Most histories of exploration are written from the viewpoint of the explorers. This book, now available in paperback, focuses instead on the cultural encounters between European explorers and non-European people, reconstructing the experiences of both sides. The result is a remarkable work of comparative cultural history, ranging from North America to the South Pacific and from the voyages of Columbus to those of Captain Cook.
Bitterli distinguishes three basic forms of cultural encounter: superficial contact, as in the early relations between Europe and China; a prolonged relationship, like that between missionaries and the North American Indians; and collision, leading to the destruction of the weaker partner, as happened in the Spanish Conquest of the West Indies and of Mexico. In a series of case studies Bitterli examines these types of cultural encounter, drawing on a wide range of primary sources.
Urs Bitterli is the author of numerous works on the cultural history of colonization, including Die `Wilden' und die `Zivilizierten'.
Introduction. 1. Types of Cultural Encounter:. Contacts, Collisions, and Relationships. 2. The System of Limited Contacts:. The Portuguese in Africa and Asia. 3. Cultural Collision:. The Spaniards on Hispaniola. 4. Missionary Work as a Cultural Relationship:. The French in Canada. 5. Cultural Relationship as 'Holy Experiment':. The English in Pennsylvania. 6. The `Controlled Relationship':. The Europeans in China. 7. Cultural Contact as a Scientific Challenge:. The English and French in the South Seas. Notes. Index.