Colonization as Exploitation in the Amazon Rain Forest, 1758-1911

Robin L. Anderson

Details: 208 pages    6 x 9
Cloth: $59.95   ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-1719-8   
Pubdate: 11/26/1999
Review(s): 2 available

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Overview

"A thorough review of Amazonia’s colonization history at the pivotal moment of the Directorate. This study of 19th-century colonization is an important contribution to the scholarship of colonization in Latin America."—Susanna B. Hecht, University of California, Berkeley

Robin Anderson examines Portuguese and Brazilian attempts to settle the lower Amazon Basin during the 18th and 19th centuries. Clearly demonstrating the continuity of European colonization from the expulsion of Jesuit missionaries in 1758 through the collapse of the Brazilian rubber boom in 1911, she maintains that "colonization" became a euphemism for the systematic exploitation of the region and its native people.
Anderson covers new ground both by reevaluating original documentary evidence from the earliest colonial period and by presenting new information from the national period on the creation of a vast network of agricultural settlements. She makes clear that the environmental destruction associated with settlement is not a new phenomenon: it is the result of centuries of history, with roots in the earliest desires of Europeans to live in the Amazon basin. Anderson argues that the same mistakes continue to be made, that recent devastation from bulldozers and massive fires is only the latest chapter in a long story. What is new is the technology: bigger machines, more financing, and, above all, more up-to-date information.
For students of Amazonia, colonization, and environmental history, this book highlights the important historical context within which to measure modern actions in the largest remaining rain forest in the world.

Robin L. Anderson is associate professor of history at Arkansas State University.

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