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Edward Gibbon Wakefield

(1796—1862) promoter of colonization

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British colonial reformer and writer. In 1829 he published his Letter from Sydney using information he had obtained while serving a sentence in Newgate gaol in London. Concerned that Australian settlements were failing because land could be acquired so easily, he proposed a ‘sufficient price’ for land, which would finance the regulated emigration of labourers and oblige them to work to buy their own land. This would give a balanced colonial society and provide some relief to unemployment in Britain. His ideas were taken up and implemented from 1831, with some 70,000 migrants travelling to Australia in the next ten years. In 1837 Wakefield founded the New Zealand Association (later Company). He was largely responsible for the succession of systematic settlements in New Zealand. He wrestled for years for self‐government for the colonists, emigrating to New Zealand in 1853.

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