- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press; First Edition (1st printing) edition (November 30, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674026128
- ISBN-13: 978-0674026124
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Possessing the Pacific: Land, Settlers, and Indigenous People from Australia to Alaska First Edition (1st printing) Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
This investigation of 19th-century white settlement in the Pacific explores why colonists' strategies for appropriating land from native people varied so widely from place to place. Banner (How the Indians Lost Their Land) identifies three central factors: the speed of white settlement, the extent of native people's political organization, and, most importantly, agriculture, which colonists equated with ownership. When colonists encountered indigenous farming people, the colonists recognized the natives' land ownership. Thus, when the British arrived in New Zealand, they conceded the agricultural Maori's property rights, and tried to buy the land. But when American settlers arrived in California, the non-agricultural native population struck them as primitive, and the settlers refused to acknowledge Indian ownership. Banner sketches the ongoing impact of these colonial encounters, underscoring that indigenous people's property rights today are based on what unfolded 150 years ago. Occasionally, Banner states the obvious, as when he notes that the British ability to take control of New Zealand boiled down to the Brits having more "power" than the Maori. Yet his overarching argument is an important one: dispelling the myth that colonization patterns were driven by policies set at home. This original and significant study will appeal to readers hoping to understand an issue whose ramifications are still felt today.
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Fascinating, convincing, and beautifully written, this is popular legal history that tells an important story about British and American settlers' perception and treatment of native rights to Pacific lands. A major new book in the field. (Bruce Kercher, Macquarie University, Australia)
In a style that is lucid and direct, Stuart Banner builds an extensively researched comparative study of settler societies that span the Pacific Ocean. He forces us to rethink the prevailing interpretations of the rise of Anglo-American dominance and the dispossession of indigenous peoples in the nineteenth century. (Michael Adas, author of Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America's Civilizing Mission)
Remarkable for its breadth, vision, and mastery of native title and land expropriation issues, Possessing the Pacific is graced by brilliant writing. Stuart Banner's meticulous research, good judgment, and crisp prose combine to make this book a marvelous contribution to comparative history. An all-round triumph! (John Weaver, McMaster University, Canada)
This comparative study of the ways that the lands of Australasians, Polynesians, and North American Pacific coast tribes were taken by British and American governments is rich in evidence and wise in analysis. A wonderful addition. (Peter Karsten, University of Pittsburgh)
[Banner's] overarching argument is an important one: dispelling the myth that colonization patterns were driven by policies set at home. This original and significant study will appeal to readers hoping to understand an issue whose ramifications are still felt today. (Publishers Weekly 2007-11-19)
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