An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated)

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After human and citizens rights had been fought for during the French Revolution, the first Black republic in world history arose in from a slave revolt in Haiti. Colonialism was by no means a one-dimensional affair with a simply European orientation and European discoverers such as Columbus and Vasco da Gama — [ ] , who succeeded in making the first East India voyage in less than a decade after Instead, colonialism should be understood as a dynamic interaction in the context of which the colonial empires and the individual colonies massively influenced the historical development of their European mother countries.

This even extended to the programmes of rulers' titles.

The Essays

Subsequent to da Gama successfully establishing trade relations with the Southwest Indian spice port of Calicut , king Manuel I — not only styled himself king of Portugal, but also lord of Arabia , Persia and India. Like the Portuguese world empire, the Spanish arrived in all of Europe because European and non-European immigrants participated as much as did the natives in the colonies. The Spanish empire can hardly be imagined without Belgians, Italians and Chinese, while commerce and administration in the Portuguese empire was shaped to a significant degree by Germans, Flemings, Moslems and Jews.

According to Wolfgang Reinhard, colonialism in terms of a history of ideas constitutes a "developmental differential" due to the "control of one people by an alien one". It has existed in almost all periods of world history in different degrees of expression. Already in , the Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freyre stated the thesis that the Portuguese as the oldest European colonial nation had a special gift for expansion in his controversial book Casa-grande e Senzala The Masters and the Slaves. It consisted of peacefully intermingling the cultures without racism and colonial massacres.

Using the example of Brazil , he rationalized colonial paternalism with the allegedly successful relationship between masters and slaves. But other colonial powers also claimed this for themselves. However, that the colonies became an integral part of the mother country, that therefore the colonial nation is indivisible, at home on several continents and, thus, incapable of doing any fundamental evil, can be shown to be part of the European colonial ideology since its earliest beginnings.

Intellectual transfer processes had already taken place at this time, in the Age of Enlightenment most noticeably in the mutual influence of Adam Smith — , Denis Diderot — , Johann Gottfried Herder — [ ] and their contemporaries.

History of Europe

Though slavery and cosmopolitanism could theoretically not be brought to a common denominator, in practice the conquest explained its legitimacy since the 16th century with its own success. The Dutch, English, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Russian colonial enterprises, which each surveyed the world in its own manner with soldiers, scientists, merchants and missionaries, shared the common perception of the "Other" on the basis of the presumed cultural superiority of the "Self".

As different as the spread of Christianity proceeded with the nonconformist, dissenting elements of Protestantism in North America and the Catholic forces in South America so, too, was the result different in the end.

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Spain, for example, was not able to use Latin America for a profitable export economy, but by contrast the British succeeded in monopolising the slave trade as a most lucrative long-distance business. When, during the course of the 19th century, the Italians, Belgians and Germans raised a claim to their share of the world in addition to the old colonial powers, the term "Imperialism" became an ideologically loaded and overall imprecise, but probably irreplaceable historiographical concept.

That is what makes this period so unique in European history, though measured against other criteria, such as time and space, it was not more spectacular than previous ones.

Thus, the European conquest of North and South America in the 16th and 17th centuries or of India in the 18th and early 19th centuries was no less incisive in its spatial dimension or the number of people brought under European rule as was the "Scramble for Africa" that became synonymous with the unsystematic and overly hasty intervention of Europeans in the entire African continent. But unlike in earlier periods, a broad European public for the first time participated politically, economically and culturally directly in the process of that expansion.

It had deep-reaching effects on the historical development of the European societies themselves, which is reflected, for example, in the professional careers of politicians, diplomats and high-ranking military men. After all, it was caused by massive economic and diplomatic rivalries between the European colonial powers and a widespread chauvinism.

Likewise, this process was to a significant extent triggered by internal crises in Africa itself. As in the 16th century, the rivalry between Christian and Islamic missions again erupted in the North of Africa. In a classic of the historiography of imperialism, Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher explain that Europe is not the only place for understanding the motives of European expansion. According to Robinson and Gallagher, this motivation was primarily founded in Africa, at least, as far as late Victorian society was concerned. Their lobbying influence on the expansion of the colonial empires was no less than that of political and economic interest groups in the metropole, even though their motivations depended more situationally on the events in the colonies than could be or would be the case in the European centres of power.

This can be shown equally for the Asian, the African and the Pacific regions. Colonial sites of remembrance and their culture of monuments recall to this day conflicts and ambivalences of European colonial rule in public memory. This circumstance made High Imperialism a European and global project at both the centre and the periphery. Furthermore, it illustrates the critical significance of political and military force in the imperial process. Informal imperialism, often equated with the dominance of free trade over other methods of colonial influence, lost ground to the extent that coercion could only be exercised by violence.

This is well illustrated by the war with China over the opium trade — The protection of national economic interests or the defence of prestige later led several German observers to the conclusion that the English were conducting a commercial imperialism, whereas the French wanted to enhance the respect for their nation in the world. Nevertheless, the "informal empire" was the prevailing model. In the British context, this led to the exaggerated thesis that the nation was not interested in expansion and that in this regard it was characterized by "absentmindedness".

Until the recent past, this thesis could be countered by noting that it not only underestimates the scale of the creation of global empires but also their dissolution.

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In this respect, colonisation and decolonisation were two historical processes referring to each other, comparable to the systole and diastole of the metropolitan heart beat. Only the interaction of these two as well as numerous other factors resulted in the world historical consequences of European expansion.

Colonial regions and their limits as well as periods and their caesuras offer two possibilities of approaching European colonialism. For example, the independence of the North American colonies in [ ] marks one of the most important turning points — from the Atlantic to the Asian aspect of the British empire — and, also, the first experience of decolonization of global significance in the history of European imperialism.

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The second only began in the s, here especially on the African continent and, offset in time from the freedom movements of Central and South America as well as Asia. In the 18th century, the foremost European colonial powers, led by England , solidified their global hegemonic position. If they did not create overseas empires, they conquered territories in the form of a continental colonialism as the Russian monarchy did in Siberia and the Habsburgs in South-eastern Europe. This continental variant was equivalent in nature to the later westward shift of the American Frontier and the north migration of the South African boundary as well as the subimperialism, e.

While the direct penetration of North and South America was almost entirely completed, that of the Asian and African sphere only began on a larger scale after — in Africa, for example, after with the French conquest of Algeria, from which Morocco and Tunis were also to be brought under French influence. The Russian conquest of Siberia, which followed the course of the rivers similar to the American expansion, aimed to acquire the lucrative fur trade.

Concurrent with the mining of gold and precious stones in Brazil, silver mines were also found in the Siberian highland and the financial as well as the informational value of a caravan route between Russia and China was recognized. The coastal fort colonies that the Dutch operated in Indonesia and the English on the coasts of India initially were reserved for commercial interests in spices, tea, coffee and cotton.

As long as they did not expand inland and develop larger areas, they lacked military value. In , when governor Warren Hastings — [ ] strove not only for economic but also for the political and administrative development of the hinterland in Bengal and his administration was overshadowed by numerous scandals, his famous critic Edmund Burke — vented his anger on the methods of colonial rule.

In this way, he also directed attention to the newly formed field of tension of the competing powers of the administrative centre in London and the "men on the spot", those increasingly more powerful servants of European colonialism who at the same time also pursued their own interests in the periphery. In the 19th century, this would become a fixed topos of mutual accusations when businesses based on shares and founded on the model of the East India Company chartered in , monopoly to , and comparable to the Dutch Vereenigden Oost-Indischen Compagnie — , were raised by Sweden , Denmark , Scotland , Austria , Brandenburg-Prussia and Poland and were partly equipped with sovereign rights.

Financially, they were based on the exchanges, which were becoming ever more central to European economic life, and a modern banking system that coordinated the international trade in luxury goods, such as silk, with that in foods novel to Europe, such as potatoes, maize and rice. Only the English company flourished in the long run.

Within limits, the Dutch company, which focused on the spice trade and participated in expanding the colonial empire in Southeast Asia, also succeeded. The British created a cotton monopoly. With the trade in goods, for example, coffee from Java and tea from China, Europeans continuously developed new areas, especially Asia, that could be "opened" almost without violence China since The formal use of colonial violence was symbolized in its most illustrative form in the slave trade with the establishment of slave ports on the coasts of West and East Africa as the starting points of slave shipments to the plantations of Middle and South America.

South Africa, since the 17th century developed by the Dutch as a settlement colony and since of importance to the British because of its gold and diamond mines, is exempted from this. Similar to Egypt, it played a special role, including with regard to its perception by Europeans. The shipping routes around the Cape and through the Suez Canal were of elementary significance from the perspective of military and commercial politics. Furthermore, a presence in Egypt held great symbolic significance, as manifested in attempts at its conquest from Napoleon Bonaparte — to Adolf Hitler — Remarkable in this parallel is the belief that focussed power in Europe and on the Nile — as the access to Asia — was a condition of concentrated power in the world.

A British colonial administrator such as Evelyn Baring, Lord Cromer — , who was stationed in Calcutta and Cairo , knew like none other that the survival of the empire depended as much on India, the Jewel in the Crown, as on the Suez Canal. His book Ancient and Modern Imperialism is a testimonial of intimate knowledge of the manner in which colonial rule functioned, as they were handed down at various administrative posts. What the British were willing to spend on the defence of their interests some 6, miles from London is evident from the, on the whole devastating, South African War also Second Boer War, — Volunteers from numerous European countries fought on the side of the Boers against the British, who in turn recruited large military contingents in Australia and Canada.

The legend of imperial rule irretrievably lost its legitimacy when in the British and the French armies had to leave the Suez Canal Zone under pressure from the USA and the Soviet Union. Therefore, the Canal as well as the Cape were areas of first rank in the encounters of Europeans and non-Europeans as well as areas of encounter in the sequence of various European colonialisms. Precisely defined dividing lines between periods are impossible in this panorama as a matter of course.

For this, the enterprises in which all European colonial powers were more or less involved voyages of discovery , scientific projects such as cartography, construction of mercantilist colonial economies etc. However, there were phases in the overall development of European colonialism that can be separated in analogy to the development of the great power system of the European states:.

In the beginning, Portugal and Spain in personal union — were primarily interested in overseas trade to Brazil and the Philippines and inspired by Christian missionary zeal. With few exceptions, they managed to avoid colonial overlap. By contrast, competition heated up in the 17th century, when the English, French and Dutch pressed forward, initially not in the territories of the Spaniards and the Portuguese, but in neighbouring regions.

This is demonstrated in exemplary manner by the North American Atlantic coast between the French possessions in modern Canada and the Spanish claims in the South. The independence of the United States was substituted with supremacy in India, in South Africa and especially on the seas with the almost peerless Royal Navy and modern free trade.


The colonial incorporation of Africa on a large scale began with France 's conquest of Algeria in , which at the same time more than before released Europe's internal economic and industrial tensions as colonialist forces and peaked in High Imperialism between and World War I. Since the origins of a pluralistic colonial system during the course of the 19th century, not only the Europeans were involved in dividing the world but also Japan and Russia.

The USA is the prototype for a successful linkage of continental internal colonisation in the form of the westward shift of the Frontier and maritime colonial policy in the Asian sphere, while paradoxically being the most successful model of anti-colonialism.

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  3. Related terms.
  4. At the latest around , the European system of great powers stood before the challenge of global competition. In the controversial interpretation of Niall Ferguson, it was logical that the USA would assume Britain's role as the "global hegemon" in the 20th century and marginalize the formal and informal colonialism of Europe but also continue globalization as "anglobalisation".

    Since the 16th century, genuine European colonial powers such as Spain, Portugal, France and Britain were distinguished by developing a concept of their world rule and basing it on the legacy of Rome. They also participated in the virtually Europe-wide debate about the possible model function that the Roman Empire had for Europe. However, unlike the empires of the late 19th century, Spanish world rule was characterized by being pre-modern, and British colonial rule no later than held a geographical sway without example, which makes a thorough concept of empire and expansionism a precondition.

    Alongside actual pockets in the sides of hose, seemingly false pockets which were an elongated hexagonal shape decorated with buttons were playfully placed in the front of hose in the early seventeenth century. The parade costume of Christian II, Elector of Saxony — , sports a pair of such pockets, as do figures in a number of paintings.

    Figure 1.

    Oil on canvas, Figure 2. Sweden: Skoklosters slott, Skoklosters slott. Figure 3.

    French School, Unknown Courtier , Pockets were also placed in upper body garments for men, such as gowns, coats and jerkins, and some paintings even show small openings in the sleeves of doublets fastened with buttons which resemble pocket holes. Figure 4. This outfit features a vertical pocket hole on the sides of the hose, as well as buttoned pocket slits in the front of the hose, skirts of the jerkin and on the chest of the jerkin.

    Flemish School, Unknown Young Boy , c. Figure 5.

    An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated) An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated)
    An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated) An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated)
    An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated) An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated)
    An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated) An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated)
    An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated) An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated)
    An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated) An Introduction to the History of Western Europe - Volume I (Illustrated)

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