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Kirti Chaudhuri

France / Italy

Expert on South Asian history, history of world maritime trade, European expansion, and cultural history 1000 AD 1800

58th on the Telegraph's list of "100 world geniuses" (2008)

Noted author on global history, economy, culture, society, art, and literature

Kirti Chaudhuri has spent most of his adult life travelling and working in the Middle East, North Africa, South America, and Europe. A noted rock climber, Kirti has scaled most Alpine peaks above 3,000 meters. Although he earned his living as a professional historian and as a university teacher in England and in Italy, his creative work, both literary and artistic, has always been been important to Kirti. In the manner of his early life, he still considers himself to be a man of the road, a professional wanderer.

Kirti’s academic achievements however have several unusual features. He was the first undergraduate in the University of London to obtain First Class Honours in Final BA Examinations in History, from the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1959, since Bernard Lewis gained that distinction in 1936. He is also the only historian from South Asia to have been elected to the British Academy and Academia Europaea. Kirti was elected to the British Academy (1990), the Royal Historical Society (1993), and Academia Europea (1994).

Kirti’s first monograph The English East India Company: the Study of an Early Joint Stock Company 1600-1640 (F. Cass, 1965), is still regarded as one of the seminal works on the history of the East India Company since W.R. Scott’s classic three volume work in 1912. Since then Kirti has written numerous books on global history, economy, culture, society, art, and literature. These include: The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company (1978), Trade and Civilisation in the Indian Ocean from the rise of Islam to 1750 (1985), Asia before Europe (1990), History of Portuguese Expansion (1998), and 30 volumes of Livres d’Artistes.

In 1994, Kirti created and founded Gallery Schifanoia and an imprint house Schifanoia Firenze to exhibit, print, and publish his artistic and literary works alongside the works of other artists and writers. The press has published thirty titles so far and further projects are being planned for future publication.

Our Comment

"Kirti now speaks on a range of subjects, from political and economic world affairs to how to make a full length feature and fictional documentary films, to fine dining and wine tasting."

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