Western empires in Asia and Africa were still largely intact and thus viewing the history of the European presence in these regions from a non-imperial or non-Eurocentric standpoint was still an anomaly. Pre historians focus overwhelmingly on formal presences, especially on the forging of political dominion and they interpreted what preceded it as a background, preparation, and a source for explanation for the triumphs of imperialism. Yet, in the post era, historians realized that empire was not the crowning climax of European presence overseas, but a passing phase For example, D.
Bassett's overview of the English presence in Asia in the 17th century was concerned primarily with the functioning of the EIC in Asia as a formal economic institution. Bayly also argued that internal changes within the indigenous Asian and North African states in the 18th century had brought about decline of the non-European empires, which was replaced by 'Sultanist states' with neo-mercantilist policies that conflicted with European interests, encouraging European intervention and conquest.
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The works remain limited to Europeans who approached the two continents by sea, as the continental expansion through Eastern Europe into Asia is not represented in this book. Essays include the informal European presence before as well as individuals such as Constant Phaulkon who attained high status and wealth.
Russell-Wood outlines two primary objectives for the entire collection of volumes: 1 to cover a specific aspect of European initiative and reaction across time and space, 2 provide an overview and reference source on the European presence beyond Europe in the early modern period, interaction with non-Europeans as well as experiences of peoples of other continents, religions and races in relation to Europe and Europeans.
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The revisionist interpretation aims to diminish the influence of the historiography of the 'expansion of Europe', which traditionally bore the hallmarks of a narrowly Eurocentric perspective, focusing on the achievements of individual European nations and characterization of the European presence as one of dominance, conquest, control. The debate among historians is based on trying to discuss the colonial period in the Asian context rather than using parts from European history.
These weapons made it possible for relatively tiny Europeans forces to overwhelm huge armies and to control vast areas. The human carnage was such that even imperialists such as Winston Churchill were almost abashed by such long-range slaughter of brave men. The native armies usually attacked, which was a major aspect of their downfall.
Some early guerrillas, and groups who were able for a short time to secure European weapons, were remarkably hard to put down—an omen of the future. What the Europeans themselves would only realize as they mowed down each other in the First World War was that the new weapons had a defensive advantage which made the offensive charges of the past obsolete. This essay is pulled from Literature of Liberty , December issue. Yet it is seldom mentioned in histories of the "new" imperialism, as though the Dutch empire were strictly a seventeenth-century event.
European Colonial Politics and the Roots of the Holocaust
In fact, the Dutch empire had a powerful impact on events outside the Indonesian archipelago. In the first place, it was, as Wesseling shows in chapter 4 "The Netherlands as a Colonial Model" , an inspiration and a cause for envy throughout Europe. Imperialist adventurers like Leopold II of Belgium viewed the Dutch East Indies as a cornucopia of profits for the metropole, while colonial propagandists offered it as an example of enlightened rule.
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Causality worked both ways, however. The book will not appeal to all readers of imperialist history.
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Consisting as it does of a series of articles, it is somewhat disconnected and, in places, repetitious, though not annoyingly so. More tellingly, it is in some ways old-fashioned history, for it sees the colonial experience from the European point of view, emphasizing the military and diplomatic aspects of imperialism, rather than its economic and social side. This reviewer regretted finding little on the development of export agriculture and on the history of the great trading companies, especially in an empire famous for its commerce and its profits.
In contrast to Wesseling's book of scholarly essays, Scott B.
Cook's Colonial Encounters in the Age of High Imperialism is a short text frankly aimed at the undergraduate history market. It attempts to cover in pages the phenomenon of "high" imperialism during a twenty-year period from to To do so, it is necessarily selective. The French, Dutch, and German empires get short shrift.