Under the General Editorship of two of Britain's most distinguished historians, John Morrill and David Cannadine, this series presents a programme of major "student monographs" books on key issues and processes in modern British, European and international history, based on original research but designed for a non-specialist readership as well as for the authors' scholarly peers. This is the first short history of the East India Company - the trading company that became an imperial power from its founding in 1600 to its demise in 1857, designed for students and academics. It sets the story of the Company in its full international setting, politically and economically. It surveys the crucial role that the Company played in the development of British overseas expansion (particularly in India and the East Indies); but it also breaks new ground in analysing the impact that the Company had on Britain itself. Contemporaries did not view the Company's worlds at home and abroad as separate spheres, only historians in the 20th century have done so: this revisionist view sets the record straight.
This study of the East India Company spans its full history, analyzing its origins, role and impact in depth, rather than being content just to provide an anecdotal narrative. Stresses the neglected early years of the Company. Drawing on latest research it provides fresh new insight into the role of such important Company/imperial figures as Sir Robert Clive and Marquess Wellesley. Throws light on the rise of shareholder capitalism and the economic origins of British imperial expansion - as such it is a natural complement to Cain and Hopkins' major two-volume study of British Imperialism (1688-1990), being published in the same season.