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Hugh Clark

Abstract

This preface introduces the five essays that comprise this special issue of JESHO. The author provides a synoptic overview of western scholarship on the Indian Ocean and on trade diasporas in order to situate the papers. This scholarship has only recently begun to recognize the important role of the Indian Ocean in early modern history, a change that the author traces to the work of K.N. Chaudhuri, Janet Abu-Lughod, and Philip Curtin. He concludes that the five papers in this special issue collectively mark an important step forward in the historiography of the Indian Ocean. Les cinq articles qui font partie du numéro du JESHO sont précedés d'une préface ou l'auteur donne une vue d'ensemble du travail scientifique occidental qui parle de l'océan Indien et des diasporas mercantiles. D'après l'auteur, le role capital de l'océan Indien au début de l'époque moderne commence à être mieux connu grace aux publications de K.N. Chaudhuri, de Janet Abu-Lughod et de Philip Curtin. Les cinq articles ci-compris représentent, donc, un pas en avant pour l'historiographie de l'océan Indien, selon cet auteur.

Hugh Arbuthnott, Terence Clark and Richard Muir

Recent events have once again focused international attention on the volatile politics of the Gulf region. This new book, by three former British ambassadors – all with long service in the region – demonstrates the importance of the Gulf for Britain from the days of Elizabeth I to the present. It tells the story, through the life and works of the British diplomats and consuls and the missions in which they worked, of Britain’s involvement, first for trade and later for strategic purposes, in the four key regional states of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman. With wit and insight, the book traces the origins of today’s problems from the Ottoman and Persian empires to the 1991 Gulf War and its aftermath. Those who know the region will find this a refreshing new slant on an old story, while those new to the subject will enjoy the mixture of politics and personalities ably described and analysed.