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Pirates of Empire
Colonisation and Maritime Violence in Southeast Asia


  • Publication planned for: August 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from August 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108484213

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • The suppression of piracy and other forms of maritime violence was a keystone in the colonisation of Southeast Asia. Focusing on what was seen in the nineteenth century as the three most pirate-infested areas in the region - the Sulu Sea, the Strait of Malacca and Indochina - this comparative study in colonial history explores how piracy was defined, contested and used to resist or justify colonial expansion, particularly during the most intense phase of imperial expansion in Southeast Asia from c.1850 to c.1920. In doing so, it demonstrates that piratical activity continued to occur in many parts of Southeast Asia well beyond the mid-nineteenth century, when most existing studies of piracy in the region end their period of investigation. It also points to the changes over time in how piracy was conceptualised and dealt with by each of the major colonial powers in the region - Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.

    • A comprehensive study of piracy and maritime violence in colonial Southeast Asia
    • Compares the five major colonial powers in the region - Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States
    • Argues for a new cross-cultural concept of piracy
    • This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In Pirates of Empires, Stefan Eklöf Amirell provides a detailed, often vivid presentation of the European crackdown on piracy in Southeast Asia. A refreshingly complex take on both the undeniable brutality of piracy for indigenous populations and the cynical exploitation of this scourge to advance colonial rule.' Michael Miller, University of Miami

    'This is a complex and engaging book; it crosses a good portion of Southeast Asia, and looks at the deep history of piracy in the region from a number of inter-locking angles. Solidly researched and provocative, it helps us to look at the phenomenon of piracy in new and fascinating ways.' Eric Tagliacozzo, Cornell University, New York

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: August 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108484213
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 4 maps
    • availability: Not yet published - available from August 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. Piracy in global and Southeast Asian history
    2. The Sulu Sea
    3. The Strait of Malacca
    4. Indochina
    Epilogue: piracy and the end of empire.

  • Author

    Stefan Eklöf Amirell, Linnaeus University, Sweden
    Stefan Eklöf Amirell is Associate Professor in History at Linnaeus University, Sweden. He is also the President of the Swedish Historical Association and Sweden's delegate to the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS/CISH). Among his previous works are Pirates in Paradise: A Modern History of Southeast Asia's Maritime Marauders (2006) and several articles on piracy in Southeast Asia.

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