The Dynamics of Global Dominance: European Overseas Empires, 1415-1980

The Dynamics of Global Dominance: European Overseas Empires, 1415-1980

by David B. Abernethy
     
 

For centuries Europeans ruled vast portions of the world, as inhabitants of west European countries sailed to distant continents and took possession of territories whose societies and economies they set out to change. How and why did these farflung empires form, persist, and finally fall? David Abernethy addresses these questions in this magisterial survey of the rise… See more details below

Overview

For centuries Europeans ruled vast portions of the world, as inhabitants of west European countries sailed to distant continents and took possession of territories whose societies and economies they set out to change. How and why did these farflung empires form, persist, and finally fall? David Abernethy addresses these questions in this magisterial survey of the rise and decline of European overseas empires.

Abernethy identifies broad patterns across time and space, interweaving them with fascinating details of cross-cultural encounters. He argues that relatively autonomous profit-making, religious, and governmental institutions enabled west European countries to launch triple assaults on other societies. Indigenous people also played a role in their eventual subjugation by inviting Europeans to intervene in their power struggles. Abernethy finds that imperial decline was often the unanticipated result of wars among major powers. Postwar crises over colonies' unmet expectations empowered movements that eventually took territories as diverse as the thirteen British North American colonies, Spain's South American possessions, India, the Dutch East Indies, Vietnam, and the Gold Coast to independence.

In advancing a theory of imperialism that includes European and non-European actors, and in analyzing economic, social, and cultural as well as political dimensions of empire, Abernethy helps account for Europe's long occupation of global center stage. He also sheds light on key features of today's postcolonial world and the legacies of empire, concluding with an insightful approach to the moral evaluation of colonialism.

About the Author:
David B. Abernethy is professor of political science at Stanford University.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300093148
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
07/28/2002
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
544
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsvii
Part IWestern Europe and the World
1.Ceuta, Bojador, and Beyond: Europeans on the Move3
2.Why Did the Overseas Empires Rise, Persist, and Fall?18
Part IIPhases of Imperial Expansion and Contraction
3.Phase 1: Expansion, 1415-177345
4.Phase 2: Contraction, 1775-182464
5.Phase 3: Expansion, 1824-191281
6.Phase 4: Unstable Equilibrium, 1914-39104
7.Phase 5: Contraction, 1940-80133
Part IIIAccounting for Imperial Expansion
8.Western Europe as a Region: Shared Features175
9.Western Europe as a System of Competing States206
10.The Institutional Basis for the Triple Assault225
11.Non-European Initiatives and Perceptions254
Part IVConsolidating Power
12.Sectoral Institutions and Techniques of Control277
13.Sources of Colonial Weakness300
Part VAccounting for Imperial Contraction
14.Colonialism as a Self-Defeating Enterprise325
15.The International Dimension: War as the Catalyst for Independence345
Part VIConsequences of European Overseas Rule
16.Legacies363
17.The Moral Evaluation of Colonialism387
AppendixSpatial and Temporal Dimensions of the Overseas Empires409
Notes417
Bibliography463
Index505

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