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Ecological Imperialism

A CORE PREMISE of ecological imperialism is that the success of European colonial settlement is due at least as much to nonhuman forces, including plants, animals and pathogens introduced both deliberately and inadvertently, as it is to military, political, economic, and demographic incursions. The term has been developed most fully by Alfred W. Crosby in Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900–1900, an erudite environmental history of the relationships between ecology and European colonialism.

Crosby explores the concept to explain successful European population expansion into particular regions of the world he labels Neo-Europes. These areas include temperate zones of North America, South America, New Zealand, and Australia that—while oceans away from Europe—contain comparable climates in which European plants, animals, and diseases could successfully establish. In ...

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