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6 - Varying Historical Impacts of Resource Endowment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 March 2024

Naosuke Mukoyama
Affiliation:
University of Tokyo
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Summary

After uncovering oil’s role in decolonization, one question immediately emerges: what about other natural resources? Although oil is neither the only fossil fuel on which we depend nor the only resource that produces a substantial amount of wealth, it appears to be the only natural resource that can lead to separate independence. This chapter compares oil and other natural resources to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between natural resources and territorial sovereignty. Through an investigation of coal, precious metals, and natural gas, it argues that natural resources can lead colonial areas to divergent outcomes – namely amalgamation, separate independence, and secessionism – after decolonization depending on (1) their commercial value and (2) the timing of their discovery. While resources with low economic value did not affect the territoriality of states, those with high value resulted in three different outcomes. Resources discovered before or during the process of colonization often resulted in amalgamation into a larger entity. Those discovered between colonization and decolonization often resulted in separate independence. Finally, those discovered after decolonization often led to secessionism.

Type
Chapter
Information
Fueling Sovereignty
Colonial Oil and the Creation of Unlikely States
, pp. 158 - 192
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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