A Velvet Empire: French Informal Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century
After Napoleon’s downfall in 1815, France embraced a mostly informal style of empire, one that emphasized economic and cultural influence rather than military conquest. A Velvet Empire is a global history of French imperialism in the nineteenth century, providing new insights into the mechanisms of imperial collaboration that extended France’s power from the Middle East to Latin America and ushered in the modern age of globalization.
A Velvet Empire sheds light on France’s neglected contribution to the conservative reinvention of modernity and offers a new interpretation of the resurgence of French colonialism on a global scale after 1880. This panoramic book also highlights the crucial role of collaboration among European empires during this period—including archrivals Britain and France—and cooperation with indigenous elites in facilitating imperial expansion and the globalization of capitalism.