Little more than seventy years after the British settled Van Diemen's Land (later Tasmania) in 1803, its indigenous population had been virtually wiped out. Yet this genocide - one of the earliest of the modern era - is virtually forgotten in Britain today. The Last Man is the first book specifically to explore the role of the British government and wider society in the destruction of the Aboriginal Tasmanians. Although the introduction of European diseases undoubtedly contributed to the decline of the indigenous population, Tom Lawson shows that Britain supported what was effectively the ethnic cleansing of Tasmania - particularly in the period of martial law in 1828-1832. He also illustrates the ways in which the destruction of indigenous Tasmanians was reflected in British culture - both at the time and since - and how it came to play a key part in forging particular versions of British imperial identity. The Last Man provides the first comprehensive picture of Britain's role in the destruction of the Tasmanian Aboriginal population.
Last Man, The
A British Genocide in Tasmania