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Geographies of Empire: European Empires and Colonies c.1880-1960

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How did the major European imperial powers and indigenous populations experience imperialism and colonisation in the period 1880-1960? In this richly-illustrated comparative account, Robin Butlin provides a comprehensive overview of the experiences of individual European imperial powers - British, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Belgian, German and Italian - and the reactions of indigenous peoples. He explores the complex processes and discourses of colonialism, conquest and resistance from the height of empire through to decolonisation and sets these within the dynamics of the globalisation of political and economic power systems. He sheds new light on variations in the timing, nature and locations of European colonisations and on key themes such as exploration and geographical knowledge; maps and mapping; demographics; land seizure and environmental modification; transport and communications; and resistance and independence movements. In so doing, he makes a major contribution to our understanding of colonisation and the end of empire.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Butlin's book is a masterly synthesis of an impressive body of published writing about imperialism and how it remade the world... Order this book for your Library: it is a key reference about one of the foundations of the modern world." - South African Geographical Journal

"The success of the book is strongly based on the fact that it is a summation of the lifetime work of a highly experienced scholar... It can usefully take its place on the reference shelf of all who share an interest in late 19th and 20th century imperialism." -John MacKenzie, The Round Table

"The scope of the book is impressively wide-ranging, and, in institutions where an empirical approach to history is maintained in traditional ways, the concise and easily-digestible outline of many of the key arguments about empire will be appreciated." -Angus Mitchell, Canadian Journal of History

"He succeeds, I think, in distilling a body of disparate geographical writing on empire and making it intelligible to historians. The book is one that can be fruitfully read from cover to cover or successfully dipped into." -Britain and the World

"...a readable and effective reference..." -William Kelleher Storey, Journal of World History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521740555
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2009
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Historical Geography Series , #42
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 692
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin A. Butlin is Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of Leeds. His previous publications include Geography and Imperialism, 1820-1940 (co-edited with M. Bell and M. Heffernan, 1995), Historical Geography: Through the Gates of Space and Time (1993), and, co-edited with R. A. Dodgshon, An Historical Geography of England and Wales (2nd edition 1990), and An Historical Geography of Europe (1998).

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Table of Contents

1. Geography, imperialism and colonialism: concepts and frameworks; 2. Chronologies, spaces and places; 3. Numbers and movements of people; 4. Patterns and shadows on the land; 5. Empire, exploration and geographical knowledge; 6. Geographical societies and imperialism; 7. The mapping of empires and colonies; 8. Geographies of the 'Civilizing Mission'; 9. Environmental interactions; 10. The arteries of empire: transport and communications; 11. Towns and cities; 12. Economic geographies of empire and colony; 13. The endings of empire: decolonization; 14. Conclusion.

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