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    Thread: Ask/Tell me about history

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      Member Ham or Turkey?'s Avatar
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      Ask/Tell me about history

      I don't see any discussion about one of my greatest interests: History.

      History can provide us with the explanations for almost everything in the world we live in, or can at least together with some other knowledge explain almost everything. Am I the only history buff here?

      If you have any questions about the history behind something, feel free to ask. Even if you only want to ask me why I waste my time with such a stupid interest, ask! Or even better, if you're very interested in some historical event, tell me what you know about it! Or tell me the history of your country or your area, short and in your own words. It's fun to hear people's own interpretations of historical events
      At least it is to me
      Quote Originally Posted by Murphy's Law
      Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

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      What are your thoughts on the historical accuracy of the movie Braveheart?

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      Xei
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      What were the principal causes of Western dominance and what does the future hold in that respect?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      What were the principal causes of Western dominance and what does the future hold in that respect?
      Haha. Did "Civilization: Is the West History" make you ask that?

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      Member Ham or Turkey?'s Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Raphael
      What are your thoughts on the historical accuracy of the movie Braveheart?
      Braveheart is a nice movie, but it is a work of fiction. William Wallace did exist in the real world, and the Scottish did fight the English during the time the movie depicts, however it is mostly a work of fiction, made for entertainment purposes. It is most likely not very accurate at all, but I will have to rewatch it if you want any more specific answers from me, I'm afraid.

      Quote Originally Posted by Xei
      What were the principal causes of Western dominance and what does the future hold in that respect?
      This is an extremely interesting question. I could go on, and on about this for ages, but since this is an online forum I'm going to try and answer it quickly.

      1) The Europeans were divided among many different competing states, the competition between European states was sort of a catalyst for the European establishment of colonies and overseas Empires. For instance, China was a huge Empire and could very well have colonized America in the 15th century, however China was such a huge Empire that the emperor believed they had everything that was worth anything in the world. The Chinese conducted a few expeditions to Arabia and Africa in the beginning of the 15th century, but decided that there was nothing worth having outside China and considerably limited contact with the rest of the world at many times in their history.

      2) Christianity provided the Europeans with a reason to dominate the world. The Europeans could conquer new land with the blessing of the pope (if they were Catholics) for the sake of spreading Christianity to the pagans. The Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) which actually divided the world into Portuguese and Spanish areas (it was basically a line on a map, and everything west of it would be Spanish while everything east of it would be Portuguese), was the result of negotiations after the Pope gave the Portuguese and Spanish kingdoms the mission to spread Christianity around the world. Also, for one of the reasons for slavery, read up on the "Curse of Ham".

      3) The European renaissance and the scientific revolution that followed the renaissance. The discovery that the world was round triggered a rise in curiosity and willingness to invest in trading expeditions to the newly discovered lands. Do not underestimate this, if you managed to bring home a boatload of goods from the colonies/India, you probably literally would be able to retire as soon as you sold the goods in Europe. It was seen as being worth the risk.

      4) Ruthless exploitation of other people's weaknesses. Sad but true. If anybody showed signs of weakness, the Europeans soon showed up. The Indians of America had never seen horses or guns, so horses and guns were used to conquer them. As soon as the Mughal Empire, which dominated India in the 16th and early 17th century collapsed, the Europeans started conquering parts of India and slowly gaining more and more of a foothold there. The British East Indian Company, which was the trading company that conquered most of India through a combination of ruthless warfare and diplomacy, has been accused of severely hurting the Indian economy, with some people describing their activities as plundering.

      5) The Industrial Revolution & imperialism were the last causes for the western dominance. Those two are the most obvious reasons for the western dominance, and the reason that I put them together is that they together had such an enormous impact on the world. Simply put: The West has factories. They buy cheap resources from their colonies (or former colonies) which have been managed by them in such a way that the colonies only produce one particular resource (I believe this practice is called monoculture). They sell the refined goods produced in their factories back to the colonies for a significant profit. This practice remain partially even to this day.

      Now regarding the future: Most of the West is hopelessly indebted, and most of the debts are to China. Through the yearly interest payments, China earns millions. A lot of the money in the world will eventually find its way to China. I can't tell the future, but I'm 100% sure that the western dominance will end one day. Remember that even the mighty Roman Empire fell after a few hundred years.

      Thank you for your replies, people
      Feel free to start a discussion regarding anything I wrote. Ask if you wonder anything and would want me to clarify.
      Also, thanks a lot for the replies, you guys have no idea how fun this is for me

      Also, Heavy Sleeper is that a book? I haven't read it. Is it a good book?
      Quote Originally Posted by Murphy's Law
      Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Ham or Turkey? View Post
      Also, Heavy Sleeper is that a book? I haven't read it. Is it a good book?
      No, it's not a book. At least I don't think there's a book by that name. It's a short television series that just started over here. About several episodes looking into how the West came to be so powerful and how long it can stay that powerful.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Heavy Sleeper View Post
      No, it's not a book. At least I don't think there's a book by that name. It's a short television series that just started over here. About several episodes looking into how the West came to be so powerful and how long it can stay that powerful.
      Sounds very interesting. I would love to watch it! Have you watched it? What do they consider to be the most important reasons?
      Quote Originally Posted by Murphy's Law
      Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

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      How many of the stories in the Bible were found on stone tablets written by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia thousands of years earlier?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Ham or Turkey? View Post
      Sounds very interesting. I would love to watch it! Have you watched it? What do they consider to be the most important reasons?
      It is very interesting, and I've only watched the first two episodes.

      They believe there are six main reasons that the West came to dominate the world. And they are:

      1. Competition
      2. Science
      3. Property Rights
      4. Medicine
      5. The Consumer Society
      6. The Work Ethic

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      Quote Originally Posted by IAmCoder
      How many of the stories in the Bible were found on stone tablets written by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia thousands of years earlier?
      The Judeo-Christian myths are pretty much a mishmash of old pagan religions, like for example the Egyptian religion. I believe religions that originate from the same area are influenced by each other over time, and especially Christianity was influenced a lot by other faiths, as Christianity's goal was to spread to all the people in the world. That's why Christianity adopted holidays like Christmas and Easter and turned them into Christian versions.

      Regarding the Sumerians, the most known of their "Bible stories", would be Gilgamesh, which contains many similarities to Bible stories, like the flood for example.

      Quote Originally Posted by Heavy Sleeper
      It is very interesting, and I've only watched the first two episodes.

      They believe there are six main reasons that the West came to dominate the world. And they are:

      1. Competition
      2. Science
      3. Property Rights
      4. Medicine
      5. The Consumer Society
      6. The Work Ethic
      Interesting, it would seem their theories differ from mine a bit
      But it really sounds very interesting, I wish I lived in Britain. And I'm guessing their conclusion is that the Western dominance will end?
      Quote Originally Posted by Murphy's Law
      Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

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      What are your views on the Hawaiian Annexation?
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ham or Turkey? View Post
      Interesting, it would seem their theories differ from mine a bit
      But it really sounds very interesting, I wish I lived in Britain. And I'm guessing their conclusion is that the Western dominance will end?
      Yeah, they say it will most likely come to an end. The East is catching up and may pull ahead of us in the world. At the very least we'll probably be about equal.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Loonybin Resident
      What are your views on the Hawaiian Annexation?
      The Hawaiian annexation in the end of the 19th century, was the result of the will of European and American businessmen and partly US military interests. The businessmen wanted more favourable conditions for sugar export from Hawaii, and thought that by having Hawaii annexed by the US, they would evade the tariffs and thus be able to sell more sugar from Hawaii to the US. The US military was also interested in Hawaii as a Naval base (Pearl Harbour). Many influential businessmen and politicians were involved in the overthrowing of the Hawaiian kingdom and subsequent request for US annexation.

      The move can also be explained through the US imperialism at the time, you know, Manifest Destiny and all that. When the US had spread from the east coast to the west coast, they just didn't stop, but kept on going west over the Pacific. For example, other than annexing Hawaii, the Americans conquered the Philippines and Guam from Spain, and as early as 1853 a certain commodore Perry executed some very successful "gunboat diplomacy" with Japan, opening the Japanese society to western influences.

      Quote Originally Posted by Heavy Sleeper
      Yeah, they say it will most likely come to an end. The East is catching up and may pull ahead of us in the world. At the very least we'll probably be about equal.
      Hopefully we'll live to see the answer to this, but I'm pretty sure the crazy national debt most of the world has made will come crashing down on them sooner or later. Except for China, who will only get richer and richer
      Quote Originally Posted by Murphy's Law
      Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Ham or Turkey? View Post
      Hopefully we'll live to see the answer to this, but I'm pretty sure the crazy national debt most of the world has made will come crashing down on them sooner or later. Except for China, who will only get richer and richer
      Since China is the one everyone owes money to, I think that's a safe bet.

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      What do you think are the causes of the extremely slow progression of civilization and technology in pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Spartiate View Post
      What do you think are the causes of the extremely slow progression of civilization and technology in pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas?
      I believe it's because they didn't have the same suitable animals and plants as the Eurasian people had (for example, only the llama was suitable for domestication). Also, the climate in the Americas often changed suddenly, which led to harder agricultural conditions there, and also to the accidental extinction of some animals by the native americans. However, their cultures did not advance as "extremely slow" as most people think. They did research astronomy and mathematics, and had a significant agricultural tradition, growing for example corn and potatoes. The reasons the Spanish conquistadors conquered them so easily was not because of the use of cavalry, although the native americans had never seen horses before, and not because the use of guns, although the native americans couldn't compete with their modern weaponry. CortÚs did not conquer the entire Aztec empire with only 500 spanish soldiers, he had at least 100 000 native soldiers under his command in 1421. These native soldiers were possibly either forcibly recruited or joined forces with CortÚs because they were unhappy with the Aztec rule, or even joined him because they thought he was the god Quetzalcoatl, who was supposed to arrive from the east around the time CortÚs did. Similarly Pizarro did not conquer the Inca empire with only 200 spanish soldiers. However, history is written by the victors, and the Spanish didn't feel like giving credit to their native american allies.
      Quote Originally Posted by Murphy's Law
      Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

    17. #17
      Xox
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      How did differences develop between Western and Eastern Europe, and what are they exactly (from your viewpoint anyway)?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xox View Post
      How did differences develop between Western and Eastern Europe, and what are they exactly (from your viewpoint anyway)?
      Most people see eastern Europe as a bit backwards compared to the western part.

      The differences we see today are mostly the results of world war 2 and the cold war. Eastern Europe probably got destroyed the most during world war 2, both by Hitler's and Stalin's armies. Also, the casualties were huge on the eastern front, also the civilian casualties. However, the western part of Europe was also damaged by the war. The difference is that after the war, the western European states got the Marshall aid from the USA, while the Soviet Union and its eastern European puppets didn't accept the aid. That's why the eastern economies didn't recover as fast as the western. The western part of Europe was also pretty stable, while the Soviet Union at times had to intervene in eastern Europe to keep its puppet governments in power. The eastern states also traded a lot with the Soviet Union, so when the Soviet economy crashed and the USSR fell, their trade was suddenly cut off. If you're interested, the reason for the Soviet Union's economical crisis, was mostly the huge military budget and the war in Afghanistan. Also, when the eastern communist systems crumbled, the economical assets were replaced in a very confusing way, sometimes resulting in very few people getting very rich and the rest being extremely poor. All of this led to huge economical and social problems.

      Those are the most recent explanations, though I like going back in time a bit more.

      Eastern Europe didn't get to industrialize as effectively in the 19th century, because of a lack of money for industrialization mostly, but also because of a general lack of interest in investing. Also the east was dominated by the huge empires like the Ottoman Empire, Austria and Russia, who had all been lagging behind a bit since the Napoleonic wars. A lot of the world's economical assets did not end up in the hands of Austria or the Ottomans, for example, because they didn't have any colonies. Therefore, they had to import most colonial goods, and in many cases they chose not to industrialize, because industrialization would mean that they would have to import a lot of goods to keep the factories running.

      If we choose to think about events even further back in history, it can be said that the eastern part of Europe was devastated by the Mongol invasions from the 13th century onwards. Before that, it was generally believed that eastern Europe was more developed than the western part.

      The differences exactly, or at least what comes to mind to me, are that in eastern Europe more people work in agriculture, the GDP is generally lower (which basically just means that less money is moving around in these countries) and the GDP per capita is also generally lower. Living standards are also slightly worse in eastern Europe than in the west.

      To sum things up, western Europe got richer from all the colonial adventures and used this extra money to industrialize, while eastern Europe had to borrow money and import from the west if they wanted to industrialize, resulting in a flow of money from the east to the west.

      I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense, I'm really tired right now if that's an excuse...
      Xox likes this.
      Quote Originally Posted by Murphy's Law
      Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

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