During 200 years the East India Company grew from a loose association of Elizabethan tradesmen into "the grandest society of merchants in the universe". As a commercial enterprise it came to control half the world's trade and as a political entity it administered an embryonic empire. Without it there would have been no British India and no British Empire. In a tapestry ranging from Southern Africa to north-west America, and from the reign of Elizabeth I to that of Victoria, bizarre locations and roguish personality abound. From Bombay to Singapore and Hong Kong the political geography of today is, in some respects, the result of the Company. This book looks at the history of the East India Company.
John Keay is a writer, broadcaster and historian whose books include `Into India', `India Discovered', `When Men and Mountains Meet', `Highland Drove', `The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company', `The Great Arc', `China: A History' and (with his wife, Julia Keay) the `Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland'. He has travelled extensively in India and the Far East, and specialised in Asian history and current affairs.