First published by George Routledge & Sons Ltd. in 1924, 1930 and 1936.
When first published in 1924, Knowles' first volume on the economic history of the British Empire offered a ground-breaking comparative study, ranging from slavery to Factory Acts, from cold storage to ticks and mosquitoes, from rural cultures to plantation products, and from bush paths to railways. Following her untimely death in 1926, the manuscripts for her second and third volumes were completed and published by her husband, C.M. Knowles, in 1930 and 1936.
Volume I deals with economic and development issues relating to the Empire as a whole and also specifically with India, Malaya, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, while Volume II focuses more closely on Canada. Volume III covers the economic history of Australasia and South Africa.