english east india company

Ah Asahina, I was wondering if you could help me with something. I was reading about the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV and one interesting event was the reception of an embassy from Siam in 1686. It was very rare that such a formal visit to France originated from such a distant location and contemporary French accounts show that people were greatly intrigued by the culture and mannerisms of these foreigners. For the fabric patterns of the Siamese diplomats ended up being quite influential and Siamoise style fabric became quite the fashion trend. Could you talk a little bit about the Siamese side of this diplomatic mission and cultural exchange?

Sure thing! The mission was undertaken by ambassador Kosa Pan during the reign of King Narai the Great, the last king of the Prasat Thong dynasty of Ayuthaya.  The policies of King Narai and his chief minister Constantine Phaulkon focused on establishing international diplomatic relations with many distant states including France.

 Lets talk a little bit more about the political context for the period. The reign of King Narai and Prime Minister Constantine Paulkhon is known for being one of the most prosperous times in Ayutthayan history and it certainly marks its height as as renown state on the international level. The Prasat Thong period was marked by general openness in terms of foreign policy and trade and King Narai increased that even more. 

Unlike other kings who wanted to increase the power of Ayutthaya through military expansion in Southeast Asia, King Narai instead emphasized making Ayutthaya a powerful hub for global trade.

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Rampart Gun

Manufactured for the British East India Company c.1820.
.98/25mm smoothbore barrel, flintlock, swivel mount.

This kind of firearms were used mounted on walls or gunwales, riding the fine line between light artillery and heavy infantry gun.

When people are like “ummm but real pirates were awful and violent and killed people” and I’m like “as opposed to who? The conquistadors? the English Navy?  The Dutch East India Company?????   


Not even a month ago Tom Hardy explained that he should be in the writing room with the creators of “Taboo”; the upcoming British mini-series which will be screened on BBC internationally, picked up by FX for the American release in 2016.

Production is set to begin in mid to late 2015, and Tom Hardy is filling his schedule to have no weekends off, but he’ll be properly compensated for that. We have limited insight on the project so far, descriptions of the story being rather slim. So far it’s described as an original story by Hardy himself, along with his father Edward “Chips” Hardy, and is about adventurer James Keziah Delaney as he builds his own shipping empire in the early 1800’s; an adventure that will take him to Africa and back with a handful of diamonds in order to seek vengeance for the death of his father. The adventurer soon finds himself playing a dangerous game with the royally connected East India Company as he makes an attempt to start his empire. 

“Taboo” is being created by Steven Knight, who also wrote and directed “Locke”, also starring Tom Hardy. Knight also wrote “Eastern Promises” (2007) starring Viggo Mortensen, and is in post-production with “Adam Jones” (2015) which stars Bradley Cooper.

The film’s story will share an era with the slave trade in the 1700’s and the 1800’s. I’m not sure the film will dabble in the slave trade or expose it in their story at all, but it’s a unique choice for a time period. The British East India Company does have a history with African slavery, and will be the main character’s adversary. I’ve got no problem labeling the shipping empire a villain as much of their business had been in the movement and sale of African slaves into Asia, particularly into India and Southwest Asia as well as North America and the West Indies. The majority of slaves transported by the East India Company was from Madagascar and the British East India Company and another English company the Royal African was stealing lives from Guinea and selling them to the west, in the North Americas and the West Indies.