Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire

By Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester, struck by means of a unexpected have to notice precisely what was once left of the British Empire, set out around the globe to go to the far-flung islands which are all that stay of what as soon as made Britain nice. He traveled 100,000 miles from side to side, from Antarctica to the Caribbean, from the Mediterranean to the some distance East, to seize a final glint of imperial glory.

His adventures in those far-off and forgotten ends of the earth make compelling, usually humorous examining and inform a narrative such a lot people had proposal was once over: a story of the final outposts in Britain's imperial occupation and people who retain the flag flying.

With a brand new advent, this up-to-date version tells us what has occurred to those striking locations whereas the author's been away.

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They condemned what they referred to as the ‘foreign mud’—and but, unofficially, connived on the exchange. american citizens introduced in opium from Turkey, and Parsee investors might carry it in from Persia and Afghanistan. however the top opium, assured unadulterated and such a lot inexpensive, got here from Bengal and Bihar—and from the British East India Company’s headquarters in Calcutta. The opium alternate labored to everyone’s advantage—except the chinese language mandarinate. The British have been alarmed for a while that the stability of exchange among London and Peking used to be weighted seriously within the favour of China. The English flavor for tea, and the London public’s liking for silk and later, extra unaccountably, for chinese language rhubarb, brought on a big outflow of silver from the treasury coffers (the chinese language, mistrusting each barbarian product, together with paper cash, insisted on convertible silver in payment). The British attempted to promote them wool—but negative chinese language wore padded cotton, and the wealthy wore silk and fur, and the wool undertaking was once a fiasco. in simple terms the export of Indian opium, it used to be quickly realised, might convey that silver again. And so, on the nice factories in Patna and Ghazipur, opium was once made into six-inch-wide ‘cakes’, positioned rigorously in crates made from mango-wood, and despatched downriver to the Company’s warehouses at the Hooghly. There it used to be auctioned to the brokers already demonstrated at the China coast—of which, pre-eminent, and confirmed considering 1832 in either Canton and Macao, used to be the enterprise of grocers and investors tested by means of the mythical Scotsmen, William Jardine and James Matheson. If any advertisement entity could be acknowledged to have created Hong Kong—a vintage reversal of the axiom that ‘trade follows the flag’—it is the enterprise that, till 1984, endured to dominate the colony’s recognition as broker and trader—Jardine, Matheson and Co. The preparations for buying the unlawful Indian opium into Canton have been byzantine within the severe, and depended mostly at the assiduous corrupting of the neighborhood chinese language officials—in specific the Canton exchange superintendent who was once referred to as Hai Kwan Pu, yet whom the British insisted on calling the Hoppo. He, like all people else, took his cut—the time period then used to be that he ‘squeezed’ these lower than him within the buying and selling chain, and used to be in flip squeezed by means of these above. So the Hoppo squeezed the Canton retailers (the ‘Hongs’) who on my own have been accepted to do enterprise with the round-eyed barbarians; the Governor of Canton squeezed the Hoppo; the Viceroy squeezed the Governor and, it has to be assumed, the Forbidden urban in far flung Peking squeezed the Viceroy. It used to be all strictly unlawful, in fact; yet ahead of lengthy British India used to be promoting 50,000 instances of opium a yr to the chinese language, and poppy items have been offering a fit ten in step with cent of India’s annual profit. the foundations have been mysterious, and complex. The East Indiamen might sail to the mouth of the Pearl River, and to the island of Lin Tin, midway among Macao and the then slightly inhabited (and fully chinese language) island of Hong Kong.

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