Settler Colonialism in New Caledonia, 1853 to the Present

Authored by: David Chappell

The Routledge Handbook of the History of Settler Colonialism

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415742160
eBook ISBN: 9781315544816
Adobe ISBN: 9781134828470


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Overseas colonies in which European settlers were the demographic majority became what Alfred Crosby called ‘Neo-Europes’. 1 Most such migrants went to temperate climate zones similar to their homelands, so they could transfer many of their domestic animals, food crops and lifestyles to the new countries they created. Meanwhile, the indigenous populations often declined due to conquest, land alienation, exploitation and imported diseases, thereby enabling the settlers to become clear majorities of the populations who could develop local resources in commercial ways. The settler countries of the former British Empire demonstrated this transformation, for example in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where small indigenous minorities continue to struggle for recognition and restitution. Such countries also received more economic investment and earlier self-government than those with indigenous majorities. Tropical colonies, however, tended to experience influxes of slave or indentured laborers who often came from other tropical zones (especially Africa or southern Asia). Yet the French national state was much less able to create viable Neo-Europes abroad, because domestic population growth was slower and fewer French settlers went overseas. French Canada and Algeria became settler colonies manqués with enduring indigenous majorities (like Kenya, Rhodesia and South Africa), and in New Caledonia it was only in the 1960s that settlers finally became a majority, by including both European and non-European economic immigration during a nickel mining boom.

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