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Visions of history, visions of Britain

This chapter reconstructs the more fragmentary but important things C. L. R. James did say about Britain, Britishness and their relations to Caribbean histories and identities. The nature of James' writings means that discussion of their influence in Britain must explore not only a ‘bilateral’ British-Caribbean relationship, but a triangular one. He insisted that the Britishness was part of a rich, complex, internationally open and distinctively modern cultural mix. His views on the character of racism in Britain were distinctive. In addition, his views of British colonialism were built around a stark contrast between imperial Britain and what he thought of as the truer, better values of Britishness ‘at home’. In his most influential works, James set out to assail and demolish views of Britain's history which he regarded as myths.

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain

This chapter provides the information on the Ninth Cape Frontier War (1877–78) and campaign against Sekhukhune and focuses on Anglo-Zulu War. The campaigns of 1877–78 were a series of largely desultory engagements, often involving small bodies of imperial troops and/or mounted police and their auxiliaries. The abortive campaign against Sekhukhune, undertaken over peculiarly difficult terrain by an under-strength force, had less impact upon British military thinking than did the bush fighting in the Transkei. For the Anglo-Zulu War, Lieutenant-General Baron Chelmsford duly assembled his army of 17,929 officers and men, including over 1,000 mounted colonial volunteers and some 9,000 natives, and also managed the variety of different forms of transport. Chelmsford launched an attack on Chief Sihayo's mountainous kraal above the Batshe River within a day of crossing into Zululand. Chelmsford also employed the reinforcements to relieve Eshowe and entered Zululand moving slowly across the terrain and forming wagon laagers with external entrenchments.

in The Victorian soldier in Africa
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‘If they treat the Indians humanely, all will be well’

This chapter focuses on the early political developments in the British settler colonies in the region of North America, which later became Canada, from the late 1830s to around 1870. By 1840, there were four colonies in mainland British North America, clustered in the south-eastern corner of the vast Canadian land mass, the rest of which remained under the administration of the Hudson's Bay Company. Representative government had been introduced during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, beginning with the maritime colonies of Nova Scotia (1758), Prince Edward Island (1773) and New Brunswick (1785), and extending to Upper and Lower Canada, the constituent parts of the new province of Canada, in 1791. Discussions of the status of Indigenous peoples in the British North American colonies reflect competing and at times conflicting understandings among the four major stakeholders: the Colonial Office, with its locally based governors and Indian agents; the missionaries; the settlers; and the Indigenous peoples themselves.

in Equal subjects, unequal rights
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‘A vote the same as any other person’

This chapter focuses on the political outcomes of the intensified appropriation of Indigenous lands by British settler colonists in Canada from the 1870s to 1910. The Canadian colonies entered into confederation without a uniform national franchise, choosing instead to allow anyone who had the vote at the provincial level to participate in national elections. In post-confederation Canada, the need to bring together disparate colonies, the financing and construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the establishing of systems of governance in the old Hudson's Bay territories were the issues that preoccupied the government in Ottawa. Its exercise of responsibility for Indigenous people was closely related to those issues as well, negotiating a series of treaties which, under the immediate premise of giving access for the railway, laid the basis for the immigration that would populate what were to become the prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 1883, Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Macdonald introduced a Bill to establish a uniform federal franchise, proposing the enfranchisement of single women and widows with property, and the inclusion of Indigenous people, whether or not they had embraced enfranchisement under the provisions of the Gradual Civilisation Act, in the legislation's definition of ‘persons’.

in Equal subjects, unequal rights

Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM) grew out of a small informal meeting held in a basement flat in Mecklenberg Square, London. Six years later, when CAM as an organisation ended, it had made a major impact on the emergence of a Caribbean cultural identity, particularly in Britain, where it also had changed attitudes within the host community. In Britain, CAM played a significant role in the emergence of a new Caribbean strand in black British culture. The Islands in Between was a slim volume, but it was the first book of criticism on West Indian writing in English, and appeared at the moment when radical Caribbean critics were looking for a crusty piece of colonial writing to get their teeth into. CAM's influence was felt in the visual arts. It also touched the lives of a whole generation of young talent.

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain

The case of Ann Izzard is hardly a severe instance among post-Enlightenment witchcraft episodes. By the early nineteenth century, the symbiotic relationship between elite and non-elite sections of society where witchcraft is concerned has changed, and the differing views of magic, evil and causation held by the authorities and by those over whom they had dominion play out in significantly different ways. Among the villagers of Great Paxton, the assaults were considered neither violent outrages, revenge attacks nor irrational outbursts. The result of the hybridized situation, with institutional opinion totally transformed, but village-level perspectives largely unchanged, did not in the end spare Ann Izzard pain, humiliation and actual harm, although it very probably spared her life. Moreover, it is a case that highlights how profoundly ingrained traditional views remained among the populace as a whole, and how quickly such views could be turned into ostensive action.

in Witchcraft Continued
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While the Russian economy began to slide in the early 1990s under its new leader, Boris Yeltsin, as a result of an uncertain mix of change and standstill, economic reform in Central European transition countries started to bear fruit in the form of higher growth and adaptation to world markets. The European Union (EU)'s Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) collapsed in 1993 but was revived in a more flexible form, permitting plans for Economic and Monetary Union to proceed. The conclusion of the Uruguay Round and the establishment in 1995 of the World Trade Organisation meant a major push for Europe towards globalisation and its being exposed to greater competition from emerging non-European economies. Other institutions, such as the Council of Europe, began to form – with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the EU, and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe – a rather complicated European ‘security architecture’. All these organisations were faced with immediate challenges, such as successive wars in the former Yugoslavia and in the southern Russian province of Chechnya.

in Destination Europe
India and America

This chapter focuses on the regime of William Pitt as British prime minister, who was designated by George III as the First Earl of Chatham. Pitt was disposed to retain those office-holders who wished to stay because he lacked sufficient followers to form an administration. He made appointments without regard for connections but perceived merit. Some of Pitt's key appointments include Charles Townshend as Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Second Earl of Shelburne as Secretary of State for the Home Department.

in George III
Political re-alignments

This chapter examines the political realignments in Great Britain from 1767–1768. When Lord Chatham fell ill in 1767, the Duke of Grafton took over the government, but formally became prime minister only in 1768. George III then instructed Grafton to give the leadership of the Exchequer to Lord North. The chapter highlights the accomplishments of Grafton, who served as prime minister until January 1770.

in George III
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This chapter explores the complete cyclopaedia that represents the plurality of metropolitan life, conceptualized by Pierce Egan. In the early years of the nineteenth century artists and writers broke with classical modes of representation of plurality and presented a fundamental shift in the status of the observing subject. Obvious manifestations were the changes in imagery promoted by new systems of representation, but more fundamental was the massive reorganization of knowledge that impacted on human capacities to produce, desire and perceive. A new observer operating in a range of social and artistic practices, and scientific and philosophical domains of knowledge attempted to appropriate the dislocating experiences of urban environments. This ambulatory observer shaped by a convergence of new urban spaces, technologies and new economic and symbolic functions of images and products abandoned the dominant, fixed and seemingly stable perceptions of the previous century, and sought a truth abstracted from any founding site or referent.

in The other empire