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Empire and the Making of Native Title


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; List of Abbreviations; Principal Players; Maps; Introduction; 1. Claiming Possession in New Holland and New Zealand, 1770s-1820s; 2. Batman's Treaty and the Rise and Fall of Native Title, 1835-1836; 3. The South Australian Colonisation Commission, the Colonial Office, and Aboriginal Rights in Land, 1834-1837; 4. Protection Claims and Sovereignty in the Islands of New Zealand, 1800-1839; 5. Making Agreements and a Struggle for Authority, 1839-1840; 6. The Land Claims Commission and the Return of the Treaty, 1840-1843; 7. A Colony in Crisis and a Select Committee, 1843-1844; 8. The Retreat of the Government and the Rise of the Treaty, 1844-1845; 9. The Making of Native Title, 1845-1850; Conclusion; Appendix (The English Text of the Treaty of Waitangi); Bibliography; Index

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This book provides a strikingly original explanation of the Britain's treatment of sovereignty and native title in its Australasian colonies.

About the Author

Bain Attwood is Professor of History at Monash University and has held fellowships at the University of Cambridge and Harvard University. His book Possession: Batman's Treaty and the Matter of History (2009) won the Ernest Scott Prize for the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia or New Zealand. He is the author of Rights for Aborigines (2003) and the co-editor of Protection and Empire: A Global History (2018).


'Empire and the Making of Native Title is a masterful account of the early colonisation of Australia and New Zealand that provides a clear, engaging, and persuasive explanation of why Britain treated the two places so differently.' Stuart Banner, author of Possessing the Pacific
'If you thought there was nothing more to say about the history of native title in Australia and New Zealand, think again. Bain Attwood's fascinating account is brimming with new insights about sovereignty, property, possession, protection, indigenous power, and imperial policy. An extraordinary achievement.' Lauren Benton, author of A Search for Sovereignty
'Attwood displays and advances all the best qualities of historians' post-millennial interest in law and political discourse inside the British Empire. Native title is the contested ground in the constitutional politics of the nineteenth century Australasian colonies, an irresolute discursive practice the inflections of which play out differently in their particular settings.' P.G. McHugh, author of Aboriginal Title
'This probing work by one of Australia's most distinguished historians delivers a richly textured account of imperial claims in the Australasian colonies. Meticulously researched, it traces how British sovereignty in the settler world proceeded less from firm policy than from fluctuating circumstances that served to recognise or deny the existence of native title.' Amanda Nettelbeck, author of Indigenous Rights and Colonial Subjecthood

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