Empire by Treaty: Negotiating European Expansion, 1600-1900

Hardcover | November 4, 2014

EditorSaliha Belmessous

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Most histories of European appropriation of indigenous territories have, until recently, focused on conquest and occupation, while relatively little attention has been paid to the history of treaty-making. Yet treaties were also a means of extending empire. To grasp the extent of Europeanlegal engagement with indigenous peoples, Empire by Treaty: Negotiating European Expansion, 1600-1900 looks at the history of treaty-making in European empires (Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, French and British) from the early 17th to the late 19th century, that is, during both stages of Europeanimperialism. While scholars have often dismissed treaties assuming that they would have been fraudulent or unequal, this book argues that there was more to the practice of treaty-making than mere commercial and political opportunism. Indeed, treaty-making was also promoted by Europeans as a more legitimate meansof appropriating indigenous sovereignties and acquiring land than were conquest or occupation, and therefore as a way to reconcile expansion with moral and juridical legitimacy. As for indigenous peoples, they engaged in treaty-making as a way to further their interests even if, on the whole, theygained far less than the Europeans from those agreements and often less than they bargained for. The vexed history of treaty-making presents particular challenges for the great expectations placed in treaties for the resolution of conflicts over indigenous rights in post-colonial societies. Thesehopes are held by both indigenous peoples and representatives of the post-colonial state and yet, both must come to terms with the complex and troubled history of treaty-making over 300 years of empire. Empire by Treaty looks at treaty-making in Dutch colonial expansion, the Spanish-Portugueseborder in the Americas, aboriginal land in Canada, French colonial West Africa, and British India.

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Most histories of European appropriation of indigenous territories have, until recently, focused on conquest and occupation, while relatively little attention has been paid to the history of treaty-making. Yet treaties were also a means of extending empire. To grasp the extent of Europeanlegal engagement with indigenous peoples, Empire...

Saliha Belmessous is a senior research fellow at the University of New South Wales. She researches and writes about European colonial ideologies and the imperial experiences of indigenous peoples. She has held research fellowships in the United States and Australia. Her most recent publications include Assimilation and Empire: Uniform...

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Assimilation and Empire: Uniformity in French and British Colonies, 1541-1954
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Hardcover|Mar 14 2013

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:November 4, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199391785

ISBN - 13:9780199391783

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsList of maps and illustrations1. Saliha Belmessous: The Paradox of an Empire by Treaty2. Arthur Weststeijn: 'Love Alone Is Not Enough': Treaties in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Colonial Expansion3. Daniel Richter: To "Clear the King's and Indians' Title": Seventeenth-Century Origins of North American Land Cession Treaties4. Tamar Herzog: Struggling Over Indians: Territorial Conflict and Alliance-Making in the Heartland of South America (17th-18th Centuries)5. Alain Beaulieu: The Acquisition of Aboriginal Land in Canada: The Genealogy of an Ambivalent System (1600-1867)6. Robert Travers: A British Empire by Treaty in Eighteenth Century India7. Rebecca Shumway: Palavers and Treaty-Making in the British Acquisition of the Gold Coast Colony (West Africa)8. Saliha Belmessous: The Tradition of Treaty-Making in Australian History9. Damen Ward: "A text for every agitator amongst the natives": M?ori property, settler politics and the M?ori franchise in the 1850s10. Paul Patton: The 'lessons of history': the ideal of treaty in settler colonial societiesContributorsIndex