Chapter 12: Abstract

Imperial Conquest, Violent Encounters and Changing Gender Relations in Colonial Warfare, 1830s–1910s

Angela Wollacott (Australian National University, School of History)


The period between the 1830s and 1910s is significant for the rapid expansion of the British and French empires in particular, and fierce inter-imperial rivalries, as well as the late rise of the non-European empires. The warfare that characterized imperial expansion and indigenous resistance, as sparked by imperial invasions and gradual conquests of colonial territories, including the suppression of uprisings, was often diffuse and chaotic. This chapter considers how the contact zones of aggressively expanding colonialism were structured by violence, in places ranging from the British settler colonies of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, to crown colonies of various European empires including British India, the Netherlands East Indies and French Indochina. It assesses the intersections of gender and militarized violence on frontiers and in the daily life of colonial societies.


Nineteenth-century colonial wars; global empires; colonialism; imperial conquest; militarism; violent encounters; sexual violence; concubinage; militarized prostitution; gender.

In Part II “Wars of Nations and Empires” of the Oxford Handbook of Gender, War and the Western World  since 1600.

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