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Enclave empires: Britain, France and the treaty-port system in Japan, 1858-1868

Gilfillan, Scott (2016) Enclave empires: Britain, France and the treaty-port system in Japan, 1858-1868. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis will present a comparative and internationally contextualised history of Anglo-French relations in Japan between 1858 and 1868. It will introduce the concept of ‘enclave empires’ to describe the conduits for Western informal imperialism that were created in Japan by the imposition of the treaty-port system in 1858. It will aim to address longstanding gaps in the historiography by assessing that system as a multinational construct that depended upon the cooperation and collaboration of each treaty power operating within it. At the same time, it will show how the management of the Japanese treaty-port system was increasingly dominated by the British Empire and the French Second Empire, the two most powerful Western trading nations in Japan during the 1860s. It will examine how global contexts impacted upon British and French foreign policymaking during this period, and how this catalysed an increasingly bitter AngloFrench struggle for control over the ‘enclave empires’ in Japan. It will also seek to broaden the scope of the historiography beyond the sphere of diplomatic relations by considering the perspectives of prominent non-diplomatic British and French actors whenever relevant. Finally, it will address significant historiographical oversights in the use of relevant primary source material through the critical appraisal of contemporary private paper collections. By adopting this four-pronged methodological approach, this thesis will demonstrate that Anglo-French relations fundamentally defined the process of creating and developing informal ‘enclave empires’ in Japan in the decade between the conclusion of the ‘unequal treaties’ in 1858 and the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Scott W Gilfillan
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DC France
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Best, Antony

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