Monday, September 17, 2012
Reading Assignment due at the beginning of seminar next week
ii) Empires: Old and New
iii) The Scramble for Africa
Today we live in nation states, but in the year 1900, the world was controlled
by “empires” (from Latin meaning “control”). An empire is a state that governs
many nations. Empires were typically headed by a monarch who was supported by
an army and administration. Ruled over people with different
religion/culture/language/traditions. The “oppressed” people were frequently
deprived riches or goods unless they chose to assimilate to the empire.
Some empires that existed around 1900: Chinese, Persian, Austro-Hungarian,
Empires: Old and New
The Ching dynasty, founded by the Manchu people, briefly conquered China.
Ultimately became very Chinese themselves by adopting Chinese way of life. Most
especially the Ching dynasty adopted the Chinese method of government (founded
by Confucius- similar to communism). Strange custom- One Chinese tradition was “foot binding” where feet would be
wrapped very, very tightly in order to achieve smaller, “sexier” feet. It was easier to
marry young girls off if they had been subjected to foot binding. This would make
walking difficult for women- they would literally hobble in front of their men.
At first China saw little need for foreign relations. By the middle of the 19th
century, however, China needed to interact with sea-faring traders. Began to resist
British attempts to trade goods (such as opium). Two brief wars occurred regarding
this issue- they became known as the “opium wars”.
Ottoman empire (modern Turkey) dominated Islamic world. The leader of
this empire even saw himself as a religious leader, but respected al religions (if
these people paid special tax). As modern methods of warfare appeared, Ottoman
Empire couldn’t adapt.
Persia, Turkey, and China were the three great empires of Asia. Tried to
resist Western influence, which would erode their culture.
Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires were Christian empires.
In 1898, Lord Salisbury said, “May roughly