I’m at the transition point between completing the big essay on the birth of the Portuguese empire, which I published August 30, and sitting down to plan the next essay in the “Big Western Imperialisms” series, the one on Spain. Astute readers of the Portugal essay will have found some references there to the Portuguese … Continue reading Language, empire, nation, state
In the longform essay on the birth and early decades of the Portuguese empire that I published last week, I referred to the uses the Portuguese conquistadors made of “exemplary terror” as they built their trading-forts-based global empire in the 15th and early 16th centuries CE. Any history of this empire contains numerous examples of … Continue reading More on Portugal’s use of exemplary terror
1492? How about 1415 CE? If we’re trying to identify the start-date of the era of Western domination of world affairs that is now lurching toward a close, then the very serious moves that Portugal made, long before 1492, to build a colonial empire in West Africa and the mid-Atlantic should surely trump the voyage … Continue reading Portugal and the origins of “the West”
If you followed most US corporate media coverage you might believe that (1) the only important news in Afghanistan today is what’s happening in and near Kabul airport; (2) all “sane” Afghans want to leave their country; and (3) the best way Westerners can help is by bringing these people to our shores and integrating … Continue reading Beyond Kabul airport: Humanitarian crises in all of Afghanistan
What we are seeing in Afghanistan today, in almost real time, is the implosion and final collapse of the imperial project the US launched there in 2001. As with the final US collapse in Vietnam in 1975 or indeed the generally slightly more orderly withdrawal of British troops from India or so many former outposts … Continue reading The hubris of the long-distance empire
I’ve been writing my longform article about the role Portugal made in pioneering the concept, practice, and justifying ideologies of Western empire-building in the past six centuries. (Stay tuned for news on that.) But I’ve been doing a bit of supplementary reading and I came across this quote, from the Preface of A.R. Disney’s A … Continue reading Empires and ‘absent-mindedness’
It’s just over a month since a family emergency called me away from the work I had been doing, posting a daily-per-year bulletin here to track the world-historical developments of each of the 500 years since 1520 CE. Such family-crisis interruptions can be very disorienting. But I’ve reached an age/stage in my life where I’ve … Continue reading Project 500 Yrs: A clearer focus, a new strategy
Hi everyone. Last Thursday, June 24, I published the 176th daily bulletin in this project, which covered the year 1695 CE. I had anyway been planning a pause when I reached 1700 CE, but a family emergency called me away from my work so I put the project’s daily bulletins on hold as of last … Continue reading Project 500 Years: Communique #4
The biggest news of 1695 CE was the capture by a small English pirate flotilla in the Bab al-Mandeb strait of a heavily laden Mughal treasure ship returning to Surat from the Hajj. This event, which seems to have been very well documented from several points of view, including a fairly authoritative Indian one, illustrates … Continue reading 1695: Sketchy English pirate loots Mughal treasure ship, rapes & abuses passengers.
There were several significant developments in 1694 CE. I shall look first at a couple of developments from southern Europe and the Mediterranean. Then we’ll go to England where 1694 saw the establishment of the Bank of England, the death of Queen Mary, and a couple other developments. Then we’ll go to Brazil, where the … Continue reading 1694: Brazil destroys large maroon community. English slavetrader documents his work. Some news from Europe.