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SovereigntyFrontiers of Possibility$
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Julie Evans, Ann Genovese, Alexander Reilly, and Patrick Wolfe

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835637

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835637.001.0001

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Factual and Legal Sovereignty in North America

Factual and Legal Sovereignty in North America

Indigenous Realities and Euro-American Pretensions

(p.37) 3 Factual and Legal Sovereignty in North America

Kent Mcneil

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter provides an overview of sovereignty in North America. The European powers that colonized North America based their territorial claims on sweeping assertions of sovereignty over vast areas of the continent. Initially, these claims had little basis in reality; the colonizing powers were clearly not in effective control of these immense territories. Indeed, beyond the settlements they actually established, the sovereignty they asserted was de jure, not de facto. At the time, most of the continent was effectively occupied and controlled by Indigenous nations who were beyond the reach of European law and jurisdiction and who governed themselves in accordance with their own legal and political traditions. Nonetheless, in their relations with one another, the European nations generally acted as though they were the only sovereigns in North America.

Keywords:   North America, sovereignty, Indigenous nations, European law, European nations

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