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The East India Company: Rise to Demise

January 17, 2017

Newly digitised archive reveals the colourful history of the East India Company and the challenges of a globalising world

Marlborough, UK  (17th January 2017). From its trade origins in the East and rise to become the world’s most powerful company and de facto ruler of India, to its demise amongst allegations of greed and corruption, the latest online collection from Adam Matthew reveals the East India Company’s rich history through archival material sourced exclusively from the British Library, London.

Beginning with the Company’s early attempts to trade with Japan and Indonesia and establishment by royal charter from Queen Elizabeth I, through to its dominance over the tea trade with China, and events leading to Indian independence in 1947, the material forms the backbone of the single most important archive for the study of the East India Company.

“The archives record the history of Britain as trade and empire permeated our society, and encompass all manner of historical themes, and record the experiences of the many people whose lives were touched by the activities of the Company and the India Office. The content of this multi-module project constitutes the “backbone” of the Company’s extensive records.” - Penny Brook, Head of India Office Records at the British Library

Phillip Stern, Sally Dalton Robinson Associate Professor of History at Duke University, explained the value of the collection for scholars: “Having such a vast series of easy to access and clearly digitised East India Company documents, long available only to readers in the British Library in London, generates extraordinary opportunities for the established scholar and beginning student alike.”

An essential resource for scholarship of British imperial history, maritime trade, global commerce, and the history of the first great multinational corporation, East India Company provides a wealth of new research opportunities to discover.

East India Company, Module 1: Trade, Governance and Empire, 1600-1947 is available now with Modules II and III publishing in 2018 and 2019 respectively. The collection is complemented by the recently updated India, Raj and Empire.

More information can be found in this short video, blog series and requested via


Adam Matthew, an imprint of SAGE Publishing, is an award winning publisher of digital primary source collections for the humanities and social sciences. Sourced from leading libraries and archives around the world, their unique research and teaching collections cover a wide range of subject areas from medieval family life to twentieth century history, literature and culture. | @AdamMatthewGrp |

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

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