179 do seem to stand out is in the absence of a ‘decolonising moment’ similar to that experienced in other European colonial powers; the equivalent to the Suez crisis or the Algerian war, or more symbolically to the arrival of the Empire Windrush at the Tilbury docks in 1948.6 This may help to explain why uncritical attitudes to Nordic colonialism lingered as long as they did, which is not to suggest of course that larger colonial powers such as Britain and France should be regarded as models in this respect; far from it.7 The centenary of the transfer of sovereignty over the three Caribbean islands St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas from the Danish crown to the USA, commemorated in March 2017, was the trigger for renewed national re?lection and debate over Denmark’s colonial past. Attention focused not least on the question of whether the Prime Minister should use the occasion to make a public apology for the Danish role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Gad’s new ?ive volume history of Danish colonialism, Danmark og kolonierne, was published to coincide with the centenary. DANMARK – EN KOLONIMAGT? The volume reviewed here is one of ?ive multi-authored volumes in the series Danmark og kolonierne. The other four volumes cover Greenland, India (Tranquebar, Serampore and the Nicobar Islands), West Africa and the Caribbean islands. They were published simultaneously as a ?ive-part set, but according to the publishers each book is also intended to stand alone. The volumes are thus not crossreferenced, though they do share a short foreword written by the series editors. The volume Danmark – En kolonimagt differs from the others in the series, in that the focus is not on the colonies but on the metropole. Two central themes are the evolution of the colonial administration and the economic and cultural signi?icance of colonial trade. The ?irst theme is covered in chapters 3-5 by Michael Bregnsbo, who examines the rise of the Danish colonial realm in the early modern period, its decline during the nineteenth century and the residual legacies of colonialism for Denmark as a small state during the twentieth. Quite rightly, he emphasises throughout the connections with wider European developments, which is also a topic he returns to more explicitly in chapter 10. The overriding impression here is of the diversity of the realm and the lack of any coherent blueprint for its development; instead, in common with the other European colonial powers, it evolved sporadically and piecemeal. The central reference point – possibly the only point of coherence in 6 Fur: ‘Colonialism’, 23-6. Interestingly, Hans Hauge has suggested that postcolonial studies in Denmark developed ?irst in the context of English literature studies, even though as he notes the Danish West Indies was very much part of the nineteenth century Danish consciousness. Hauge: ‘Commonwealth’. 7 On the persistence of positive attitudes to colonialism in Denmark, see Olwig: ‘Narrating Deglobalization’.
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