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Cattle Colonialism: An Environmental History of the Conquest of California and Hawai'i

The origins of the cattle market in the California and Hawai'i colonies

Series: Flows, Migrations, and Exchanges

By: John Ryan Fischer (Author)

266 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations

University of North Carolina Press

Hardback | Oct 2015 | #225294 | ISBN-13: 9781469625126
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £35.50 $44/€41 approx

About this book

In the nineteenth century, the colonial territories of California and Hawai'i underwent important cultural, economic, and ecological transformations influenced by an unlikely factor: cows. The creation of native cattle cultures, represented by the Indian vaquero and the Hawaiian paniolo, demonstrates that California Indians and native Hawaiians adapted in ways that allowed them to harvest the opportunities for wealth that these unfamiliar biological resources presented. But the imposition of new property laws limited these indigenous responses, and Pacific cattle frontiers ultimately became the driving force behind Euro-American political and commercial domination, under which native residents lost land and sovereignty and faced demographic collapse.

Environmental historians have too often overlooked California and Hawai'i, despite the roles the regions played in the colonial ranching frontiers of the Pacific World. In Cattle Colonialism, John Ryan Fischer significantly enlarges the scope of the American West by examining the trans-Pacific transformations these animals wrought on local landscapes and native economies.

"Building on a rich body of scholarship, John Ryan Fischer tells a fascinating and nuanced story about the environmental, economic, and cultural impacts of the development of the Pacific cattle market and culture in California and Hawai'i. Cattle Colonialism is an excellent and significant book."
– Virginia DeJohn Anderson, University of Colorado at Boulder

"In this fascinating book, John Ryan Fischer pioneers new ideas in the history of the American West by moving away from the established comparison between California and Hawai'i and toward a particularly impressive transcultural study."
– Andrew Isenberg, Temple University

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John Ryan Fischer is visiting assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, USA.

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