7

THE MOVEMENTS FOR COLONIST-INDEPENDENCE

I use the expression “movements for colonist-independence” to designate those actions, whether successful or not, undertaken on the initiative of the colonists, that is, by white men. In this manner this first “decolonization” marked the highest level attained by expansion. On the other hand the other independence movements, that is, those of the colonized peoples, actually marked a reflux from expansion.

Actually one may observe that, from its beginnings up to almost the end of the twentieth century, the relationship which the colonists maintained with their mother country was of a rather ambiguous nature. As is well known, most of the time the mother country supported them against rivals, against the natives. But the conflicts in which they become involved may have nevertheless worsened to such an extent that, in order to give to themselves greater freedom of action, the colonists chose to break away from the mother country.

It is in this sense that one may view this series of struggles for independence as the most advanced stage of white colonial expansion.

Conflicts of this nature broke out from the very outset of colonization. An example is provided by the Pizarrist movement against Charles V (in 1544-48): it evinced characteristics which one observes in other contexts. Indeed one encounters a host of such movements during the entire period down to the end of colonization. The stakes were varied, and one must refrain from assimilating the aims of the “American Revolution” (1783) to those of the Spanish colonies between 1819 and 1825, or let alone to those of South Rhodesia, later Zimbabwe, which claimed affinity with the principles of the American Revolution. Likewise one ought not to confuse what was at stake in the revolt of the colonists of Algiers in 1871 with what was at stake in 1958. The facts and the contexts are quite different. From one extremity of the history of colonization to the other, the movements of the colonists each had its respective logic and its specific configuration.

In the Spanish possessions the colonists rose up against the movement initiated by Bartolomeo de Las Casas, that is, they rose up in protest against

-211-

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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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