For a long time, historians tended to study colonial empires of the 19th and 20th centuries one colony at a time, or through the relationship of one colony to its metropole.
This ship plan from the late-19th century offers a partial view of spatial arrangements within a Messageries steamship.
This route-map of the Messageries Maritimes shipping company displays the main routes connecting metropolitan France to its empire in the Indo-Pacific. While the map dates to 1889, these routes retained their basic structure through the 1950s.
Business contract between Richard P. Waters and his Omani-Zanzibari trading partner, Esau bin Abdul Rahman
This contract represents how business was typically transacted in Zanzibar and throughout the Omani Empire.
This essay pushes back against European-dominated narratives of world history to suggest that the Omani Empire was a crucial space for the emergence of our present-day system of global capitalism.
A letter from President Andrew Jackson to the Senate where the President discusses the possibility of extending US trade. Jackson was particularly interested in the potential trade connections with areas around the Indian Ocean.
This is an ostensibly mundane document that contains a tremendous amount of information for interpreting the global dynamics of this period of history, all while peering out into the world from the tiny island of Zanzibar.
In their primer essay, Jessica Hanser and Adam Clulow note how scholars of global microhistory explore relationships between macro and micro, deep structures and contingency, and big state actors and minor players.
Although American merchants often fade from historical narratives after the eighteenth century, they remained influential actors in the United States and abroad.
Cargo manifests and other shipping records offer a tangible glimpse into expansive commercial networks, reminding observers of the physical goods underwriting long distance trade.