Be careful what you wish for – you might get it!

My reading of world history tells me that the saying, “Be careful what you wish for – you might get it!”, can be as true for nations as it is for individuals. Britain against France The British comprehensively defeated the French in the Seven Years’ War (1756-63). In US history this is known as the […]

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Whatever happened to the Ancient Mesopotamians?

By time of fall of the Babylonian empire to the Persians, in 539 BC, the civilization of ancient Mesopotamia had lasted for some three thousand years. It can be divided into different periods, the major ones being the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian. Some historians view these as distinct civilizations, but there was such […]

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China was not poorer than Europe throughout history!

This weekend’s Economist magazine had an article (“A not-so-golden age”) which I found odd. It questioned the claim that China had historically been a wealthy country. In recent years historians have come to believe that, until the late 18th century, China was wealthier than Europe. It was only then that a “Great Divergence” set in. […]

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Labels in world history

I have received quite a few comments over the years from folk who feel that organising history – especially world history – in terms of such labels as “Iron Age”, “Industrial Revolution” and so on, is misleading. They feel that they are all rough approximations of reality, and therefore can give an impression of simplicity which bears […]

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One civilization, or many?

Now here’s a question – what exactly is a civilization? This is a harder question than you might think, and I’ve tackled it before, both in a blog post and an encyclopedia article. However, my answers there do not take into account a further question I sometimes mull. Look at this map of Europe in […]

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