4

A NEW RACE OF SOCIETIES

In America, as in Africa and in Asia, colonization brought forth a new race of societies. At the same time it generated a form of economic and political relations which, though unprecedented, represented the consequences of the mutual encounters between civilizations. A number of new collective personalities thus made their entrance on the stage of history: the Creoles in the Americas, the “pieds-noirs” in the Maghreb. They either did or did not crossbreed with the populations of the territories which they occupied-except when they peopled those territories with blacks taken from Africa by force, as in the Americas. These slaves from beyond the Atlantic, and soon those runaways who escaped from their fate, are moreover new characters, as are the Eurasians, the mulattos. Is the racism which they experienced only the product of this encounter?

During the period of imperialism, which was marked by the increasing distance between the races, new symbolic characters take over from the buccaneer or accompany the missionary and the planter. They are the doctors and teachers. Were the apologists of colonialism right to take pride in them? Besides colonial practices were not everywhere alike. Angola is not South Africa which is so near. Nor is it Brazil, which is in the neighbourhood. North Africa is not similar to Turkestan.

Strangely enough, by dint of asking whether colonization was admirable or abominable, whether it earned profits or cost money, one fails to note that one of its functions was to rid the mother countries of people who were, or who were held to be, “dangerous”. They were despatched to Guyana, or to Siberia, or to the other side of the world. “We were a Siberia, but in the sunshine”, the Australians say today. The fate of the societies of “delinquent” people left to fend for themselves is as instructive a test for history as the fate of the societies of mixed race.

-104-

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Colonization: A Global History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Colonization or Imperialism 1
  • 2 - The Initiatives 24
  • 3 - Conflicts for an Empire 52
  • 4 - A New Race of Societies 104
  • 5 - Rose-Coloured Legend and Pitch-Black Legend 163
  • 6 - The Vision of the Vanquished 186
  • 7 - The Movements for Colonist-Independence 211
  • 8 - Leaven and Levers 239
  • 9 - Independence or Revolution 262
  • 10 - Liberation or Decolonization 305
  • 11 - Decolonization Halted 344
  • Chronology 361
  • Filmographic Selection 370
  • Bibliography 376
  • Index 390
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