Manual A History of India (Palgrave Essential Histories series)

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Centred around clearly expressed and well argued topics, issues and explanations, A History of India remains the ideal introduction for all those who wish to understand the drama and vitality of India's past, its present situation and its future challenges. An ideal introduction for the general reader and students, which assumes no previous knowledge New edition has been revised in the light of the latest scholarship and the last chapter has been fully reworked and expanded.

He has published widely on the history of India and South Asia. Cart Continue Shopping. All prices are shown excluding VAT.


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Enter promo code. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jan 31, Alex Telander rated it liked it Shelves: books-read-in When I first received this book, I was a little suspicious of it. It proclaims to be a history of India, and yet it is pages long, which seems pathetic when considering a country credited with inventing Buddhism, the number zero, as well as many different systems of law, government, and existence that we would not have today if India had not evolved as a country and culture in this specific way.

Robb is a professor and maintains these facts in his long-winded writing form, and see When I first received this book, I was a little suspicious of it.

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Robb is a professor and maintains these facts in his long-winded writing form, and seems to be focusing more on an urban history of culture and society, a human geography that strays from an actual history. Originally published on December 9th, For over book reviews, and over 40 exclusive author interviews both audio and written , visit BookBanter. Dec 26, Carlyn Cole rated it it was ok. Too big of a subject to tackle in a book of this size, and that not done as well is it could have been done. Tamilselvan Elancheran rated it liked it Dec 07, Morgan rated it liked it Jun 18, Paul rated it liked it Jul 09, Jen rated it really liked it Jan 31, M Nikb rated it liked it Nov 03, Sonson Spy rated it it was ok Oct 22, Bob rated it it was amazing May 22, Dwight rated it it was ok Jan 08, Sujay rated it really liked it Sep 30, Sarath Krishnan rated it liked it Apr 17, Eric Stein rated it really liked it Mar 23, Paul Vittay rated it really liked it Apr 30, Volodia rated it it was ok Jun 02, In the process we have grappled with what to do about an adjective missing from the English language, whose job would be to accurately describe things from or pertaining to the United States.

Even in Spanish, the adjective estadounidense United-States-ian , though it exists, is rarely used. Cubans often say norteamericano, but Canadians and Mexicans rightly point out that they are North Americans too. We hope that recognition of these cultural ties will contribute to a long-delayed restoration of unhindered contact between U. After the inhabitants convinced him—temporarily— that this was not so, he turned back, eastward toward home. Yet this part of the island did not altogether escape his notice.

So let us just note that even before the city was settled, foreign sensibilities found in it the stuff of fantasies—the unknown, the exaggerated, and a whiff of the devil as well. In or they founded a town on the southern coast in an ill-chosen, swampy, mosquito-ridden spot with a poor harbor.

ISBN 10: 1403980810

This town they named in honor of St. The blending of Habaguanex and St. Christopher established another precedent. In Havana, distinct cultures and creeds would always cross and mix. Geographically, however, a better site already beckoned: the fine bay on the north coast that Columbus had not seen, but Sebastian de Ocampo had. Circumnavigating that long thin body of land, he concluded it was an island indeed.

The horrors he had observed—the decimation of the native population by massacre, disease, and forced labor panning local streams for scant quantities of gold—would later be recorded in his justly famous Brief History of the Destruction of the Indies, and in the petitions for an end to Indian slavery that he filed with the King.

For five centuries it would be a strategic location and an international port. It took one more ingredient, though, to bring this about. Venturing to the New World in search of a short route to China and India, the Spaniards stumbled instead on a new continent, with civilizations possessed of more silver and gold than they had ever before seen.

It soon became clear that the harbor offered an ideal spot for assembling and provisioning the treasure fleets returning to Spain, from which they could take advantage of the Gulf Stream and the Bahama Channel for a speedy voyage to Seville. They did not choose the shore of the bay at first, but rather the mouth of a river some four miles to the west, which the native inhabitants called Casiguaguas and the Spaniards called La Chorrera, the spout.

This spot is now well within metropolitan Havana, the mouth of the river today called the Almendares. During intervening years it would be the site of bombardment and landing by British invaders in the eighteenth century, and the terminus of a train line to the secluded bathing and vacation spots of Vedado in the nineteenth.

In the twentieth century a Secretary of Public Works would use the fruits of corruption to build his pleasure dome there, complete with bronze lions and live ones—an estate later to be sacked by a crowd celebrating a Cuban revolution that nearly triumphed when Fidel Castro was only five years old. But modern Havana takes it as an article of faith that on St.

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The roots of this legend are so deep that already in , when the allegedly historic tree died, governor Francisco Cagigal de la Vega ordered the carving of a commemorative column to be placed at its foot. Ceibas are powerful trees in Cuban lore, which draws from the traditions of both Africa and Spain. When the Virgin came to the palm tree, one myth has it, the tree would not step aside, and so it was condemned to absorb the full rays of the sun.

The ceiba, which did not make the same mistake, was blessed with the spreading foliage that crowns its tall, bulbous, elephant-leg trunk. For the Africans brought to Cuba as slaves the ceiba took the place of a species of baobab, and so became the deity Iroko, uniter of heaven and earth, and the dwelling place of many more deities. Every November 16, hundreds of habaneros come to circle the ceiba, three times, in silence.

On each circuit they make a wish. We do not know what the founders wished for, this small group of Spaniards, all or almost all of them men, seeking their fortunes in the Indies far from home.

We do know something of what they did. Some waited for their chance to join other expeditions to the American mainland. Four years later, a few survivors of his expedition brought news of his death on the shores of the Mississippi, the great river he had Key to the Indies 5 found.

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Meanwhile, in Havana, others had set out to make a living by provisioning the passing ships and fleets. The ships needed fresh water, which was brought in small boats from La Chorrera. But most of all, they needed bread. If Cuba was no place for growing wheat, making do without wheat flour was something else the Spaniards had learned from the native inhabitants before they disappeared. The root of a plant the Tainos called yucay could be ground into a kind of flour, which in turn could be baked into a dry round bread called casabe, with the texture of a thin cracker, which could be sold to the passing crews.

Soon, this labor passed to small numbers of newly imported African slaves. Casabe is now rare in Havana, though it can still be found on the eastern part of the island, but yucca, boiled and then drenched in garlic sauce, remains a staple with pride of place on the dinner table. Though the prices of casabe and dried meat doubled or even tripled when significant numbers of ships were in port, still Havana was a poor place at best. In the s, when the imports of gold and silver from the Americas reached the unprecedented level of 2 million ducats a year the equivalent of some 16, pounds of gold , Havana could boast only fifty landowners, four streets with scattered lots and houses of boards and thatch, an adobe church with a small, half-completed bell tower, and a ruined earthenwork fort that De Soto had left behind.

The total population of the town and surrounding area was probably well under a thousand, perhaps half Spaniards and the rest Indians, Africans, mestizos, and mulattos, some slave and some free. The grandest house—belonging to the farmer, real estate developer, butcher-shop owner, and public official Juan de Rojas—was the only two-story building and one of the few to boast masonry rather than bare cedar boards and palm thatch.


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  • French pirates and privateers were the first to begin menacing Spanish shipping, not only in European waters, but in the seas of the American colonies the so-called Spanish Main. They picked off isolated ships on the high seas, and they set out to attack the poorly defended ports. In , a French pirate exacted ducats in gold as his price for not putting Havana to the torch. The residents paid, but when three ships opportunely arrived from Mexico after the Frenchmen left, the local authorities ordered them to deposit their gold and silver ashore, and give chase. In , another Frenchman, the privateer Jacques de Sores, approached at the head of a fleet of four ships.

    De Sores had already raided Santiago de Cuba, kidnapping the archbishop and leading citizens, whom he freed for a ransom of eighty thousand pesos and the silver ornaments of the church. Guided by a Portuguese pilot who had once lived in Havana, he proceeded to that harbor where he expected to find valuable cargoes at the docks.

    In a final act of farewell de Sores raided the surrounding farms, taking further prisoners whom he held for ransom; six male slaves whose masters did not pay up were hanged. Faced not only with the French threat but with the beginnings of a still more dangerous English one, the Spanish court had decided that the American trade needed protection. Thenceforth, the vital cargoes would not travel in small groups but in great convoys, accompanied by warships. From the s on, two fleets left Seville each year, one in April or May for the Caribbean islands and Mexico, one in August for Cartagena and Panama.

    The following spring both return fleets would assemble, bit by bit, in Havana.