The history of the world has been the history of peoples on the move, as they occupy new lands and establish their claims over them. Almost invariably, this has meant the violent dispossession of the previous inhabitants.
Whether it is the Normans in England, the Chinese in Tibet, the Germans in Poland, the Indonesians in West Papua, or the British and Americans in North America, the claiming of other people's lands and the supplanting of one people by another has shaped the history of societies from the ancient past to the present day.
David Day tells the story of how this happened - the ways in which invaders have triumphed and justified conquest which, as he shows is a bloody and often prolonged process that can last centuries. And while each individual conquest is ultimately unique, nevertheless they often share a number of qualities, from the re-naming of the conquered land and the invention of myth to justify what has taken place, to the exploitation of the conquered resources and people, and even to the outright
slaughter of the original inhabitants.
Above all, as Day shows in this hugely bold and ambitious book, conquest can have deep and long-lasting consequences - for the conquered, the conquerors, and for the wider course of world history.
For centuries it was suspected that there must be an undiscovered continent in the southern hemisphere. But explorers failed to find one. On his second voyage to the Pacific, Captain Cook sailed further south than any of his rivals but still failed to sight land.
It was not until 1820 that the continent's frozen coast was finally sighted. Territorial rivalry intensified in the 1840s when British, American, and French expeditions sailed south to chart further portions of the continent that had come to be called Antarctica. For the nearly two centuries since, the race to claim exclusive possession of Antarctica has gripped the imagination of the world.
Antarctica: A Biography is the first ever major international history of this forbidding continent - from the eighteenth century voyages of discovery to the fierce rivalries of today, as governments, scientists, environmentalists, and oil companies compete for control. On one level it is the story of explorers battling the elements in the most hostile place on earth as they strive for personal triumph, commercial gain, and national glory. On a deeper level, it is the story of nations
seeking to incorporate the Antarctic into their own national stories - and to claim its frozen wastes as their own.