‘…territorial acquisitions are among the landmarks of our history’: the buying and leasing of imperial territory
This work focuses upon a method of expansion often overlooked when examining comparative aspects of the growth of empires, namely that territory can be attained through purchase or lease. It identifies a colonial process that, while seeming to have disappeared under the historical radar, remains one of the most powerful determiners of the modern world’s political landscape. It also suggests that empires, contrary to common belief, do not have to be state led and that a variety of other imperial actors can participate in such a process. By drawing attention to this particular method of territorial expansion and the variety of potential players involved, this work underscores the continuing relevance of imperial studies. It simultaneously suggests a need to begin rethinking our understanding of what empires are, how they can be formed and who imperial players can be.