Firearms have been studied by imperial historians mainly as means of human destruction and material production. Yet firearms have always been invested with a whole array of additional social and symbolical meanings. By placing these meanings at the centre of analysis, the essays presented in this volume extend the study of the gun beyond the confines of military history and the examination of its impact on specific colonial encounters. By bringing cultural perspectives to bear on this most pervasive of technological artefacts, the contributors explore the densely interwoven relationships between firearms and broad processes of social change. In so doing, they contribute to a fuller understanding of some of the most significant consequences of British and American imperial expansions. Not the least original feature of the book is its global frame of reference. Bringing together historians of different periods and regions, A Cultural History of Firearms in the Age of Empire overcomes traditional compartmentalisations of historical knowledge and encourages the drawing of novel and illuminating comparisons across time and space.