Mr. Moxham started writing this new book for two reasons: one was to find out about the early European settlers and their settlement in India, and two to fulfill a personal quest to find a winter home on the west coast of India. Mr. Moxham wants to get away from the cold London winters, and live along the coast of Kerala. He had originally thought of finding a winter home along the Uttar Pradesh/Madhya Pradesh border, but abandoned the idea when he discovered that the winters in this region is no better than London winter.
Malabar Dreams looks at the period between Vasco da Gama's arrival in Kerala to the British establishing a strong foothold in India in the mid-18th century. What were things like in the earlier days is one of the questions that Mr. Moxham tries to answer in this book.
Some of the interesting things and discovered he made is about the Portuguese inquisition in Goa, the African admirals and seamen that worked for various Muslim kings of India. and the Angre family and their service to the Martha king. African slaves or mercenaries worked as admirals and seamen for various Muslim kings of India. This group of people known as Sidhis continued to live independently in India even under the British rule. The Angres was another famous sea-faring family that worked for the Maratha King Shivaji and his descendents. Interestingly the British termed the Sidhis and the Angres as pirates, and did not recognize them as working for the navy of either the Mughals or the Maratha kings.
Mr. Moxham lives in London, and recently retired from the University of London. The idea for his first book,The Great Hedge of India, was born out of his obsession with a footnote. The book is about the great hedge of India that the British erected to prevent smuggling of salt. Interestingly, there is hardly any references to this great hedge in any of the writings of the British from that time. His second book tea was born out of his experience as a tea planter in Africa.
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