South Asia
An Environmental History
by Christopher V. Hill Mark R. Stoll, Series Editor
March 2008, 329pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-85109-925-2
$94, £70, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-1-85109-926-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

From the early Indus civilization, named after the river system in which it was located, through invasions from Asia and Europe, to the division of India and Pakistan in 1947, and finally the human tragedy caused by the tsunami of December 2004, the people of South Asia have influenced, and been influenced by, their ecological surroundings in many ways.

This work is a chronological study of South Asia that emphasizes the effect of humans on their environment, and in return the influence of nature on the evolution of human society.

Ranging from prehistory to the present and encompassing the whole of South Asia, this volume in ABC-CLIO’s Nature and Human Societies series offers the first chronological history of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka from the perspective of the crucial reciprocal relationship between humankind and the environment.

South Asia: An Environmental History shows how the civilizations of this geographically diverse region were formed (physically, ethically, and culturally) by their interactions with the environment—a relationship with particularly strong social and spiritual dimensions because of the interdependence of the predominantly agrarian population and the land. Specific topics range from ancient irrigation techniques and peasant adaptation to the environment, to the impact of imperialism on nature, the effect of post-colonial technology on contemporary life, and the enduring influence of religion on the way South Asian societies address ecological issues.


  • A chronology charting important events in the environmental history of South Asia, from the development of the Indus civilization ca. 2500 B.C.E., to the impact on Sri Lanka of the tsunami of December 2004
  • A series of maps ranging from general depictions of South Asian physiography to specific topics, such as the westward movement of the Kosi River from 1732 to 1948
Christopher V. Hill, PhD, is professor of history at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, CO. His published works include River of Sorrow: Environment and Social Control in Riparian North India, 1770–1994. He is the recipient of the Aldo Leopold Award from the American Society for Environmental History and a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship.


"This volume, as with the others in the series, is highly recommended for academic libraries as a good source to give undergraduates a place to start to get background on specific regions of the world, their environmental issues, history, and politics."—ARBA, March 1, 2009

"South Asia: An Environmental History would be an excellent addition to all academic libraries, especially those with strong Asian Studies or environmental collections."—Reference & User Services Quarterly, December 1, 2008

"[T]his handbook offers a chronologically organized environmental history of a staggeringly complex region. By focusing on the crucial reciprocal relationship between South Asia's inhabitants and their environment, it explores the effect of humans on their surroundings, as well as the influence of nature on the evolution of South Asian cultures."—APADE, July 15, 2009
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