St Helena history 1673-1709
- The following academic paper may be of interest to list members who would like some background on the early history of the island's settlement.
'Politics and ideology in the early East India Company-State: The case of St Helena, 1673-1709'
Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Volume 35, Issue 1, March 2007, Pages 1-23
Department of History, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC 20016-8038, United States
The English East India Company has long been regarded as a 'mere merchant'
that turned into a sovereign only with its eighteenth-century territorial
acquisitions in India. Focusing on the first decades of Company rule at St
Helena, this article argues instead that the late seventeenth-century
Company aspired to become a polity in itself: a self-sustaining global
system built upon sound civic institutions and informed by a coherent if
composite political ideology. In the end, the Company's early history at St
Helena demands a flexible understanding both of the boundaries of the
British 'Atlantic world' and of the various kinds of political communities
beyond the national state instrumental in fashioning early modern empires.
Moreover, such a political and intellectual approach to the early Company
confounds the trade-to-empire narrative that has long defined its history,
insisting on deeper and more complex roots for the 'Company-State' and thus
for British Empire in India.
© 2007 Taylor & Francis.