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09 22 Lecture Notes - Colonialism and Development in the South and North, 1500 - 1950.docx

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Geography 3312A/B
Haroon Akram Lodhi

nd September 22 Colonialism and Development in the South and North, 1500 – 1950 Changes in HDI over 20 years We live in a world where the top income is controlled by a few. In 2011 we live in a world of unparalleled contradictions: – 1 billion hungry people (2009) – 2.6 billion people living on less than US$2PPP a day (2005) – 11 million people with more than US$1 million in non-property wealth, who could together end poverty and still be rich How did we get here? The story of development is a very recent story: humanity has been on the planet for a miniscule part of its history 'Civilization' is a miniscule part of humanity's history If so, I would suggest that the circumstances facing the former colonies of Asia, Africa and Latin America must have been profoundly affected by the outward expansion of Europe World population in 1500 * 438 million * ½ in south Asia and east Asia World wealth (share of world GDP) in 1500 * per person, Europe is the richest place * but south Asia and east Asia have the largest share of world production Before Europe began to expand beyond its geographical space, the world was characterized by an extremely diverse set of societies: • subsistence societies that were (to a lesser or greater extent) • relatively egalitarian (equal) (excluding gender relations) in which (highly varied) • kinship provided the framework by which communities were structured in order to enhance • co-operation and reciprocity amongst community members This group characterized parts of large parts of Africa and Latin America, and central Asia • pre-capitalist states where peoples expanded their control over others, based upon • social inequality in which • elites were sustained by largely agrarian labour working in • tribute, in which political and administrative mechanisms had to • override kinship in order to maintain control, at times through • coercion This second group characterized Europe, the Middle East and north Africa, southern Asia, south-east Asia, east Asia, modern day Peru and Mexico, as well as kingdoms in western, eastern and southern Africa La Quemada in north-central Mexico • built around 500 CE • a major trading center on north-south trade routes • inhabited by a prince/priest elite • serviced by a network of 200 villages, with peasants supplying food, clothing and religious sacrifices to the elite Starting in the late 15 and early 16 century Europe started to expand beyond its space, overwhelming both subsistence societies and pre-capitalist states outside Europe Europe imposed its control over other countries Our world is a direct consequence of that expansion, and so understanding our world requires understanding that expansion This is because the story of the making of the South is the same as the story of the making of the North The period between the 14 and 16 centuries in Europe was one of a crisis of feudalism • wars within and between political territories controlled by landowning aristocracies • the emergence of the first centrally-organized states • the need for new sources of revenue to finance war • the impact of such taxes on a peasant-based agricultural economy that was increasingly less capable of supplying enough food for the peasantry and the aristocracy • peasant uprisings to challenge taxes, lords and states • fatal disease on an historically unprecedented scale: the Black Death, which killed 1/3 of the population in many places From the crisis of feudalism came the European expansion outside of Europe: colonialism Colonialism is the direct political and economic control of a people and the territory in which they live by a foreign state Colonization is the process by which this comes about th In the 16 century, Portuguese and Spanish • explorers, merchant adventurers and mercenaries used • trickery, plunder or the establishment of commercial monopolies to collect • luxury goods for the wealthy of Europe from the East (sugar, coffee, spices, fabrics and woods, amongst others) • precious metals from the West (gold and silver) The Eden Mine in Zacatecas, Mexico: • founded in 1586 • the largest silver mine in the Spanish empire for centuries • worked with forced indigenous labour—no one knows how many died Colonialism was used by the Portuguese and the Spanish to sustain feudalism on the Iberian Peninsula As such, it resembled earlier forms of pre-colonial empire, in that local resources were forcibly appropriated by plunder, tribute and trade to enrich merchants and Portuguese and Spanish aristocrats However, systematic colonial rule was only imposed on the Caribbean and Latin America, initially through the genocidal extermination of indigenous populations through guns and germs Even here, though, it is important to stress the diversity of societies on which colonialism was forcibly imposed—thus, the Inca and the Maya differed profoundly, even though both were pre-capitalist states It is very important to stress the brutal violence of the colonial conquest of the Spanish and Portuguese: violence that today we would call ethnic cleansing Samuel de Champlain offered a first-hand account of his travels in Mexico in 1599, stressing the tyranny, cruelty and exploitation used throughout the Spanish Empire in silver mines, pearl fisheries, the construction of cities, the manning of galleys, labour in manufacturing, as well as forced conversion to Catholicism: The King of Spain ‘reserved the right of employing in them a great number of slaves, to get from the mine, for his profit, as much as they can’ th In the 17 century the Spanish and Portuguese empires started to be challenged by the English and the Dutch Both countries were undergoing the early stages of a 150 year process of industrialization, as capitalist commodity production and exchange emerged from the remnants of feudalism Capitalism is a system in which • goods and services are produced to be sold in markets for a profit Things are not produced to be used, but to be sold to someone who will use them. • social relationships are constructed upon those who primarily own capital and those who primarily own their own labour power • other relationships of gender, age, ethnicity and the like refract through the relationship between the owners of capital and the owners of labour power In the emergence of capitalism, industrial manufacturers needed raw materials, and these came to be supplied by monopolistic chartered merchant trading companies from British North America and the Dutch Caribbean and Dutch East Indies • Hudson’s Bay Company • Royal African Company • Dutch East India Company • British East India Company These companies received monopoly commercial rights from a state ruler—typically, a king—for the purpose of promoting trade and exploration in a specific geographic area Thus, English, Dutch and later French colonization of diverse societies in North America and the Caribbean (and, initially, the Cape of Good Hope), driven by merchant companies, reconfigured international trade, linking These colonies restructured international trade • the production of large scale agricultural raw materials, usually on plantations, in North America and the Caribbean to incipient industrial manufacturing in Europe • the development of markets for European industrial products in the colonies as well as in Europe • the procurement of slave labour for plantations from Africa, which was not formally colonized but which nonetheless fell under imperial domination This is the period of mercantilism: governments regulated where monopoly trading companies could trade in order to increase the goods and services available in the home country and in so doing augment the power of the state at the expense of rivals These companies were not designed to improve the living standards where the company was located but to improve England – to improve power and get access to more goods and services So in the mercantilist period we see a slowly emerging world market based upon buying and selling, a global division of labour, and the incorporation of the South into the global division of labour by merchant companies engaged in buying and selling This was done to augment the power of the national state and its rulers th th So 17 and 18 century colonialism and slave labour fuelled mercantilist profitability in northern Europe, the profits of which were gradually invested into industrial manufacturing This type of colonialism was thus different from that of the 16 century: it fuelled capitalist development, rather than sustaining feudalism, by facilitating the industrial revolution: the transition from rural, agrarian economies to urban-based factory production, associated with the harnessing of steam power as an energy source First identified in 18 century England, the industrial revolution eventually brought enormous political, social, and cultural change throughout 19 century Europe The triangular trade of 17 and 18 century colonialism The foundation of the triangular trade: slavery Ground zero at the African Holocaust – nobody knows how many people walked through that door onto ships – most of whom where worked to death. They needed insurance – it was better, if product spoiled, to show up with an empty ship. So if a substantial number of people died, it was better to through the rest overboard and show up with an empty ship to collect insurance In a 100 year period, 6 million slaves left Africa There was significant ongoing conflict between merchant companies from different countries over the spoils of colonialism th As a result, in the 18 century • the French replaced the Dutch as England’s principal rivals The Dutch were still important, but not as important compared to the French • colonial states such as, for example, Upper and Lower Canada, slowly started to replace merchant companies as the principal mechanism of rule, continuing well past the First Indian War of Independence in 1857 • conflict, now between colonial states, continued • the US fought for and gained its independence • the French had their revolution Portuguese and Spanish feudalism changed very slowly: by not adapting, the Iberian empires fell into decline despite the occupation of imperial possessions The starting point for change: Haiti—following the French Revolution, a slave revolt in 1793 led to the abolition of slavery and former slave Toussaint L’Ouverture becoming Governor, declaring independence in 1797 Between 1810 and 1822 most of South America obtained its independence in a series of revolutionary insurrections Haiti had to pay French for the slaves and the land they had lost – they didn’t pay this debt off th until the middle of the 20 century which is why Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world today During the same period, as mercantilist companies sought to widen the ranges of goods and services they were buying and selling they started to increase demand for industrial manufactured goods that were produced in England and other parts of northern Europe, to be sold in Europe and in the colonies Over a long period in the 18 and 19 centuries in England, France, Germany and the USA, slowly, mercantilism came to be replaced by industrial capitalism as the basis of colonialism Industrial products had higher profit margins for their manufacturers than the buying and selling of goods had for merchants, and were, moreover, subject to sustained technical innovation Buying low, selling high (mercantilism) was replaced by industrial capitalism because it was more profitable to produce things than to sell them As a result, capital accumulation came to shape colonization and social conditions in the home country: • production rather than plunder • manufacturing rather than agriculture • waged labour rather than farming • capital rather than merchants • cities rather than countryside • politicians rather than lords Capital accumulation shaped social transformation in the South: the modern world has its origins in these transformations This is because these transformations in turn facilitated the successful completion of the industrial revolution across north west Europe: – Europe started to become decisively richer than the rest of the world starting in 1500 – the colonies became key markets for industrial manufacturers, traded under restrictive terms and conditions that ensured profitability for their producers Per Capita Levels of Industrialization 1750-1953 Picture won’t copy because it hates me. Source: Bairoch (1982, Table 4, p. 281). The European core contains: Austria-Hungary, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. The Asian and Latin American periphery contains: China, India (plus Pakistan in 1953), Brazil and Mexico. th India and China are emblematic: in the middle of the 18 century they were still the 2 biggest economies in the world Major global manufacturers, both countries were of interest to mercantile companies because of their manufacturing prowess However, as manufacturing developed in north-west Europe, colonial policy sought to remove these major competitors by colonial occupation (India) or by aggressively intervening in their internal affairs (China) The result was de-industrialization and the creation of an agrarian peasant economy in both places De-industrialization in India, Turkey and Mexico
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