Portuguese American Journal

Book | The Colonial World: A History of European Empires | By Robert Aldrich & Andreas Stucki

The Colonial World: A History of European Empires, 1780s to the Present provides the most authoritative, in-depth overview on European imperialism available. It synthesizes recent developments in the study of European empires and provides new perspectives on European colonialism and the challenges to it. With a post-1800 focus and extensive background coverage tracing the subject to the early 1700s, the book charts the rise and eclipse of European empires. Robert Aldrich and Andreas Stucki integrate innovative approaches and findings from the ‘new imperial history’ and look at both the colonial era and the legacies it left behind for countries around the world after they gained independence. Dividing the text into three complementary sections, Aldrich and Stucki offer an original approach to the subject that allows you to explore: (1) Different eras of colonisation and decolonisation from early modern European colonialism to the present day; (2) Overarching themes in colonial history, like ‘land and sea’, ‘the body’ and ‘representations of colonialism’; (3) A global range of snapshot colonial case studies, such as Peru (1780), India (1876), The South Pacific (1903), the Dutch East Indies (1938) and the Portuguese empire in Africa (1971).

This is the essential text for anyone seeking to understand the nature and complexities of modern European imperialism and its aftermath. “A masterly account full of fresh insights and engaging arguments. Their innovative structure enables Aldrich and Stucki to wield the historical lens with enviable flair. The vast topic of European empire is telescoped into comprehensible trends and themes, while still allowing for the precise focus on distinct times and places that brings the past alive. This is a history of the colonial world for the here and now.” ―Kirsten McKenzie, Professor of History, University of Sydney, UK


“In the early fifteenth century, the Portuguese and Spanish took advantage of their propitious geographical location to inch from the western African coast and outwards into the Atlantic Ocean. Encouragement from royal patrons, notably Prince Henry the Navigator in Portugal, and new types of ships, such as faster caravels outfitted with lateen sails (which could sail farther from the coast) and better techniques of navigation, propelled voyages onwards. In the first half of the 1400s, Iberians settled what are now the Portuguese provinces of the Azores and Madeira and the independent Cape Verde islands, and the Spanish colonized the Canary Islands. Some were unoccupied, and others had a sparse population eliminated in the process of conquest. On the African continent, the Spanish and Portuguese set up posts for trade in gold, ivory and other coveted goods, and soon trade in slaves. In 1488 the Portuguese Bartolomeu Dias rounded de southern coast of Africa, and his compatriot Vasco da Gama pioneered the first European sea route to India on a voyage from 1497 to 1499 – a major feat.” — Excerpt


About the Authors

Robert Aldrich is Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Sydney, Australia. His works on colonial history include Vestiges of the Colonial Empire in France: Monuments, Museums and Colonial Memories (2005), Cultural Encounters and Homosexuality in Sri Lanka: Sex and Serendipity (2014), and Banished Potentates: Dethroning and Exiling Indigenous Monarchs under British and French Colonial Rule, 1815-1955 (2018). He is the co-author (with John Connell) of The Ends of Empire: The Last Colonies Revisited (2020), and co-editor (with Kirsten McKenzie) of The Routledge History of Western Empires (2014) and co-editor (with Cindy McCreery) of Crowns and Colonies: European Monarchies and Overseas Empires (2016), Royals on Tour: Politics, Pageantry and Colonialism (2018)and Monarchies and Decolonisation in Asia (2020).

Andreas Stucki is Ludwig and Margarethe Quidde Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Rome, Italy. He specialises in Caribbean and Iberian history of the nineteenth and twentieth century. He is the author of Violence and Gender in Africa’s Iberian Colonies: Feminizing the Portuguese and Spanish Empire, 1950s-1970s (2019) and of a monograph on the social history of the Cuban Wars of Independence, published in German in 2012 and in Spanish in 2017 (Aufstand und Zwangsumsiedlung: Die kubanischen Unabhängigkeitskriege, 1868-1898Las Guerras de Cuba: Una historia de violencia y campos de concentración).


Product details

Title: The Colonial World: A History of European Empires, 1780s to the Present

Authors: Robert Aldrich & Andreas Stucki

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

Publication Date: January 26, 2023

Language: English

Paperback: 552pp

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