Lords of the land, lords of the sea

I really do not want to have to write about politics and conflict. Certain things must be said about these elections, just that I am not going to be the one to say them.

So instead, how about the amazing and FREE work of Swedish scholar Hans Hagerdal? He just published his new massive book “Lords of the land, lords of the sea” as an open access work. This is VERY exciting. (Thanks to one of my 11 readers for the tip-off.)

I love Hagerdal because he brings us closer to that dizzying world of Prince Balthasar, the Topasses, that era of mercantilist “colonialism” that was hardly colonialism at all, just a collision of different spheres of power emanating from different places.

The best thing about Hagerdal is that he mines both Dutch and Portuguese sources:

Lords of the land, lords of the sea focuses on two centuries of contacts between the indigenous polities on Timor and the early colonials, and covers the period 1600-1800. In contrast with most previous studies, the book treats Timor as a historical region in its own right, using a wide array of Dutch, Portuguese and other original sources, which are compared with the comprehensive corpus of oral tradition recorded on the island. From this rich material, a lively picture emerges of life and death in early Timorese society, the forms of trade, slavery, warfare, alliances, social life, and so forth. The investigation demonstrates that the European groups, although having a role as ordering political forces, were only part of the political landscape of Timor.

Simply go the site, scroll to the bottom and click on the link to download the PDF. For my low-bandwidth readers, it’s about 3.3MB.

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