Railway Imperialism

Hardcover | April 1, 1991

byRonald E. Robinson

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This contributed volume explores the relationship between imperialism, railways, and informal empire. Contributors account for the origins of main lines in several independent and self-governing countries. The essays reflect on the imperial and anti-imperial effects of railways, whose rails traced the divergent paths of expanding capitalism, imperial strategy, and modernizing nationalism. The reader is thereby offered an opportunity of seeing the slippery notion of informal empire in operation, and of testing its validity. The railway has often been studied from the standpoint of imperialism; this book makes a beginning with studying imperialism from the standpoint of the railway. Following the book's introduction, which explains the imperial model considered in each chapter case study, the book opens with essays on railway imperialism in Canada, South Africa, Central Africa, Argentina, Mexico, the Indian States, Thailand, Russia and China. The last essay, written by Ronald E. Robinson, ties the book together with an engaging analysis of railway imperialism. This book should appeal to researchers and students interested in the history of imperialism and the history of railways.

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This contributed volume explores the relationship between imperialism, railways, and informal empire. Contributors account for the origins of main lines in several independent and self-governing countries. The essays reflect on the imperial and anti-imperial effects of railways, whose rails traced the divergent paths of expanding capit...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 0.98 inPublished:April 1, 1991Publisher:GREENWOOD PRESS INC.

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0313259666

ISBN - 13:9780313259661

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?Essays in this collection cover European and American railway construction and strategy in Argentina, Canada, Central Africa, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, and Thailand. Although the essays vary in quality, they pursue a similar theme, namely, that railroad mania spread outside Europe and the US after the mid-19th century and that these widely scattered ribbons of iron and steel created altered patterns of trade and power. "The locomotive clearly had a unique propensity for integrating and annexing territory, for monopolizing its resources, and for preempting the future of great stretches of country. All of these implications . . . gave rise to a distinctive type of railway imperialism, which added a new dimension to European expansion and projected it to a higher pitch of intensity over a vastly extended range." The volume is blessed with an exceptionally thoughtful concluding essay, "Railways and Informal Empire," which ties together effectively the individual pieces. Since no previous work explores the relationship between railways and imperialism, this title holds considerable value, most of all to economic, political, and social historians. It is well documented, contains helpful maps, and includes a usable selected bibliography. Upper-division undergraduates and above.?-Choice