Creating an Early Colonial Order: Conquest and Contestation in South Asia, c.1775-1807

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This book explains the origins of colonial rule and its dependence on large-scale military violence in eighteenth-century South Asia. By the final quarter of the long eighteenth century, war-making was not incidental to the elaboration of an infrastructure of extractive domination. The changing capacity of the early colonial regime to organize conquest with increasing efficiency was originative of a complex of laws, ideas, conception of sovereign authority, bureaucratic innovations enmeshed in a political economy of conquest that formed a distinctive early colonial order for South Asia. Colonialism—familiar to historians of the British Raj as coercive authoritarian domination—did not emerge fully formed in early nineteenth-century South Asia. Colonial conquest raised a series of important questions which are at the heart of this book: How was territory to be conquered? How was conquest to be explained and understood? How was the weight assigned to the military in colonial societies justified as an ideology of rule? In answering these questions this early colonial order cast a long shadow across the colonial and the postcolonial periods.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages336
ISBN (Print)9780190124502
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2021


  • South Asia
  • eighteenth century
  • Colonialism
  • Conquest
  • East India Company
  • political economy
  • legal history
  • Public Finance
  • Corruption
  • Violence
  • War
  • state formation


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