Professor James Belich

Featured Publication

 'The Black Death and European Expansion', in James Belich, John Darwin, Margret Frenz, Chris Wickham, eds., The Prospect of Global History, (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 240 pp., 2016) 

The Prospect of Global History

The Prospect of Global History takes a new approach to the study of global history, seeking to apply it, rather than advocate it. The volume seeks perspectives on history from East Asian and Islamic sources as well as European ones, and insists on depth in historical analysis.  The Prospect of Global History will speak to those interested in medieval and ancient history as well as modern history. Chapters range from historical sociology to economic history, from medieval to modern times, from European expansion to constitutional history, and from the United States across South Asia to China.

Replenishing the Earth. The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World, 1783-1939, (Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 2009).

Replenishing the Earth

Why are we speaking English? Replenishing the Earth gives a new answer to that question, uncovering a 'settler revolution' that took place from the early nineteenth century that led to the explosive settlement of the American West and its forgotten twin, the British West, comprising the settler dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. 

Between 1780 and 1930 the number of English-speakers rocketed from 12 million in 1780 to 200 million, and their wealth and power grew to match. Their secret was not racial, or cultural, or institutional superiority but a resonant intersection of historical changes, including the sudden rise of mass transfer across oceans and mountains, a revolutionary upward shift in attitudes to emigration, the emergence of a settler 'boom mentality', and a late flowering of non-industrial technologies -wind, water, wood, and work animals - especially on settler frontiers. This revolution combined with the Industrial Revolution to transform settlement into something explosive - capable of creating great cities like Chicago and Melbourne and large socio-economies in a single generation. 

When the great settler booms busted, as they always did, a second pattern set in. Links between the Anglo-wests and their metropolises, London and New York, actually tightened as rising tides of staple products flowed one way and ideas the other. This 're-colonization' re-integrated Greater America and Greater Britain, bulking them out to become the superpowers of their day. The 'Settler Revolution' was not exclusive to the Anglophone countries - Argentina, Siberia, and Manchuria also experienced it. But it was the Anglophone settlers who managed to integrate frontier and metropolis most successfully, and it was this that gave them the impetus and the material power to provide the world's leading super-powers for the last 200 years. 



  • Origins of West Eurasian expansionism
  • Global nodes, global orders
  • The Black Death and global history

Professor Belich is involved in the following projects:

  • The Prospect of Global History. Edited by James Belich, John Darwin, Margret Frenz, and Chris Wickham.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Pp. xiv+222. $60.00.

  • The Black Death and European Expansion

  • Race and the Pacific

  • Krieg und transkulturelles Lernen in Neuseeland im 19. Jahrhundert

  • Exploding Wests: Boom and Bust in Nineteenth-Century Settler Societies

  • A Cultural History of Economics?

  • How much do institutions matter? Cloning Britain in New Zealand

  • Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution And The Rise Of The Angloworld

  • Riders of the whirlwind: Tribal peoples and European settlement booms, 1790s- 1900s

  • Settler Utopianism? English Ideologies of Emigration, 1815-1880

  • More

I would like to hear from potential Masters students regarding Global and Imperial History 

I currently teach:


  General History XIX: Imperial and Global History, 1750-1914