Prelude to Empire

ab 14,90 

Andrew E. Robson

Consuls, Missionary Kingdoms, and the Pre-Colonial South Seas Seen Through the Life of William Thomas Pritchard

ISBN 978-3-8258-6999-7
Band-Nr. 3
Jahr 2004
Seiten 208
Bindung broschiert
Reihe Novara – Beiträge zur Pazifik-Forschung/Contributions to Research on the Pacific


Prelude to Empire is more than a biography. It tells the story of William Pritchard,
who was born in Tahiti of missionary parents in 1829, who was given extraordinary
power by Fijian chiefs, who changed Fijian history, and who was tried and dismissed
by a British government in a gross miscarriage of justice. Drawing extensively on
letters, memoranda and memoirs written by those involved, it also paints a picture of
an extraordinary time when the people of Polynesia and the West were getting used
to dealing with each other but when most of Polynesia remained self-governing. The
region was in a fascinating state of flux in which political outcomes remained
uncertain, populations declined quite dramatically, introduced technology radically
affected the way wars were fought, and a new religion was gradually embraced.
Chiefs and foreigners used each other to their own advantage, but relations were not
scarred by the rigidities and attitudes of the later colonial period. William Pritchard’s
first wife was Samoan, and her identity is revealed in this book, as is the previously
untold story of his relations with missionaries, chiefs, and officials in London, some
of whom conspired to bring him down. Pritchard’s adventurous life had more than
its share of travails and sadness, but his life in Tahiti, Samoa and Fiji tells us much
about an extraordinary period of Pacific history.