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Eastern African world

(4,517 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut
1. The diversity of Africa 1.1. The view from outside Africa is generally seen as one entity [21]; [16], but from two different perspectives. Since the 1960s, historical study of Africa has focused on the subsaharan part of the continent. Afrocentric positions, represented for instance by the Senegalese historian Cheikh Anta Diop, object to this as a racist construct, particularly because it excludes Egypt, with its high culture of Antiquity [8].The term “Africa” itself, which dates from Roman times and has a similar history in Arabic usage, referred at the beg…
Date: 2019-10-14

Central African world

(4,536 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut
1. Extent The Central African world is considered to include the greater part of modern Cameroon and the modern Central African Republic north of the vast tropical forest region, the river system of the Congo in the tropical rain forest, the extensive savanna landscapes of present-day Angola and Zambia, modern Zimbabwe, and Mozambique [3]; [4]; [18]. This region is characterized by five distinctive features.Helmut Bley 2. Developments within Africa (1) In the first place, the Central African world was profoundly affected by developments within Africa itself, espe…
Date: 2019-10-14


(3,289 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut
1. IntroductionMetropolis (from the Greek  metrópolis, “mother-city,” “capital city”) in the sense of “laboratory of modernity” [6] is a term generally applied to the major European cities of the 19th century (Town), especially Paris and London, with Berlin joining them at the end of the century. The term thus implies the character of a major city, a relationship with industrialization, and a role as a field of political and cultural experimentation. For the 20th and 21st centuries, the word metropolis refers t…
Date: 2019-10-14

British Empire

(6,151 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut
1. First and Second Empire: interpretations “British Empire” is a popular but misleading term. In the first part of the early modern period, British activities in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans are better described as an uncoordinated process of exercising influence. There were attempts to settle North America from around 1606. The East India Company, founded in 1600 (East India Companies), conducted activities on the Indian subcontinent. Privateers undertook actions against Spanish fleets, islands in…
Date: 2019-10-14

Free-trade imperialism

(2,632 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | König, Hans-Joachim
1. Introduction The term “free-trade imperialism” was coined to reflect the fact that European expansionism in the first half of the 19th century was motivated by the desire not so much to acquire colonies as to establish informal control on the basis of superior production of goods in the Age of Industrialization, the resultant financial muscle, and modern naval and military technology. This policy of informal control was pursued outside Europe by Great Britain in particular, but also by other European Great Powers.The most important instruments were trade agreements (whic…
Date: 2019-10-14

Atlantic world

(11,958 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | König, Hans-Joachim
1. Atlantic expansion and its impact on the European states 1.1. Discovery of America, prior history and consequencesThe voyage of discovery of Christopher Columbus, who on 12 October 1492, while searching for a westerly route across the “Ocean Sea” to India, became the first European to sight islands on the western edge of the Atlantic Ocean, heralded a new phase of history, both for Europe and for the continent hitherto unknown to Europeans: a phase of global interaction. From now on, the history of the two si…
Date: 2019-10-14

Global interaction

(4,508 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | König, Hans-Joachim
1. Introduction and concept The history of the early modern period is the history of the first modern global society. It is still commonplace to interpret it as a period of untrammeled European expansionism. This, however, is uncritically to project the ascendancy of the highly industrialized states of Europe and the United States back into earlier periods, ignoring the fact that this ascendancy only came about in the late 19th century (Industrialization). Through haste and generalization, the slave…
Date: 2019-10-14


(8,686 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | König, Hans-Joachim | Ahuja, Ravi | Nolte, Hans-Heinrich
1. Introduction 1.1. Early modern and modern colonialismAnalysing early modern colonialism within the context of European expansionism is of necessity an attempt to highlight the differences between early modern colonialism and its successors of the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries. As a rule the term colonialism tends to be more widely associated with its varieties of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.This kind of colonialism, especially its late 19th and early 20th century brands, differed from the early modern type as a result of the increa…
Date: 2019-10-14


(4,040 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | Nolte, Hans-Heinrich | Reichmuth, Stefan | Hölck, Lasse
1. IntroductionIt is striking in the context of the world history of the early modern period and the global interaction that characterized it that the dominance of nomadic and cattle-farming societies over sedentary peasant societies waned from around the 15th century. Nomads had become strong in Asia and Africa thanks to the military superiority of their mounted armies, generally in combination with the recruitment of sedentary peasants [28], the conquest of cities, the seizure of administrative structures, and the securing of major transregional tradin…
Date: 2020-04-06

Literate cultures beyond Europe

(5,913 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | Reichmuth, Stefan | Rinke, Stefan | Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig | Frese, Heiko
1. IntroductionTo be considered first in this exploration of the non-European literate cultures are the various manuscript cultures that developed independent dynamics in many parts of Asia and Africa and among the indigenous cultures of Central and South America (American indigenous peoples; see below, 3.). Specific interrelations with oral forms of textual culture are evident here. Also important is the issue of the spread of printing with movable type, which reached other continents from Europ…
Date: 2019-10-14


(9,984 words)

Author(s): Bley, Helmut | Faroqhi, Suraiya | Nolte, Hans-Heinrich | König, Hans-Joachim | Rinke, Stefan
1. Introduction 1.1. European expansion in the context of world historyEuropean expansion from the mid-16th century is rightly regarded as a key event of world history in the early modern period and of epoch-making significance. It is of relevance to Europe itself, doing much to shape its power structures, economy, politics and world view. The explorations that began along the west coast of Africa, then proceeded with the discovery of the New World and the ensuing occupation of important trading posts in …
Date: 2019-10-14