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The End Of Empire

IT IS INDISPENSABLE to grasp the nature of the events by which the nations of Western Europe established their rule over the greater part of the habitable globe. For if we suppose that the European conquests of the last four and a half centuries are now merely of historical interest, we deceive ourselves. The whole climate of opinion of that large majority of the human race which passed in varying degree under imperial rule has been largely formed by the experience. We shall never understand the springs of their present-day actions unless we understand this fact.

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John Strachey

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Pēraracu muṭivu


Victor Gollancz Limited

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We shall hardly succeed, however, in getting the feel of modern imperialism if we attempt to retell the story of each conquest. For the result would be a mere catalogue of events. giving no sense of what the actual process of empire building was like. A more hopeful method will be to consider one such conquest in some detail. Which empire, however, are we to choose as our illustration? We might choose the Spanish con- quests in the Americas. The story of the Conquistadors is the most improbable and perhaps the most bloody. A ship load or two of Europeans totally destroyed several Central and South American civilisations, which were technically primitive, without horse or wheel, but which were yet highly organised into considerable local empires. This is, surely, the most fantastic of all collisions between civilisations at different stages of development.


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