This is the only book that addresses the relations between religion, Protestant missions, and empire building, linking together all three fields of studyby taking as its starting point the early eighteenth century Anglican initiatives in colonial North America and the Caribbean. It considers how the early societies of the 1790s built on this inheritance, and extended their own interests to the Pacific, India, the Far East, and Africa. Fluctuations in the vigour and commitment of the missions, changing missionary theologies, and the emergence of alternative missionary strategies, are all examined for their impact on imperial expansion.
Other themes include the international character of the missionary movement, Christianity's encounter with Islam, and major figures such as David Livingstone, the state and politics, and humanitarianism, all of which are viewed in a fresh light.
This monumental study shows that the missionary movement had a far more complex and ambiguous relationship with the Empire than has previously been thought, and will be widely welcomed by students and scholars of imperial history and the history of religion.