Tag

slavery

Browsing

Underground est une série télévisée américaine créée par Misha Green et Joe Pokaski, et diffusée sur la chaîne WGN America.

Underground saison 1 photo

La série se déroule au XIXème siècle, pendant ce que les historiens appellent l’Antebellum Era ou encore Plantation Era. Elle suit à la fois la quête de liberté d’un groupe d’esclaves travaillant dans une plantation de coton et la mise en place du chemin de fer clandestin (“Underground Railroad”).

Un groupe d’esclaves planifie une échappée téméraire, délaissant leur plantation de Géorgie pour aller se réfugier à plus de 600 miles de là.

En chemin, ils sont aidés par un couple d’abolitionnistes secrets qui sont en charge d’une station de l’Underground Railroad. Le groupe tente par tous les moyens de fausser compagnie aux gens chargés de les ramener à la plantation – morts ou vifs.

Dix épisodes sont prévus cette saison et une seconde saison de dix épisodes également est déjà programmée pour 2017.

Voici la cinquième et dernière saison de Hell on Wheels sur AMC.

hell-on-wheels-season-5

Le chemin de fer n’est toujours pas achevé et Cullen Bohannon se trouve toujours avec la Central Pacific Railroad.

Il est toujours déterminé à finir sa tâche, rallier la Californie à l’Utah, et espère toujours retrouver sa famille. Enfin, s’il arrive à ne pas se faire tuer ou à ne pas croiser les mauvaises personnes sur son chemin !

Cette dernière saison de quatorze épisodes sera diffusée en deux parties : sept épisodes durant l’été 2015, puis sept autres épisodes en 2016.

Voici la quatrième saison de la série Hell on Wheels sur AMC.

hell-on-wheels-s4

Cette saison se centre encore et toujours sur l’expansion vers l’Ouest de l’Union Pacific Railroad.

Des conflits entre le gouvernement et des entreprises, des ranchers, des colons et la ligne de chemin de fer éclatent.

Tous ces intérêts différents entrent en compétition les uns avec les autres pour le contrôle de la ville de Cheyenne, dans le Wyoming, l’un des noeuds les plus importants de la ligne de chemin de fer en 1867.

Hell on Wheels est de retour pour une troisième saison sur AMC.

hell-on-wheels-s3

Cullen Bohannon revient au centre du show et abandonne son désir de vengeance pour sa famille pour continuer l’expansion vers l’ouest de l’Union Pacific Railroad, tout en combattant Thomas “Doc” Durant pour le contrôle.

La tagline de cette saison est : “Outlaw In Charge”.

J’ai regardé Django Unchained avec mes Premières la semaine dernière et dans la bande originale du film, j’aime beaucoup le morceau Too Old to Die Young de Brother Dege, un artiste du deep south des Etats-Unis :

C’est catchy !

J’ai bien aimé le film aussi, pas aussi violent qu’annoncé, surtout si on le considère comme un western (qui par définition est violent).

Le traitement de la question raciale et du racisme aux USA aide bien à la prise de parole. Je m’arrête là, sinon je vais faire la critique du film ;-)

Voici la seconde saison d’Hell on Wheels, diffusée sur AMC.

Cullen Bohannon continue sa quête à la recherche de ceux qui sont responsables de la mort de sa femme et de son fils, tout comme continue l’expansion vers l’ouest de l’Union Pacific Railroad, dirigée par Thomas “Doc” Durant.

Pendant ce temps, Durant envoie Elam s’occuper d’une bande qui vole la paie des employés.

La tagline de cette saison est : “still fighting … still searching … still raising hell”. Dix épisodes sont prévus pour cette saison.

Nous avions vu le trailer il y a quelques mois, voici le début d’Hell on Wheels sur AMC.

Dans cette série-western, Cullen Bohannan (Anson Mount), ancien propriétaire d’esclaves et soldat confédéré, est déterminé à venger le viol et meurtre de sa femme en traquant et tuant les soldats de l’Union responsables de cette infamie. Il voyage vers l’ouest et demande à travailler à la construction du premier chemin de fer transcontinental américain.

C’est notre quatrième jour et après un solide petit déjeûner – ben oui, on commence à anticiper le menu packed lunch à force ! – nous attrapons nos élèves sur le parking et nous filons une nouvelle fois pour… Liverpool ! Hé oui, encore ! Mais cette fois-ci, le programme est bien différent : nous nous dirigeons vers l’International Slavery Museum, qui a ouvert ses portes au public en septembre 2007. Tout beau, tout neuf donc. Il se situe au troisième étage du Maritime Museum, sur les docks.

Introduction

In the late 18th century, the American constitution accepted the existence of slavery. It was considered as an institution: there have always been slaves from the 18th. They choose black slaves instead of Indians because of the trial of Valladolid, where people wondered if the Native was a man or simply an animal. It turned to be a theological problem: if the Native did not have a soul then he was an animal. In the end, they declared that Natives had a soul and this “discovery” caused an economic shock: the Natives could not be employed anymore in plantations and ships started bringing in African slaves.

Slavery

Towards the end of the 18th, people thought slavery would naturally die out. They were very naive. Unfortunately, Whitney invented the Cotton Gin and put an end to those naive considerations. Rather than declining, the number of slaves increased in the South: in 1820, there were 1 500 000 slaves in America. They were 4 000 000 in 1860. Slavery was basically an economic problem for 3/4 of the cotton crops were exported, representing 60% of America”s foreign earnings. Slavery was hence very profitable to the South and -by way of consequence- to the whole continent.

Everybody sees the discrepancy between that democratic system and the harsh realities of slavery, which was a potentially explosive issue. Several stages in the explosion:

  • 1800: the slave Gabriel Prosser led an insurrection with 1 000 slaves in Virginia. He was executed, as well as 35 other people.
  • 1822: the authorities discovered plans for slave insurrection in South Carolina with slave Vesey trying to launch a slave insurrection.
  • 1819-1822: the “black years” following the Missouri Compromise, a 2-year struggle between North and South. After this, there will be free states and slavery states.

After 1820, the USA are divided between free states and pro-slavery states. The balance is impossible. In Louisiana, slavery is allowed in the South but prohibited in the North: controversial gets tougher and tougher and violence slowly but surely rises. That situation turned about sectionalism (from Latin sectus: cut) and there were more and more slaves’ insurrections. David Walker, a free black, published Appeal to the Coloured Citizens, urging slaves to rebel/revolt in 1830. His motto was “Kill or be killed !”. 1831 knew an insurrection led by Nat Turner in Virginia. Sixty whites were killed.

David Walker

He was the son of a free slave and moved to Boston in 1829 to sell old clothes. He published a pamphlet and, over the night, his book was a success. It infuriated Southern land owners and Goergia offered a reward of $10 000 for anyone who would deliver Walker alive and $1 000 to kill him. By the summer of 1830, Walker was dead. His point was mainly historical: there was no slavery in history. All the examples he took belonged to his biblical culture, his background being essentially religious (religion: shelter for slaves).

Introduction

The South had developped a unique society and a sense of Southern nationalism. The conflict with the North and the secession were an attempt to create an independent nation. Also a contrast, the South having developped a class system whereas the North was characterized by a social structure.

Ante Bellum South

A Southern ideology -based on aristocracy- justified slavery. Many (crazy) explanations were put forward like: “the African race is biologically inferior” or “physically and mentally under-developped”. Through slavery, they could adjust to a better kind of life, be taught new morals and the “true religion”. All that was part of the Southern ideology: “some people must work and sweat to provide those in charge with leadership”. The Southern society is hedonistic when the North advocates the puritan ethic (moral – virtue – hard work, according to the Bible).

After 1830, abolitionists societies began violent campaigns against slavery. Garrison was an extremist abolitionist who printed/invented sensational stories about how cruelly black slaves were treated in the South. Slave holders were depicted as monsters and, in the North, slavery was seen as a sin against God (move on to the religious ground). Garrison wanted the “purification of the Nation from the guilt of slavery”.

Slavery is the apparent cause of the Civil War: it was the spark that ignited the powder-keg. Yet, it should be obvious that the real cause of the conflict was the incompatible and irreconcilable economical, political, social and ideological difference between the 2 sections.

The South’s economy relied on agriculture. The North kept taxing the Southern imports from Europe, hoping that the South would buy Northern products that were overpriced and more poorly manufactured. In retaliation, Europe raised prices on their imports, making it very expensive to purchase Southern cotton and tobacco. Since the US Government had Northern majority in the legislature, the South could do nothing except to be taxed. Before the outbreak of the war, Southern planters were paying 87% taxes on their goods. Enraged by only being able to keep 13% of their profits, the Southerners knew the government would not help and that they had to act.

As the 19th century slipped by, North and South drifted further and further away until the moment they had nothing left in common, not even a President. This is when the war broke out. Five years later, the South was defeated, conquered, occupied, Southerners were humiliated and slavery was at last abolished. The situation of the South was not unlike that of Nazi Germany at the end of World War II. Southerners were despised and shamed. The same questions were asked: how could people be slave holders/nazis ? Hence a feeling of guilt in the South.

On the other hand, many Southerners did not acknowledge their inhumanity and monstrosity. In order to justify themselves, they idealized the “Old South”. This theme will later be pick up in literature, for instance in Gone with the Wind or in the personality of Faulkner”s characters, who cannot overcome their guilt but who realize they are the descendants of a cursed race.

Events leading to secession

In response to the events in Kansas (with the creation of the Republican Party), extremist parties began to emerge. Before the KKK, there has been a party with a strange name, the “Know-Nothings”, which originated from secret political orders. The movement originated in New York in 1843 when it was called the American Republican Party. It spread to other states as the Native American Party and became a national party in 1845. In 1855 it renamed itself the American Party. The origin of the “Know Nothing” term was in the semi-secret organization of the party. When a member was asked about its activities, he was supposed to reply, “I know nothing.” They were organized to oppose the political influence of immigrants (mainly Irish and Germans) and the political machine allowing such immigrants to vote. As a nationalist anti-foreign movement, it organized later under the name “American Party”. It was hoped it would become a national party but as a matter of fact, it disintegrated after the elections of 1856.

In 1856, the Democrat James Buchanan was elected President. He favored popular sovereignty and won an easy victory over his opponent.
Several events during the Buchanan administration convinced the Southerners they would not be able to protect their interests any longer against the majority of Northerners. Secession seemed to be the solution.

The Dred Scott case of 1857 and the Missouri Compromise judged unconstitutional delighted the South. The Republicans denounced it as partism since several justices in the Court were Democrats. As the decision had no legal justification, the North refused to accept it. It alarmed the South.

1857: panic, sharp depression. The South suffered much less than the industrial North, gained confidence and asserted that this proved the “superiority of Southern economy”. During the elections of 1857, the North voted strongly Republican and gave this party the lead in the House of Representatives. The series of debates between Lincoln and Douglas for the senate elections aligncenter on the slavery question. Douglas was the incumbent senator and Lincoln the challenger. At Freeport, Lincoln tried to embarrass Douglas by asking if the people of the territories could legally exclude slavery. Douglas, in his response called the “Freeport Doctrine”, replied that people of the territories could keep slavery out by not passing local police regulations, necessary for its existence.

Douglas won but his answer did not satisfy the South and helped to widen the growing split between North and South Democrats. Thanks to these debates, Lincoln was popularized and won the presidential nomination in 1860. 1859: John Brown’s raid. After his execution, the North made a martyr of him.

1860: the elections were the last event before the war. The Democrats met in the Supreme Court. There, the Southern extremists demanded that the party ask Congress to guarantee slave property in the territories. The North under Douglas defeated the demand and adopted Douglas” policy of popular sovereignty. The South made a clash.

The Republicans met in Chicago. Lincoln was chosen because he was the most moderate candidate. His platforms promised to exclude slavery from the territories.

Conclusion

Lincoln won every states in the North (except New Jersey) but he gained only a minority of popular votes. Another candidate won a state in the lower South. The rest was won by extremist candidates. The South declared that Lincoln’s election would be the signal for secession. Lincoln was elected and the South proceeded to secede.

Cotton was the main crop in the South and the first industry in Georgia. Georgia planters exported their cotton to England but the cotton was not treated. Thanks to Whitney”s invention , the “Cotton Gin” (Cotton Engine – 1793), which separated the seeds from the fibers, a huge increase in the amount of cotton produced was made possible. In 1820, the output was 8 000 times higher than in 1791.

The increase was achieved by bringing in more slaves to pick the cotton. The prosperity of the planters depended more and more on slavery and Southerners broke away from the US. Slavery is the root of Southern wealth and industry. It is an institution in the South, as well as their peculiar way of life.The “Cotton Gin” brought about slavery and civil war.

In 1810, there were 7,2 million people in the USA and among those people 1,2 million black slaves.

Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, owned slaves himself and had a black mistress with whom he had children. G. Washington, as a land owner, owned slaves too. Southerners defending the right of slavery asked an unanswerable question: how could they cultivate their fields of tobacco, rice and cotton without slave workers ?

The situation was different in the North: the climate was cooler and the farms were smaller so there was no need of slaves. Many Northerners were abolitionists. By the 19th century, many Northern states had passed their own laws to abolish slavery inside their own boundaries. In 1808, they persuaded Congress to male it illegal to bring in new slaves from Africa. Gradually, North and South opposed each other.

In the 1830’s, Northern and Southern politicians kept arguing: is slavery permitted in the new territories being settled in the West ? The discussion aligncenter on Missouri, which was part of the Louisiana purchase. Southerners argued that slaves should be allowed (will to expand slavery). Northerners objected strongly to it for moral and economic reasons: competition would be unfair between Northern and Southern farmers (easier with slaves). They finally reached a compromise: the Missouri Compromise:

  • slavery was permitted in Missouri and Arkansas territories
  • but banned in the West and North of Missouri

It did not end the dispute. The South began denying the right of slaves to own land and the threats of secession on both sides foreshadowed the secession of the South, prefiguring the Civil War.

In the early 1830″s, another argument was going on about import duties, the North standing for it and the South opposing it because they were afraid of competition (it would rise the price of Southern goods). The Southern politician JC Calhoun claimed that a “state had the right to disobey any federal law if the state believed the law should harm his interests”. This was supported by the Southerners and it became known as the “States’ rights doctrine”.

That claim was strongly denied by the North and by Webster, senator of Massachusetts who answered that “the power to decide if federal authority is right or wrong belongs to Supreme Court and not to independent states”. Webster warned the Americans that the States “rights doctrine could be a serious threat to the unity of the USA.

In the 20 years afterwards, the USA grew much bigger. In 1846, it divided the Oregon territory with Britain and in 1848, it took vast areas in the South-West from Mexico. Obtaining these new lands, raised again the question already asked during the Missouri Compromise of 1820: should slavery be allowed on new American territories. North refused, South agreed.

In 1850, Congress voted in favor of another compromise:

  1. California was admitted in the US as a free state
  2. people living in Utah and Mexico had the right to decide by themselves whether or not to allow slavery

To persuade the South to agree to these arrangements, Congress passed a law: the Fugitive Slave Act. That new law made easier for Southerners to recapture slaves who escaped and fled for safety in free states. The new law called for “severe penalties for anyone assisting Negroes to escape from bondage. Slave owners had long offered rewards to get their slaves back. This has created a group of men called bounty hunters, who searched escaped slaves in free states. This law angered many Northerners and some northern judges refused to enforce it. Some Northerners provided hiding places for fugitives, mapped out routes and moved runaways slaves by night from one secret hiding place to another. The final stop was Canada where fugitives could be pursued neither by federal laws nor by bounty hunters. As the railway was the modern way of traveling at that time, they modeled their vocabulary on it: the “underground railroad” represented the people, people providing money were “stock-holders”, guides were “conductors” and hiding places were “depots”. Many conductors were former slaves and they often traveled deep into slave states to get in touch with runaway. If captured, they ended up as slaves again or dead. the number of slaves increased.

In 1854, the senator Steven Douglas persuaded Congress to end the Missouri Compromise. There was no slavery in the West of Missouri and in Kansas, people were free to decide to permit or not slavery. A “race” between pro-slavery and anti-slavery began: pro-slavery immigrants poured from the south and anti-slavery immigrants poured from the North to outnumber the other group. Result: fightings and killings.

Pro-S raiders from Missouri burnt a town called Lawrence and killed part of the population. In reply, the abolitionist John Brown led a raid in which supporters of slavery were killed. We were in 1859.

Some said that Brown was a madman. A Virginia Court trialed Brown for treason: he was hanged with 5 other men. The South was horrified by the threat of a slave revolt and blamed the North for it by calling the North “Black Republicans”. American began referring to it as “Bleeding Kansas”. Neither side controlled Kansas and Congress delayed its admission in the US.

In 1858, the pro-S won a victory of another sort, the Dred Scott decision. Dred Scott was a slave who had been taken by his master to live in a free state. He asked the Supreme Court to declare this had made him legally free. The Supreme Court refused because:

  • Black slaves had no rights as American citizens
  • Congress had gone beyond its constitutional powers in claiming the right to prohibit slavery in the Western territories

This was quite a stir in the US: the South was delighted and the anti-slavery were horrified. The Supreme Court seemed to say that free states had no right to forbid slavery within their boundaries: slave owners could put their slaves to work anywhere. The anti-slavery created a party: the Republican Party.

Introduction

The Anglo-American World is but colonial. Its present extension is the result of England’s self-affirmation and ambition to become a major world power. Therefore, the words "empire" and "imperialism" describe England’s struggle for national and international sovereignty.

The first consequence of English expansionism was the west ward impulse of the Anglo-Saxon element, first into the Celtic periphery of the British Isles, then across the Atlantic and finally into Africa and Australasia.

The second more recent consequence is the emergence in the 20th century of multi-cultural societies both in Britain and in America but also across the British Commonwealth, which is constituted of the former British colonies.

I. Early English expansionism in the British Isles

The origin of British colonial adventures lies in the early step taken by English Kings towards the political, economic and religious integration of the British Isles.

A. The Anglo-Norman enterprise

In 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, became the master in England. His successors, the Anglo-Norman Kings, tried to increase their authority and international prestige (especially in front of France) by controlling the British Isles (first Ireland and then Wales).

In 1171, the English King Henry II landed in Ireland and was accepted by the Irish Kings as their overlord (=master). During the 13th century, many Anglo-Norman barons settled in Ireland where they were given land by the King. They introduced the French system of feudalism and forced the native Irish to become serfs.

In 1366, the English Parliament prohibited mixed marriages between Irish and Anglo-Norman and Irish laws and customs were abolished in English controlled areas. The colonization of Ireland had started.

In 1277, Edward I of England invaded Wales after the last Prince of Wales refused to acknowledge his authority. The country soon became part of the English Royal Estate and was re-organized into 5 countries, after the English model. In 1301, the English King became Prince of Wales.

The Anglo-Norman never managed to conquer Scotland. After a series of unsuccessful invasions, the English were finally forced out in 1314. Scottish independence was secured for 4 centuries.

B. Post-Reformation settlements

By consolidating royal power, the reformation indirectly encouraged England to extend her control over the British Isles.

In 1541, King Henry VIII, who has become head of the English church as wall as of the State, was proclaimed King of Ireland. The actual colonization of Ireland started in 1586 with the creation of the Munster Plantation in the South of Ireland. Later on, in 1608, Scottish and English settlers were encouraged by the Government to cross the Irish Sea and to create farms in Ulster. This new settlement was the origin of contemporary Protestant Northern Ireland. In 1652, 2/3 of Irish land was given to Protestants.

Between 1536 and 1543, a series of administrative measures put Wales under the situation of total dependence on English legislation. The situation of Scotland was different: between 1603 and 1707, Scotland remained a separate independent Kingdom but under the same King as England.

II. Formation of the old colonial empire

A. From trading posts to early settlements

A trading post is a place to carry on commercial business; it may be temporary and doesn’t imply settlement.

Right after the discovery of the New World in 1492, England’s self-affirmation as an independent and dominant European power led her to compete against Spanish and Portuguese colonial monopolies.

In 1494, by the treaty of Tordesillas, Spain and Portugal had divided the Western Hemisphere between Spanish and Portuguese possessions. In answer, England decided to send explorers to the New World.

In 1497, the Italian Sea Captain John Cabot explored the northern coast of America on behalf of the English King. He called the land he had recognized "Newfoundland".

Later on, in 1577, an English Captain explored the West Coast of America: Francis Drake called the American Pacific sea coast "California", legendary name of a mythical Eden.

Finally, in 1584, another sea captain, Sir Walter Raleigh, explored the Atlantic American coast for the Queen of England and called the place "Virginia" to celebrate his queen as the Virgin Queen.

In 1588, England took the status of a major sea power after defeating the Spanish fleet, the "Invincible Armada". This early colonial experience had secured English mastery of the sea. It was the starting point of the Spanish decline. In economic terms, several colonial joint-stock companies, in which several people invested money to found the colonial empire, were created in England. In 1600, the East India Company was created in order to favor trade with the East. In 1606, 2 companies were created to encourage trade with America:

  • Plymouth Company for the Northern part of the coast
  • London and South Virginia Company for the Southern coast.

In 1672, the Royal African Company was given the monopoly of trade with Africa (and slavery). Therefore, the rise of Capitalism corresponds to that of colonial. In human terms, the first successful and permanent English settlement in America was established in May 1607 with the creation of Jamestown in Virginia by adventurers and merchants in search of fortune. A totally different experience took place in September 1620, when an English ship called the Mayflower reached the place later called Plymouth Rock with a small group of English dissidents on board, the famous Pilgrim Fathers.

This first successful puritan colony in America was motivated by religious reasons. From 1620 to 1640, some 25000 English independents took refuge in New England. The 3rd category of people who reached America was African slaves. In 1619, the first shipload of slaves was brought in America on a Dutch ship. Finally, the last category of people in America is Native Americans. They proved to be essential to the survival of settlers in America. The beginning of the European settlement gave the illusion of a peaceful coexistence between European settlers and Native Americans. In 1640, a rich colonist called John Rolfe married the daughter of a local chief, Pocahontas. Another Indian tribe helped the Pilgrim Fathers to avoid starvation by teaching them how to plant corns.

But the respected interest of both communities soon became opposed. The increase in the European population resulted in several problems over land ownership and the American settlers soon started to displace Indian population and sometimes used military action. The original dream of peace turned into a bloody nightmare. Americans, however, were relieved to think their treatment of the Natives had never reached the savagery that was typical of Spanish colonization.

B. Mercantilism or the establishment of the colonial system

Apart from international prestige, the colonists constituted a vast and permanent captive market for English goods. It was also a source of raw materials and finally, it represented a convenient exile for embarrassing subjects. The colonists played a major role in the definition of the new international economic system called mercantilism.

It was based on strict regulations protecting the home market and establishing monopolies on all exchanges with the colonies. Between 1651 and 1662, a series of Navigation Acts gave English ships the exclusive control of all trade to and from the colonies. This excluded all foreign nations and all colonial organizations from trading across the Atlantic: in order to secure new markets and new sources of raw materials, the system demanded a continual expansion through wars and invasions. The struggle for empire had started a long time before the late 19th century, called the Scramble for Africa.

The essential part of trade consisted in the famous "triangular trade" with the New World. Three geographical regions were involved in the triangle:

  • Western Europe
  • Africa
  • North America and the West Indies

Because of mercantilist regulations, most goods including African slaves had to transit either through England or through the West Indies. This economic situation was considered as unfair by a majority of colonists. It was one of the origins of the American Revolution.

C. The first British colonial empire

Lasted until the American independence, which took place between 1776 and 1783. This empire had two major poses: India and North America. The stream of emigrants was directed namely towards America but in both cases, England and then Britain became involved in colonial wars against Holland, Spain and France in order to protect and to extend her trading interests.

England had started trading with India in the late 18th century. The East Indian Company (EIC) was founded in 1600. The 18th century saw the decline of the Indian Empire (Mogul) and military agreements with local leaders. After 1757, the EIC controlled all trade with the West Coast of India, Bengal and with Ceylan (Sri Lanka today). In 1760, the French were defeated and driven out of India, except for a couple of trading posts that she kept on the coast such as Pondichery. In 1773, Britain started to control India through a governor based in the town of Bombay.

In 1640, sugar cane agriculture was introduced in Barbados. In 1655, the English took Jamaica from Spain: it marked the beginning of the Spanish decline in the Caribbean’s.

On the American continent, the 18th century saw a total domination of Britain on colonial land. In 1667, England invaded New Amsterdam, which later became New York. After the 7-years’old war with France in 1763, England took control of the French West Indies, of all French Canada and of the whole French territory between the East Coast of America (New England) and Mississippi. Finally, England took Florida from Spain. In 1763, the British King George III issued a royal proclamation leaving the rich Ohio valley to the Native American tribes that had helped the British against France. This political measure disappointed the settlers who feared overpopulation in New England. This was the second origin of the American Revolution.

In the 1760’s, the population of New England which was divided into 30 colonies had already reached 2.5 million inhabitants and 275 000 slaves were transported to America during the 18th century. 90 % were to be found in the South. The loss of the American colonies in 1783 marked the end of the first colonial empire, yet, a second one was already forming in other parts of the world.

III. The second colonial empire

Australasia. In 1768, the British captain James Cook had already explored the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. After the discovery of Botany Bay that later became Sydney, a penal colony was established in Australia in 1788. Prisoners and convicts were transported to Australia for hard labor. Settlement started much later in New Zealand, with a treaty with local Maori chiefs in 1840.

Africa. Before the 1880’s, i.e. the Scramble for Africa, Britain showed little interest for the African continent. The government’s major occupation, apart from the slave market, was to secure the sea route to India. Therefore, Britain took the Dutch colony at the cape (South Africa) in 1806. Then, Britain insisted on receiving Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Later, Britain secured other places on the sea route to Suez (e.g.: island of Malta). However, Britain accepted to take the responsibility of protecting a colony of liberated slaves in Sierra Leone founded in 1788.

Asia. The expansion started much later when Britain took Singapore in 1824. Later, in 1841, Britain established a trading post in Hong Kong she kept until July 1997.

Sommaire de la série From the Reformation to the birth of the American nation (1534-1776)

  1. The Reformation in the British Isles
  2. English Expansionism
  3. The Glorious Revolution of 1688
  4. The American colonies : Religion and Politics
  5. Birth of a Nation