John McAleer is a Lecturer in History at the University of Southampton. His work focuses on the British encounter and engagement with the wider world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Before joining the university, he was Curator of Imperial and Maritime History at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Dr McAleer teaches courses and supervises research on a range of themes relating to the history of empire. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
A fascinating new study in which John McAleer explores the maritime gateway to Asia around the Cape of Good Hope and its critical role in the establishment, consolidation and maintenance of the British Empire in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Situated at the centre of a maritime chain that connected seas and continents, this gateway bridged the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, which, with its commercial links and strategic requirements, formed a global web that reflected the development of the British Empire in the period. The book examines how contemporaries perceived, understood and represented this area; the ways in which it worked as an alternative hub of empire, enabling the movement of people, goods, and ideas, as well as facilitating information and intelligence exchanges; and the networks of administration, security and control that helped to cement British imperial power.
1. Introduction: the master link of connection; 2. The key to India: consolidating the gateway to the East; 3. A sword in the hands: European rivals, imperial designs, colonial problems; 4. A constant and unreserved correspondence: networks of knowledge exchange; 5. The great outwork and bulwark of India: troops, military manoeuvres and defending the eastern empire; 6. Conclusions: the connection between the settlements becomes more intimate; Bibliography; Index.