European powers sought to colonise the world. They could not do so without the support of indigenous peoples.

Prisoners at work at the Noumea Penal Colony, New Caledonia, engraved by Gillot, c.1900.

When the European powers began exporting convicts to other continents, they did so to create a deterrent and to establish new settlements across the world. Clare Anderson traces the history of punitive passages.

Were 19th-century Britons as apathetic towards their nation’s vast Empire as some historians have argued?

At Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in June 1897, pride in the British Empire seemed at its zenith, but in a fresh look at the commemorative poems of Rudyard Kipling, Denis Judd finds the poet pointing to cracks in the imperial façade.