Global processes associated with the expansion of colonialism and the emergence of capitalist economies after 1500 were often driven by a desire to create new capital via the acquisition of land and resources, with severe implications for Indigenous peoples. These processes were highly variable, and strongly shaped by the local circumstances encountered at the periphery of European networks of commerce and trade. A number of researchers have suggested that a particularly acute phase of violence and landscape expropriation, sometimes referred to as war capitalism or terra nullius colonialism, underpinned the establishment of colonial settlements and new economic enterprises. This paper characterises processes of colonization and the establishment of capitalist industry within a discrete study area in Cape York Peninsula, northeastern Australia. In particular, we aim to examine in an holistic fashion the nature of encounters and interactions between Indigenous custodians and settler-colonists between 1860 and 1939, using a documentary archaeology approach combined with qualitative data analysis methods. We demonstrate that while violence of various forms was a routine aspect of interactions, a holistic approach to analysis of available data enables the development of a more nuanced understanding of the contours and pattern of colonialism and the nature and implications of different forms of violence for Indigenous peoples.
- Indigenous peoples
- Spatial history