14th October 2015 11am. '"The East India Company" – The company that changed the world’ : Dr John McAleer: - Done! 


  • The Thames played a crucial role in linking London with the wider world. This session will focus on the East India Company. From its modest origins as a small Elizabethan trading venture, it grew into a global empire which controlled Britain’s trade with Asia for nearly 250 years. Its story is one of wealth, power and the pursuit of fortune. But it is also one of conflict, conquest and piracy on the high seas; policy, politics and intrigue on land. And, by introducing a whole host of coveted commodities to British consumers, the scale and impact of the Company’s activities changed the lives of millions of people in two continents.


  • Dr John McAleer is a Lecturer in History at the University of Southampton. His work focuses on the British encounter and engagement with the wider world, situating the history of empire in its global and maritime contexts. He is the author of Representing Africa: His current research focuses on The Keys to India: Britain’s Maritime Empire and the Indian Ocean World.Landscape, Exploration and Empire in Southern Africa, 1780–1870. and Monsoon Traders: The Maritime World of the East India Company.




  • We meet in the Briefing Room at the RMG (NMM) at 11am. If in doubt ask for Jeff Marks or 'The Briefing Room' or ring me on 07768 533871.

  • The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich: East India Collection. This is a lecture-in-motion that will be conducted around the objects and artifacts making up the East India collection. We have been offered a seminar room and John will introduce his talk with a few slides before we move on to the collection

  • If there's time after the talk we will repair to a local Tavern for a light lunch /finger buffet and to discuss the topics raised. 


£10 for the lecture plus the cost of the light lunch /

finger buffet.

Numbers are strictly limited so please book early.






                                                          © NMM 2015



Have a look at these links to get in the mood for this talk

Ø  William Dalrymple, ‘The East India Company: The Original Corporate Raiders’, Guardian, 4 March 2015

Ø  ‘The Company that Ruled the Waves’, The Economist, 17 December 2011:

Ø  Dan Snow’s interpretation of the East India Company and its history: 


Here's some further reading: some of these books can be acquired quite cheaply on Amazon or try your local library

Bowen, H.V., John McAleer and Robert J. Blyth, Monsoon Traders: The Maritime World of the East India Company (London: Scala, 2011)

[An illustrated account of the history of the East India Company with particular reference to the maritime aspects; draws on many of the objects and images in the NMM collections]


Keay, John, The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company (London: Harper Collins, 1993)

[An excellent, and very readable introduction to the subject; widely available in libraries and cheap to purchase in second-hand bookshops or online]


Lawson, Philip, The East India Company: A History (London: Longman, 1993)

[A very useful overview of the history of the Company.]


Marshall, P. J. (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume 2: The Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998),

[There are some very useful chapters here. In particular, see P. J. Marshall, ‘The British in Asia: Trade to Dominion, 1700–1765’, pp. 487–507, and H. V. Bowen, ‘British India, 1765–1813: The Metropolitan Context’, pp. 530–51]


Robins, Nick, The Corporation that Changed the World (London: Pluto Press, 2006)

[A useful and thought-provoking account of the East India Company.]


Sutton, Jean, Lords of the East: The East India Company and its Ships, 1600–1874 (London: Conway Maritime Press, 2000)