This, the first of two complementary chapters on the First World War and its colonial aftermaths, focuses on the collapse of ‘compact’ empires in Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe. It conceptualizes the reconfiguration of Europe and its eastern borderlands after the collapse of Imperial Russia, Austria-Hungary and Imperial Germany as a form of decolonization internal to Europe during a ‘Greater War’ that, broadly speaking, continued until 1923. The global ramifications of this particularly European struggle became evident in new repressive techniques by colonial states and the widespread turn towards political violence to achieve the overthrow of imperial regimes.
This article traces what catalyzed the ideas of eugenic policies, what gave them weight in an increasingly precise scientific environment. It draws an explicit link between this interest and the development of eugenics. It presents the association between the emergence of anthropology and a growing interest in dying race theory. It provides the basic concepts of the term “savage” as it seems to have become widespread. The idea of the savage fed assumptions that are discussed here under eugenics relate to topics such as reproductive capacity, the idea of generational throwbacks, and crucially what role the environment plays in promoting or preventing development. The article thus reflects an older anxiety about environment rather than heredity, thus destabilizing not only the twin powers of civilization and colonialism, but also the new hereditarian orthodoxy out of which eugenics was born and is growing.
John M. Lonsdale
Following on from the argument of the joint introduction to African nationalism, this chapter emphasizes Africa’s place in a global history of nationalism by emphasizing what seems to be a universal instinct to search out instructive history in order either to ride modernity’s adventure or to face up to its ordeal. The early scholarly analysis of African nationalism assumed that colonialism’s allegedly modernizing history was the past that counted, with nationalist elites riding the tide of social change that consigned ‘tribal loyalty’ to the past. Scholars are now more aware of deeper African pasts that made Africans see colonialism as less of an adventure, more of an ordeal, especially for deep-rooted ideas of household self-mastery as the basis of African citizenships. This archive of political thought encouraged local ethnic patriotisms in which the lively constitutional histories of African kingdoms, and the sense of ethnic moral economies outraged by class formation. Territorial nationalisms were shaped as much by such local energies as by demands for unity against colonial rule. Such contradictions could be at their most severe in southern Africa, as liberation movements had to take up arms against entrenched white minorities. African nationalisms, in short, have been shaped as much by African history as by imported ideas.
Christopher J. Lee
Anti-colonialism as a historical phenomenon defies easy categorization. Despite its use as an expression across a range of academic disciplines, it resists simple definitions of practical form, political scope, and empirical content due to the ubiquity of anti-colonial thought and activism across time and geography. It is arguably one of the oldest forms of political conduct in the basic sense of opposing foreign domination. Yet, in most cases, it has primarily served as a generic rhetorical device to describe that which is against colonialism. This chapter offers a reassessment of anti-colonialism. Its reservations about monolithic approaches to colonialism and anti-colonialism reflect a common appraisal formulated by many scholars over the past several decades. Anti-colonialism must be recognized and understood as a significant phenomenon in defining the political history of the modern world. However, it must also be considered in many cases as indiscrete from the colonialism it confronted.
This chapter builds upon the insight that around 1900 different concepts and institutions such as ‘nationalism’ and ‘nation’ began to spread globally. Outside the West, nationalism soon emerged as the leading ideology and privileged form of political discourse and eroded more encompassing definitions of belonging in places as diverse as Egypt and India. Non-European actors had a variety of ways they could go about selectively appropriating European ‘achievements’. The reference to the ‘West’ was for a long time mainly restricted to educated groups and intellectual and political elites, whose own concepts of nationalism were neither simply anti-Western and traditional nor did they consist of a straightforward appropriation of Western models. Instead the ideas and activities of thinkers and politicians such as Gandhi and Senghor were highly ambivalent, combining elements of Western ideas and concepts with a critique of Western culture and the praise of indigenous traditions. However, as the case of Tanzania shows, not only great thinkers but complex and internally contested local discourses also gave impulses to nationalist doctrines and movements.
Coming to terms with an imperial past has involved difficult and often divisive questions of how far the inhabitants of former imperial powers should accept responsibility for the deeds of their predecessors, how far back into the past one might go to remedy such injustices, and what happens when the reparative demands of injured parties conflict with the security and well-being of others. This chapter looks at a range of cases and claims for restitution, reparation, and apologies in order to consider how the imperial past has entered into the public domain, the selectivity of imperial memories, and processes of reconciliation. After discussing the historical conjuncture in which demands have arisen, this chapter explores three types of ‘reparative politics’: apologies and expressions of regret for colonial-era actions, restitution of heritage objects in metropolitan collections, and monetary compensation for the perceived crimes of colonialism.
Joseph Morgan Hodge
This chapter examines the degree of continuity and rupture between the colonial/post-colonial divide in Africa, and argues that the years between 1930 and the 1970s constitute a single, world historical period in which state-directed and managed plans for economic and social advancement were shared widely among colonial, national, and international organizations and states. It examines important shifts and breaks that occurred throughout the period, including barriers to implementing new development projects, massive strike actions, the view of development as a demand for post-colonial entitlements and rights, and how development became a part of the strategy for managing decolonization as a shared goal of both colonial officials and African nationalist leaders. It also discusses how both new national governments and international organizations like the World Bank sought to triumph where the colonizers had failed, including drafting ambitious development plans, launching large-scale mechanization schemes, and subsidizing the widespread use of artificial fertilizers.
This article reviews scholarship on the history and historiography of slavery in the British West Indies and Bermuda. The British West Indies differed from other places colonized by the British in the Americas in the rapidity by which slavery became central to the workings of society. In this process, Barbadosstands stood out both for the qualitative leap taken by entrepreneurial Barbadian sugar planters in integrating the factors of production — Barbadian land, African slaves, and London Capital — into an impressively efficient operation under a single owner and for the influence of Barbados's slave society on English and non-English colonies. In Bermuda, the charter generation of Africans, possibly from West-Central Africa, arrived early (by 1620, the island had around 100 African slaves) and lasted for several generations. Bermuda tried — and for a time succeeded — in establishing an economy based on tobacco, but this tiny archipelago, one-eighth the size of Barbados, never made the transition to a mature plantation society. Without a plantation generation to overwhelm them, however, Bermudian slaves were quintessential Atlantic creoles, often attaining a measure of independence denied to slaves elsewhere in a fluid society where slavery closely resembled indentured servitude.
In terms of demography, ecology, culture, and politics, the modern Caribbean is rooted in a hybrid/creole past. This is significant because many theorists have identified the local as the antithesis of the global and parochial sentiment as a key motive for resistance to globalization. The destruction of the indigenous Caribbean society and the repopulation of the islands in the aftermath of the European conquests made the notion of a Black Atlantic diaspora a feature of Caribbean life in the colonial period; Caribbean anticolonialism had a similarly globalist orientation. Caribbean territories witnessed some of the most imaginative (but least successful) schemes for regional federation and inter-island co-operation devised in the 1950s and 1960s. The region was also the site of multiple imperial interests and foreign interventions, which, as this chapter demonstrates, contributed to the ways in which decolonization unfolded.
This chapter examines the role of the imperialism of nation-states in the Cold War. It suggests that the Cold War rivalry provided the “frame of reference” in which the historical forces of imperialism and nationalism interacted with developments such as decolonization, multiculturalism, and new ideologies and modes of identity formation. The chapter also argues that while the equilibrium of Cold War rivalry generated an entrenched political and ideological hegemony limiting the realization of political, economic, and imaginative possibilities in much of the world, the developing world represented significant weak links and played an equally important role in its collapse.
J. G. Ballard, author of the 1984 novel Empire of the Sun, was born in the Shanghai International Settlement in China in 1930, into a privileged colonial milieu with a chauffeur, a nanny, and servants. Ballard witnessed at first hand the collapse of the British Empire in Asia. The year 1945 was not a moment of imperial defeat, but of imperial reassertion for Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Britain, each of which saw their futures as global, colonial entities. This article, which deals with the end of empires, focusing on the loss of colonies such as Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and South-East Asia, also discusses blueprints for a liberal policy in Africa, the 1956 Suez Crisis, developmental colonialism and decolonisation, and the empires of Portugal and Spain.
Cricket was a semi-amateurish game whose decision-making process was dominated by the white nations of the British Empire. Cricket had a role in maintaining the status of British imperialism through the exercise of soft power. In the past twenty years, however, the center of power in international cricket has shifted away from the Western nations to the non-Western nations and the Board of Control for Cricket in India has emerged as the hegemon in the multinational game that was born in England but has been appropriated by India. With this transformation we have seen the game enter the realm of modern commercialized and commodified sports. This chapter, therefore, discusses the changing nature of the power structure in cricket.
Robert Stephen Gray Fletcher
Decolonization transformed political geographies; in many ways, it made the world in which we live. But the constraints and possibilities of physical geography were not as readily disregarded. This chapter considers the comparable and connected histories of the world’s desert environments in the era of decolonization. It explains how decolonization and the Cold War took a distinct path in the arid world, asks whether we’ve given enough weight to the place of arid regions in these wider histories and reflects on how, in many ways, these regions still resist being folded into the national stories of imperialism’s successor states.
This chapter examines decolonization during the Cold War. It suggests that decolonization can be considered both as a response to the globalization of European influence and as a process of globalization which paved the way for the dismantling of the North Atlantic-centered international system. The chapter contends that decolonization during the Cold War was about the rethinking of the nature of the global order and the role of race and citizenship therein. It also argues that decolonization is the proof and constant reminder that the bipolar order pursued by the superpowers and their allies after the war was never a stable framework for the management of international relations.
The “hot” Cold War, where blood was shed, was fought in the periphery where it overlapped with the struggle for decolonization. The connections between the Cold War and decolonization depend on the specifics of each case. Vietnam, Suez and southern Africa offer complex studies of the intricate relationship between the two struggles. The colonial powers were impelled by greed and hubris, not the Cold War. The Americans, sympathetic in principle to the end of colonial rule, bowed to the Cold War in practice and sided with the colonizers. The Soviets, following their ideology and Cold War concerns, sided with the rebels. Other outside actors crowded the stage, notably Cuba, sending tens of thousands of soldiers to Southern Africa, and Sweden, giving vital economic assistance to African liberation movements. The fundamental role, however, was played by the subject peoples themselves. They fought with desperate courage and paid the highest price.
There are compelling reasons for giving decolonization in South Asia special attention in this volume. India was the first colony to achieve independence, albeit as two separate nation states, India and Pakistan. Britain’s abrupt withdrawal from India after the Second World War—so swift that many have denounced it as a scuttle—raised questions that have helped frame the debate about decolonization, not just in India but elsewhere. Straddling the themes of colonial collapse and imperial legacies that inform the volume as a whole, this chapter focuses on the origins, impact, and aftermath of Indian partition. It considers South Asia’s experience of decolonization from the perspective of the populations most directly affected, notably in the Punjab and Bengal.
The end of empire in Africa was not a single moment separating independence from colonial rule, but a prolonged time of uncertainty extending from the immediate aftermath of World War II through 1994’s end of white rule in South Africa. Colonial empire was a moving target, adjusting to new situations and pressures. African political activists were not limited to creating independent states as expressions of a particular national sentiment. Some sought a pan-African nation embracing all oppressed people of colour; others saw colonial rule becoming a Euro-African community stripped of inequality and exploitation. Instead of a stolid colonialism leaving determinant ‘legacies’ to today’s Africa divided into nation-states, we should recall the possibilities, hopes, struggles, and disappointments that Africans experienced along the way. This chapter brings out alternative routes out of empire that were in play in different parts of Africa and how they expanded, contracted, and at times expanded again.
“Marwari” stands for people hailing from a region in western India known as Marwar. In common parlance, the term refers to merchants and bankers from this region speaking the language spoken there and living elsewhere. Marwaris left this region and resettled in other parts of India and abroad from at least the eighteenth century. The article explores the Marwari diaspora. Although many Marwaris engaged in trade, banking, and occasionally manufacture, the group was socially and occupationally diverse. After liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s, some Marwari individuals have made successful use of new investment opportunities from a business base that had been created before the economy opened up, but, overall, the group has experienced the same pattern of “creative destruction” as have other business communities. In small towns, Marwaris have almost seamlessly assimilated with local society. In big business, the companies they own define the character of the business more than ethnic identity.
This chapter seeks to grapple with the contradictory ways in which sport and empire have intersected in various historical and geographical contexts, taking as its central examples the parallel of the contrasting histories of cricket, football, and baseball, which allow for exploration both of the well-trodden story of sport in the British empire and of the story of French and US empires. The focus is on the period from 1880 to 1940, though some of the broader implications and trajectories of sport and empire are also considered. The aim is ultimately to reflect on the complex and contradictory dynamics of diffusion, paying attention both to forms of hegemony exercised by colonial powers and to the agency and visions of the colonized who decided, in a striking array of places and societies, to begin playing a small number of global sports.
Henk den Heijer
This article reviews scholarship on the history and historiography of slavery in the Dutch Caribbean. The history of the Dutch slave trade and slavery started a new phase with the Dutch West India Company's (WIC) seizure of Curaçao from the Spanish in 1634. Strategically located north of Venezuela and possessed of a superb deep-water port at Willemstad, the island would develop in little more than a decade into an important transit port for slaves destined for sale in the Spanish colonies. During the last quarter of the seventeenth century, Dutch interlopers from West Africa supplied most of the slaves offered for sale in the island of St Eustatius. Between 1719 and 1727 the WIC organized the island into an open slave market. The recent historiography of Dutch slavery has also dissolved crusted stereotypes of slave docility by detailing a range of ways, from passive resistance to open rebellion, that slaves countered dehumanization and altered the terms of their bondage.