The Unending Frontier: An Environmental History of the Early Modern World
It was the age of exploration, the age of empire and conquest, and human beings were extending their reach—and their numbers—as never before. In the process, they were intervening in the world's natural environment in equally unprecedented and dramatic ways. A sweeping work of environmental history, The Unending Frontier offers a truly global perspective on the profound impact of humanity on the natural world in the early modern period.
John F. Richards identifies four broadly shared historical processes that speeded environmental change from roughly 1500 to 1800 c.e.: intensified human land use along settlement frontiers; biological invasions; commercial hunting of wildlife; and problems of energy scarcity. The Unending Frontier considers each of these trends in a series of case studies, sometimes of a particular place, such as Tokugawa Japan and early modern England and China, sometimes of a particular activity, such as the fur trade in North America and Russia, cod fishing in the North Atlantic, and whaling in the Arctic. Throughout, Richards shows how humans—whether clearing forests or draining wetlands, transporting bacteria, insects, and livestock; hunting species to extinction, or reshaping landscapes—altered the material well-being of the natural world along with their own.
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The Early Modern World
Climate and Early Modern World Environmental History
Eurasia and Africa
Pioneer Settlement on Taiwan
Internal Frontiers and Intensified Land Use in China
Ecological Strategies in Tokugawa Japan
Landscape Change and Energy Transformation in the British Isles
Frontier Settlement in Russia
Ranching Mining and Settlement Frontiers in Colonial Mexico
Sugar and Cattle in Portuguese Brazil
Landscapes of Sugar in the Antilles
Furs and Deerskins in Eastern North America
The Hunt for Furs in Siberia
Cod and the New World Fisheries
Whales and Walruses in the Northern Oceans
Wildlife and Livestock in South Africa
The Columbian Exchange The West Indies
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agricultural Ainus American animals annual Arctic average Barbados beaver became bowhead bowhead whales Brazil brazilwood British Cambridge Cape cattle China Chinese climate coal coast coastal colonial colonists crops cultivation cultural daimyo deer deerskins demand Dutch early modern economy eighteenth century England English Europe European export fish fishery forest French frontier fur trade grazing hectares herds History human hundred hunters hunting Ibid Indian island Japan Japanese Khoikhois killed kilograms labor land landscape Little Ice Age livestock maize Matsumae domain meters metric tons Mexico migration million mines Mughal North northern numbers officials peasants pelts percent period planters plants population Portuguese production Qing regime region rice River Russian savanna season settlement settlers seventeenth century sheep ships shogun Siberia slaves society soil Spanish species Spitsbergen square kilometers sugar Tainos Taiwan Tatar thousand timber Tokugawa towns trees trekboers University Press village West whale