Settlers at the end of empire

Race and the politics of migration in South Africa, Rhodesia and the United Kingdom

Jean P. Smith
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Settlers at the End of Empire is a ground-breaking study that integrates the neglected history of emigration from the United Kingdom with the history of immigration to the United Kingdom in the second half of the twentieth century. Drawing attention to the volume and longevity of British emigration, Settlers at the End of Empire analyses the development of racialised migration regimes in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe), from the Second World War to the collapse of the apartheid regime in 1994. Both white emigration from the United Kingdom and the arrival of increasing numbers of Commonwealth migrants of colour were cast as signs of national decline and many emigrants cited the arrival of migrants of colour as a factor in their decision to leave. South Africa and Rhodesia meanwhile, moved from selective immigration policies in the 1940s and 1950s to an intensive recruitment of white migrants in the 1960s and 1970s. This was an attempt by these increasingly embattled settler regimes to increase their white populations and thereby defend minority rule. Though such efforts bore limited results in war-torn Rhodesia, South Africa saw a dramatic increase of European and especially British migrants from the 1960s to the early 1980s, just as the United Kingdom implemented immigration restrictions aimed at Commonwealth migrants of colour. In all three nations, therefore, though they took different forms, migration policies were intended to defend nations imagined as white in the wake of imperial collapse.

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