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Empire by TreatyNegotiating European Expansion, 1600-1900$
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Saliha Belmessous

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199391783

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391783.001.0001

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The Paradox of an Empire by Treaty

The Paradox of an Empire by Treaty

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 The Paradox of an Empire by Treaty
Source:
Empire by Treaty
Author(s):

Saliha Belmessous

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391783.003.0001

This introductory chapter argues that European expansion was carried out by treaty making as much as by conquest and occupation. Europeans concluded treaties with indigenous peoples to advance their commercial and political interests but also to legitimize their activities overseas. Treaty making, they believed, allowed them to reconcile expansion with moral and juridical legitimacy. This chapter reconsiders the practice of treaty making in international relations and colonial history. It examines European motivations from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century in attempting to extinguish indigenous title through treaties, the reasons why indigenous peoples engaged or not with Europeans, the way various colonial contexts influenced the idea and practice of treaty making, and the vexed but crucial issue of indigenous consent.

Keywords:   European empires, treaties, international relations, indigenous peoples, colonial history

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