Philip J. Stern
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Legal geography and colonial sovereignty
The making of early English ‘Bombay’
in Making the British empire, 1660–1800
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This chapter explores the issues that arose from the ‘transfer’ of Bombay from Portuguese to English control in 1661. It argues that this was a more complex issue than historians have recognised, and that the nature and extent of English sovereignty remained a matter of dispute and a work in progress. Ongoing struggles hinged not only on officials in London and India but also on the regional and geopolitics of imperial expansion, as well as on the critical intersection between maritime and territorial sovereignty. As such, the story offers lessons about the complications at the heart of European claims to colonial sovereignty. Sovereignty, in that sense, was a process rather than a product.

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