Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries

Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries

Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries

Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries

Synopsis

"Many of the sports and games played around the world today are rooted in the 18th and 19th centuries. Their histories provide us with insights into the life and times of cultures across the globe. The dominance of Britain as a world power during this time had a particularly powerful effect in sports, as the empire organized many Western sports with specific rules and repressed the traditional sports and games of regions it colonized, such as Africa. The book is divided into seven geopolitical regions: Africa, Asia (including the Middle East), British Isles, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania. Each region opens with an essay placing native sports and games in their political and cultural contexts. Ensuing entries examine the individual sports of the region, including: a detailed history of each sport, instructions for playing the 18th- or 19th-century versions, lists of equipment, alternate rules or variations of the games, and clarifying diagrams." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Beginning in the mid- to late 18th century in England, the process of industrialization transformed traditional societies throughout Europe and North America. Life became more urban and less tied to farming and the land. Sports that originally had links either to fertility/harvest rituals or to agriculture and hunting in general (e.g., soccer, polo, jai alai) were taken out of their original contexts and modernized. The concept of time—when to wake up and go to work, when to come home—became ingrained in modern society as jobs and employment were separated from the home and land. While sport in many traditional cultures had been an integral part of life (e.g., running, jumping, and throwing as a part of hunting, or skiing and skating as essential modes of transportation), in an increasingly modern, industrial society sports became identified with and reserved for leisure time. Given the limited amount of time in which they could be played, many sports and games became formalized with the writing of rules and guidelines.

Some of our most popular sports and games today—football, baseball, basketball, and hockey—were originally played in the 19th century. Sports with older roots, like soccer, swimming, golf, wrestling, and fencing, were standardized with the creation of rulebooks. These rules governed competition between two teams or individuals, which bought into the concept that sports and games would have winners and losers. This is another new concept linked to modern industrial society. Victory or defeat—the final outcome—was emphasized over the process of sport.

The strength of the British Empire, which would form colonies and protectorates in Africa, Asia, and North and South America, was founded on its industry and economy—a capitalist economy based on the principles . . .

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