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This blog does what it says on the box. It quite simply narrates, from the start to the present day, a history of the world, and virtually everything of note in it. Follow the saga that the World's story is, by checking in for our daily updates! Contact us at worldhistoryblog@yahoo.co.uk

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European cultural, economic, and martial advantages from the 15th to the early 20th century brought about a unique occurrence in the history of mankind: the physical conquest of most of the planet by one civilization and the economic and cultural hegemony over the remainder. This was a gradual process which reached its height in the late 19th century, and is now arguably waning.

It started in the 15th century with Portuguese, Spanish and English voyages of discovery. At first it was a haphazard process, but the riches gathered by Portuguese naval dominance and trade in the east, and by the Spanish conquest of the Americas in the west, gave it a new and worldwide impetus. By 1600, Dutch, English and French traders had taken over the dominance of the seas from the Iberian powers, an during the 17th and 18th centuries they colonized North America, India and much of Indonesia, and added to the European maps, Australia and much of the Pacific ocean.

The Industrial revolution gave a new impetus to European imperialism. Overseas countries were targeted as an enormous market for mass-produced manufactured goods. While the conquest of America by the Spanish had been to a certain degree an accident, the conquest of India and later Africa, and parts of southeast Asia were very much consciously undertaken endeavours to create captive markets for European manufactured goods. The later 19th century brought British and French interests into sharp conflict, and introduced new nations in the form of Germany and Italy to the race for colonial possessions.

It was during these years that Western civilization spilled over the edges of Europe, pouring some her most daring, most avaricious, most idealistic, most cruel, and most inventive sons throughout the world in order to find adventure, make fortunes, or to serve God in the process of settlement, discovery, conquest and administration of their new possessions.

To build things, one must clear forests, and to clear forests is to a certain extent, to deface nature irreparably. An analogy can be drawn those who wielded the axe of imperialism. In the on stroke, was the brilliant achievement of unifying all of the planet under a shared cultural, political and economic system; of bringing the accomplishments of their science, technology, culture and administrative skills to areas which had no equivalents, and benefited from them; the achievement of settling vast, but lightly populated regions of the world such as Australia and much of America; of creating a worldwide economy; and of eradicating pestilence and plague in those places in the world that have often suffered most sorely from them.

But on the other hand, in the process a great part of the native populations of the Americas was killed directly or indirectly, and the same thing happened in other parts of the world such as Australia and Oceania; European diseases were introduced to foreign countries, and exotic ones were brought to Europe; the evil of the slave trade was exploited and exacerbated; an inferiority complex was introduced in many foreign civilizations, with the effects still being felt in many parts of the world, breeding often justified ill-will towards the West; and violent rifts that survive to this day, were created between neighbouring nations as a result of imperial ‘divide and rule’ policy.

No other event in history turned mankind upside-down so thoroughly as this European eruption and consequent century-long colonial rule and western hegemony. Even in China – never really conquered – the influence was felt in such forms as the pseudo-Christian Tai Ping movement, or 20th century Communism. In India the English language and the Christian religion continue to reign supreme, and in Japan imitated Western Civilization so successfully that they eventually outsoldiered the Europeans, and later outperformed them economically. Islamic society remains at this time in a period of deep-rooted resentment towards past Western dominance; African tribal society has been uprooted by European colonial rule to such an extent that sub-Saharan Africa is in a state of profound upheaval, trying to find its bearings.

Europe too, eventually shot herself in the foot. One of the chief reasons why the First and Second World Wars occurred was the concerns and paranoia that imperialism had helped to create. These two events can perhaps be said to set in motion the decline of Europe’s global importance.

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