William Dalrymple: The Anarchy

Black and white photograph of William Dalrymple, copyright Bikramjit Bose

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Bestselling historian and author William Dalrymple tells a timely cautionary tale of the first global corporate power: the East India Company, inspired by the research Dalrymple conducted for his latest book,
The Anarchy

In August 1765 the East India Company defeated and captured the young Mughal emperor and forced him to set up in his richest provinces a new government run by English traders who collected taxes through means of a vast and ruthless private army. 

The creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional international trading corporation, dealing in silks and spices, and became something much more unusual: an aggressive colonial power in the guise of a multinational corporation.

William Dalrymple tells the remarkable story of how one of the world’s most magnificent empires disintegrated and came to be replaced by a dangerously unregulated private company, based thousands of miles overseas and answerable only to its shareholders.

The British Library is home to The India Office Records, the archives of the administration in London of the East India Company and the pre-1947 government of India. The records include over 70,000 volumes of official publications and 105,000 manuscript and printed maps, which tell the story of trade and politics with the east. 

William Dalrymple is one of Britain’s greatest historians and the author of the classic In Xanadu, the Wolfson Prize-winning White Mughals and the Hemingway Prize-winning Return of a King. A master of micro-histories, William Dalrymple has turned his hand for the first time to macro-history in The Anarchy.

Image: William Dalrymple © Bikramjit Bose


Name: William Dalrymple: The Anarchy
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Price: Full Price: £16.00
Member: £16.00
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Under 18: £8.00
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