Introduction Empire of Love: Histories of France and the Pacific


in Empire of Love

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780195162950
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199867660 | DOI:
 Introduction Empire of Love: Histories of France and the Pacific

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This introductory chapter examines the unique ways the French empire in the Pacific developed historically in the 19th century. It proposes three basic arguments. First, that the French Oceanic empire was not thought of as a bounded territory, but rather as a web or grid of strategic locations called “points d'appui,” and that this allowed an “empire” to develop even where there were no actual colonies. Second, that the French Pacific empire depended upon an idea of romance, often contrasted with British “indirect rule” which became manifested in strong sentiments of “love of country” imposed upon and negotiated by local peoples. Third, that connected cases can be drawn to illustrate a “French Pacific” from histories that are often studied separately, for example Asia (Japan, Indochina), Polynesia (Tahiti), Melanesia (New Caledonia), Central America (Panama), Europe (France).

Keywords: Pacific; Oceania; French Empire; post colonialism

Chapter.  5598 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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