Black War


Black War

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Black War


caption=Poster issued in Van Diemen's Land during the Black War depicting Lieutenant-Governor Davey's policy of friendship and equal justice for settlers and Aborigines.
date=1828-32
place=Van Diemen's Land
result=near genocide (descendants exist) of Tasmanian Aboriginal race
casus=Rapid pastoral expansion by colonists into traditional hunting grounds. Abduction of native women.
territory=colony gains complete control of the island of Van Diemen's Land
combatant1=British Empire
combatant2= Tasmanian Aborigines
commander1= Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur
commander2=
strength1=British Empire:
varied; normally at strength 500-1000 men
strength2=Tasmanian Aborigines: approximately 5-10,000 (icluding non-combatants)
casualties1=188
casualties2=Official figure given at 327, but estimates suggest it may be as high as 5-9,000

The Black War refers to a period of conflict between the British colonists and Tasmanian Aborigines in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) in the early years of the 19th century. The conflict has gained a notorious reputation as a genocide resulting in the almost complete obliteration of the Tasmanian Aboriginal population, though there are presently many thousands of individuals descended of Tasmanian Aborigines.

The "war" was never officially declared and this has led to variations in its dating. Some date the conflict to the very beginning of European settlement on the island in 1803. The conflict was most intense during the 1820s, which is the period most commonly referred to as the Black War. The conflict is generally seen to have ended in the 1830s, after the unsuccessful Black Line and the subsequent relocation of Aborigines to Flinders Island.

This conflict is a subject of the Australian history wars, the 2002 publication of "The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume One: Van Diemen's Land 1803-1847" by Keith Windschuttle, ["The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume One: Van Diemen's Land 1803-1847", Keith Windschuttle, 2002, ISBN 1-876492-05-8] questioned the historical evidence used to identify the actual number of Aborigines killed stating that it was exaggerated and challenged what is labelled the "Black armband view of history" of Tasmanian colonisation. His argument has been challenged by a number of authors, for example see "Contra Windschuttle" by S.G. Foster in "Quadrant", March 2003, 47:3. [ "Contra Windschuttle", S.G. Foster "Quadrant", March 2003, 47:3 [http://www.quadrant.org.au/php/article_view.php?article_id=252] ]

Literary references

H. G. Wells, in Chapter One of his novel "The War of the Worlds", published in 1898, wrote: "We must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals such as the vanished bison and dodo, but also upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years." [gutenberg|no=36|name=The War of the Worlds]

ee also

*List of massacres of indigenous Australians
*History wars

References

External links

* [http://www.historians.org.au/forumsupport/Casualties-VDL.PDF Document of casualties during the Black War]


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