More on Portugal’s use of exemplary terror

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

Beyond Kabul airport: Humanitarian crises in all of Afghanistan

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

The hubris of the long-distance empire

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

Project 500 Yrs: A clearer focus, a new strategy

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

1695: Sketchy English pirate loots Mughal treasure ship, rapes & abuses passengers.

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.

1694: Brazil destroys large maroon community. English slavetrader documents his work. Some news from Europe.

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.