For five centuries the legend of a Christian priest king, in Asia or in Africa, sustained the hopes of Europeans in their struggle with Islam. Those who joined the search for Prester John were looking for a man who was not there.
Though much of the West has withdrawn from empire, one of the world’s rising powers offers the latest twist on imperialism.
Japan’s vast Asian empire became home to more than a million female settlers, who told their stories in an effort to keep in contact.
The foundations of modern India were laid by the British governor-general, Warren Hastings. But he paid a heavy personal price.
Cromwell’s move on Jamaica transformed Britain’s early empire.
Anglo-French relations, often fraught, came to a head in the crucible of the Indian Ocean.
Iran, despite its conquest by the armies of Islam, retained its own Persian language and much of its culture. Khodadad Rezakhani examines the process by which a Zoroastrian empire became part of the Islamic world.