Indian nabobs
in Country houses and the British Empire, 1700–1930
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Welshman George Herbert's experience reveals much about the links between careers in India, the wealth they could generate and the purchase of landed estates back in Britain. Herbert's example demonstrates that nabobs, men who made their fortunes either as employees of the East India Company or as 'free traders' in India, were willing to risk their lives in pursuit of wealth. The greatest danger nabobs faced, however, was not the long sea voyage or armed conflict, but the Indian climate and its associated diseases. Like George Herbert, many nabobs were eager to purchase estates while they were still in India, so that they would already be landed proprietors upon their arrival in Britain. The acquisition of a country house from such a distance frequently proved a challenge, however, as relatives and friends were dragged into complex financial transactions.


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