A new book edited by H. V. Bowen, Elizabeth Mancke & John G. Reid is released today (31 May) in hardcover, Britain’s Oceanic Empire: Atlantic and Indian Ocean Worlds, c.1550-1850. It will be released in the US on 30 June 2012.
This pioneering comparative study of British imperialism in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds draws on the perspectives of British newcomers overseas and their native hosts, metropolitan officials and corporate enterprises, migrants and settlers. Leading scholars examine the divergences and commonalities in the legal and economic regimes that allowed Britain to project imperium across the globe. They explore the nature of sovereignty and law, governance and regulation, diplomacy, military relations and commerce, shedding new light on the processes of expansion that influenced the making of empire. While acknowledging the distinctions and divergences in imperial endeavours in Asia and the Americas – not least in terms of the size of indigenous populations, technical and cultural differences, and approaches to indigenous polities – this book argues that these differences must be seen in the context of what Britons overseas shared, including constitutional principles, claims of sovereignty, disciplinary regimes and military attitudes.