Were the famines that hit India in the 19th and 20th centuries the products of British Imperial rule? (by William Miles)

Famines result from changes in weather patterns coupled with poor insurance against crop failures. These two factors are intertwined and neither can be said alone to cause famine. Both factors existed during the nineteenth and twentieth century famines that hit … Continue reading

The Imperialist Roots of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew (by Stephen Basdeo)

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew were founded by Princess Augusta (1713-1772) in the 1760s. In 1838 a Royal Commission was set up to inquire into the future of the gardens. The Commission concluded that, after years of official neglect, … Continue reading

The Public School Ethos and Late Nineteenth-Century Juvenile Literature (by Stephen Basdeo)

In 1888 a biography entitled The Life of General Gordon was written so that ‘the young can learn the beautiful lessons of obedience and humility, of loyalty to God and devotion to others’ (Hope, 1888, p.361). The writers of biographical … Continue reading

How The Times shaped its coverage of the 1857 Indian Mutiny to support a broader justification of Empire (by Valentin Boulan)

The Indian Mutiny began in May 1857 when the discontent of Sepoys in the Bengali army, sparked by British demands to use rifle cartridges greased with beef and pork fat, which were against both Hindu and Muslim beliefs, escalated into … Continue reading