Who's Who

Empire

  • Musical score from 1899
Editor's choice
By John MacKenzie

John MacKenzie suggests that imperial rule and the possession of empire were an essential component of British identity, life and culture for over 200 years from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.

Amid the disasters of the first Afghan War, writes James Lunt, the successful defence of Jellalabad, beyond the Khyber Pass, stands out as a well-deserved battle-honour.

For mixed motives, writes C.E. Hamshere, the construction of the British East African railway was begun in 1892,  to which the development of modern Kenya and Uganda is greatly indebted.

The largest of African republics possesses an ancient and composite civilization, writes Peter De Iongh, but the form that the country takes today owes much to two British colonial administrators.

Charles Chevenix Trench describes how an adventurous Greek in British Service played a large part in the trade and politics of the Horn of Africa.

Michael Langley writes that the enterprise of Rhodes and the creation of a white community in Central Africa were preceded by centuries of conflict between Europeans, Arabs and migrating Bantu.

The traditional version of the scramble for empire in Africa during the late nineteenth century is here challenged and critically re-appraised by Eric Stokes.

Henry McAleavy describes how the last Chinese imperial dynasty owed its origins to a petty Manchurian chieftain, Nurhaci, who revolted against his Chinese overlords, whose son invaded and conquered China, and whose grandson occupied the Dragon Throne.

In 1912 the Manchu Emperor abdicated in Peking. Henry McAleavy describes how there began a confused period in Chinese history during which both the Nationalist Kuomintang and the Communist party were founded.

Fifty years before the great struggle with the Japanese on the frontiers of India, writes Antony Brett-James, Manipur in 1891 was the scene of a gallant Victorian action.

Having lost hope of invading the British Isles, in 1797 the French Directory made a bold attempt to cut off their enemy's East-Indian trade routes. The agent they chose was Napoleon Bonaparte, a brilliant young general, D.G. Chandler writes, already fascinated by the Eastern scene.

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