The focus of this volume is Britain's trans-Pacific empire. This began with haphazard challenges to Spanish dominion, but by the end of the 18th century, the British had established a colony in Australia and had gone to the brink of war with Spain to establish trading rights in the north Pacific. These rights led to formal colonies in Vancouver Island and British Columbia, when Britain sought to maintain a north Pacific presence despite American expansionism. In the later 19th century the international ’scramble for the Pacific’ resulted in new British colonies and protectorates in the Pacific islands. The result was a complex imperial presence, created from a variety of motives and circumstances. The essays selected here take account of the wide range of economic, political and cultural factors which prompted British expansion, creating tension in Britain's imperial identity in the Pacific, and leaving Pacific peoples with a complicated and challenging legacy. Along with the important new introduction, they provide a basis for the reassessment of British imperialism in the Pacific region.
Contents: General Editor's preface; Introduction; Exploration and trade: Nootka Sound and the beginning of Britain’s imperialism of free trade, Alan Frost; The North West Company’s 'Adventure to China', Barry M. Gough; Myth, science, and experience in the British construction of the Pacific, David Mackay; English attitudes to indigenous peoples of the Pacific, Glyndwr Williams; Licensed curiosity: Cook’s Pacific voyages, Nicholas Thomas; Colonies and Protectorates: The creation of imperial space in the Pacific Northwest, Daniel Clayton; The colonization of Vancouver Island, 1849-58, Richard Somerset Mackie; The first plans for governing New South Wales, 1786-87, Alan Atkinson; 'The idle and drunken won’t do there': poverty, the new Poor Law and 19th-century government-assisted emigration to Australia from the United Kingdom, Robin Haines; The impact of European settlement on the indigenous peoples of Australia, New Zealand, and British Columbia: some comparative dimensions, Robin Fisher; Myth, race, and identity in New Zealand, James Belich; Towards colonial protectorates: the case of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Doug Munro and Stewart Firth; Culture, gender and environment: The hegemony of laughter: Purea’s theatre, Greg Dening; Missionary interest in British expansion in the South Pacific in the 19th century, Niel Gunson; Imperial benevolence: the Royal Navy and the South Pacific labour trade, 1867-1872, Jane Samson; Fear of culture: British regulation of Indian marriage in post-indenture Fiji, John D. Kelly; Putting down sisters and wives: Tongan women and colonization, Christine Ward Gailey; Pacific ecology and British imperialism, 1770-1970, J.R. McNeill; Index.