Published on November 28, 2008
Between the 1500’s and the 1900’s European nations controlled much of the world. European culture has spread to every corner of the earth.
WHY EUROPE? How were the countries on this continent, much of which is north of 50 ° N. latitude, able to conquer and control so many lands around the world?
Peninsula of peninsulas Europe is composed of the westward-projecting peninsulas of Eurasia and occupying nearly one-fifteenth of the world's total land area.
Europe’s rivers Most of the continent's drainage finds its way to the Atlantic Ocean via a number of master river systems, whose watersheds interlock in a most complex manner.
Bristish Navy An irregular coastline has many natural harbors. This feature allowed the British to develop a strong Navy, trade and culturally diffuse with the world.
Humid Continental Though much of Europe is above 50 ° N., the coastal climate is moderated by the combination of the warm North Atlantic Drift currents and the prevailing easterly winds.
What allowed Europe to conquer and control so much territory?
East/West Axis Eurasia provides the word’s widest band of land at the same latitude. This allowed agriculture, technology and culture to spread quickly.
Eurasian plain Plains generally have fertile soil and are attractive to settlement as they are easy to reach, provide good road building, and have good farmland. The negative aspects of plains as a geographic feature are that they are hard to defend as they are easy to reach.
This gave Europe several advantages:
Domestic Animals Horses Pigs Sheep cows
Rotherham plough In the mid 1600s the Dutch attempted to make improvements to the plough, however a capital improvement in the plough was the invention of the iron mould-board and landside by Joseph Foljambe from Rotherham who built and patented what was described as, the Rotherham Swing Plough , in November, 1730.
Traditional farming A farmer in Germany works the land in the traditional way with a horse (draught animal) and plough during a plowing competition.
Political Organization The ability to store food led to large, dense, complicated societies that stayed in on place. This led to writing and complex political organizations .
The ability to store food led to large, dense, complicated societies that stayed in on place. This led to writing and complex political organizations .
Technology lead Spanish galleons carried New World plunder The Mayflower brings Pilgrims to the Americas Dutch ships arriving at Cape Town, South Africa The warfare technology lead enjoyed by the Europeans allowed them to conquer and control millions of people of many different cultures
They acquired new subsistence crops from the New World hueyzahual New World Crops Maize (corn) White Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes Potatoes helped feed the starving in Europe because they could grow anywhere maize potatoes
New World Crops Maize (corn)
White Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes helped feed the starving in
Europe because they could grow anywhere
Epidemic Diseases The Europeans brought with them diseases that wiped out native populations.
The Europeans brought with them diseases that wiped out native populations.
Diseases decimated Americas The Old World had more infectious diseases native to the land because: Humans had been present longer and densely populated They had domesticated animals which are rich in disease and micro-organisms Smallpox microbes Syphillis
Humans had been present longer and densely populated
They had domesticated animals which are rich in disease and micro-organisms
Together, these factors led to Europe colonizing most of the world. The effects of this dominance can still be felt today.
European Colonies in 1938
Their intentions were to make money, expand empires, and convert heathen, not to spread Old World DNA; but if we take the long view we see that the most important aspect of their imperialistic advances has been the latter. "We are world-travelers, trekkers of deserts and crossers of oceans. . . . Humans have in the very last tick of time reversed the ancient trend of geographical biodiversification."
The Commonwealth Today’s Commonwealth is an association of 53 countries. Its 1.8 billion citizens, about 30 percent of the world's population are drawn from the broadest range of faiths, races, cultures and traditions. Members range from vast countries like Canada to small island states like Malta.
Democracy The ancient Greeks and Romans both practiced a form of democracy providing the model for America’s Founding Fathers. Direct participation was the key to Athenian democracy. In the Assembly, every male citizen was not only entitled to attend as often as he pleased but also had the right to debate, offer amendments, and vote on proposals. Every man had a say in whether to declare war or stay in peace.
China had many of these advantages as well. Why didn’t they experience the same sort of success? Use a Venn diagram and an atlas to compare the physical geography of China and Western Europe. How are they alike? How are they different?
Natural barriers The geography of China plays a key role in her development. Long distances and natural barriers--the Gobi Desert to the north, the Himalayan Mountains to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the east, and more mountains and deserts to the west-- limited Chinese contacts with outsiders.
Mountain ranges Kunlun Mountains Qinling range
Marco Polo The western relationship with China can be traced back to Marco Polo's journey to China in the thirteenth century.
China shuts its doors In the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the major part of the Qing Dynasty(1664-1911) before the Opium War, China was a country, isolated for the most part in its satisfaction with its ancient brilliance of culture and ignorant of the arrival of the modern Europe civilization which had been ushered in by the Industrial Revolution .
The Nemesis was the first steam-powered warship to be used in action by Britain. With a shallow draught, and able to be independent of winds and tides, the Nemesis was a devastating weapon in the rivers and estuaries of southern China during the First Opium War. Opium Wars
Chinese view of western influences China became involved in the Korean War (1950-53) against the West . And in intensive political strategies to remove western and Soviet influence (1954-76).
Links http://www.nmm.ac.uk/searchbin/searchs.pl?exhibit=it0334i&axis=985776279&flash=false&dev = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Commonwealth http://regentsprep.org/Regents/global/themes/change/ind.cfm
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