The voice of the British monarch carried considerable weight in imperial India. Its slow silencing mirrored the retreat of Britain from the subcontinent.
Two imperial ventures, in the same Middle East town a century apart, reveal the similarities – and differences – in the exercise of power.
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Though much of the West has withdrawn from empire, one of the world’s rising powers offers the latest twist on imperialism.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.
The Lord Protector’s move on Jamaica transformed Britain’s early empire.