The early modern period (c. 1500–1800) of world history is characterized by the establishment and aggressive expansion of European empires, and warfare between imperial powers and indigenous peoples was a central component of the quest for global dominance. From the Portuguese in Africa to the Russians and Ottomans in Central Asia, empire builders could not avoid military interactions with native populations, and many discovered that imperial expansion was impossible without the cooperation, and, in some cases, alliances with the natives they encountered in the new worlds they sought to rule.
Empires and Indigenes is a sweeping examination of how intercultural interactions between Europeans and indigenous people influenced military choices and strategic action. Ranging from the Muscovites on the western steppe to the French and English in North America, it analyzes how diplomatic and military systems were designed to accommodate the demands and expectations of local peoples, who aided the imperial powers even as they often became subordinated to them. Contributors take on the analytical problem from a variety of levels, from the detailed case studies of the different ways indigenous peoples could be employed, to more comprehensive syntheses and theoretical examinations of diplomatic processes, ethnic soldier mobilization, and the interaction of culture and military technology.
Contributors: Virginia Aksan, David R. Jones, Marjoleine Kars, Wayne E. Lee, Mark Meuwese, Douglas M. Peers, Geoffrey Plank, Jenny Hale Pulsipher, and John K. Thornton
“Empires and Indigenes offers a valuable perspective not only on the cross-cultural dimensions of early-modern warfare but also on the differing styles of imperial expansion. As such, this collection is a significant addition to the global history of the period.”
—Jeremy Black, author of War: A Short History
“Empire and Indigenes needs to be read by historians, policy analysts, and military experts for important reassessments on intercultural warfare. With measured arguments, the authors challenge and qualify hallowed ‘truths’ of military and imperial history, such as the early modern military revolution or the easy defeats and subjugation of indigenous populations. This volume will surely mark a shift in how we understand warfare as a complex and contested form of intercultural engagement in empires.”
—Elizabeth Mancke, co-editor of The Creation of the British Atlantic World
"In sum, Empires and Indigenes should be required reading material for individuals interested in early modern empire building."
—Rainer Buschmann, H-Net Reviews
"Empires and Indigenes is a sweeping examination of how intercultural interactions between Europeans and indigenous people influenced military choices and strategic action."
—Settler Colonial Studies Blog
"[T]his is a fascinating group of essays focused on the military side of empire building, a necessary phase before institution building could get underway."
—Robert C. Ritchie , The Historian
"The range of essays in the collection is truly ambitious, ranging from considerations of Euro-American and Native American ways of war in the Americas to the relation between Europe and the history of war making in South Asia and Africa, to the military histories of Russia's eastern empire and the Ottoman Empire. Clearly, the definitions employed here for both 'indigenes' and 'empires' are capacious indeed, but the authors track a startling number of analogies among these widely variable contexts."
—Brian Yothers, Early American Literature
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