EVOLUTION OF CULTURE
Cultures leave their mark in structures, artifacts and documents that reflect their knowledge, religion and history. From 3000BC-1000BC, there were at least 6 independent "cradles of civilization" scattered around the world.. The subsequent evolution of culture is a story of cycles of invasion and repulsion. The invasions were either destructive with "sackings" or co-opting where the invaders simple take over the power structure. The geographic barriers of mountains, desert and oceans isolated the cradles and constrained subsequent conflicts to mostly within Europe & Middle East, China & Mongolia, India & Pakistan, Americas, Africa. The fight for dominance between the Abrahamic religions, enabled by technology leadership, resulted conflicts centered on Europe and the Middle East.
Around 500BC, trade Routes of the Silk Road and Incense Road crossed the barriers isolating China and India from Europe. In the 1500's AD, the global maritime conquests by the European sea powers (UK, France, Spain) crossed the barriers to Africa, Americas, introduced slavery and enabled the European invasion of India, and Far East, which destroyed many of the local populations and cultures.
After the World Wars, the USA was the only industrial power that had not been decimated by the conflicts. As a result, it became the planet wide dominant culture that we see today. The resulting homogenization of culture has inevitably triggered an effort by many groups to try to protect their uniqueness, and created resistance.
Mobility plays a key role in the spread of cultures; horse, camel, row boats, sailing boats, trains, power boats, planes.
Horse - The earliest archaeological evidence for the domestication of the horse comes from sites in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, dating to approximately 4000–3500 BC. The speed, mobility, and shock value of cavalry was greatly appreciated and exploited in armed forces in the Ancient and Middle Ages; some forces were mostly cavalry, particularly in nomadic societies of Asia, notably the Huns of Attila and the later Mongol armies. Greek and Roman chariot. Terracotta urn in the shape of a horse (Iran, 1000 BCE) . Those in the upper socioeconomic echelons in the Middle Ages occasionally traveled in covered wagons. Fancy royals carriages from 1760's.
Humans had domesticated the Bactrian camel by at least the middle of the third millennium somewhere east of the Zagros Mountains, with the practice then moving into Mesopotamia. By at least 1200 BC the first camel saddles had appeared, and Bactrian camels could be ridden. The first documented use of camel cavalries occurred in the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC. The Byzantine East Roman Empire used camels mostly in combat because of their ability to scare off horses at close range (horses are afraid of the camels' scent), Tang Dynasty (800AD) woman breastfeeding on camel.
Ships - The Phoenicians introduced the bireme, around 700 BC. The Phoenicians are also credited with inventing the trireme, which was regarded as the most advanced and powerful vessel in the ancient Mediterranean world, and was eventually adopted by the Greeks. Shown is modern reconstruction, and a Roman mosaic of a trireme.
The Viking longships were characterized as graceful, long, narrow, and light, with a shallow-draft hull designed for speed. The ship's shallow draft allowed navigation in waters only one meter deep and permitted arbitrary beach landings, while its light weight enabled it to be carried over portages or used bottom-up for shelter in camps. Longships were fitted with oars along almost the entire length of the boat itself. Later versions had a rectangular sail on a single mast, which was used to cargo version was the Knarr.
In the High Middle Ages, two types of ships were used: the Trade-Cog and the Hulk. The Trade-Cog had only one mast, steep sides, and a flat bottom, which allowed them to settle flatly in harbor, facilitating loading and unloading of cargo. They were also frequently used for military transportation and as warships because the steep sides made it difficult for pirates and other intruders to board. The Hulk was also flat-bottomed like the Trade-Cog but had neither a stern nor sternposts. It was chiefly used as a river or canal boat as it had limited ability for oceanic transportation.
In the Late Middle Ages, the Caravel was either square and lateen rigged or only lateen rigged. The lateen sails, which gave the ships speed and the ability to sail towards the wind. Two famous Caravel ships are the Niña and the Pinta, both of which Christopher Columbus used in his first voyage to the Indies in 1492. Mary Rose was another example.
Galleons were large, multi-decked sailing ships developed in Spain and first used as armed cargo carriers by Europeans from the 1500-1700 during the age of sail and were the principal vessels drafted for use as warships until the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the mid-1600s
The Vasa was the first triple decked warship (1621–1629) built at the height of Swedish control of the Baltic,
The industrial revolution started with canal networks, and then rail and road networks. Commercial air transport started in the 1930's, and by the 1970's jets enabled travel around the world in a day.
Natural caves provided residential protection for the earliest hominids in places such as the "Cradle of Civilization" near todays Johannesburg. Rock paintings in caves and rocks are the oldest record of human creativity. Carving into rock for sculpture produced Buddas. Buddas in cliffs. Leshan Giant Buddha - Sichuan - China. The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two 6th-century monumental statues carved into the side of a cliff i 130 kilometres (81 mi) northwest of Kabul, destroyed by the Taliban. Easter Island carvings
These led to the formation of man made caves at convenient locations. which became multichamber rooms for temples, mausoleums and living quarters. Cliff carved temples - Abu Simbel temple to Ramases II in Egypt, The Kailasha temple 756-773 AD is the largest of the rock-cut Hindu temples India. Petra 500BC is the best example of a cliff carved city.
Stand alone rocks were used to form "temples" that often doubled as observatories, such as Avebury Ring. Early carved pillars and lintels formed stand alone formed arches such as Stonehenge.
Solid Pyramids and towers form the simplest stand alone structures. The Pharoes funery pyramids (Great Pyramid) included passages for the mummy and funery wares.
Ziggurat of Ur - Step pyramid temple, Sumeria. El Castillo (Temple of Kukulcan) is a Mayan Mesoamerican step-pyramid that dominates the center of the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexican state of Yucatán. Ankor Wat. The construction of Angkor Wat took place 1122 to 1150 CE. Originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire by King Suryavarman II during the 12th century, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple. The central tower represents Mount Mer the sacred five-peaked mountain of Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist cosmology and is considered to be the centre of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes.
The pyramid mausoleums evolved into cave complexes as in the Valley of Kings and Queens for protection from Grave robbers. The Terracotta Army are the highlight of a Chinese mausoleum.
Stand alone housing was made using whatever was convenient; wood, rock, mud, reeds, bone, skin. Only rock survives over thousands of years as in Skara Brae in Orkney a stone structure from 3000 BC. . Postholes leave some record from short lived materials. Nomadic or seasonal migrants have built or mobile temporary structures.
Teepees - Skin walls by Native Americans
Tents - Wadi Halfa in Sudan 100K years ago
Igloo - Eskimos
Bone - Mammoth bone at Mezhirich 15K years ago
Reed - Mesolithic Ireland, at Terra Amata in France 400K years ago
Cave - Neandertals in Bruniquel Cave 176K years ago
Earthen - Athabascan Native Alaskan
Mud walls - example 500-year-old mud-brick village in Yemen
Stone - Skara Brae in Scotland 3K years ago. Newgrange in Ireland.
Cliff roof dwelling - Anasazi Native American
Wooden - Japanese and Chinese developed interlocking wooden structures that are earthquake survivable. Seven thousand years ago mortise and tenon joinery was used to build wood-framed houses. (The oldest are at Hemudu site at Zhejiang). Since ancient times when the Chinese first began to use wood for building, joinery has been a major focus and craftsmen cut the wooden pieces to fit so perfectly that no glue or fasteners were necessary.
Wooden Framed with woven walls - England 1600's
Larger residential societies left a record of collections of castles housing, and ceremonial buildings the Egyptian Pharoses, Minoans, Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, Hindus, Buddist and European Christian communities.
Communities naturally developed at trading locations such as entries to mountain passes, tributary points on rivers, harbors usually at river moths. The best spots had natural defenses that were augmented by walls, towers and castles, so towns, forts and large castles became synonymous.
Early cities were built from earth and timber but had their defense's replaced later by stone. Early castles often exploited natural defense's, lacking features such as towers and arrow slits and relying on a central keep. Placing castle on top of hills provided natural protection against attack, but also made them vulnerable to siege tactics of simply starving them out. Water supply infrastructure becomes a crucial part of cites.
Masada is an ancient fortification situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to a mesa. It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea 20 km (12 mi) east of Arad. Herod the Great built two palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE
The ancient Greeks and Romans were the most prolific builders of city communities. In The Parthenon in Athens, the Colosseum, and Forum in Rome, Pompeii, Ephesus in Turkey, numerous roads, stadia, and bridges throughout Europe including Hadrians Wall.
Aqueduct of Segovia built around 50 AD, the is one of the best-preserved monuments left by the Romans in Spain and also an aqueduct in Carthage. Petra 500BC used water piping to deliver water to desert valley community.
In China the ancient wooden structures are long decayed, the Great Wall of China is a spectacular example of their capabilities, also the Great Wall of India.
The Nazca Aqueducts were built in the 200-500 AD
Norman conquests led to first stone castles such as Tower of London (1078), Windsor and Warwick.
Many new castles were polygonal or relied on concentric defence – several stages of defence within each other that could all function at the same time to maximize the castle's firepower. Crusader castles were mostly built by Military Orders who were responsible for the foundation of sites such as Krak des Chevaliers, Margat, and Belvoir. Alhambra - Moorish Castle.
Fortress cities, often on hill tops, allowed much larger and sustainable communities to be protected. For example Dubrovnic Croatia, Siena Spain, Itchan Kala is the walled inner town of the city of Khiva, Uzbekistan.
Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, Buddist, and Hundu all impose celibacy on its celebrants who live in gender specific housing. Some of these communities are "closed" orders and live in spectacular isolation. Greek Orthodox monasteries in Thessaloniki.
At the same time the Incas were building a interlocking stone fortress Sacsayhuamán in Cusco.
Stari Most: The bridge at Mostar, Bosnia 1557. nr. Dubrovnik.
In India, the forts of Rajasthan were home to the local rulers. Jaipur's Amber Fort 1600-1727AD
Taj Mahal in India
Ronda Gorge bridge in Spain 1790.
Canals - Industrial Revolution in England 1800's, Corinth Canal 1893.
Larger indoor spaces for community events and religious' ceremonies are a central feature of towns and cities. The easiest way to create a larger covered space is as a "hypostyle" hall, with pillars that support the roof. Over time, the challenge has been to create larger spaces with fewer supports that give a sense of space and open-ness.
Native Alaskan community spaces, are one example of a informal gathering place.
Ptolemaic Temples in Egypt - Luxor, Karnak & Temple of Khnum at Esna. Dense column supports to rock beam roofs.
Greek & Roman - Parthenon, Elegant sparse columns with wooden beams for roof support
The Romans invented concrete which enabled a new roof strategy,
Pantheon (126AD) in Rome started as a Roman Temple. The building is round in plan, except for the portico with large granite Corinthian columns. The rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. At 43m, the dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.
Hagia Sofia (537AD) Christian Orthodox in the style of Byzantine architecture, There is a hierarchy of dome-headed elements built up to create a vast oblong interior crowned by the central dome, 31m diameter, 55 meters high, with a clear span of 76.2 m. Made of brick and concrete masonry.
Most cathedrals and great churches have a cruciform ground plan. St Marks in Venice is a Byzantine example with footprint of Orthodox Cross. In churches of Western European tradition, the plan is usually longitudinal, in the form of the so-called Latin Cross with a long nave crossed by a transept. such as Pisa Cathederal (by the tower). The façade or "west front" is the most ornate part of the exterior with the processional doors, often three in number, and often richly decorated with sculpture, marble or stone tracery.
Islamic style - evolved from Byzantine era, with geometric decoration, with no depictions of people or prophets. It is against the Islamic faith to idolize earthly beings, any depictions of earthly beings lack religious connection. The use of wooden ceilings with wooden pillars in mosque architecture dates back to the early periods of Islam, with the Al-masjid an-Nabawi, a Wooden Hypostyle Mosque. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem (600AD) has a centralized floor plan with an octagonal layout, similar to Hagia Sophia. Among the most famous of these is the Malwiyya minaret, a stand-alone tower with a "spiral" form built for the Great Mosque of Samarra. The minaret is a tower that traditionally accompanies a mosque building. Its formal function is to provide a vantage point from which the call to prayer. The Great Mosque of Cordoba "Mezquita" (786AD) was noted for its unique hypostyle hall with rows of double-tiered, two-colored, arches.
By the 1100's, Gothic cathedrals had evolved from Islamic style with high arches, tall towers, larger windows, lighter-weight vaulting supported on stone ribs and above all, the pointed arch, with the distinctive flying buttresses as a means of support. The huge windows were ornamented with stone tracery and filled with stained glass illustrating stories from the Bible and the lives of the saints. Buildings representative of this period include Notre Dame, Paris; Rouen Cathedral, Siena Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral in England.
The Dumo (1436AD) in Florence was the first Renaissance Cathedral to be completed. An octagonal dome with height 144m, spanning 44m. It uses a double skinned brick dome with iron chain hoops. The greatest cathedral building of the age was the rebuilding of St Peter's Basilica in Rome, surmounted by Michelangelo's glorious dome, taller but just one foot narrower than the one that Brunelleschi had built a hundred years earlier in Florence.
St Paul's Cathedral (1666AD) in London is a Baroque style, the dome, which, like Brunelleschi's dome in Florence, spans not only the nave but also the aisles, opening the whole centre of the church into a vast light space.
The invaders of empires fall into 2 groups; the organized militias of residential civilizations, and bands of nomadic hunters. The nomadic groups left few cultural footprints.
3800BC Sumerian culture in Persia.
3000- 525BC Egyptian Empire was the first to leave a record of well preserved structures and artifacts. Numerous conflicts with neighbors.
Mayans and Caral Civilizations in America
Indus River Civilization in India
525-402BC & 343-332BC Achaemenid (Persian) Empires stretched from Mediterranean to Afghanistan. Helped establish Silk Road trading from Europe to China, and the Incense Road from Europe to India. Trading posts such as Petra thrive
235BC Ptolomaeic (Greeks) Macedonia kingdom, Alexander the Great with help from the Phoenician navy, displace the entire Persian Empire. Prior to the kingdom, the Greek republic was the home for scientific breakthroughs.
37BC-476AD Roman Empire with well organized military ranged from UK to today's Iraq, with the Sasanian Empire in Persia. Around the world there was;
Gupta Empire in India
Yuan Empire in China
Maya/Aztec Mesoamerican Empire
Nasca/Inca Central Andean Empire
Bantu Culture dominates Africa
378-527 Nomadic hunters, the Goths from Central Europe, and Huns (Atilla the Hun) from central Asia overwhelmed Western Roman empire. This evolved into the barbarian Frankish Empire controlling France and Germany.
500-1453 Byzantine Empire, centered on Constantinople, was the remaining Eastern Roman Empire, and became the key to the early spread of Christianity. Finally ended by the Muslim Ottoman Empire.
800-1299 Multiple Islamic caliphates covered Spain, through North Africa to Pakistan.
800-1808 The Holy Roman Empire controlled Germany, and Austro-Hungary.
793-1066 Viking empire . The Vikings were the power in Northern Europe after the Romans departed. Their sail power took them to Iceland, Greenland, and Eastern Canada.
1000's Normans and crusades The Normans in northern France spread Christianity across France and UK and led the Crusades into Galilee.
1206-1405 Mongol Khanate Empire. Mongolians (Kubla Kahn) nomadic hunters moved west, south and east to take over from Ukraine, Persia, Tibet to China.
1299–1922 Ottoman Empire became the dominant Islamic power in the Middle East, and finally finished off the Byzantine Empire in Turkey.
1492-1900 Spanish Empire, led the global expansion through sea power, spreading Catholic religion causing the collapse of the native South and Mid American cultures.
1500's to 1950's British Empire, started with the Protestants split of Christianity under Henry VIII. The defeat of the Catholic Spanish armada in 1588, established naval power led to the take over East coast of North America, enabling the slave trade, and spread control though India and Far east through a combination of invasion and trading monopoly. The British Empire finally underwent voluntary dissolution after WW2.
1756–1763 Seven Years' War a global conflict between alliances led by UK and France, that resulted in control of North America by UK.
1776 American war of Independence from UK. Caused the final collapse of Native American population and culture.
1804-1850 French Napoleonic Empire, and rebuilt colonies concentrating chiefly in Senegal, Madagascar as well as Vietnam, Cambodia and Tahiti.
1914-1918 WW1 UK, France, Russia, USA vs. Germany, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman.
1939-1945 WW2 UK, France, Russia, USA vs. Germany, Japan, Italy
Cultural evolution can be broken down into :
1) Prehistory - up to10,000BC
2) Ancient times - 10,000BC Geographically separate cradles of civilization until the start of the global maritime empires in 1500AD. Europe & Mesopotamia add a further division with introduction of Christianity starting the Middle ages around 0BC.
4) Modern ages of global empires from 1500AD to today
Pre history hunter gatherers were not isolated family groups living on the edge of poverty.
These were sophisticated varied and complex communities, with seasonal habits…traveling when needed, collecting as extended groups during prey or harvest excess. Significant free time to play, craft and travel. Built large structures for seasonal celebrations. Elected leaders for ceremony and organized hunting. Personal freedom to do what you wanted outside of group obligations.
Graeber and Wenlow in "The dawn of everything"
Ancient times - Cradles of civilization
Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, the Erligang culture of the Yellow River valley, Caral-Supe in Peru, and Mesoamerica. Centers of empires and/or trade, with castles, palaces and religious structures
This region, also saw the emergence of early complex societies during the succeeding Bronze Age. There is also early evidence from the region for writing and the formation of hierarchical state level societies. This has earned the region the nickname "The cradle of civilization". Antelope from Algeria 9000 BC, Bison sculpture from France 12,000 BC
Many different collective hunter gatherer communities have been successful and created their own structures. A function of food cycles, external events, community choice. Enviable levels of individual freedom And community support in some. Authoritarian power with slavery in other apparently linked to public art and symbols of power.
Domestication did allow stable centralized power to get established in the Fertile Crescent. Religion enabled voluntary submission to authority. The western culture of individual freedom to acquire, speak, discriminate without regard for others freedoms became enshrined in Capitalism, and has led to the unsustainable levels of inequality seen today.
The end of the last ice age around 10Ky ago, uncovered the Fertile Crescent which became one the first centers of settled farming. Once people could grow more than they needed, cities and a ruling class emerged in Babylon. The Fertile Crescent is most famous for its sites related to the origins of agriculture. The western zone around the Jordan and upper Euphrates rivers gave rise to the first known Neolithic farming settlements (referred to as Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA)), which date to around 9,000 BCE and includes very ancient sites such as Göbekli Tepe, Chogha Golan, and Jericho (Tell es-Sultan). During the Neolithic period from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement, making an increasingly large population possible. These settled communities permitted humans to observe and experiment with plants, learning how they grew and developed. This new knowledge led to the domestication of plants into crops.
Göbekli Tepe in Turkey 9K years ago
Nevali Cori in Turkey 8K years ago
Catalhoyuk in Turkey 7.5K years ago
Mehrgarth in Turkey 7K years ago
Jericho in Palestine 8K years ago
Herxheim in Germany 5K years ago
Knap of Hoawar and Skara Brae in Orkney Is Scotland
3000 settlements in Romania/Ukraine 5-3K years ago
In Persia, the Sumerian civilization centered on Ur built clipped pyramids - "Zigguratt" from 3800BC. Uruk and Jemdet Nasr, c. 3350 – c. 250 BC, southern Mesopotamia (now south-central Iraq), Ziggurat of Ur in Mesopotamia 2100BC.
Urbanization was linked to ruling classes emerge with wealth and resources, fights between rulers to increase their wealth and influence became the norm that has lasted to this day - unfortunately.
In Egypt, the Pharoes civilization with pyramids and temples galor lasted from 3500BC to 300BC. Memphis (Great Pyramid) 2950-331BC Pharoes Temples 3000-300BC in Egypt.
Over 3000 years, the Egypt of the Pharoes was invaded by the Persians, Greeks, and Romans without disturbing the religious establishment.
1650BC Semitic speaking Hyksos invade
1479–1425 BC Egyptian empire invade Phoenicians
925BC Libyan Pharoes as a result of mass immigration
700BC Nubian Pharoes from Sudan
670BC Neo-Assyrian Pharoes from Persepolis
550BC Achaemenid Persian Empire invades
330BC Greek Empire (Alexander the Great) invades producing the Ptolemaic era temples in Luxor, Karnak, Esna.
50BC Roman invades
The Hittites 1800-1200BC were an Anatolian Indo-European people who formed one of the first major civilizations of Bronze Age West Asia. Possibly originating from beyond the Black Sea, they settled in modern day Turkey in the early 2nd millennium BC. when it encompassed most of Anatolia and parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia. For example, the Sphinx Gate entrance of the city of Hattusa , Between the 15th and 13th centuries BC, the Hittites were one of the dominant powers of the Near East, coming into conflict with the New Kingdom of Egypt, the Middle Assyrian Empire and the empire of Mitanni for control of the region.
Minoan Civilization 1900-1350BC. Knossos on Crete also Akrotiri. The Minoan civilization developed from the local Neolithic culture around c. 3100 BC, with complex urban settlements, art and writing beginning around 2000 BC.
Mycenae in Greece 1450 BC to about 1100 BC. After c. 1450 BC, Minoans came under the cultural and perhaps political domination of the mainland Mycenaean Greeks, forming a hybrid culture which lasted until around 1100 BC. Lion gate, ancient city of Mycenae (BC 1650-1200), capital of King Agamemnon, Greece.
Phoenicians 1100-200BC in Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos. all the way to Carthage, bypassing Egypt. The Phoenicians came to prominence in the mid-12th century BC, They were skilled traders and mariners,.The Phoenicians remained a core asset to the Achaemenid Empire, particularly for their prowess in maritime technology and navigation; they furnished the bulk of the Persian fleet during the Greco-Persian Wars of the late 400'sBC. The Phoenicians developed an expansive maritime trade network that lasted over a millennium, helping facilitate the exchange of cultures, ideas, and knowledge between major cradles of civilization such as Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. After its zenith in 800's BC, the Phoenician civilization in the eastern Mediterranean slowly declined until the destruction of Carthage in the 100's BC.
Dur-Sharrukin (present-day Khorsabad, Iraq), c. 722 to 705 BC. Neo-Assyrian Empire.
The Scythians were an ancient Eastern Iranic equestrian nomadic people who had migrated in 800'sBC from Central Asia to the Pontic Steppe in modern-day Ukraine and Southern Russia, where they remained established until the 200's BC. In the 600's BC, the Scythians crossed the Caucasus Mountains and frequently raided West Asia.
525-402BC & 343-332BC The Achaemenid Empires 550–330 BC the First Persian Empire[ was the ancient Iranian empire Based in Western Asia, it was the largest empire the world had ever seen at its time, from the Balkans and Egypt in the west to Central Asia and the Indus Valley in the east. Persian II empire 226AD - covers Mesopotamia in West, Pakistan in east. Provided a path for the Silk Road trading route to China, and the Incense Road to India. Persepolis in Persian mountains (modern Iran) capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Babylon in Iraq major city and regional capital of the Achaemenid Empire; The Ishtar Gate was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon (in the area of present-day Hillah, Babil Governorate, Iraq). It was constructed circa 575 BC by Nebuchadnezzar II. Reconstruction in the Berlin museum.
Silk Road 329 BC - 1220AD Samarkand was key city, part of a network of Caravansari (way points) that supported travelers. The Silk Road derives its name from the highly lucrative trade of silk textiles that were produced almost exclusively in China. The network began with the Han dynasty's expansion into Central Asia around 114 BCE through the missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy Zhang Qian, which brought the region under unified control. The Parthian Empire provided a bridge to East Africa and the Mediterranean. By the early first century CE, Chinese silk was widely sought-after in Rome, Egypt, and Greece. Other lucrative commodities from the East included tea, dyes, perfumes, and porcelain; among Western exports were horses, camels, honey, wine, and gold. Aside from generating substantial wealth for emerging mercantile classes, the proliferation of goods such as paper and gunpowder greatly altered the trajectory of various realms, if not world history. For example, the medieval Tangut fortress on the Silk Road, built in 1032 near Juyan Lake Basin, Gobi desert Mongolia. There are notes from traders. Palmyra grew wealthy from trade caravans; the Palmyrenes became renowned as merchants who established colonies along the Silk Road and operated throughout the Roman Empire. Yazd in Iran is another anchient Silk Road city.
Incense Road - 500 BC - 100 AD Petra a key post on the Incense Road. The Incense Trade Route linking the Mediterranean world with eastern and southern sources of incense, spices and other luxury goods, stretching from Mediterranean ports across thee Levant and Egypt through Northeastern Africa and Arabia to India and beyond. as Arabian frankincense and myrrh; Indian spices, precious stones, pearls, ebony, silk and fine textiles; and from the Horn of Africa, rare woods, feathers, animal skins, Somali frankincense, gold, and slaves. The incense land trade from South Arabia to the Mediterranean flourished between roughly the 3rd century BC and the 2nd century AD.
Petra grew as a trading post on the Incense Road.
Greek cultural development
800-400 BC Olympics
550 BC Ephesus, Turkey peaks.
598 BC Democracy in Greece
490 BC Defeat Persians in Marathon
480-479 BC Xerxes from Persia tries to invade - battles at Thermopylae, Salamis and finally looses at Plataea
460-320 BC Full democratic instiutions in Athens introduced by Pericles
447 BC Parthenon built
431-404 BC Pelloponesian war with Sparta
427-347 BC Plato
420 BC Atomic theory by Democritos
399 BC Trial and death of Socrates
336 -323 BC Alexander the Great tutored by Aristotle - -takes over Egypt.
270 BC Heliocentric world by Aristarchus
Macedonian (North Greece & Balkans) empire 336-323BC started by Alexander the Great Capital Athens - started as the Greek Republic and its scientific revolution.
Ptolomaeic (Greeks) Macedonia kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece, which later became the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. due to Alexander the Great . During Alexander's subsequent campaign of conquest, he overthrew the Achaemenid Empire and conquered territory that stretched as far as the Indus River. Serapeum of Alexandria, where the Library of Alexandria moved part of its collection. Lighthouse of Pharos was one of the seven wonders.
The Roman Republic 509BC-27 BC was the era of classical Roman civilization. During this period, Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world. Ephysus part of Grecian empire 400BC. Rome - 300 BC capital at start of Punic wars that established power over the Mediterranean, as a Republic under Caesar etc. Aqueduct in Segovia Spain, and the Colosseum in Rome
The Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC) was the second of three wars fought between Phoenician Carthage in Tunisia and Rome, the two main powers of the western Mediterranean in the 3rd century BC. Hannibal crossed the Alps and fought the Romans for 17 years.
The Roman Empire 31BC-476AD was the post-Republican state of ancient Rome and is generally understood to mean the period and territory ruled by the Romans following Octavian's assumption of sole rule under the Principate in 31 BC. It included territory in Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia, and was ruled by emperors. Pompeii was covered by a volcanic eruption in 79AD, spectacular wall and floors have been found
The Sasanian Empire ruled Persia 300-600AD. Ctesiphon, Iraq has one of the largest brick arches.
The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 at the hands of the Goths, and the establishment of the Byzantine Eastern Roman Empire conventionally marks the end of classical antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages.
First Americans arrived around 20,000 years ago probably as coastal migrants from Asia. A second wave probably arrives via land bridge at the end of the last ice age 9,000 years ago. DNA study of Kenniwith Man (9000 years old) , found on the Columbia River, is best match to todays Native Americans suggesting a long term community already isolated from their Asian roots.
Caral-Supe in Peru, The civilization flourished between the 4000-2000 BC with the formation of the first city generally dated to around 3500 BC, at Huaricanga, in the Fortaleza area. It is from 3100 BC onward that large-scale human settlement and communal construction become clearly apparent, which lasted until a period of decline around 1800 BC. The most impressive achievement of the civilization was its monumental architecture, including large earthwork platform mounds and sunken circular plazas.
In 1000BC followed by the Chauvin civilization. 100BC to 800AD, the Nazca of lines fame, eventually leading to the Incas in Maccu Piccu and Saqsaywaman 1420-1532AD.
Machu Pichu in Peru is a 1400'sAD Inca citadel located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru on a 2,430-meter (7,970 ft) mountain ridge. Often referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas", it is the most familiar icon of the Inca Empire. The Inca Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political, and military center of the empire was in the city of Cusco. The Inca civilization rose from the Peruvian highlands sometime in the early 1200's. The Spanish began the conquest of the Inca Empire in 1532 and by 1572, the last Inca state was fully conquered.
The Maya civilization c. 250 – c. 1697 AD was a Mesoamerican civilization that existed from antiquity to the early modern period. It is known by its ancient temples and glyphs (script). The Maya script is the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in the pre-Columbian Americas. The civilization is also noted for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system.
It developed in an area that today comprises southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador, notably Tikal. Today, their descendants, known collectively as the Maya, number well over 6 million individuals, speak more than twenty-eight surviving Mayan languages, and reside in nearly the same area as their ancestors. There are folded paper documents from arpound 1100 AD. such as the "Dresden Codex"
By 500AD, a significant city of 200,000 had emerged at Teothuca Mexico, followed by the Aztecs. Aztec in Central America was an alliance of three Nahua city-states: Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Tetzcoco, and Tlacopan. These three city-states ruled that area in and around the Valley of Mexico from 1428 until the combined forces of the Spanish conquistadores and their native allies who ruled under Hernán Cortés defeated them in 1521. The sun sculpture is from Mexico area 1500's.
By 1000-1300, there were communities in Cahokia Mounds (near St Louis MI), and Anazazi Cliff Dwellings in Mesa AZ and NM. Different domesticated crops such as corn became the staples.
The Tibet Plateau and the Russian Steppes have isolated Chinas development from the rest of the world, with a single trade route - the Silk Road. There choice of wood structure buildings means that there are limited buildings to mark thier culture.
Shang Dynasty 1600 - 1122BC Erligang culture 1600 to 1400 BC of the Yellow River valley, urban civilization and archaeological culture in China The primary site, Zhengzhou Shang City. First bronze castings.
Zhou Dynasty 1122-221BC Bronzeware. Confucianism, Taoism and Legalism started
Qin Dynasty 221-206BC built both the Terracotta Army and parts of the Great Wall of China.
Han Dynasty 206BC-581AD the Han dynasty is considered a golden age in Chinese history. Papermaking, the nautical steering ship rudder, the use of negative numbers in mathematics, the raised-relief map, the hydraulic-powered armillary sphere for astronomy, and a seismometer employing an inverted pendulum that could be used to discern the cardinal direction of distant earthquakes. Art, clothes, bronzes have survived. Buddism arrives over the Silk Road.
Longmen Grottoes is traced to reign of Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei dynasty; period from 493-1127 AD.
Sui Dynasty 581-641AD Reunified north and south, construction of the Grand Canal 1776km long parts are still visible in Beijing.
Tang Dynasty 618-907AD capital Xian. a golden age of Chinese arts and culture. In power from 618 to 906 A.D., Tang China attracted an international reputation that spilled out of its cities and, through the practice of Buddhism, spread its culture across much of Asia. Woodblock printing was developed in the early Tang era with examples of its development dating to around 650 A.D. More common use is found during the 800's, with calendars, children’s books, test guides, charm manuals, dictionaries and almanacs. Commercial books began to be printed around 762 A.D. The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Chang'an (modern-day Xi'an),
In 835 A.D., there was a ban on private printing brought on because of the distribution of unsanctioned calendars. The oldest surviving printed document from the Tang era is the Diamond Sutra from 868 A.D., a 16-foot scroll featuring calligraphy and illustrations. Woodblock printing is credited for helping make Buddhism a regular part of ordinary Chinese life by giving Buddhist monks the opportunity to mass-produce texts, and spread Buddism. This lead to resistance to Buddism.
Five Dynasty Ten Kingdoms 907-960AD Infighting and upheaval.
Song Dynasty 960-1274AD The Song dynasty was the first in world history to issue banknotes or true paper money and the first Chinese government to establish a permanent standing navy. Economically, the Song dynasty was unparalleled with a gross domestic product three times larger than that of Europe during the 12th century. The spread of literature and knowledge was enhanced by the rapid expansion of woodblock printing and the 11th-century invention of movable-type printing. Philosophers such as Cheng Yi and Zhu Xi reinvigorated Confucianism with new commentary, infused with Buddhist ideals, and emphasized a new organization of classic texts that established the doctrine of Neo-Confucianism.
Yuan Dynasty 1279-1336AD was a Mongol-led imperial dynasty of China and a successor state to the Mongol Empire after its division.[note 2] It was established by Kublai (Emperor Shizu or Setsen Khan), the fifth khagan-emperor of the Mongol Empire.Although Genghis Khan's enthronement as Khagan in 1206 was described in Chinese and the Mongol Empire had ruled territories including modern-day northern China for decades, it was not until 1271 that Kublai Khan officially proclaimed the dynasty, the conquest was not complete until 1279 when the Southern Song dynasty was defeated in the Battle of Yamen. His realm was, by this point, isolated from the other Mongol-led khanates and controlled most of modern-day China and its surrounding areas, including modern-day Mongolia.
Ming Dynasty 1368-1677AD. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China ruled by the Han people, the majority ethnic group in China.
Emperor established Yan as a secondary capital and renamed it Beijing, constructed the Forbidden City, and restored the Grand Canal, converted the Great Wall to stone He rewarded his eunuch supporters and employed them as a counterweight against the Confucian scholar-bureaucrats. One eunuch, Zheng He, led seven enormous voyages of exploration into the Indian Ocean as far as Arabia and the eastern coasts of Africa. Hongwu and Yongle emperors had also expanded the empire's rule into Inner Asia. Constructed the Forbidden City.
Quing Dynasty 1644-1911AD Manchu-led (Mongolian) imperial dynasty of China and the last imperial dynasty in Chinese history. Expanded into one of h largest empires covering China, Tibet and Mongolia. This brought conflict with expansionist European Empires that established trading centers in Canton and Hong Kong. and eventual defeat from internal revolt as in the Boxer Rebellion and foreigner conquest.
Republic of China 1912. Communist party formed 1921. Chiang Kai-sheck orders the massacre of communists (Shanghai Massacre). By 1928 Chiang becomes head of state, but by 1931 civil war with the communists had started. In 1937 war with Japan preceded WW2.
After WW2 1949, Imperial China retakes Taiwan, and the communists take over mainland China.
Indus Valley civilization lasted from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE By 2600 BC, the Early Harappan communities turned into large urban centres in Pakistan and NW India.
Mohenjodaro and Harappa, in Indus Valley 2600-1900BC
Indian structures starts with Buddist, followed by Hindu, and then Islamic influences. The forts in Rajistan near the border with todays Pakistan were an attempt to push the Muslims away. More recently Sikh have also emerged.
Maurya Empire controlled most of India 322-185BC.
Dravidian style or the South Indian temple style is an architectural idiom in Hindu temple architecture starting in 300 BC
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed from the early 300's AD to early 500's AD. At its zenith, from approximately 319 to 467 AD, it covered much of the Indian subcontinent. This period is considered as the Golden Age of India by historians. The current structure of the Mahabodhi Temple dates to the Gupta era, 400's AD. Marking the location where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. Science and political administration reached new heights during the Gupta era. The period, gave rise to achievements in architecture, sculpture, and painting that "set standards of form and taste [that] determined the whole subsequent course of art, not only in India but far beyond her borders". Hinduism was followed by the rulers and the Brahmins flourished in the Gupta empire but the Guptas tolerated people of other faiths as well.
The Kailasha temple 756-773 AD is the largest of the rock-cut Hindu temples at the Ellora Caves, Maharashtra, India. A megalith carved from a rock cliff face, it is considered as one of the most remarkable cave temples in the world because of its size, architecture and sculptural treatment,
Derawar fort, Pakistan. 800's AD
The best-preserved and most graphic example of erotic temple art can be found in the small town of Khajuraho in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Built by the Chandela dynasty between 950 and 1050.
Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat 1000,s
Buddism spreads to South East Asia. Brobudur is a 800AD Mahayana Buddhist temple in Central Java, Indonesia. It is the world's largest Buddhist temple. Angkor Wat 1100AD is a temple complex in Cambodia, the largest religious structure in the world. Originally constructed as a Hindu temple. It was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the century; as such, it is also described as a "Hindu-Buddhist" temple. Ayutthaya 1350 AD is Thailand‘s unsung archaeological miracle: a vision of Buddhist temples, monasteries and ancient statues of monumental dimensions
Rani ki Vav, an ornamental stepwell (inverted pyramid to celebrate water) in the state of Gujarat, India 1100AD
The Hill Forts of Rajasthan (Amer, Chittor, Gagron, Jaisalmer's Golden Fort 1156AD , Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore), a group of six forts built by various Rajput kingdoms to repel Islamic invaders. Hindu temples such as Sas Bahu temple.
In 1192 the victory of Muhammed of Ghur over the Rajput (Hindu) King in northern India, led to an alien rule being established in the Indian subcontinent. The Dehli Sultanate started in 1300's and lasted until most were absorbed into the Mughal Empire in the 1500's. Apart from the sultanates of the Deccan Plateau, Gujarat, Bengal, and Kashmir, the architecture of the Malwa and Jaunpur sultanates also left some significant buildings.Taj Mahal in Agra 1631 Mausoleum. Mughal (Indo-Islamic-Persian) style during Mughal empire (1526–1857).
Vittala Hindu Temple 1336–1565 is the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi
Udaipur's City Palace 1553AD in Rajasthan
Junagarh Fort,Bikaneer, Rajasthan 1589AD
Guru Nanak (1469–1539), the founder of Sikhism, was born near Lahore. The Golden Temple 1557AD is a gurdwara (guru house) located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is the preeminent spiritual site of Sikhism.
Mughal empire (1526–1857). The Mughal Empire is conventionally said to have been founded in 1526 by Babur, a chieftain from what is today Uzbekistan, who employed aid from the neighboring Safavid and Ottoman Empires, to defeat the Sultan of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi, in the First Battle of Panipat, and to sweep down the plains of North India. At its peak, the empire stretched from the Indus River Basin in the west, northern Afghanistan day Assam and Bangladesh in the east, and the Deccan Plateau in South India. Although the Mughal Empire was created and sustained by military warfare, it did not vigorously suppress the cultures and peoples it came to rule; rather it equalized and placated them through new administrative practices, Jaipur's Amber Fort 1600-1727AD, Jantar Mantar 1734, Jaipur is huge astronomical observatory.
The empire was formally dissolved by the British Raj after the Indian Rebellion of 1857
Northern Africa is the story of the Mediterranean.
Linguistic evidence suggests the Bantu people (for example, Xhosa and Zulu) had emigrated southwestward from what is now Egypt into former Khoisan ranges and displaced them during the last 4000 years or so, by 200 AD had spread down to to south to the middle of Botswana, west to Mozambique. east to Nigeria.
The earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050AD.
The Sao civilization flourished from about the 500 BC to as late as the 1500 AD in Central Africa. The Sao lived by the Chari River part of present-day Cameroon and Chad. Sao artifacts show that they were skilled workers in bronze, copper, and iron. Finds include bronze sculptures and terracotta statues of human and animal figures, coins, funerary urns, household utensils, jewelry, highly decorated pottery, and spears. Converted to Islam.
During the 1000 to 1400 AD, Great Zimbabwe was the heart of a thriving trading empire that was based on cattle husbandry, agriculture, and the gold trade on the Indian Ocean coast. The extensive stone ruins of this African Iron Age city are located in the southeastern portion of the modern-day country of Zimbabwe. It is thought that the central ruins and surrounding valley supported a Shona (Bantu) population.
Timbuktu in Mali had its humble origins in about 1100 BC, when it was founded as a seasonal camp by Tuareg nomads. Substantial structures and Gold trade by 1400AD.
Lalībela, located in north-central Ethiopia, is famous for its rock-hewn churches, which date back to the late 1200AD. The 11 churches, important in Ethiopian Christian tradition.
Benin Kingdom in Nigeria in the 1500's. Benin metal workmanship occurred during the reigns of Esigie (fl. 1550) and of Eresoyen (1735–1750), when their workmanship achieved its highest quality.
Middle Ages in Europe & Mesopotamia
The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 at the hands of the Goths, and the establishment of the Byzantine Eastern Roman Empire conventionally marks the end of classical antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages.
The Goths 378-527 were Germanic people who played a major role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the emergence of medieval Europe.
In the late 300's, the lands of the Goths were invaded from the east by the Huns. Goths migrated further west or sought refuge inside the Roman Empire. Goths who entered the Empire by crossing the Danube inflicted a devastating defeat upon the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. These Goths would form the Visigoths, Visigothic Kingdom in Spain at Toledo.
The Huns (led by Atilla) were based in Central Asia established control from China to Persia and Greece. The Goths under Hunnic rule gained their independence in the 400's, most importantly the Ostrogoths. these Goths established an Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy at Ravenna. The Ostrogothic Kingdom was destroyed by the Eastern Roman Empire in the 500's, while the Visigothic Kingdom was conquered by the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate in the early 8th century. Angles and Saxons from Denmark took over England.
The Byzantine Empire 500-1453AD also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, was the continuation of the Roman Empire after the Goths, when its capital city was Constantinople. Christianity became established within the Byzantine Empire. The borders of the empire fluctuated through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I (r. 527–565), the empire reached its greatest extent, reconquering much of the historically Roman western Mediterranean coast, including Africa, Italy, and Rome. This expansion was halted by volcanic eruptions in Iceland in the 500's that reduced the sun to "the warming of the moon for 2 years" (Secrets of the Dead PBS). In addition, a bubonic plague swept through the empire. Somewhere between 25% and 50% of the population of the empire died from the pandemic, totaling some 25-100 million people during its two centuries of recurrence. Goreme cliff and underground dwellings in Capadochio Turkey. Hagia Sophia 532AD started as a church It continued to exist until the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, and converted to mosque in the 1500's.
The Frankish Kingdom 481–870AD, was the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe. The original core Frankish territories inside the former Western Roman Empire were close to the Rhine and Meuse rivers in the north, expanded Frankish rule into what is now northern France. Under the nearly continuous campaigns of Pepin of Herstal, Charles Martel, Pepin the Short, Charlemagne, and Louis the Pious—father, son, grandson, great-grandson and great-great-grandson—the greatest expansion of the Frankish empire was secured by the early 9th century. Charelemagne was responsible for a emprire legal system. The Frankish Church became a substantial influence of the medieval Western Church. In the 7th century, the territory of the Frankish realm was (re-)Christianized with the help of Irish and Scottish missionaries.
According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 AD, In the year 610 , troubled by the moral decline and idolatry prevalent in Mecca and seeking seclusion and spiritual contemplation, he is said to have received the first revelation of the Quran from the angel Gabriel. Abraham was a prophet and messenger of God according to Islam, and an ancestor to the Ishmaelite Arabs and Israelites. The Quran refers to a number stories of Abrahamic family members. Structures all over the Middle East , the Great Mosque in Mecca has been rebuilt several times, By 814AD, a series of Muslim Caliphates spread Islam from Spain (Mezquita Mosque), the North African coast, Turkish border, Mesopotamia, Persia, to Pakistan. They developed significant infrastructure such as 1000 year-old ancient Persian vertical-axis windmills, standing in the arid landscape of Nashtifan, Iran; are not just relics but are still operational. A really remote example, Minaret of Jam (1190 CE) western Afghanistan.
Viking empire 793-1066AD controlled the Baltic Eastern England, Iceland, extended to the Americas. Jomsborg was a semi-legendary Viking stronghold at the southern coast of the Baltic Sea (medieval Wendland, modern Pomerania), that existed between the 960s and 1043. The Viking Age in Scandinavian history is taken to have been the period from the earliest recorded raids by Norsemen in 793 until the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Vikings used the Norwegian Sea and Baltic Sea for sea routes to the south, and as far as N America. A spectacular new Viking Hall reconstruction has been completed at the archaeopark Sagnlandet Lejre / “Land of Legends” on Sjaelland, Denmark.
Venice. The first doge of Venice was elected in 697AD. From 800-1100AD it
developed into a powerful maritime empire the city became a flourishing trade centre between Western Europe and the rest of the world, especially with the Byzantine Empire and Asia, Declined in the 1400's due to Ottomans and Black Death.
Trade in the 1200's between Europe and the Middle East flowed through Venice. Marco Polo was a resident of Venice was a Venetian merchant, explorer and writer who travelled through Asia along the Silk Road between 1271 and 1295, and provided the first detailed documentation of China and Chinese culture. The onset of long distance sailing exploration sidelined Venice.
The Holy Roman Empire (800-1806AD) or the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. At its height included, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Hungary, controlling central European Christianity.
Normans mid 1000'sAD took over most of France, and UK. launched the first crusade with a patch work of conquests through the Mediterranean including, Barcelona, southern Italy, Coastal turkey, Cyprus, Galilei.
In 1100AD, Old Sarum (North of Sailsbury) was a significant city in England.
European castles mostly built 1100-1400AD for defense and control. By 1400 they became more "palace-like". Cathedrals designed to impress were also popular such as Note Dame in Paris, Winchester Cathedral, Lincoln Cathedral and numerous others which were built in a similar time frame. Elsewhere in Europe, the other Abrahamic religions also built to impress. Mesquita mosque Spain was built in 1238 -1492AD paired with the Alhambra Islamic moor palace/fortress. Greek orthodox monasteries of Meteroa, Thessaloniki 1300-1400AD. St Basils in Moscow was started in 1550.
Cinque Ports 1135AD, a confederation of trading posts Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich. a network on professional guilds formed.
Mongol Empire 1206-1405 centered on Mongolian nomadic warriors. grew to cover China, Tibet, Pakistan, Persia, and the Black Sea. Temüjin, known by the more famous title of Genghis Khan . Grandson Kublai Kahn also known by his temple name as the Emperor Shizu was the founder of the Yuan dynasty of China and the fifth khagan-emperor of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294. A stone turtle at the site of the Mongol capital, Karakorum.
Within Europe, conflict was between rival factions of Abrahamic religions.
The Ottoman Empire c. 1299–1922 controlled much of Southeast Europe, West Asia, and North Africa The empire also controlled southern Spain from the 1500-1600's. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Mehmed II. Reached its height under Suleiman the Magnificent (1520–1566). Sunni Islam religion. Lost Mesopotamia to the Arab revolt, with UK dividing up the spoils excluding the Arab. Samarkand 1409–1449 under Ula-Beg became a center of Islamic scholarship.
Stockholm established in 1296AD with construction of Gamla Stan. The city originally rose to prominence as a result of the Baltic trade of the Hanseatic League. Stockholm developed strong economic and cultural linkages with Lübeck, Hamburg, Gdańsk, Visby, Reval, and Riga during this time.
Dubrovnik from 1300-1800AD ruled itself as a free state. The prosperity of the city was historically based on maritime trade; particularly during the 15th and 16th centuries, as it became notable for its wealth and skilled diplomacy.
Food availability allowed populations to grow, while urbanization increased the mortality from disease. The Black death in the 1300's killed around 50% of city dwellers.
The Anglo-French Hundred Years' War 1337–1453 was a series of wars between England and France. It originated from English claims to the French throne. The war grew into a broader power struggle involving factions from across Western Europe, fueled by emerging nationalism on both sides.
The Italian Renaissance 1400-1600's was born in Florence Italy under the control of the Medichi family, who also produced four popes of dubious religiosity of the Catholic Church—Pope Leo X (1513–1521), Pope Clement VII (1523–1534), Pope Pius IV (1559–1565) and Pope Leo XI (1605). in this time of some of the least religious popes there was an explosion of western science and art mostly funded by the Medichi's. Florence was politically, economically, and culturally one of the most important cities in Europe and the world. The intellectual revolution was led by Leonardo Da Vinchi 1452 – 1519, Michelangelo and many others. Finally a sun centered universe was accepted, establishing science over religion as the explanation for the observable world. The printing press made knowledge available to all and prevented the Church from re-establishing control over knowledge.
In 1517, Martin Luther published his critique of the morally bankrupt Catholic Church, that was selling indulgencies and supporting the Renaissance. This started the Reformation and the Protestant Church. Ironically Luther opposed the idea of a sun centered universe !
European Global Empires
The competition between European powers changed to empire building through exploration.
Christopher Columbus 1492 a Spanish funded expedition discovered Bahamas and Cuba.
Vasco Da Gama 1498 Portuguese expedition to India
Ferdinand Magellan 1519 Portuguese explorer led a Spanish funded round world exploration.
Hernan Cortes 1519 Spanish expedition leading to overthrow of the Aztecs.
Jacques Cartier 1534 French expedition to Canada.
Francis Drake 1577 British circumnavigation expedition that discovered California coast.
Pilgrims 1620 British colonizers of North America.
James Cook 1768 to 1771 British scientific expedition that discovered Australia.
Followed by invasions by Cortes, Cartier, the Pilgrims and others led to slavery and mass genocide of American native populations in the name of commerce and religious conversion. The voyages of discovery and empire building by the Europeans naval powers in the 500-600y ago (1400-1500's), brought new contacts with the indigenous hunter gatherers and resulted in genocide of 90% of the indigenous people from diseases that they had no immunity for. The invaders point of view is well documented. Some insight as to the locals view is provided by the first contact in the 1950's between the natives of the interior of Papua New Guinea and the Australians. In PNG, there are numerous small isolated tribes with 832 different languages and no knowledge of oceans and other islands. The natives started viewing the invaders as Gods, and then became convinced of their humanity. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Contact_(1983_film)). There are also accounts of interactions with natives of the Andoman and Nicobar Islands who have chosen to remain isolated (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentinelese).
British Empire 1500's to 1950's, Elizabeth 1st to Edward 8th. Started with the the formation of Protestant Church. The defeat of the Catholic Spanish Armada in 1588 established Naval power over Spain and Portugal. At its height, under Victoria, covered Eastern US, Canada, Central and South Africa, India, Burma, Australia, New Zealand. They started the slave trade to provide workers for the American colonies. The empire shrank due to revolution in the US 1776, and retraction particularly in the 1950's after WW2.
Portuguese Empire 1415-1999 It was one of the longest-lived colonial empires in European history, lasting almost six centuries from the conquest of Ceuta in North Africa, in 1415, to the transfer of sovereignty over Macau to China in 1999. By the 1500's it stretched across the globe, with control of Congo & Mozambique, Brazil, and various regions of Macau and Pacific Islands. Also a number of coastal bases in Africa, India, China, Newfoundland.
Spanish Empire 1492-1900 was a colonial empire. In conjunction with the Portuguese Empire, it was the first empire to usher the European Age of Discovery and achieve a global scale, controlling vast portions of the South and Central America, Africa, various islands in Asia and Oceania, as well as territory in other parts of Europe. Following the Italian Wars against France, which concluded in 1559, Spain emerged with control over half of Italy , Southern Netherlands - todays Belgium and Luxembourg.
The Dutch Revolt 1568–1648 (Eighty Years' War) was an armed conflict in the Habsburg Netherlands between disparate groups of rebels and the Spanish government. The causes of the war included the Reformation, centralization, excessive taxation, and the rights and privileges of the Dutch nobility and cities.
Fort Bourtange in the Netherlands built in 1593. In 1595, the first Dutch expeditions to todays Indonesia were sent in support of spice trade. From 1652-1795, the Dutch East India company controlled much of South Africa, spoke Afrikaans and became known as the Boers. They were incorporated into the British Empire in 1806 after the Boer War.
France colonial empire began to establish colonies in North America Canada and Mississippi Valley, the Caribbean and India in the 1500's but lost most of its possessions following its defeat in the Seven Years' War.
Germanic Protestant - Catholic Thirty Years' War 1618 to 1648. Fought primarily in Central Europe, an estimated 4.5 to 8 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of battle, famine, and disease, The war was a continuation of the religious conflict initiated by the 1500's Lutheran Reformation within the Holy Roman Empire. Instability in Stuart England meant that they were sidelined. On the Lutheran side. the Swedish Empire was the period in Swedish history spanning much of the 1600-1700's during which Sweden became a European great power that exercised territorial control over much of the Baltic region.
The short lived English Roundhead Revolution 1649-1658 was led by Oliver Cromwell Following the execution of Charles I and the exile of his son, military victories in Ireland and against the Scots from 1649 to 1651 firmly established the Commonwealth and Cromwell's dominance of the new republican regime. In December 1653, he was named Lord Protector of the Commonwealth,[a] a position he retained until his death in September 1658. The 1660 Stuart Restoration, when Charles II returned to the throne
Sir Isaac Newton FRS 1642 – 1726 explained gravity and the orbits of planets, the biggest breakthrough since the sun centered universe.
Anglo/Prussia-France/Spanish Seven Years' War (1756–1763) was a global conflict between alliances led by Great Britain and France, and was fought primarily in Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific. Along with Spain, France fought Britain both in Europe and overseas with land-based armies and naval forces, while Britain's ally Prussia sought territorial expansion in Europe and consolidation of its power. Long-standing colonial rivalries pitted Britain against France and Spain in North America in the French and Indian War (1754–1763). They fought on a grand scale with consequential results , including British control of N America. Prussia sought greater influence in the German states, while Austria wanted to regain Silesia, captured by Prussia in the previous war, and to contain Prussian influence.
By the 1700's, the Askanazi Jew population in the Holy Roman Empire and southern Russia were over 90% of worlds population. They became a major intellectual influence in the HRE and Germany, for example Einstein and Bohr. The Russian community in the Pale of Settlement were in state enforced poverty, and became a majority exile group in the USA.
The Industrial Revolution 1760-1840 was a period of global transition of human economy towards more widespread, efficient and stable manufacturing processes that succeeded the Agricultural Revolution, starting from Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States.
American War of Independence in 1776, was the first major defeat for the British Empire, and started drive for individual freedom, and the process of locals reclaiming power from non-representative monarchies and colonial empires.
The French Revolution[a] was a period of political and societal change in France that began with the Estates General of 1789, and ended with the coup of 18 Brumaire on November 1799 and the formation of the French Consulate. Napoleon Bonaparte was the leader of the French Republic as First Consul from 1799 to 1804, and the Emperor of France 1804-1814AD. He established French hegemony over much of continental Europe; Spain, France, HRE (Germany, Austria, Poland), Italy, Croatia, Western Russia up to Moscow. French campaign in Egypt and Syria (1798–1801) briefly held Egypt until they lost sea control at the Battle of the Nile to Nelson. French Louisiana was then sold to the United States in 1803. Defeat at Trafalgar in 1805 stopped the invasion of England. Napoleons Invasion of Russia stopped by winter at Moscow, and the empire collapsed.
Upon Napoleon's return to power in 1815, a coalition led by UK, ended Napoleons rule at Waterloo. The Bourbon Restoration established a constitutional monarchy that lasted until 1870. France rebuilt a new empire mostly after 1850, concentrating chiefly in Senegal, Madagascar as well as Vietnam, Cambodia and Tahiti. The French Third Republic was the system of government adopted in France from 4 September 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed during the Franco-Prussian War, until 10 July 1940, after the Fall of France during World War II led to the formation of the Vichy government.
From 1832-1919, the British Empire made 3 attempts to take control of Afghanistan, and were repelled each time. The locals reputation for repelling outsiders continues to this day - "Graveyard of Empires".
In 1833, the UK ended support for slavery. Decades of political controversy over slavery were brought to a head by the victory in the 1860 U.S. presidential election of Abraham Lincoln. The American Civil War (1861 –1865) was a civil war in the United States between the Union[e] ("the North") and the Confederacy ("the South"), which had been formed by states that had seceded from the Union. The cause of the war was the dispute over whether slavery would be permitted to expand into the western territories, leading to more slave states, or be prevented from doing so, which many believed would place slavery on a course of ultimate extinction. The Civil War was the first technology war were machine guns and artillery caused massive slaughter.
The last era of expeditions into the unknown; Franklin expedition 1845 searched for the North west passage, found by Amundsen in 1906. Peary 1909 claimed the North Pole. Amundsen 1911 reaches the South Pole. Shackleton 1917 survives greatest small boat journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia.
The latter half of the 1800's saw a revolution in our scientific understanding. In 1842, the term dinosaur was first coined for bones of giant lizard-like animals. In 1859, Darwin published "On the Origin of Species", describing how evolution led to the variety of species on the planet. In 1870, Dmitri Mendeleev explained the properties of elements through his "Periodic Table". In 1900, Max Planck proposed that energy is radiated and absorbed in discrete "quanta" (or energy packets), yielding a calculation that precisely matched the observed patterns of black-body radiation. In 1915, Einstein proposed the General Theory of Relativity that showed that gravity was the result of mass distorting space-time. Classical physics was replaced a new understanding of the very large and very small and ushered in the Nuclear age. In 1903, the Wright brothers invented powered flight, revolutionizing warfare and travel.
Monarchies that resisted any form of power sharing with the peoples representatives, continued to fall to peoples revolutions. Social conditions for the workers during the Industrial Revolution were dire. Carl Marx identified how capitalism trapped the majority of the population in a covert servitude. In Russia, the 1905 revolution forced limited representation and set the stage for the 1917 Russian Revolution, and Lenin taking power, Appalling losses to the Germans in WW1, precipitated the popular revolution which saw the monarchy abolished and the Tsar executed. The Chinese Revolution ran from 1912 and finally ended post WW2 in 1949 with Mao Tse Dung Communists in power in Continental China and the Imperial Chiang Kai-shek in the island of Taiwan.
1914-1918 WW1 UK, France, Russia, USA vs. Germany, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman. The war was triggered by the assassination of the Archduke by a Serbian nationalist. The web of mutual support treaties, designed to deter, triggered declarations of war for all the European Powers. A stalemate slaughter was established in Northern France, that was finally broken with manpower and materiel from USA. The German - Russian front was stuck along the Polish border. The Russian losses finally destabilized the Tsar, and the Communists made peace. In 1918, the loosing powers were divided up between the winners, as a last demonstration of colonial power. The demands for end of monarchy included; democratic republic, reparations and de-militarization in the German surrender setting up the rise of Hitler. Hitler was voted into power and immediately suspended democracy, and rearmed to re-establish German power.
The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British Government in 1917 during the First World War announcing its support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population - colonial hubris of the first order. The declaration called for safeguarding the civil and religious rights for the Palestinian Arabs, who composed the vast majority of the local population, and also the rights and political status of the Jewish communities in other countries outside of Palestine. The British government acknowledged in 1939 that the local population's wishes and interests should have been taken into account, and recognized in 2017 that the declaration should have called for the protection of the Palestinian Arabs' political rights. Combined with ignoring commitments to their Arab Allies in WW1 against the Ottoman's, this has helped ensure antipathy to the West in the Islamic Middle East.
In 1929, Edwin Hubble provided data showing that there were galaxies outside of the Milky Way, and that there was a "big bang" at the start of the known universe. Our place in the universe was transformed.
Between the Wars, the Great Depression highlighted the limitations of un-managed capitalism and led to the "New Deal" under Franklin Roosevelt showing that government management was essential to a stable economy. Socialism/communism was being viewed by many as a realistic alternative. The growing unrest in many colonies was put on hold by the outbreak of WW2.
1939-1945 WW2 UK, France, Russia, USA vs. Germany, Japan, Italy. As Germany rearmed, Europe desperately tried to avoid another blood bath including the Munich Agreement. Hitler used their timidity to invade Sudetanland (German extraction Austrians), and Poland. Eventually the allies responded, but only the British Islands avoided being overrun in the Blitzkrieg. The Nazis slaughtered over 6M European based Jews in the Final Solution. Invasion of Russia stopped by winter at Moscow, and after Stalingrad, Russia pushed all the way to Berlin. Japan took oved the Far east displacing the colonial powers through to Burma. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor Hawaii, forced the USA into the war and again manpower and material led to D Day and the opening of the Western Front in France. The war in the Pacific continued with the US establishing Naval domination. Right before the invasion of Japan, 2 nuclear bombs triggered Japanese surrender and the era of nuclear deterrence was born.
Cold War era 1945 - 1989
In the aftermath, the Allies co-opted Germany and Japan with residential armies that remain 80 years later. The Marshall plan was an effort to fund reconstruction, block rearmament, establish healthy economies and democracies to avoid the mistakes of WW1. The Communist powers in Russia and China had fought imperial forces bankrolled by the capitalist West, and had been invaded by countries that they had peace treaties with. A Cold War developed between Capitalist and Communist blocs, Direct conflict was deterred by Mutually Assured Destruction between nuclear powers. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization formalized the collective defense of Western Europe and USA against the Soviet Block. The European economic union (EU) added economic co-dependence to European stability with free markets, free movement of capital and free movement of people.
After the horror of the Final Solution, there was a immigration push for the remaining Jews into British controlled Palestine. A guerrilla war ensued to obtain independence from UK. On 14 May 1948, on the day the last British forces left from Haifa, the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum and proclaimed the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel. The fate of the Palestinians was ignored, and Palestine became the symbol of Islamic resistance to the Wests latest colonialism. The reality is that there is now a large stateless group of Palestinians trapped in a open air prison within Israel boundaries, that has become a lasting source of instability. Israel settlers continued to displace Palestinians. The instability re-emerged again in 2023, with a terrorist attack by Hamas from the Gaza Strip followed by Israel retaliation.
After the World Wars, the USA was the only industrial power that had not been decimated by the conflicts. The old European powers had been decimated by the war, and their colonies moved quickly to gain self rule. The British Empire was effectively dismantled in 10 years, with a few countries such as South Africa and Rhodesia clinging to white minority rule. Many colonies looked to the Communists for support for self rule, which reinforced opposition from the Capitalist powers.
Conflicts were limited to proxies, "He might be a SOB, but he is our SOB", was FDR describing the dictator of Nicaragua, shows the importance of allies no matter what they did. There was also a new form of soft colonial control, even as the pre-war colonies were gaining independence. The soft colonization included economic access viewed by many proxies with weak capitalist control as just a new form of exploitation. This usually comes with language and cultural replacement. This economic colonization was even worse for technology "have not" countries.
The Korean War 1950-1953 morphed into a US vs China confrontation, and ended with a permanent US military presence.
In 1953, Crick and Watson discovered molecular basis for inheritance in DNA, signaling a transformation in our understanding of disease.
The Vietnam War 1955-1975 started as war for independence from France, which the US decided was a world vs. Communism conflict. The conflict ended with US withdrawal, replaced by a Communist proxy, The easing of Communist control in 1976 with the death of Mao Zehdung in China has led to successful managed capitalism 40 years later.
By the 1970's, the Arab oil states in the Middle East had effective control over the worlds economies, cultivated by the West while overlooking very repressive politics and support for Islamic extremists.
Some colonies viewed independence as an opportunity to establish a theocracy to prevent a "godless" liberal democracy. The Iranian Revolution 1979 replaced the Shah who was a west oriented proxy leader, with an Islamic Theocracy. Other Middle East Monarchies used Islamic control of the population but maintained stability using huge oil revenues.
Soviet - Afgan war 1978-1989. The locals (Mujahadeen) eventually rejected the Soviet installed puppet government with extensive help from the USA. However they had no plan for a replacement government. In the chaos, the Taliban emerged as a Islamic Emirate. It was also host to al-Qaeda started in 1988 by Osama bin Laden, who then led the 9/11/2001 attack on the US.
In 1988, the reality of global warming caused by fossil fuel use, was brought to the worlds attention by Jim Hansen. It took another 30 years before the impact on the earth became impossible to ignore and energy generation started to change.
The Globalization era 1989 - 2020
The collapse of Soviet power was complete in 1989 as the Berlin wall falls, the old satellite countries become independent democracies. Russia tries democracy but returns to authoritarian control under Putin. Classic capitalism, Fascism and Communism had all been exposed as menaces. As a result, democratic managed capitalism became the planet wide dominant culture that we see today. The resulting homogenization of culture has inevitably triggered an effort by many groups to try to protect their uniqueness, and created resistance.
Starting in the 1980's, the US control of advanced technology started to move to the Far East. Packaging of chips had aways been done in low cost centers such as Malasia. First Japan and then Korea became very successful chip manufacturers. Just as the US was dominating the world, globalization was empowering the poorer economies. The invention of packet switched networks enabled world wide internet and cell phone service, and for good and bad - social networks.
US Iraq war 1991 "Desert Shield" attempted to impose stability in oil supplies in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Kuwait was liberated, and the US attempted to disable the Iraq military but deliberately did not take over Iraq.
US - Afghan war 2001-2021. The resistance of the Islamic theocracies, funded by the Arab oil states, to external control led to the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US. In response to 9/11, the US invaded Afghanistan to eliminate al-Qaeda which it did, and establish a functioning liberal democracy which failed. Eventually accepting Taliban control.
The Iraq War 2003 to 2011. It began with the invasion of Iraq by the United States-led coalition that overthrew the Ba'athist government of Saddam Hussein based on supposed nuclear weapons, that proved wrong. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the coalition forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. US troops were officially withdrawn in 2011.
China since 1976 has evolved into a dynamic capitalist economy under tight political control. It has pursued a strategy of soft economic colonization to spread its influence. It has also bolstered its military to try and become the global challenger to the US, and threaten US allies Taiwan. At the same time as challenging the US, it is also a key supplier of many key technologies, and is threatening Taiwan the home of TSMC the only supplier of many of the worlds key chips. This gives it unique leverage in a future possible conflict.
Globalization has resulted in wealth and growth being concentrated in the thriving democracies which has led to increased pressure from migrants and resistance from the locals to job and multicultural pressures. Globalization has also led internally to the evolution of a new low tech underclass, and the inevitable rise of fascist theocratic politicians trying to use the "have nots" to take political power. Brexit in the UK and far right success in the USA, Italy, France and the Netherlands all show the resistance to migration.
Misinformation era 2020-????
Social media has become a new unmanaged source of global information, the days are over where journalists acted as the gatekeepers for information that is widely disseminated. Misinformation is rife as opinion, deliberate propaganda, malicious troublemaking, religious zealotry, or just sales and marketing.
Russia post communism has become a energy and raw materials supplier to the industrial west making a number of oligarchs, who took over state businesses, very rich. The west encouraged business connections for economic gain, and in the belief that economic codependence was good for stability, ironically it also gave Soviets unexpected leverage of the west in key areas such as gas to Germany.
Ukraine War 2022-? Russia under Putin, invades Ukraine in an attempt to prevent the West and Nato getting closer to its borders. Ukraine had established a successful liberal democracy and technology industry. Russia is now mired in another extended conflict. It tried used its global businesses as leverage against the Wests support for Ukraine- a telling lesson that China has played close attention to.
Trump has made a career of misinformation, particularly over election fraud and anyone who opposes him.
Climate change is with critical issue of our time that will overwhelm all the petty conflicts, misinformation from the fossil fuel industry and political opportunists is rife.
Where we are ...
The days of capitalism vs. state run communism and fascism are long gone. Todays global culture is dominated by Western countries with democratic managed capitalism; challenged internally and externally by cultural retention and technology have nots, by economic partners competing for power, and by planetary challenges caused by industrialization. Attempts at military takeover meet swift local resistance. The only military solutions that stick involve permanent placement of the winning military because the locals will eventually fight back, a lesson that has been true from the first military conquests.
The need for planet wide cooperation has never been clearer, the only rational solutions with long term stability are those where everyone feels like they are making progress. The risk of irrational psychopaths coming to power and use economic interdependence as a weapon has been highlighted by Hitler, Trump and Putin. The jury is out on Xi in China.
The Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, which lasted almost two centuries, led to the establishment of the provinces of Lusitania in the south and Gallaecia in the north of what is now Portugal. Following the fall of Rome, Germanic tribes controlled the territory between the 5th and 8th centuries, including the Kingdom of the Suebi centred in Braga and the Visigothic Kingdom in the south.
The 711–716 invasion by the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate conquered the Visigoth Kingdom and founded the Islamic State of Al-Andalus, gradually advancing through Iberia. In 1095, Portugal broke away from the Kingdom of Galicia. Afonso Henriques, son of the count Henry of Burgundy, proclaimed himself king of Portugal in 1139. The Algarve (the southernmost province of Portugal) was conquered from the Moors in 1249, and in 1255 Lisbon became the capital. Portugal's land boundaries have remained almost unchanged since then. During the reign of King John I, the Portuguese defeated the Castilians in a war over the throne (1385) and established a political alliance with England (by the Treaty of Windsor in 1386).
From the late Middle Ages, in the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal ascended to the status of a world power during Europe's "Age of Discovery" as it built up a vast empire. Signs of military decline began with the Battle of Alcácer Quibir in Morocco in 1578; this defeat led to the death of King Sebastian and the imprisonment of much of the high nobility, which had to be ransomed at great cost. This eventually led to a small interruption in Portugal's 800-year-old independence by way of a 60-year dynastic union with Spain between 1580 and the beginning of the Portuguese Restoration War led by John IV in 1640. Spain's disastrous defeat in its attempt to conquer England in 1588 by means of the Invincible Armada was also a factor, as Portugal had to contribute ships for the invasion. Further setbacks included the destruction of much of its capital city in an earthquake in 1755, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the loss of its largest colony, Brazil, in 1822.
In 1910, a revolution deposed the monarchy. A military coup in 1926 installed a dictatorship that remained until another coup in 1974. The new government instituted sweeping democratic reforms and granted independence to all of Portugal's African colonies in 1975. Portugal is a founding member of NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. It entered the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1986.