando Norie

Did the reprisals following the Indian mutiny seal Britain’s fate in the subcontinent?

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Many and various are the things one finds in Kentish pubs (I’m told); but few could top the sepoy’s skull…

An English merchant bargains with an Indian in a 16th-century cotton tapestry

From yob to nabob: the astonishing rise of the Tudor merchant adventurer

22 April 2017 9:00 am

Tudor merchants — shivering in furs in tiny creaking ships, sailing through the ice of unknown winter seas — knew…

An epic journey (in Hobson-Jobsonese) through the first Opium War to the British seizure of Hong Kong

23 May 2015 9:00 am

T.H. White complained that the characters in Walter Scott’s historical novels talked ‘like imitation warming pans’: those in Amitav Ghosh’s…

Lieutenant William Alexander Kerr earns the Victoria Cross in the Great Uprising of 1857

British India — the scene of repeated war crimes throughout the 19th century

14 March 2015 9:00 am

William Dalrymple is uncomfortably reminded of the astonishing savagery by which the East India Company maintained the Raj throughout the 19th century