Horse Nations: The Worldwide Impact of the Horse on Indigenous Societies Post-1492

Front Cover
OUP Oxford, Mar 26, 2015 - History - 496 pages
The Native American on a horse is an archetypal Hollywood image, but though such equestrian-focused societies were a relatively short-lived consequence of European expansion overseas, they were not restricted to North America's Plains. Horse Nations provides the first wide-ranging and up-to-date synthesis of the impact of the horse on the Indigenous societies of North and South America, southern Africa, and Australasia following its introduction as a result of European contact post-1492. Drawing on sources in a variety of languages and on the evidence of archaeology, anthropology, and history, the volume outlines the transformations that the acquisition of the horse wrought on a diverse range of groups within these four continents. It explores key topics such as changes in subsistence, technology, and belief systems, the horse's role in facilitating the emergence of more hierarchical social formations, and the interplay between ecology, climate, and human action in adopting the horse, as well as considering how far equestrian lifestyles were ultimately unsustainable.


List of Figures
A Prodigal Return
The Southwest and the Southern Plains
The Central and Northern Plains
West of the Rockies
Caribbean Deserts and Tropical Savannahs
Southern Africa and Australasia
Putting Horse Nations in Context
AppendixSelfDesignations of Native American Peoples
Colour Plates Acknowledgements

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About the author (2015)

Peter Mitchell is Professor of African Archaeology and Fellow at St. Hugh's College, Oxford, and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.