chapter  6
Colonialism, development and degradation
Pages 22

In this chapter we are concerned with the major change of modern times for much of the world - the temporary loss of independence under colonialism, both direct and indirect. Our object in focusing on this event is to develop an explanatory system of wide domain, for the forces that evolved under colonialism are but an exaggerated expression of forces encountered everywhere during the period of capitalist expansion. We begin with a brief discussion of colonialism itself, seeking to disaggregate elements which had the sharpest impact on land management. We then examine some aspects of this impact in the colonized regions of Africa, with only brief reference to the impact in Asia, and none to the Americas for want of space. Finally, we turn to those mainly upland areas in which direct colonialism was resisted more successfully than in the lowlands, but in which the new forces were none the less strong although experienced by people in those areas in a different form. Our discussion ranges over a long period of time, but its main focus is on the period since about, say, 1850, when for convenience an older mercantilist

colonialism may be said to have given way to an era of more direct control (Cohen 1973).