Dirk Hoerder

in The Oxford Handbook of World History

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199235810
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History


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The history of humanity is a history of migration rather than an early nomadic ‘prehistory’ and a subsequent ‘history’ of settled peoples. Migrations involve intercultural exchange as well as conflict; a human-agency approach emphasizes that even forced migrants leave their mark, if under severely constrained conditions. This article describes the Homo sapiens' migrations and the ‘agricultural revolution’; cities, civilizations, and seaborne migrations to 500 ce; migrations and societies in 500 bce–1500 ce; the expansion of the Chinese empire and the rise of Europe's Atlantic littoral; people on the move in colonizer, self-ruled, and colonized societies to 1800; nineteenth-century global migration systems; refugee-generation, unmixing of peoples, and forced labor migrations to the 1950s; and decolonization and new global patterns of migration since the 1950s.

Keywords: intercultural exchange; Homo sapiens; global migration; Chinese empire; decolonization; refugee-generation

Article.  8080 words. 

Subjects: History ; Environmental History

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