By Tristram Hunt
An unique heritage of the main enduring colonial production, the town, explored via ten photos of strong city facilities the British Empire left in its wake
At its height, the British Empire used to be an city civilization of epic proportions, abandoning a community of towns which now stand because the fiscal and cultural powerhouses of the twenty-first century. In a chain of ten shiny city biographies that extend from the beaches of Puritan Boston to Dublin, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Liverpool, and past, acclaimed historian Tristram Hunt demonstrates that urbanism is in reality the longest enduring of Britain's imperial legacies.
Combining old scholarship, cultural feedback, and private reportage, Hunt deals a brand new historical past of empire, excavated from structure and infrastructure, from housing and hospitals, sewers and statues, prisons and palaces. fending off the binary verdict of empire as "good" or "bad," he strains the collaboration of cultures and traditions that produced those influential city facilities, the paintings of a military of directors, officials, entreprenuers, slaves, and renegades. In those ten towns, Hunt indicates, we additionally see the altering faces of British colonial payment: a haven for spiritual dissenters, a profitable slave-trading publish, a middle of worldwide hegemony.
Lively, authoritative, and eye-opening, towns of Empire makes an important new contribution to the heritage of colonialism.
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Extra info for Cities of Empire: The British Colonies and the Creation of the Urban World
By the twelfth century their subdivision into six cymydau (commotes) produced, respectively, Llifon and Malltraeth; Talybolion and Twrcelyn; Dindaethwy and Menai. Within each commote the prince maintained a maerdref (royal manor) as administrative centre, five of which are known: Aberffraw, Cemais, Penrhosllugwy, Llan-faes and Rhosyr. Each had its own timber-framed hall and associated buildings; recent excavations near Newborough have revealed a substantial royal complex at Llys Rhosyr. In the interests of good government the royal court was itinerant.
Already, he had commissioned the last of his great fortresses. Beaumaris castle was built to keep Anglesey pacified and bolster permanent English rule. Accessible from the sea, it would dominate the northern approaches to the Menai Straits. On a flat marshland site (the name is derived from the French beau marais, or beautiful marsh) close to Llan-faes, Master James of St George, the king’s architect, put his genius to work when he designed the perfect concentric castle. Around 400 stonemasons and 2,000 labourers drawn from various English counties were employed in its construction, using stone quarried at Penmon and Benllech.
Deteriorating relations between the king and duke Richard led to open conflict in 1455. During the years of war the garrison at Beaumaris castle was reinforced, but for the most part the main battleground would be the Welsh borderland. What remained of the Tudor family in Anglesey allowed events to pass them by. Tudur Fychan, the son of Morfudd and Gwilym ap Gruffydd ap Gwilym, who eventually took over Penmynydd after the latter’s death, evinced no interest in the feud between the Lancastrians and Yorkists; unlike his uncle, Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur, now plain Owen Tudor, whose allegiance to the Lancastrian cause through marriage to the widow of Henry V led to his execution in 1461.