Absent-minded imperialism: Britain and the expansion of empire in nineteenth-century Brazil
This book looks at the mainsprings of imperial expansion and illustrates the grain of truth in J.R. Seeley's famous phrase in The Expansion of England: 'We seem to have conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind.' Peter Riviere gives a vivid account of how the British Empire at the zenith of its power was dragged reluctantly, and with little thought and no clear policy, into a minor border dispute with Brazil which was solved only after sending a boundary commission and an expeditionary force. Centred on the Indian village of Pirara on the border between northern Brazil and British Guiana, in a remote territory in the interior, the story of the Anglo-Brazilian border dispute reveals much about the varied and conflicting motivations of imperial expansion. Zealous Protestant and Catholic mission activity, attempts to end slavery, and the overwhelming motivation to establish links and to define and control imperial boundaries were key aspects of the dispute. This is a beautifully written and vivid anthropological and historical narrative, with acute analysis of imperial expansion, based upon extensive fieldwork and Foreign Office, Colonial Office and missionary society records.
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First stages 18291837
The first mission at Pirara 1838
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Amerindian April arrived at Pirara August Barbados Bartica Grove Belem Bernau Bingham Bishop of Barbados boundary commission boundary commissioner boundary markers boundary survey Brazil Brazilian authorities Brazilian boundary Brazilian government Brazilian minister Brazilian territory British government British Guiana canoes Captain Leal cattle chapel Church Missionary Society claimed Colonial Office Corresponding Committee Crichton December Demerara Doyce English Essequibo Evaristo February force foreign affairs Foreign Office frontier Fryer further Georgetown Goodall Governor Light Indians instructions interior January Jose Jose's journal journey June Leal's letter Macushi Manaus March matter Mattos military commander military expedition mission noted November occupation of Pirara Ouseley Pedro Ayres Pirara Landing Portuguese president proposed protection question reached referred Ribeiro Richard Schomburgk Rio de Janeiro Rio Negro Robert Schomburgk Rupununi River Sao Joaquim savannah sent settled Silva Pontes soldiers Takutu troops Upper Rio Branco Urwa village Waraputa withdraw wrote Youd Youd's