Although the slave raiders usually left infants behind, older girls and boys could be taken, if suitable for immediate sale (Selling a child-slave, painting by Vasily Vereshchagin – source). Europe used to export slaves to the non-European world. Such a statement would astonish most people today, even among the university-educated. Surely, those slaves were few... Read More
Western Europe began to overtake the rest of the world long before it established colonial empires in Africa, Asia, and the Americas (source) In Why Nations Fail, economist Daren Acemoglu sees global inequality as a legacy of colonialism. Wherever European settlers were numerous enough, they formed inclusive, democratic societies that aimed for sustainable growth. Wherever... Read More
America goes Ottoman shopping.
Here’s an economic history test: 1. Which Great Power pioneered the secular trend towards freer international trade? 2. Which Great Power first resorted to spiraling foreign indebtedness to pay for its wars? 3. Which Great Power first permitted large-scale foreign direct investment in its domestic industries and infrastructure? If you guessed such latter-day globalizers as... Read More
Osman's Dream, by Caroline Finkel
How much space does the Ottoman Empire occupy in the mind of an average well-educated Westerner of today? I called a representative specimen of such and asked him to free-associate on the phrase "Ottoman Empire." He: "Um, Manzikert … fall of Constantinople … Lepanto … gates of Vienna … sick man of Europe … Armenian... Read More