Who's Who

Economic History

  • Anonymous 17th-century watercolor of the Semper Augustus, famous for being the most expensive tulip sold during tulip mania.
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By Stephen Usherwood

Stephen Usherwood describes how, in 1544, reports of a marvellous new flower, the tulip, first reached Western Europe, where it soon aroused a ‘fever of excited speculation’.

In the seventeenth century, writes Andrew Trout, the river was a main artery for Parisian supplies, and over its use arose many complex city disputes.

After 1807, writes A.J.H. Latham, a Liverpool merchant and a Nigerian chieftain both profited from the palm-oil trade.

How one company opened an entire sub-continent to economic and political development, with huge ramifications for India, Britain, and the world.

The opening battle of the First World War was won by the Bank of England before the British had so much as fired a shot.

The early British engineers were masters of precise machinery; L.T.C. Rolt describes how sophisticated mass-production overtook them from America.

In the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, writes William Verity, the enterprising family of merchant bankers expanded their activities from Frankfurt to London and Paris.

In the 1860s a group of the younger Samurai launched the Meiji revolution in the Emperor's name. This event, writes Henry McAleavy, helped convert Japan into a modern country, with Western fashions and techniques imposed upon the national habits of centuries.

During an industrial conflict that lasted five weeks and brought the Port of London to a standstill, writes R.B. Oram, the “close fraternity of the docks” struck for better working conditions and more generous rates of pay.

British Malaya since 1786 has become the home of many different races, whose harmonious union, writes C. Northcote Parkinson, would offer an example from which the rest of the world might profit.

The problems of the interwar mining industry, which led to a General Strike in 1926, writes W.H. Chaloner, epitomized the struggle between capital and labour in twentieth-century Britain.

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