Education: University of Kent, Ph.D., 1995.
Office—National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF, England.
Writer, researcher, and historian. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England, head of research.
(Editor, with Howard J. Booth) Modernism and Empire, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Pieter van der Merwe) Captain Cook in the Pacific, introduction by Glyn Williams, National Maritime Museum (London, England), 2002.
(Editor, with H.V. Brown and Margarette Lincoln) The Worlds of the East India Company, D.S. Brewer (Rochester, NY), 2002.
(Editor, with David Killingray and Margarette Lincoln) Maritime Empires: British Imperial Maritime Trade in the Nineteenth Century, Boydell Press in association with the National Maritime Museum (Rochester, NY), 2004.
(Editor, with Gloria Clifton) Treasures of the National Maritime Museum, foreword by HRH The Duke of York, National Maritime Museum (London, England), 2004.
(With Pieter van der Merwe and Glyn Williams) Pioneers of the Pacific: Voyages of Exploration, 1787-1810, University of Alaska Press (Fairbanks, AK), 2005.
Author and historian Nigel Rigby works at the National Maritime Museum in London, England. In his role as a naval and maritime historian, he has written several works dealing with issues important to British colonialism and naval history.
Rigby served as editor, with Howard J. Booth, of Modernism and Empire, a collection of essays that explore the connection between modern literature and the creation of empire and colonial settlements in areas throughout the world. The book concentrates on writers from areas where colonialism and empire were imposing forces, including Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Kenya, India, and elsewhere. "Empire is now categorically central to the study of modern literature in itself, but especially in concert with related categories of race, class, gender and ‘modernity,’" commented Daniel Herwitz in English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920. "Modernism and Empire is a very good book of essays in this vein."
Rigby is also editor, with H.V. Brown and Margarette Lincoln, of The Worlds of the East India Company. "The fourteen articles of this collection all contain interesting detail and discussions on topics that general readers, and even specialists, might know little about," observed Laurence Kitzan in the Canadian Journal of History. The materials in this book originated in a July, 2000, conference commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of the East India Company, an influential British organization that was important to early trade and economics in British colonial India. In its later years (in the middle 1850s), the East India Company was responsible for the territorial administration of India, until the rebellion of 1857-58 shifted the responsibility to the British government. "Broadly speaking, the authors of these essays challenge those who have argued that the arrival of the British in the Indian Ocean suddenly, irrevocably, and destructively transformed existing economies and societies," creating easy access for British power to move into the area and establishing a colonial milieu that allowed the West to easily learn about the East, commented Albion reviewer Douglas M. Peers. The contributors explore diverse aspects of the East India Company's activities and influence. Om Prakesh, for example, writes on the company's commercial and economic role in India of the time. H.V. Bowen summarizes the changes in the East India company from 1600 to 1834. James H. Thomas explains some of the details of the company's operations in seventeen ports across England, Ireland, and Wales. Bruce Lenman recounts some of the East India Company's lesser-known activities in the gemstone and precious metals trade.
The book's "essays are fresh, rich with data, thoughtfully and dynamically argued, engrossing," remarked Rosane Rocher in the Journal of the American Oriental Society. "The Worlds of the East India Company is a useful reference book not only because it reveals the richness and breadth of Indian studies, but because it provides in the footnotes of the papers references to numerous discussions on topics that might catch the interest of readers," Kitzan concluded. With their careful selections and depth of inquiry, the editors and contributors "suggest new areas for examination and flag others for reconsideration and will no doubt prove useful to scholars interested in any of the dimensions of Company rule, be they economic, political, military, or cultural and intellectual in nature," noted Peers.
Pioneers of the Pacific: Voyages of Exploration, 1787-1810, written with Pieter van der Merwe and Glyn Williams, chronicles the voyages of six explorers who sailed after the death of famed mariner Captain Cook in 1780, and became successors to Cook's legacy of exploration and discovery. The authors follow these sailors through their travels in the Pacific and recount their important, sometimes controversial, discoveries. Among those profiled are Arthur Philip, who founded the first British colony of convicts in Australia; the notorious Captain William Bligh, of the mutinous Bounty; Comte de La Perouse, a Frenchman who disappeared along with the rest of his scientific expedition; and Alejandro Malaspina, a Spanish explorer whose accomplishments were later tarnished by political disgrace and imprisonment. "Rigby and coauthors offer a fascinating look at these historic voyages," commented George Cohen, writing in Booklist.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Albion, winter, 2004, Douglas M. Peers, review of The Worlds of the East India Company, p. 716.
BC Studies, spring, 2007, Christon I. Archer, review of Pioneers of the Pacific: Voyages of Exploration, 1787-1810, p. 135.
Booklist, February 15, 2006, George Cohen, review of Pioneers of the Pacific, p. 34.
Bookwatch, March, 2006, review of Pioneers of the Pacific.
Business History, July, 2006, James H. Thomas, review of Maritime Empires: British Imperial Maritime Trade in the Nineteenth Century, p. 429.
California Bookwatch, June, 2006, review of Pioneers of the Pacific.Canadian Journal of History, April, 2004, Laurence Kitzan, review of The Worlds of the East India Company, p. 210.
English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, fall, 2002, Daniel Herwitz, review of Modernism and Empire, p. 454.
Journal of Economic History, September, 2003, Santhi Hejeebu, review of The Worlds of the East India Company, p. 925.
Journal of Modern History, June, 2004, Pamela Sharpe, review of The Worlds of the East India Company, p. 432.
Journal of the American Oriental Society, January-March, 2004, Rosane Rocher, review of The Worlds of the East India Company, p. 207.
Pacific Historical Review, May, 2007, Donald C. Cutter, review of Pioneers of the Pacific, p. 270.
Reference & Research Book News, February, 2006, review of Pioneers of the Pacific.
Boydell & Brewer Ltd. Web site,http://www.boydell.co.uk/ (January 28, 2008), biography of Nigel Rigby.