Ecological Imperialism Chapter Summary

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Charles Darwin once said, "The varieties of man seem to act on each other in the same way as different species of animals - the stronger always extirpating the weaker." Alfred W. Crosby in Ecological Imperialism argues on "the stronger extirpating the weaker", specifically in New Zealand. Crosby mentions New Zealand originated when the Polynesians were seeking a new source of whale oil. Prior to any exploration or settlement in the mid-1700's, the only known mammals were the bat, the dog and the Moari. However, due to the pressing matter of Europeanization, the indigenous species were no longer alone. Europeanization, according to Crosby, increased the number of mammals on the island from hundreds to millions, making the word indigenous,…show more content…
New Zealand's climate is relatively similar to England's climate, giving the location an ideal destination to grow the same crops grown in England. After Crosby's description of the ecosystem, he takes on a chronological order of inducing the history of New Zealand. Due to New Zealand being the most documented of all the Neo-Europes, he lists his roadmap of the chapter in time periods. He starts this chapter with 1769-1814, the period when the Europeans first made contact with the native Moari, following the brief era of missionaries and whalers,1814-1840, and ending this chapter with Pakeha's arrival, and New Zealand adapting to the Neo-European culture in the 1840-1870s. To support his argument in each of the sections, Crosby uses primary sources such as, Captain Cook's…show more content…
He deliberately chooses New Zealand due to the brief history of the insular and comparatively small island. The history was brief because the Maori, the indigenous population who made New Zealand different from all other islands, quickly conceded to the European style of life. These natives were a cannibalistic group who first had their diet consisting of kumara, rats, dogs, pigs and maritime species surfacing the shores. It was not until Captain Cook's voyage to New Zealand did the ecosystem begin to alter. Europeanization was a quick process that Crosby mentions to have taken place in three steps: First, the Europeans need to be attracted to the land; second, the Europeans need to establish colonies close to the natives; third, the natives need to provide for the Europeans. These three steps were completed by the 1840s when fifty chiefs signed over their land to the British Empire. Crosby shrewdly contends that the most devastating epidemic to fall upon the Moari were the venereal diseases which prevented them from procreating. Due to the venereal diseases the population dropped about three-fourths, 200,000 in 1769 to 47,330 in 1874. This major drop in population allowed the foreign species of cattle, sheep, and hogs to grow exponentially creating an island overpopulated with more meat than they can chew. By 1981, the quantity of foreign mammals were at the

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