This latest blog is a review of a book by Tom Lawson called The Last Man it deals with the subject of the British genocide against the indigenous population of Tasmania from the date of the first British invasion of Tasmania in 1803 until 1876 when the indigenous population of Tasmania was finally considered to be extinct. Although a few aborigines survived on the islands off the coast of Tasmania. These provided the basis for Tasmania,s present day aborigine population. The books author is Professor of History at Northumbria University.
When the first British settlement was established in 1803 on Tasmania. The natives called it Trouwunna. There were about nine thousand indigenous aborigines living in Tasmania.
The British settlers referred to the island as ‘wastelands’ By this they considered the land to be vacant and empty. They did not recognize any land rights belonging to the indigenous population, or their nomadic way of life. Due to the growing British settlement of the island from 1803 onwards conflict was inevitable with the native population who the British settlers generally considered to be ‘savages’
In 1826 the British government gave the Tasmanian colonial government the authority to start military operations against the indigenous population over land rights. In 1828 the ‘Black War’ was started under the guidance of the colonial governor George Arthur against the native population over land rights. As a result of this war the native population was forced to live in a ‘reservation’ on a small part of the island.
In 1831 the few remaining indigenous aborigines still living in Tasmania were forcibly removed to live on Flinders Island just off the coast of Tasmania, However conditions were so bad there that most of them eventually died of disease.
Tom Lawson quotes the British press attitude of the 1830,s towards the Tasmanian native population. That the British settlers were fighting a legitimate war of extermination against the native ‘savages’
The author quotes the views of Anthony Trollope and Charles Dickens who were considered political progressives at the time. That the aborigine natives were ‘getting in the way of progress’ so their demise was inevitable. He also quotes the view of the anatomist Robert Knox that the clearing out of the aborigines throughout the world was’ as a natural law a racial conflict by the Anglo american Saxons a necessary but cruel deed’. Tom Lawson also quotes the London Times newspaper of 1869 article stating that the disappearance of the Red Indians of America and the Aborigines of Australia/Tasmania was necessary so that the English speaking world could cover the planet. Mercifully neither the native population of America nor the aboriginal population of Australia totally disappeared.
So as you can see there was very little opposition in mainland Britain against the extermination of the indigenous population of Tasmania. They were just seen as ‘savages’ getting in the way of progress.
As for my own views on the subject covered in Tom Lawson, s excellent book. The British attitude towards the native peoples was remarkably similar to Hitlers lebensraum world view under which the Slav ‘savages’ were to be exterminated to make way so that the German ‘master race’ could occupy the Slave territories.
However the British genocide also has a European dimension. The Germans carried out a mass murder against the indigenous African population of what is now Namibia in the first ten years of the 20th century. Also ten million Congolese Africans were murdered by the Belgians in the first ten ten years of the 20th century. The Spanish carried out mass extermination of the indigenous population of Central and South America after the Spanish invasion of these regions. from 1492 onwards.
It also seems to me that there is a European mind set that they feel that they can just ignore the thoughts and feelings of the indigenous peoples of the world and just steal the native peoples lands and resources. This is very depressing to say the least.
Regarding a present time it looks like that China is going to become the worlds top military and economic power in the 21st century. To many Europeans and European Americans elites racist mindset this seems to be an unacceptable action.
In our present time. Those of us who believe in peace,justice and equality, must fight against western imperialisms attacks on the countries of the global south and for a new world based on peace, justice and equality. This is all that we can do to honour the name of the Tasmanian aborigines who were the victims of an evil atrocity in the 19th century.
Best wishes to all for the future.