Exploration and Conquest: Stories of Indigenous Peoples


This post is adapted from the Introduction to the book.

Cave dwellers told their stories with vivid imagery. Through lively scenes, artists reached across ages and revealed themselves.  This was history, the story of people, of what they did and of what happened to them.

Exploration and Conquest: Stories of Indigenous Peoples is like a cave painting. It tells about people and what happened to them. The book, like the paintings, is rich in imagery. These images help readers to visualize events they have not personally witnessed.

Almost two centuries are covered in Exploration and Conquest: Stories of Indigenous Peoples. The book does not offer a detailed explanation and description of European Colonialism. What it does offer is an impression of how colonization of Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas altered the destinies of millions of people. 

Exploration and Conquest takes the reader around the world. This is a fascinating and often tragic journey, a brief but riveting chapter in the continuing saga of humankind.

Below is one story out of many that are told in the book:

The French Keep a Foothold in Pondicherry, India

Albumen photograph by Bourne & Shepherd Studio, Calcutta, 1890, Copyright expired


While the British controlled India, the French still maintained a presence there. Called French India, the colony consisted of five small territories spread along two coasts. The largest of these was Pondicherry (today called Puducherry), on the Indian Ocean. The picture above shows French colonials as they navigate the city in carriages that use the energy of local residents, Indians, to propel them.

The French presence in Pondicherry dated back to 1672, when an agent of the French East India Company, M. Martin, bought a piece of land from the King of Bejapoor.  Martin promptly built a factory.  After that, Pondicherry was taken by the Dutch, retaken by the French, taken by the British a couple of times, and then returned to French control, where it remained until 1954.

The town was designed with a canal running down the middle. One side, called White Town, was reserved for the French and the other side, called Black Town, was reserved for Indians.

A. G. Moore   9/2016

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