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Dr Guido van Meersbergen

Guido Van MeersbergenAssistant Professor in Early Modern Global History

Co-director of the Global History and Culture Centre (GHCC)

Office: H.014 (ground floor, Humanities Building)

Email: g dot van-meersbergen at warwick dot ac dot uk

Tel: (+44)(0)24 765 22163 (internal extension 22163) (please contact me by email in first instance)

Office hours (via MS Teams): on appointment (please book here)

Humanities Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL

Academic Profile

2019-present: Assistant Professor in Early Modern Global History, University of Warwick

2016-2019: Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, University of Warwick

2015-2016: Max Weber Fellow, European University Institute, Florence

2014-2015: Tutor, Universiteit van Amsterdam and Universiteit Leiden

2010-2014: PhD, History, University College London

Current Research

I am a historian of early modern global encounters whose research focuses on cross-cultural trade and diplomacy in the Indian Ocean world, with a particular interest in the activities of the European East India Companies in the Mughal Empire. My first monograph, Ethnography and Encounter: The Dutch and English in Seventeenth-Century South Asia (Brill: 2022), maps the role of ethnographic ideas and assumptions in the management and operations of the Dutch and English East India Companies (VOC and EIC). Focusing on encounters in the realms of commerce, diplomacy, and colonial governance, it analyses the intricate ways in which corporate writing cultures and early modern ethnography both reflected and drove the Companies’ engagement in cross-cultural contacts. I am also the co-editor of a volume of essays entitled Trading Companies and Travel Knowledge in the Early Modern World (Routledge: 2022) and one of the coordinators of an international collaborative project on the embassy of Sir William Norris to Mughal India (1699-1702), which will result in a scholarly edition of Norris' embassy diaries published by the Hakluyt Society.
My ongoing research, started as a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow (2016-2019), draws on approaches from diplomatic history, cultural history, and global history to reconsider the place of European actors within the diplomatic world of early modern South Asia. It investigates how early modern European and South Asian diplomatic actors interacted at different South Asian courts, forged diplomatic relationships, and mediated cultural difference. It questions established Europe-centred narratives of the rise of early modern diplomacy by highlighting the significance of Asian actors and polities in this wider development. I am one of the three coordinators of the Global Diplomacy Network, an international network that seeks to advance the fields of global and diplomatic history by fostering a comparative, trans-regional, and connected understanding of the development and practice of inter-polity relations across the globe in the period between 1400 and 1800.


A Global History of Travel: Odyssey to Aeroplane (HI3K2)

Go-Betweens: Crossing Borders in the Early Modern World (HI2B2)

Caravans and Traders: Global Connections, 1200-1500 (HI2B8)

Europe in the Making 1450-1800 (HI113)

Themes & Approaches to the Historical Study of Empire (HI995)


I welcome postgraduate students interested in the history of diplomacy, travel, trade, empire, and ethnography in the early modern world.



Ethnography and Encounter: The Dutch and English in Seventeenth-Century South Asia (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2022).

Trading Companies and Travel Knowledge in the Early Modern World, co-edited with Aske Laursen Brock and Edmond Smith (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2022).


  • '"Intirely the Kings Vassalls": East India Company Gifting Practices and Anglo-Mughal Political Exchange (c. 1670-1720)', Diplomatica 2.2 (2020), 270-290. Link.
  • 'Introduction. Gift and Tribute in Early Modern Diplomacy: Afro-Eurasian Perspectives' (with Birgit Tremml-Werner and Lisa Hellman), Diplomatica 2.2 (2020), 185-200. Link. (open access)
  • 'The Diplomatic Repertoires of the East India Companies in Mughal South Asia, 1608-1717', The Historical Journal 62.4 (2019), 875-898. Link.
  • ‘Writing East India Company History after the Cultural Turn: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Seventeenth-Century East India Company and Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie’, Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies 17.3 (2017), 10-36.

  • ‘‘In goede en vertroude handen’: Communicatie en beleid bij de VOC tijdens de Hollandse Oorlog (1672-1678)’, De Zeventiende Eeuw 27.1 (2011), 80-101.

  • ‘De uitgeversstrategie van Jacob van Meurs belicht: De Amsterdamse en ‘Antwerpse’ edities van Johan Nieuhofs Gezantschap (1665-1666), De Zeventiende Eeuw 26.1 (2010), 73-90.

Book chapters

  • 'Writing that Travels: The Dutch East India Company's Paper-Based Information Management' (with Frank Birkenholz), in: Aske Laursen Brock, Guido van Meersbergen and Edmond Smith (eds.), Trading Companies and Travel Knowledge in the Early Modern World (Abingdon and New York: 2022), 43-70.
  • 'Trading Companies and Travel Knowledge: An Introduction' (with Aske Laursen Brock and Edmond Smith), in: Aske Laursen Brock, Guido van Meersbergen and Edmond Smith (eds.), Trading Companies and Travel Knowledge in the Early Modern World (Abingdon and New York: 2022), 1-20.
  • 'Diplomacy in a Provincial Setting: The East India Companies in Seventeenth-Century Bengal and Orissa', in: Adam Clulow and Tristan Mostert (eds.), The Dutch and English East India Companies: Diplomacy, Trade and Violence in Early Modern Asia (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018), 55-78. Open access.
  • 'The Merchant-Diplomat in Comparative Perspective: Dutch and other Embassies to the Court of Aurangzeb, 1660-1666’, in Tracey Sowerby and Jan Hennings (eds.), Practices of Diplomacy in the Early Modern World c.1410-1800 (New York: Routledge, 2017), 147-165.

  • ‘Dutch and English Approaches to Cross-Cultural Trade in Mughal India and the Problem of Trust, circa 1600-1630’, in Cátia Antunes and Amélia Polónia (eds.), Beyond Empires: Global, Self-Organizing, Cross-Imperial Networks, 1500-1800 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2016), 69-87.

  • ‘Kijken en bekeken worden: Een Nederlandse gezant in Delhi, 1677-1678’, in Lodewijk Wagenaar (ed.), Aan de overkant: Ontmoetingen in Dienst van de VOC en WIC (1600-1800) (Leiden: Sidestone Press, 2015), 201-216.


'The East India Company's Relations with the VOC and South Asian Powers in the 17th-18th centuries', East India Company, Adam Matthew (2020).

External Roles

  • Council Member of the Hakluyt Society
  • Symposium Coordinator for the Hakluyt Society.