137 episodes

How do empires rise? Why do they fall? And how have they shaped the world around us today?

William Dalrymple and Anita Anand explore the stories, personalities and events of empire over the course of history.

Empire The Empire Club

    • History
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

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How do empires rise? Why do they fall? And how have they shaped the world around us today?

William Dalrymple and Anita Anand explore the stories, personalities and events of empire over the course of history.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    126. Punch & Chilli: The East India Company at the Table

    126. Punch & Chilli: The East India Company at the Table

    When the East India Company first arrived on the shores of India, the food they ate in their first factories was not so different from that of Britain. It was all stews, heavy with butter and stuffed with spices, almonds, cinnamon, fruit and raisins, scooped up by bread. Although the Portuguese introduced the chilli to Goa at the start of the 16th century, it had not yet travelled into North India. Over the course of the next 200 years the cuisines of the British and the Indians diverged, in no small part due to the chilli. Listen as William and Anita explore the wonderful history of the East Indian Company at Table.

    For bonus episodes, ad-free listening, reading lists, book discounts, a weekly newsletter, and a chat community. Sign up at https://empirepod.supportingcast.fm/

    Twitter: @Empirepoduk

    Email: empirepoduk@gmail.com

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    Assistant Producer: Anouska Lewis
    Producer: Callum Hill
    Exec Producer: Neil Fearn
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    • 51 min
    Bonus: Conquering vs colonising, boarding schools of the British Empire, and the “end” of History

    Bonus: Conquering vs colonising, boarding schools of the British Empire, and the “end” of History

    When does History end and the present begin? Is History always told by the winners? Are there any topics Willie and Anita are nervous to cover? What was the impact of boarding schools on the British Empire? How do you differentiate between conquering and colonising? Why does history record former rulers as “the great” when clearly they were far from great? And did the battle of Thermopylae actually achieve any of its objectives for the Greeks? Listen to this week's bonus as William and Anita answer these questions and more.



    Twitter: @Empirepoduk

    Email: empirepoduk@gmail.com

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    Producer: Callum Hill

    Assistant Producer: Anouska Lewis

    Exec Producer: Neil Fearn

    125. The Origin of the Houthis

    125. The Origin of the Houthis

    Since November 2023, the Houthis have been attacking international shipping lanes in the Red Sea. They set off from the Yemeni coastline on speedboats, armed with guns and unmanned drones, often supplied by Iran, and cause havoc. Such has been the chaos of these attacks that Britain, the USA, and other western nations have launched retaliatory airstrikes. But where did this group come from and what do they want? Emerging in the 1990s as a Shia religious movement that rejected the repressive and corrupt rule Yemen faced at the time, the Houthis grew in power and influence. This culminated in a coup in 2014 that made them the de facto ruler of Yemen and started a civil war that has since drawn in Sunni Saudi Arabia, Iran, and many other powers in the region. Listen as William and Anita are joined by Orwell Prize-winning journalist and Yemen specialist Iona Craig to discuss the rise of the Houthis.

    For bonus episodes, ad-free listening, reading lists, book discounts, a weekly newsletter, and a chat community. Sign up at https://empirepod.supportingcast.fm/

    Twitter: @Empirepoduk

    Email: empirepoduk@gmail.com

    Goalhangerpodcasts.com

    Assistant Producer: Anouska Lewis
    Producer: Callum Hill
    Exec Producer: Neil Fearn
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    • 56 min
    124. Saddam Hussein vs The Ayatollah

    124. Saddam Hussein vs The Ayatollah

    In September 1980, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded neighbouring Iran and so began the longest conventional war in modern history. After initial Iraqi successes, a brutal stalemate set in that was reminiscent of the horrors of the First World War. The Iraq-Iran War saw the use of chemical warfare, in 1984 Saddam’s forces unleashed the first recorded use of nerve gas in battle, and there was grinding trench warfare. Iran also pioneered human wave attacks, which merely added to the extreme human toll this war took. After eight long years a ceasefire was reached but both nations were left financially and militarily exhausted. Listen as Anita and William explore this horrific and often forgotten conflict.

    For bonus episodes, ad-free listening, reading lists, book discounts, a weekly newsletter, and a chat community. Sign up at https://empirepod.supportingcast.fm/

    Twitter: @Empirepoduk

    Email: empirepoduk@gmail.com

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    Producer: Callum Hill
    Exec Producer: Neil Fearn
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    • 51 min
    123. Hezbollah: The Party of God

    123. Hezbollah: The Party of God

    In June 1982, Israeli tanks rolled over the Lebanese border. Soon after, Iran sent 1,500 Revolutionary Guards into Lebanon to help fight them. Thereafter, funded by Iran but largely manned by Lebanese Shi’ites, Hezbollah established itself as the most powerful militia in Lebanon and the Ayatollah’s most influential proxy. They were among the first Islamic groups in the Middle East to use suicide bombing, assassination and kidnapping. But it did not stop there. In the 1990s, Hezbollah began to morph into a political party too and set itself on the road to being the dominant force in Southern Lebanon it is today. Listen as William and Anita talk to Kim Ghattas about the history of one of the most feared Islamic groups in the Middle East.

    For bonus episodes, ad-free listening, reading lists, book discounts, a weekly newsletter, and a chat community. Sign up at https://empirepod.supportingcast.fm/

    Twitter: @Empirepoduk

    Email: empirepoduk@gmail.com

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    Producer: Callum Hill
    Exec Producer: Neil Fearn
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    • 47 min
    122. Iran & Saudi Arabia: The Rivalry that Split the Islamic World

    122. Iran & Saudi Arabia: The Rivalry that Split the Islamic World

    1979 was the year that set the Islamic world on the path to today. In Iran, the revolution established the nation as a theocracy that sought to defend Shi'ism across the world. In Saudi Arabia, the siege of the Holy Mosque led to the nation embracing a more radical Sunni Islam that it began to export around the world. Almost immediately they began to clash, with great impact across the globe. Listen to William and Anita as they speak with Kim Ghattas about the birth of this rivalry.

    For bonus episodes, ad-free listening, reading lists, book discounts, a weekly newsletter, and a chat community. Sign up at https://empirepod.supportingcast.fm/

    Twitter: @Empirepoduk

    Email: empirepoduk@gmail.com

    Goalhangerpodcasts.com

    Producer: Callum Hill
    Exec Producer: Neil Fearn
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    • 50 min

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