Power over Peoples : Technology, Environments, and Western Imperialism, 1400 to the Present

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-11-09
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr

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For six hundred years, the nations of Europe and North America have periodically attempted to coerce, invade, or conquer other societies. They have relied on their superior technology to do so, yet these technologies have not always guaranteed success.Power over Peoplesexamines Western imperialism's complex relationship with technology, from the first Portuguese ships that ventured down the coast of Africa in the 1430s to America's conflicts in the Middle East today.Why did the sailing vessels that gave the Portuguese a century-long advantage in the Indian Ocean fail to overcome Muslim galleys in the Red Sea? Why were the same weapons and methods that the Spanish used to conquer Mexico and Peru ineffective in Chile and Africa? Why didn't America's overwhelming air power assure success in Iraq and Afghanistan? InPower over Peoples, Daniel Headrick traces the evolution of Western technologies--from muskets and galleons to jet planes and smart bombs--and sheds light on the environmental and social factors that have brought victory in some cases and unforeseen defeat in others. He shows how superior technology translates into greater power over nature and sometimes even other peoples, yet how technological superiority is no guarantee of success in imperialist ventures--because the technology only delivers results in a specific environment, or because the society being attacked responds in unexpected ways.Breathtaking in scope,Power over Peoplesis a revealing history of technological innovation, its promise and limitations, and its central role in the rise and fall of empire.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction Imperialism and Technologyp. 1
On Imperialismp. 1
On Technologyp. 3
The Goal and Organization of This Bookp. 6
Notesp. 9
The Discovery of the Oceans, to 1779p. 11
Five Seafaring Traditionsp. 11
The Portuguese and the Oceanp. 20
Navigationp. 27
The Spanish Voyagesp. 32
Completing the Map of the Oceansp. 41
Conclusionp. 50
Notesp. 51
Eastern Ocean Empires, 1497-1700p. 59
The Portuguese in the Indian Oceanp. 59
The Ottoman Challengep. 68
The Limits of Portuguese Powerp. 74
The Dutch and the English in the Indian Oceanp. 79
China, Japan, and the Europeansp. 84
Conclusionp. 87
Notesp. 89
Horses, Diseases, and the Conquest of the Americas, 1492-1849p. 95
The First Encounter: The Caribbeanp. 96
The Conquest of Mexicop. 101
Peru and Chilep. 112
Argentina and North Americap. 118
Disease and Demographyp. 123
Conclusionp. 131
Notesp. 132
The Limits of the Old Imperialism: Africa and Asia to 1859p. 139
Sub-Saharan Africa to 1830p. 139
India to 1746p. 147
The Military Revolutionp. 151
Plassey and Afterp. 154
Reaching the Limit: Afghanistan and the Punjabp. 158
Reaching the Limit: Algeria, 1830-1850p. 163
Russia and the Caucasusp. 167
Conclusionp. 169
Notesp. 170
Steamboat Imperialism, 1807-1898p. 177
Steamboats in North Americap. 179
Steamers in South Asiap. 186
Routes to Indiap. 188
The Euphrates Routep. 191
The Red Sea Routep. 194
Britain and Chinap. 197
The Nemesisp. 200
Steamboats on the Nigerp. 206
Steamboats and the Scramble for Africap. 212
Conclusionp. 216
Notesp. 217
Health, Medicine, and the New Imperialism, 1830-1914p. 226
Medicine and Africa in the Early Nineteenth Centuryp. 226
The Discovery of Quinine Prophylaxisp. 229
Public Health at Mid-Centuryp. 234
From Empirical to Scientific Medicinep. 237
Science and Tropical Diseasesp. 239
Health and Empire at the Turn of the Centuryp. 243
Conclusionp. 249
Notesp. 251
Weapons and Colonial Wars, 1830-1914p. 257
The Gun Revolutionp. 257
Guns in Africap. 265
The Scramble for Africap. 269
North Americap. 276
Argentina and Chilep. 284
Ethiopiap. 289
Conclusionp. 291
Notesp. 292
The Age of Air Control, 1911-1936p. 302
The Beginnings of Aviationp. 303
Early Colonial Air Campaignsp. 306
Great Britain in Iraqp. 311
Air Control in Actionp. 314
Spain in the Rifp. 321
Italy in Africap. 324
Conclusionp. 327
Notesp. 329
The Decline of Air Control, 1946-2007p. 334
France in Indochinap. 335
France in Algeriap. 337
The United States in Vietnamp. 340
The Soviet Union in Afghanistanp. 349
U.S. Military Aviation after Vietnamp. 353
The Gulf Warp. 357
The Iraq Warp. 359
Conclusionp. 363
Notesp. 364
Conclusion Technology and Imperialism Reduxp. 370
Notesp. 373
For Further Readingp. 375
Index 381
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