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The Age of Empires

Robert Aldrich


The story of thirteen Empires, showing their key role in the foundation of today’s global civilization

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Empires evoke potent images: Stanley, Livingstone and the colonial gallery of great explorers; the Spanish Conquistador’s quest for gold and silver; and the Dutch heritage of trade in the East Indies. For over 500 years empires have been a feature of the political landscape and – a generation or more after the final collapse of most of the European Empires – the subject is still a major issue for historians.

For some countries – Germany and Italy – overseas dreams were short-lived; for others – the United States and the Soviet Union – imperialist activity existed but was never accepted as an official state policy; and the disappearance of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires has obscured some of the imperial dimensions of these states.

This book shows how the maps of explorations, the chronologies of conquests, the records of settlers and administrators, the balance sheets of commerce and all else that made up the Age of Empires play a key role in explaining the global civilization of today.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 376 pp

Illustrations: 30

Publication date: 23 January 2020

ISBN: 9780500295496

Contents List

Introduction: Imperial Overview • 1. The Ottoman Empire: A Diverse Society • 2. Spain: The Genealogy of Modern Colonialism • 3. Portugal Overseas: Asia and America • 4. The Enrichment of the Netherlands: Dutch Colonial Rule and Its Aftermath • 5. Scandinavia: An Outsider in European Imperialism • 6. Britain: The Empire of Good Intentions • 7. France: Empire and the Mère-Patrie • 8. The Two Russian Empires: Tsarist and Soviet • 9. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy: Re-inventing Central Europe • 10. The Belgian Colonial Empire: Free State or ‘Heart of Darkness’? • 11. The German Empire as Colonial Power: The Latecomer • 12. Italy: The Last Empire • 13. The United States: Empire or Way of Life?

About the Author

Robert Aldrich is Professor of European History at at the University of Sydney. He is the author of several other books, including (as editor) Gay Life and Culture: A World History and Gay Life Stories, both published by Thames & Hudson.