Technology, Disease and Colonial Conquests, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries

Essays Reappraising the Guns and Germs Theories


The eight essays in this study reassess evidence about the plausibility of the widely accepted guns and germs theories which put forward firepower advantages and inadvertent disease importation as the two main causes of European imperial expansion overseas during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. All argue that these theories are important but oversimplified.
The effectiveness of firepower and disease impacts on specific groups of New World indigenes were always conditioned by time, place, and cultural characteristics. Long range communication control was sometimes more important. Above all, motives driving invasions and conquests were often more influential than means and methodologies.

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George Raudzens is Research Associate, formerly Associate Professor of History, at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. He has written many journal articles on European imperial and military history and his other books are The British Ordnance Department and Canada's Canals, 1815-1855 (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1979) and Empires. Europe and Globalization, 1492-1788 (Sutton Publishing Limited, 1999).
Selected as an Outstanding Academic Title of 2002 by Choice (a publication of the Association of College & Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association)

Raudzens has edited a stunning new collection of essays aimed at reassessing paradigms of conquest that attribute European succeess to superior weaponry or disease...Taken together the eight essays in this collection represent an enormously important new direction in colonialist studies. Highest recommendations for all collections.’
Choice, 2002.
…a well-selected and thought-provoking volume…
Patricia A. Crouch, Sixteenth Century Journal, 2002.
List of Figures
List of Contributors
Introduction / George Raudzens
1 European Overseas Expansion and the Military Revolution / Jeremy Black 1
2 Outfighting or Outpopulating? Main Reasons for Early Colonial Conquests, 1493-1788 / George Raudzens 31
3 Conflict and Synthesis: Frontier Warfare in North America, 1513-1815 / Armstrong Starkey 59
4 The Long Conquest : Collaboration by Native Andean Elites in the Colonial System, 1532-1825 / David Cahill 85
5 The Impact of Disease / Francis Brooks 127
6 Pathogens, Places and Peoples: Geographical Variations in the Impact of Disease in Early Spanish America and the Philippines / Linda Newson 167
7 The Iberian Advantage / Lawrence Clayton 211
8 "Black with Canoes". Aboriginal Resistance and the Canoe: Diplomacy, Trade and Warfare in the Meeting Grounds of Northeastern North America, 1600-1821 / David McNab, Bruce Hodgins, Dale Standen 237
Index 293
This book is addressed to both academic readers and "general" readers interested in early modern Europe, European imperialism and colonization, the fate of New World indigenes, the history of the Americas, and military and technology histories.
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