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History Resource

History Resource

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History Resource
2008!2009"Curriculum" Table of Contents
I. Introducing the Study of Empires ................................................................................. 4!
Objectives .......................................................................................................................................... 4! Introduction....................................................................................................................................... 4! Empire as a Form of Government ...................................................................................................... 5! Empires in the Singular ................................................................................................................... 6! Center vs. Periphery ........................................................................................................................ 7! Factors Contributing to the Rise of Empires ...................................................................................... 8! How Long They Last ...................................................................................................................... 8! How Far They Reach ...................................................................................................................... 8! The Cities They Create ................................................................................................................... 9! Land and Sea Empires ................................................................................................................... 10! Conquest: Violence, Trading Networks, and Tolerance ................................................................ 11! Ethnicity and Empire ....................................................................................................................... 12! Constructing the “Barbarian” ........................................................................................................ 12! The Question of Succession ............................................................................................................. 14! Expansion to Consolidation .......................................................................................................... 14! The Aftermath of Empires................................................................................................................ 15! Multipolar, Bipolar, and Unipolar Systems ................................................................................... 15! Hand-in-Hand: Imperial Overreach and Intolerance ..................................................................... 15! Anti-Imperial Players..................................................................................................................... 16! Conclusion and Review .................................................................................................................... 17!

II. By Land or By Sea ..................................................................................................... 18!
Objectives ........................................................................................................................................ 18! Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 18! Continental Empires ........................................................................................................................ 18! The New World ............................................................................................................................ 19! The Mayans .................................................................................................................................. 19! The Incas ......................................................................................................................................... 23! Africa and the Near East................................................................................................................... 28! The Asante Empire ....................................................................................................................... 29! The Roman Empire ...................................................................................................................... 32! The Achaemenid Persian Empire .................................................................................................. 35! Asia .................................................................................................................................................. 39! The Maurya Dynasty .................................................................................................................... 39! The Mongol Empire ..................................................................................................................... 43!

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Maritime Empires ......................................................................................................................... 46! The Old World ............................................................................................................................. 47! The British Empire ....................................................................................................................... 47! The Portuguese Empire ................................................................................................................. 51! Maritime Empires of the New World: American Imperialism .......................................................... 55! Conclusion and Review .................................................................................................................... 55!

III. Ethnic Nationalism and the Last of Empires ............................................................ 57!
Objectives ........................................................................................................................................ 57! Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 57! Tolerance as a Tool: The Ottoman Empire and Han China.......................................................... 58! Ottoman Empire........................................................................................................................... 58! Han China .................................................................................................................................... 63! Forces of Intolerance: Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan ........................................................ 66! Nazi Germany ............................................................................................................................... 66! The Empire of Japan ..................................................................................................................... 69! The Soviet Union.......................................................................................................................... 71!

IV. The Aftermath of Empires........................................................................................ 72!
Objectives ........................................................................................................................................ 72! Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 72! The Eastern Roman Empire .......................................................................................................... 73! The British Commonwealth .......................................................................................................... 73! The Former Soviet Bloc ................................................................................................................ 74! Objectives ........................................................................................................................................ 75! Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 75! The Legacy of American Imperialism ............................................................................................... 75! The European Union ....................................................................................................................... 76! The Rise of China and India ............................................................................................................ 78! Conclusion and Review .................................................................................................................... 79!

V. The Future of Empire ................................................................................................ 75!

Works Consulted ........................................................................................................... 81! About the Author ........................................................................................................... 82!
Kaitlin Solimine
Harvard University edited by by

Tania Asnes
Barnard College ‘05

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I. Introducing the Study of Empires
Empires rise; they also fall. No empire in the history of the world has survived the conquest of time.1 Some of the greatest empires in the world are known not only for their monumental rise (one thinks of the Romans, the Maya, the Mongols, and the British), but also their demise. How empires rise and why they fall is the subject of this chapter and the case studies that follow.

Objectives
By the time you complete this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions. ! ! ! What are some key characteristics of an empire? How do empires expand and consolidate their power? What factors cause the downfall of an empire?

Introduction
The term “empire” comes from the Latin word imperium. Fittingly, the term was first used during the time of ancient Rome to signify supreme power. Romans believed imperium resulted from both command in war and the right of the magistrate2 to implement the rule of law.i Those two components of an empire—a superior military complex (equipped with the best military technology and techniques) and a rule of law (with the ultimate goal of a peaceful civilization)—are crucial to the rise of an empire. Yet these are not the only characteristics of an empire. We should make an important distinction here at the beginning of our analysis: between an empire and hegemony. Hegemonic powers are civilizations (or in the modern era, nation-states) that recognize the equality of other civilizations. They participate in a global system in which all players follow essentially the same set of rules.3 Empires do not do this. The mindset of the empire is that the empire is the most powerful political being in the world and everyone else is of lesser significance. An empire aims to be the pinnacle of civilization, one that can absorb new cultures either by war or softer forms of coercion. The flip side of this is that when an empire expands too far out it cannot rule distant regions with as strong a hand. Instead, the periphery finds itself within the empire but without much oversight. It can often gain power and rebel against the central imperial apparatus. The rise of anti-imperial players as a result of imperial over-reach drills cracks in the foundation of an empire.
Newton’s Law of Empires? –Tania A magistrate is a court official (a sort of civil authority) who has some (but typically a limited) ability to enforce laws. 3 Today, one could cite the United Nations as a governing body that ensures all nation-states play by the same rules.
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Empire as a Form of Government
Ahhh… the Empire. You’ve probably heard of the great ones—the Roman, Ottoman, British, Maya. But what makes an empire an empire? Why is the term still so widely debated, even by the most noteworthy scholars?

Empires are not all the same.

To begin, empires are not all the same. The reach of the Mongol Empire of Asia, at its height, was greater than the continental expanse of the British Empire, but the Mongol Empire’s reign was much shorter than that of the British. So classifying empires simply by their geographical scope or their duration will not accomplish much in terms of understanding and measuring them. Similarly, empires expand in different ways. The British, Portuguese, and Spanish Empires were naval powerhouses that used their maritime prowess—their seafaring expertise—to conquer distant regions to extract wealth and resources. Continental empires like the Asante, Mongol and Mayans expanded through foot soldiers that conquered surrounding lands, but did not make much headway by sea. Some empires combined the maritime and continental traditions; one could argue the Romans were one of the greatest continental powers, but at its heyday the Roman Empire was also proficient at protecting and patrolling its long naval border around the Mediterranean Sea. There were also empires the main objectives of which were to create a world consisting of only one ethnicity or religion. You may have studied Nazi Germany and its leader Adolf Hitler’s obsession with creating an empire consisting solely of blueeyed, blonde-haired Nazis.4 With its focus on religion, the Ottoman Empire allowed only Muslims into the highest ranks of governance. Some empires used violence to force rivals into submission— like the Mayans, who would sacrifice enemy kings to their gods.5 Others employed “soft power”6 to convince territories or kingdoms to become part of their empire. The British were particularly well versed in the benefits of soft power; by establishing trading networks through colonial outposts, they could not only expand their economy, but also coerce new territories (throughout the New World, Africa, and Asia) to join the British Empire. In conclusion, there is no single way to categorize an empire. However, perhaps the easiest way to distinguish what makes an empire an empire is to examine what an empire is not.

For those Academic Decathletes who recently read the social science guide, you probably know a bit too much about the gruesome rituals used during Mayan human sacrifices. -Kaitlin 6 Soft power, as defined by academic Joseph Nye in his book Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (Public Affairs, 2004), is “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments. It arises from the attractiveness of a country's culture, political ideals, and policies.”
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Empires in the Singular Where there were once empires, there are now states. Much of the reason for this comes out of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which ended the Thirty Years War in Germany and the Eighty Years War between Spain and the Netherlands. In the two treaties signed during this peace process, the parties involved recognized the sovereignty of other states—that is, the power that states had within their borders and over their own people. Sovereignty also typically means that if one nationstate invades another, it is violating that nation-states right to independent rule. Of course, sovereignty is a touchy subject, especially when it comes to wars, but for the purposes of this discussion, remember that empires typically do not respect the sovereignty of other nations or kingdoms. It is also interesting that even after the Peace of Westphalia empires, like the British and Ottoman, survived. This fact poses an interesting problem in the definition of the empire. Why, one may ask, was the British Empire of the 16th to 20th centuries an empire and not a nation-state? What makes it a nation-state now? For one, nation-states exist in the plural. That is, nation-states recognize the sovereignty of other nation-states. The “world view” of those nation-states is pluralistic and multi-polar.7 On the contrary, an empire views itself only in the singular. For its rulers and citizens, there is only one empire; everything else is to be conquered, made a tributary, or ignored. Because of this, empires are not as well integrated domestically as nation-states. While nation-states give equal rights to citizens living at the periphery of their territory, empires consist of an overwhelmingly strong center. SOVEREIGNTY Having power over a group or region PLURALISTIC More than one

MULTIPOLAR More than two centers of power or interest There are several imperial examples of this: Mayans often held power within one ruling city-state (such as Tikal) but had tributary relationships with lesser city-states. During the British Empire, the British Isles were obviously the seat of power, while colonial regions (like African and Asian outposts) were expected only to serve the interests of the empire and not to usurp that control.

That sentence may have sounded like Greek to you (and given the topic of this guide, that wouldn’t be the worst thing). However, the review box should help to clear up any misunderstandings. - Kaitlin
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This asymmetry can be applied to any number of empires and is one reason the phrase “American imperialism” can be used; the United States to this day can intervene in the sovereignty of certain other nation-states8 without worrying that those nation-states will in turn intervene in the United States.9/10 While the current international political system consists of only nationA hegemon (or states, the old imperial system was not as clear-cut. The system of hegemonic power) is imperial superpowers allowed empires to take over wide swaths of territory without much regard to sovereignty. Now, empires must overlay the ruling or dominant power within a given their imperial map over that of the nation-state. For example, during the context. Cold War, East Germany was viewed as a nation-state but was part of the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence. Other countries, such as Lithuania, Georgia, and Estonia, were technically part of the Soviet Union, but retained some self-governance. In much the same way, Puerto Rico has certain sovereign rights but is still, ultimately, under the jurisdiction of the United States.11 This is the same as well with modern-day China, which lays claim in one way or another to Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Later in this guide, we will assess whether modern countries qualify as empires. Center vs. Periphery While a strong center is important to every empire, the periphery, or the area far from the center, also matters a great deal. Because empires by their very nature are generally large in area, they tend to represent diverse societies. The ability to coerce these outlying societies (either by violence, religious conversion, or soft power) has involved a delicate balancing act for every empire. Part of this balance has meant Debate it! that even the most powerful empires have had to tolerate Resolved: That the success of an empire is dependent upon its ability to tolerate the introduction of diverse societies. Take stands, craft cultural and religious diversity; arguments and practice presenting with your team. they had no other choice. The Achaemenid Persian Empire once ruled 42 million people and its capital Persepolis housed diverse ethnicities, including Greeks, Sardians,12 Ethiopians, Phoenicians, and Libyans. Although the Persian Empire often used foot soldiers and horseback riders to conquer outlying territories (typically using violent measures to do so), the resulting empire was largely tolerant of diversity. Even the Persian king called himself the “king of the peoples of every origin.”ii Therefore, tolerance was key to expansion and continued power. Some of the most successful and longest-lasting empires were those, like the Achaemenid Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Soviet Union, and the British Empire, that could not only conquer outlying regions and societies, but absorb them. The United States, sometimes viewed as a modern-day empire,13 has been one of the best at using
Read: Iraq and even perhaps Afghanistan. - Kaitlin This is perhaps why terrorism has become one of the most successful ways to bring a superpower to its knees—but that’s a subject for another World Scholar’s Cup guide. - Kaitlin 10 … specifically, the World Scholar’s Cup guide to The Reluctant Fundamentalist! –Tania 11 Is the United States an empire? Has it ever been? This is something you can decide by the end of this resource. - Kaitlin 12 I read this as “Sardines” the first time. Maybe it’s time for a snack. –Tania 13 This will be discussed in more detail in the topic “The Legacy of American Imperialism.”
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tolerance to take in new people and expand its reach. Its technique has been called “empire by invitation”14 and is one in which the periphery is given the choice of participating in the empire.15 As we move forward and examine specific empires, watch out for the relative positioning of the center and the periphery.

Factors Contributing to the Rise of Empires
No empire comes into being spontaneously.16/17 As FACTORS LEADING TO AN EMPIRE’S RISE the famous saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a The reach of imperial power across time and space day.” Likewise, the rise of empires is due to a The creation of cities number of factors: the temporal (time span) and Expansion spatial (physical distance) reach of imperial power, Overall aims of conquest (the imperial project) the creation of cities, expansion methods, and the overall aims of conquest (also called the “imperial project”). How Long They Last All empires must endure the rise and fall of more than one leader—that is to say, an empire cannot exist solely under its founder (for example, Mao Zedong’s China cannot be judged as an empire without considering what came after his rule). Therefore, the rise of an empire requires a temporal existence that outlasts the control of its founder. The empire must exist for long enough to shape an identity separate from that of its original founder. Great empires, like the Roman and British Empires, obviously qualify for this. Empires that lasted for lesser amounts of time (and often under only one leader) include Nazi Germany, Napoleonic France, and the Empire of Japan.18 Although these empires did not last as long as some of their predecessors, their relatively rapid ascent to power and spheres of influence made them worthy of imperial status.19 How Far They Reach In terms of an empire’s influence, its spatial reach is as important as the original creation of the empire. Naturally, when one thinks of an empire, one often thinks of a civilization or society with influence over a wide swath of territories—and this is quite often the case. But how exactly an imperial power expands to rule over such large areas is integral to its rise. Empires often begin by using military and economic superiority to expand power.iii A strong military allows an empire to take the periphery by way of its superiority in warfare. Continental empires often
As quoted in Herfried Münkler’s Empires, p. 8. Puerto Rico, for example, periodically votes not to join the United States. 16 Because if they did I would immediately proclaim myself Empress of the “Kaitlin Empire” with a snap of my fingers and a flick of my wand. Darn, it didn’t work… - Kaitlin 17 The Louis Pasteur Law of Empires? –Tania 18 Because these empires had less temporal span than others, they are often seen as failed attempts at empire building. This is obviously a point of contention between scholars of imperial history. - Kaitlin 19 Although it must be noted here that some scholars, like Amy Chua, deem these empires “failed empires.” In other words, they attempted to become empires but for varying reasons, did not quite make the cut. For the purposes of this guide as well as our analytical framework, we are deeming them to be empires, just ones that did not last as long as their (perhaps greater) predecessors. You can see how the classification of what makes an “empire” can get quite confusing! - Kaitlin
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employ this tactic. For maritime empires, a combination of naval superiority and control of trading networks allows the empire to expand its reach. The Cities They Create Once an empire has risen, it consolidates its domain and begins to formulate its central ideology. Cities, therefore as you might guess, are major players in the rise of an empire. Most empires have central cities from which the imperial bureaucracy issues its directives to the periphery. Rome is perhaps the most famous case, but Athens, Persepolis, Constantinople, Beijing, London, and Vienna are still remembered for their grandiose power and opulence.

Cities consistently play a major role in the creation, expansion, and maintenance of empires. The site of an empire’s founding typically becomes a major metropolitan center for the expanding empire. As the empire expands new cities become bases for imperial politics; the balance between them and the regions over which they rule can become more problematic over time. For the Maya, it was the city-state of Tikal that ruled during the Classic Period, but struggles between tributary kingdoms and the seat of the empire at Tikal caused a post-classic power shift to the city-states of the Yucatan peninsula. There is also a symbolic significance associated with the major ruling cities of empires. For the Mongol Empire, conquering the Jurchen Empire’s stronghold of Zhongdu (now Beijing) and the Song dynasty’s capital at Hangzhou was the ultimate goal. There was a symbolic significance often associated with central cities; if an empire could conquer the central city of a rival, it had in some way succeeded in conquering that entire kingdom. Imperial cities also often mixed all the peoples of an expansive empire in one place. For example, Persepolis was home to peoples of the Persian Empire just as much as Rome

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housed scholars, artisans, and even emperors from various “provinces” of its empire (the emperor Trajan himself, who ruled from AD 98 to 117, was from Spain).20 Therefore, the ruling cities that acted as the centers for an empire were important not only logistically, but also ideologically—they represented the political aims of the empire as a whole and were a place for the diverse peoples of the empire to live together and prosper. In a way, cities served as a demographic cross-section for the empire as a whole.21 Below is a list of major imperial cities. You will see that, throughout history, empires have been defined by their central metropolises and that, at several times, empires in different regions overlapped reigns.
Major Imperial Cities Persepolis Tikal The Empire Achaemenid Persian Maya Set the time 22 machine for… 559 BC 60 AD Fun Fact Although Persepolis served as the empire’s capital through several dynasties, royalty also had a summer retreat at Ecbatana (or “City of Gatherings”). Tikal was not only a major metropolis in its heyday, but it also served as the setting for several scenes in Star Wars: Episode IV. The myth goes that in 753 BC, two twin brothers, Romulus and Remus founded Rome in its present-day site near the Tiber River (where, incidentally, they had been saved from near-drowning and suckled by a she23 wolf). Francisco Pizarro led Spanish forces into Cusco in 1533 in the Battle of Cusco. Although the Inca fought back in the Siege of Cusco, the Spanish conquistadors would eventually win—and cause the decline of the Incas. Known in the modern-era as Istanbul, the city Constantinople was first conquered by the Ottomans and solidified the rise of the Ottoman Empire. Previously, Constantinople was the seat of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and a city that experienced several declines and revivals throughout history.

Rome

Roman

70 AD

Cusco

24

Inca

1300 AD

Constantinople

Ottoman

1500 AD

Even today, it can be argued that cities still hold rapture over the minds and spirit of civilization; one need look no further than the horrific events of September 11th in New York City to understand the symbolism major cities still hold. Land and Sea Empires As previously noted, military and economic power were the first means by which an empire asserted its dominance over rivals. An empire could use its military to take over an area rich in resources and then build its economy from those resources. Throughout history this process of expansion has occurred in two ways—by land and by sea. For earlier empires, a trained army of foot soldiers (sometimes by horseback) was the major way to expand the empire from the center out. Often this involved the consolidation of several nomadic ethnic groups under one charismatic leader who would spearhead the empire’s expansionist effort (as in the case
See Chua, p. 32. No small feat! – Kaitlin 22 This date is one at which the capital would have been at its heyday and most worth visiting. – Kaitlin 23 Seems to me as if Remus got the short end of the stick, since the city ended up as “Rome” and not “Reme.” – Tania 24 The Spanish named the city “Cuzco” (from the Quechan “Qosqo,”), but today its spelling is widely accepted as “Cusco.”
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of the Mongols and Genghis Khan). The Romans consolidated their great continental expanse through a 53,000-mile network of paved roads and bridges.iv With this infrastructure, the center could stay physically and culturally connected with its periphery. Maritime empires took a different path25 than their continental compatriots. With the advent of the Age of Discovery in the 15th century, European monarchs began sending explorers into uncharted waters by ship. These maritime explorers proved more than just supreme navigators. They were also a new way for European powers to establish trade routes by expanding their presence in distant resource-rich lands. With trade routes blocked after the Ottomans took Constantinople in 1453, Europeans needed a new way to reach the East. Enter the maritime empire. The Portuguese Empire, followed by the Dutch and the British, quickly became proficient at using sea-based trade and exchange as a way to expand the empire and extract wealth from colonial outposts. When the Portuguese established key positions in the Indian Ocean, they named the region a “mare clausum,”v or a controlled space in which any passing ships or trade would be charged tolls and duties. This new form of imperial expansion coincided with the burgeoning naval expertise of several empires and would result in new global borders. Conquest: Violence, Trading Networks, and Tolerance Empires are usually large, covering expanses of territory beyond their central cities or administrative centers. But how do empires get so big? And how do they maintain power over substantial regions (both continental and maritime)? It is true that violence is one factor in the rise of empires. The idea that empires form through conquest suggests the conquerors treat the conquered unjustly. This violence is often perpetrated by the empire’s military arm. Indeed, a strong military is often essential in the rise of an empire. In the case of the Spanish Empire’s conquest of Mesoamerica in the 16th century, there were many violent battles fought between Spanish conquistadors and natives. But violence was not and is still not the only method by which empires assert and expand their power. Once incorporated into the empire, new regions and citizens find themselves living in a largely tolerant and accepting society. (Empires, remember, are often the most advanced civilizations of their time.) Unfortunately, however, this tolerance typically only comes after some violence has been perpetrated against natives (one need only to look to the treatment of Native Americans at the arrival of European settlers, or non-Aryans in Nazi Germany for evidence of this). And yet, violence is not the only method empires use to conquer new territories. A second form of conquest used by empires is the proliferation of trading networks. Trading networks bring new regions into direct contact with the imperial apparatus through economic ties. This kind of network, as discussed in the previous section on maritime empires, proves especially useful for empires that prefer the use of “soft power.” While a strong military is necessary to an empire’s flexing of its power politics, trading networks allow the shaping of a new global economy that extends well beyond that of the imperial center.26 This economic arm forms the basis of the empire’s commercial
25 26

Quite literally. – Kaitlin But it is one that typically greatly benefits the center’s economy. You will find this to be the case in all the examples mentioned in this guide.

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activities and is yet another exploitative method empires use to extract wealth from the periphery and to maintain power (besides violence measures). During the British Empire’s reign, the pound sterling was the highest valued currency in the world economy and therefore British banks and citizens were able to control the global economy through their policies and practices. One could likely argue that at the height of the American empire, the American dollar was also one of the strongest currencies in the world.27 This “capacity to guide capital flows in the world economy,”vi coupled with an innovative society, allows empires to control the global system and ensure that their home economies most benefit from the structure in place.28 It should be noted that as would be expected, most empires shape the global economy. Therefore, at the fall of those empires, the global economy is greatly affected. Rome and the Soviet Union are good examples of instances where the economic situation of the imperial center and periphery fell apart at the fall of the empire. If the United States is to be considered an empire, it goes without saying that its economic stability is crucial to the overall health of the global economy. Another softer form of coercion empires use is tolerance. Scholar Amy Chua, in her book Day of Empire, argues that every major empire throughout world history (she cites those ranging from the Mongol Empire to the present-day United States of America) has risen to power through an acceptance of a range of different peoples. This may not mean that these empires were particularly skilled at upholding universal human rights (especially in the modern conception of the term), but rather that all successful empires recognize the necessity of incorporating peoples of varying cultures, ethnicities and religions. Chua calls the practice “relative tolerance” because the treatment of these incorporated peoples was sometimes far from civil. Nevertheless, it is an important (and in Chua’s opinion, crucial) way for empires to expand and hold onto their power. How ethnicity is ideologically defined and handled in the imperial scope is our next topic of discussion.

Ethnicity and Empire
Beyond an empire’s military and economic influence, its political and cultural ideology is equally important to its rise. One way that empires can assert their ideological worldview is their definition of ethnicity. It becomes a sort of “we” versus “the other” that allows for expansion, tolerance, conversion, and, ultimately, consolidation. Constructing the “Barbarian” As an empire expands, it needs to justify its presumed “right” of expansion. This “imperial project,” as scholar Herfried Münkler calls it, is one that goes beyond the material wealth that comes from military and economic power. Rather, it is a justification process that consolidates the empire’s mission and extends well past the goals of one particular individual, administration, or dynasty.29 The imperial

Obviously not so much anymore! - Kaitlin In the modern era, one needs to only look so far as the United States’ role in directing World Bank policy and investment. How this will change with the rise of the economies of China and India will make for an interesting analysis. - Kaitlin 29 Arguably, it can be said that the democratization project that the George W. Bush administration set forth in Iraq (from 2003 to the present) is representative of this kind of imperial ideological project. Historically, the United States used “Manifest Destiny” to justify its westward expansion. - Kaitlin
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project also utilizes several elements of the empire’s society—namely intellectuals, religious figures and artists—who together can brand the empire’s mission.30 Crucial to the ideological project Debate it! is the construction of “the Resolved: That an empire requires an “imperial project” to expand and other.” In the case of many consolidate. Take stands, craft arguments and practice presenting major empires, “the other” is with your team. seen as an uncivilized barbarian incapable of ruling himself. Not only is the barbarian politically unfit, but he is also ideologically inferior. The concept of the barbarian is useful to the imperial project in that it allows for an empire to justify its strategic expansion What empires could offer to barbarians was the prospect for peace. Civilization and peace are intertwined by definition; it is often philosophized that a truly civilized world cannot be war-torn. The regions beyond the empire’s periphery (those targeted for assimilation) would be constructed within the minds of leaders and scholars of the empire as savage, violent, and prone to domestic wars. If the ideology of the imperial project was to satisfy the minds of those within the empire, the idea of the barbarian both defined those beyond the empire’s border as “the other” and framed them as something inferior, to be suppressed.31 In the case of the British Empire, the idea of the “white man’s burden” (coined by Rudyard Kipling in his poem of the same title) was necessary in understanding the imperial demand for further expansion into “uncivilized” areas where savages, also known as barbarians, ran wild. The White Man’s Burden became a way for Europeans and later, Americans, to justify their imperial conquest; the white man would teach foreigners the “right” and “civilized” way to live. (“Civilized” in these cases typically refers to a kind of refined way of living that the colonizer lives but the “barbarian” does not.) The way in which the British Empire justified its mission this way was hardly new—it was used from the time of the Greeks and Romans, through the Ottoman Empire and even the Mongols. In regards to the civilizing project of empires, the Mongolian Empire is an interesting case. Throughout Asian history, the Mongols were seen as barbarians themselves (especially by Han Chinese). However, the reason why the Mongols were successful was that the Mongol Empire recognized how its inherent political system differed from that of the ruling Han Chinese. They knew they could not take on the Han system, so instead, as they conquered China, they adjusted their model to it. As a result, the Mongols were able to build one of the world’s largest empires by incorporating and assimilating the Han administration and culture into their own military complex. The Mongols did this by allowing the Han to maintain some of their bureaucratic structures within an overall Mongol framework. Another important device used in conjunction with the imperial project was the promulgation of a religious or spiritual identity.32 Not only would barbarians be made civilized (read: peaceful and economically advantageous to the center), but they would also be “saved” by a process of religious
Think of the successful branding campaigns of corporations like Nike and Coca-Cola. Their positive reception worldwide is crucial to their success—much like an empire’s central imperial project and its “brand” is crucial to its expansion and consolidation of power. - Kaitlin 31 This is a topic that could be applied to the analysis of several modern wars. How did the United States invasion of Iraq fit this description, or not? A subject to take up with fellow students and teachers. - Kaitlin 32 Or, as in the case of the Soviet Union, the extinguishing of religious identity. –Tania
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coercion and conversion. When Rome adopted Christianity as its state religion, a new idea of the center needed to be defined; Rome became not only a great civilization but also a holy place.33 With this new distinction, the empire could convert the barbarian not only to the ideology of the empire, but also to its religious beliefs. This ability gave a deeper and often more persuasive flavor to the imperial project and further justified the definition of the “barbarian.” Religious conversion was particularly prevalent in the era of colonial empires. These empires (like the British and Spanish) utilized missionaries to convert natives to the religion of the state, thereby incorporating them into the empire as well. In the Spanish conquest, colonial administrations worked closely with Catholic missionary orders to convince natives in Mesoamerica to abandon their old religious practices. In both the religious and ideological quest, the barbarian plays an important role in giving the empire a reason for expansion. It also justifies the role and righteousness of the imperial center. Influenced by the legacy of the European Enlightenment, Napoleon called this the “civilizing mission” of European powers.34 It is a mission that had already been occurring for centuries and one that persists in the imperial project today.

The Question of Succession
A founder is an integral part of the rise of an empire (what would the Ottoman Empire be without Osman I, or the Mongols without Genghis Khan?), but he35/36 is not immortal. An empire, those convinced by the imperial project believe, is immortal. Therefore, the question of succession becomes extremely important. Who will take over, once the founder is gone? How an empire answers this greatly affects whether it endures or disintegrates into smaller states. Expansion to Consolidation Most empires start from a strong center and build outwards.37 In Most empires start from a doing so, the center needs to not only justify its mission (as we’ve strong center and build already seen), but also to enact a method for successive rule. While outwards. empires handle judicial and administrative affairs differently, one of the key components of imperial rule is that the leadership in some way represents the empire. This can be through ideological (belief systems) or ethnic (racial/cultural) similarities; either way, it becomes representative of the imperial project and is trusted by the citizens to manage a civil, peaceful society. This is not always the case, however. As will be seen in the case studies that follow, empires fall for a variety of reasons—one of them being poor leadership. Consider the Achaemenid Empire, where imperial leadership became increasingly intolerant to the social diversity that it once accepted. Without a
Augustine famously defined the distinction as that between the earthly city and the divine city or civitas terren and civitas Dei (see Münkler, p. 89). 34 Little did the great Emperor know that his most famous namesake would be a combination of ice cream flavors. –Tania 35 Is there a female founder of an empire? If you find one, please email me. I’d like to start a holiday in her name. - Kaitlin 36 Well, gee, Kaitlin: it could have been you if your magic wand wasn’t out of order. –Tania 37 The exceptions to this rule are steppe empires which are often more nomadic in nature (e.g. the Mongol Empire). This distinction (and whether or not it can justifiably be made) will be discussed in more detail in the topic that addresses the Mongol Empire. - Kaitlin
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common language or even religion, the peoples of the Persian Empire must not have been convinced that their desires were represented by the imperial center. As a result, Alexander the Great succeeded in toppling the once-great empire by allying with a number of ethnicities that were increasingly feeling ostracized by the Persians. Therefore, while strong, and often tolerant, leadership is necessary to create and consolidate an empire. As soon as this tolerance weakens, the imperial project fails.

The Aftermath of Empires
This leads us to our final and, for the purposes of this guide, most crucial element of the empire: the empire’s fall. How and why empires fall is a subject of wide debate. There is no one reason; often empires are subject to a variety of problems that lead to their fall. Among them are competition from other empires, imperial overreach, internal intolerance, and a rise in anti-imperial players who want to break down the imperial system. Multipolar, Bipolar, and Unipolar Systems Empires, throughout history, have existed within different global circumstances. And yet, by their very nature, empires expect a unipolar world—that is, a world that has only one central power. Remember, empires do not view external or foreign regions as having equal rights. Therefore, for empires to be successful they not only must see themselves as the sole and strongest power in the world system, but also must not be threatened by another rising power that sees itself in that light.38 For that very reason, the existence of other empires (especially those at another empire’s fringes) can cause an empire to fall by pressuring the center to react to separatist movements. As it has hopefully been made clear, empires do not like to exist in a world wherein other empires also exist. Therefore, two empires—like in the case of the American empire and the Soviet Union—will try to force the other to fall (and they are usually successful at it!). However, the rise of competing empires is not the only reason for an empire’s demise. Oftentimes, the rise of a bipolar or multipolar imperial system coincides with the previous unipolar empire’s own internal struggles. That is to say, empires often face a number of problems that cause them to fall—pressure that comes both externally and domestically. These internal causes will be discussed in greater detail in the following sections. Hand-in-Hand: Imperial Overreach and Intolerance Naturally, as an empire expands, it has the capacity to over-expand. While there is always a delicate balance between the center and the periphery, those central imperial administrations that become too eager in their imperial projects will often spread too far—and when the periphery is too far not only geographically, but perhaps even ideologically from the center, an empire is doomed. Over-expansion is often cited as the reason for the fall of the Roman Empire. However, this is only one side of the story. While expansion implies a tolerance on the part of the empire and an incorporation of a wide array of cultures and peoples, continued expansion may stress the imperial project of the center.
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Scholar Amy Chua, in her book Day of Empire, calls the empires that managed to achieve this vision “hyperpowers” and counts the United States as one. Hyperpowers, she says, are “the remarkably few societies—barely more than a handful in history—that amassed such extraordinary military and economic might that they essentially dominated the world.” - Kaitlin

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Early on, Rome’s heterogeneous nature benefitted the center (the periphery retained some autonomy, while at the same time it became familiar with Roman culture and ideology). As the empire grew, the languages spoken and religions practiced wedged a dividing line between the diverse peoples ruled by Rome. Furthermore, during the third and fourth century, Christianity began to compete with the pantheon of gods in the Roman tradition. The Roman reaction—Emperor Diocletian’s launch of the Great Persecution against Christianity—was the proverbial last straw. Not only did the Roman Empire’s intolerance create an environment of persecution and fear, but it was also coupled with uprisings throughout the periphery (the Germanic tribes in the north, the Persians in the east). It is often the case, therefore, that imperial overreach and a rise in intolerance go hand-in-hand. Anti-Imperial Players As empires over-reach and/or become less tolerant to diverse cultures, there is often a rise in the number or prevalence of anti-imperial players who challenge the traditional imperial arrangement. Empires, by their very nature, create an asymmetry in their military and economic power that allows for them to remain in power. They do this by conquering neighboring lands and/or establishing trading networks that bring them great wealth. However, if anti-imperial players are able to come up with methods that challenge this asymmetry (either by doing what the empire does but doing it better or coming up with an entirely new method), then the anti-imperial players can succeed at effecting the downfall of the empire. Typically from the periphery, anti-imperial players are at an advantage in that they are far from the center, but at the same time, they have trouble competing with the strength and entrenched superiority of the empire. Throughout history, anti-imperial players have been presented with quite the challenge. In continental empires, the main way they could try to overthrow the empire was to copy the empire’s military organization and often to capture or kidnap key imperial agents to take down the empire from the inside.vii For example, city-states trying to secede from the Mayan empire would often kidnap ruling kings (sometimes followed by the human sacrifice of said king). While this often affected the tributary relationship peripheral city-states had with the center (as was the case for Tikal during the Classic period), it was difficult to take down the entire imperial apparatus by such individual acts. In maritime empires, the periphery had even more trouble as it was geographically farther from the center and often did not have the same technology as its ruler (which in the maritime era included cannons and nautical skills). During the heyday of the Dutch Empire, the maritime prowess of the empire’s fleet was truly unmatched: in the Battle of Downs against the Spanish in 1639, the Dutch demolished nearly one hundred ships and, in 1667, the Dutch destroyed the Royal Charles, the British navy’s crown jewel.viii

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The asymmetries between the capabilities of an empire (either on land or on sea) are striking when judged against an anti-imperial player. However, as stated before, no one factor brings down an empire. The role of anti-imperial players, in conjunction with several additional factors, is often crucial in an empire’s fall.

Conclusion and Review
In general, it is important to remember that an empire’s fall (like its rise) cannot be attributed to one single factor. Empires are, as will hopefully become clear in the case studies that follow, complex societies that all follow their own models. In this guide, we have classified empires according to set types— continental, maritime, ethnic—but even these are somewhat arbitrary distinctions and serve only to point out those empires with greater degrees of shared characteristics. It is important to understand the similarities and differences between empires so as to apply the lessons learned from the past to the world today. Hopefully by now you have a good grasp on what factors influence the foundation of an empire and what are potential reasons for an empire’s fall. It is important to remember several key elements of an empire’s rise, as it is often the decline or change of these elements that then contributes to its fall. ! ! Empires often use one of two forms of coercion to expand territories and incorporate new peoples and cultures: violence and tolerance. The relationship between the center and the periphery is crucial to the success of the empire and is a balance difficult for many empires to strike. The center’s imperial project is also essential in justifying and expanding the empire’s rule.

As for the fall of an empire, remember these crucial points. ! ! The fall of an empire is a complex event. No one factor is an immediate cause. Typically, empires fall because of a variety of factors, including intolerance, overexpansion, the rise of anti-imperial players, and asymmetry between the center and periphery.39 These factors also tend to combine in a variety of ways. For example, an empire may become increasingly intolerant of diverse peoples, leading anti-imperial players at its periphery to rise up in rebellion, ultimately overturning the center of the empire.

In your analysis of empires, remember to ask the following questions. ! ! ! What factors contribute to the rise of an empire? How is a certain empire similar and/or different from other empires studied and why? What factors lead to the fall of an empire and can an empire avoid this? If so, how?

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Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it also didn’t fall in a day. –Tania

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II. By Land or By Sea
entire continents or even span several oceans. While an empire’s size does not qualify it for some sort of imperial all-star list, it certainly exemplifies the power of the central military and political apparatus as well as the persuasive capabilities of the empire’s imperial project. It is crucial to examine the different ways in which empires expand and subsequently, how these varying rises affect their falls. Because, if nothing else, the lesson to be learned is that all empires do indeed fall.

Empires are big. They are often so big that they encompass

Objectives
By the time you complete this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions. ! ! ! What are the differences between a continental and maritime empire? How do continental empires and maritime empires expand their power? What is typically the reason for the fall of a continental empire? How is this similar or different from the fall of a maritime empire?

Introduction
For the purposes of this guide, empires have been categorized in three different ways—continental, maritime, and ethnic. It is important to note that these categories are somewhat fluid; some empires could be categorized as both continental and maritime, continental and ethnic, maritime and ethnic, etc., etc. However, the categories do serve as signifiers to what each empire used as its core method of expansion, even those that are centered upon an ethnic imperial project. The empires in this chapter are further placed into categories based on their geographical location (e.g., Africa, Asia) and their relationship with European civilization (e.g., Old World and New World). While these categories provide a backbone for the organization of this guide, you should not think of empires solely based upon their geographical differences. Rather, utilizing the scholastic foundation laid out in the first chapter, it is necessary to examine each empire on its own and then, in the final analysis, look at how empires are similar, how they differ, and what these lessons provide to students of the modern world. In examining the reasons for each empire’s rise and fall, you will be able to see in what ways its fall was similar to other major empires and also, perhaps more importantly, in what ways it differed. These comparisons will give us clues as to what makes a successful empire and whether or not the concept and viability of empire will persist in the future.

Continental Empires
The term continental empire implies an empire that spans an entire continent. This is not entirely accurate; the real definition of a continental empire is one that is based upon the continent—in other words, is pretty strictly land-based. While it is not uncommon for continental empires to have a

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maritime component (the Romans were very skilled naval patrollers and the Mayans built canoes capable of expanding trading networks), primarily these continental empires utilize strategies of expansion that apply directly to land-based operations (such as foot soldiers or conquest by horseback). It is crucial, in each examination of an empire, to understand why continental expansion was important to the empire and how each empire accomplished its goals of consolidating rule over a large land-based region. Oftentimes, the lands that a particular empire conquered were home to a diverse set of people and this played a role in the type of campaign of conquest an empire launched. We will begin with two major empires of the New World: the Mayans and the Incas. Both were prominent civilizations that were among the most developed and sophisticated of their time. The New World Despite its name, the New World did not come into being after the creation of the Old World. In fact, the two “worlds” existed (and continue to exist) simultaneously. However, it was not until European powers discovered the Americas and the Australian continent that the misnomer “New World” came into being. Previously believing that only Europe, Africa and Asia existed in the world,40 European explorers thought that they had indeed found a “New World.” Little did they know that their New World was actually one that had been producing and maintaining extensive and well-developed civilizations for nearly a thousand years. The Mayans There still exists the belief among modern societies and peoples that Mayan civilization died off and is considered “extinct.” That is not, however, an accurate description of the Mayan empire. In reality, the traditions and descendants of the Mayan Empire still exist in Mesoamerica41 today. It must be noted at the outset that, during its heyday, the Mayan Empire was one of the most advanced civilizations of its time. And yet, despite the empire’s advancements and power, it would ultimately fall at time of the Spanish Conquest of Mesoamerica in the 15th century AD. It is necessary, therefore, to examine the reasons for the Mayan empire’s rise and to see what could have contributed to its fall. The rise of the Mayan empire took place over a span of several hundred years. In what is considered the Pre-Classic Period, Mayan civilization existed in the form of settled communities that were more
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Quite an astonishing thing when you think about one’s conception of the world today. - Kaitlin Mesoamerica is the term used to describe the geographical region encompassing much of southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and northern parts of Honduras and Costa Rica. This region was home to many of the Pre-Columbian civilizations that flourished prior to invasion by the Spanish in the 15th century (e.g., the Olmecs, Toltecs, Aztecs, and Maya).

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complex than their predecessors, tribal groups that roamed Mesoamerica. What made the civilization so complex? For one, it was divided into elite and non-elite social classes, a separation that provided for a stratified and progressive society. The civilization also believed in a divine kingship42 and developed its own forms of writing and pottery (using mostly polychrome techniques).ix During this time, Mayan civilization was not extremely powerful, however, and did not have a great amount of influence in Mesoamerica. It would not be until the Classic Period (c. 250-900) that Mayan civilization would become an empire. In the Classic Period, Mayan civilization and the Mayan Empire flourished. Several city-states expanded and were home to a blossoming culture wherein Mayan traditions and religion were practiced. One of the strongest city-states during the Classic Period was Tikal.43 Before delving into the specifics of the Mayan Empire’s seat at Tikal, it must be noted that the Mayan Empire differed slightly from other Yax Mutul: Not as Cool a Name? empires we will study in that it was divided into 44 independent city-states. While Tikal was one of Tikal, which means “place of voices” in Mayan, was not the original name of the city-state, but the strongest throughout the Classic Period, it was given to the archaeological site when it was would constantly have to establish alliances with discovered in the 1840s. The original name of other less powerful city-states. Tikal used different the city was Yax Mutul. strategies including inter-marriage with rival kingdoms, warfare45, and trading networks. All of this made Tikal a formidable power—one that rival city-states (such as Calakmul and Copan) occasionally tried to take down throughout the Classic Period. At its heyday from about 200 to 800 AD, Tikal was the largest city-state in Mayan civilization and was also its longest-enduring polity.46 This is why, for the purposes of this guide, we are deeming it one of the most integral cities of the Mayan Empire. The city’s architecture was some of the most advanced of
One in which the king was seen as a representation of the heavens, much like emperors in imperial China. - Kaitlin Tikal is located in the present-day Petén region of Guatemala (a northern state bordering Mexico and Belize). 44 A city-state functions much like a nation-state, only its area is confined to that of a city and its adjoining suburbs. For those of you history buffs, think of Athens (of the Greek Empire) or even the Vatican today. City-states often belong to larger cultural areas. 45 They often did this by ransacking a rival city or kidnapping its king and ritually beheading him in a form of human sacrifice (those of you who used the AcaDec guides will surely remember this bloody point.) - Kaitlin 46 A polity is an organized society with a specific and shared form of government.
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its time and all major buildings (including the Great Plaza and a number of religious and ceremonial temples) were connected through a series of causeways. Ballcourts were a staple of Mayan cities and the stone stadiums were home to a ritual ballgame practiced throughout the empire (the significance of these games to Mayan culture is still unknown today). Observatories and religious temples dedicated to key Mayan gods (including Chaak, the rain deity, and K’inich Ajaw, the sun deity) were also central buildings around which the rest of the city was developed. While on the topic of religion, it must be noted that a shared religious tradition, which included a belief in a set of Mayan gods, allowed the Mayan Empire to maintain a consistent and enduring ideological standard throughout its reign. Furthermore, the belief that each Mayan king was an earthly representation of Mayan cosmology (giving him the status of a “divine king”) was also crucial to justifying a given kingdom’s right to rule. The Mayans also used their own calendars and forms of writing to record their history. A group of calendars47 allowed the empire to establish a myth of founding (much like the Roman Empire’s story of Romulus and Remus). It also gave the empire a chance to show its power by recording historical wars (in which the Maya triumphed) and the leadership records of various kings. Using their calendars the Mayans also developed an advanced system of mathematics48 and writing. Using bar-and-dot notation, the Mayans could record dates (confirmed through astronomical observations). They also used head glyphs (similar to Egyptian hieroglyphs) for this same purpose. All of these important records were kept on historical stela as well as carved into the stones along important temples and city buildings. This shared record, paired with the advanced understanding of mathematics and its system of writing, allowed the Mayan Empire to continue beyond the fall of an individual city-state. As such, when Tikal started experiencing problems in the Terminal Classic Period49 (due to a number of factors including warfare with rival city-states such as Calakmul, overpopulation, and drought), the empire moved its center of power from the Central and Southern Lowlands of present-day Guatemala to what is today Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. The Mayan Empire was largely decentralized after its move to the Yucatan peninsula, with a breakup into a number of feuding city-states. This period, known as the Post-Classic Period, occurred from the 10th to 16th centuries. With this decentralization came a decline of the empire and Mayan civilization as a whole. Though some major developments were made during this time—including an increase in seabased trade with other Mesoamerican civilizations (such as the Aztecs) in the north—several city-states feuded for power during this period, leaving the once-powerful Mayan civilization slightly restless. The major city-states of the Post-Classic Period were Coba and Chichen Itza. Coba, which was most powerful in the late Classic and early Post-Classic period (roughly 730 to 1000 AD), was eventually sacked by its rival Chichen Itza.50 Chichen Itza then became the Yucatan’s most powerful polity, filling the void left by the Terminal Classic declines of Tikal, Calakmul and Copan. It dominated the Yucatan
Those of you who studied up for the Academic Decathlon will be familiar with these calendars, which include the Almanac of 260 Days, the Haab of 365 Days, the Calendar Round of 52 Years, and the Long Count. 48 The Maya, it should be noted, were one of the first civilizations to understand the concept of zero (which they wrote in the form of a shell). 49 The Terminal Classic Period is the term used to describe the latter years of the Mayan Classic Period. It occurred from roughly 800 to 900 AD. - Kaitlin 50 Perhaps the lesson is this: Beware your neighbors. - Kaitlin
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from 850 to 1100 AD and was the most successful Mayan city-state to develop trade networks throughout the Gulf of Mexico. It is necessary to note the central importance of cities to the Mayan Empire. Although one city may fall, the empire could still exist at another urban center, such as occurred when the entire empire moved from the area around Tikal to the Yucatan peninsula at Chichen Itza and Mayapán. A list of major Mayan cities, and their time of power, are listed in the table below.
Mayan city-state Tikal Copan Calakmul Coba Chichen Itza Mayapán League Powerful during the…Period(s) Classic Classic Classic and Terminal Classic Terminal Classic and early Post-Classic Post-Classic Post-Classic

Chichen Itza, while good at increasing trade and enhancing the prosperity of the Mayan empire, was not an especially tolerant city-state. Because of this, when new peoples such as the Chontal Maya and the Pipil from Central Mexico came to the Yucatan seeking resources, Chichen Itza could not maintain power and was in decline by 1100 AD. What is now known as the Mayapán League filled the void left by Chichen Itza. Centered around the city of Mayapán in the Yucatan peninsula, this collective alliance among several Mayan citystates attempted to revive the Mayan Empire. It was successful in increasing the Mayan population (which had declined after Tikal’s and then Chichen Itza’s fall), but as a whole, the league would only last from 1200 to 1450 AD. The Mayan Empire relied upon this alliance for strength, but when the Mayapán League started to break up in the 15th century, the Mayan Empire would be left largely undefended against the Spanish Conquest. This is another crucial point to consider: when an empire is not unified domestically, it often has much trouble defending itself from conquest by enemy empires. Of course, when the Mayapán League broke down it did not yet know of the empires of the Old World (i.e., Spain), but nevertheless, it was this break down that left the Mayan Empire unprepared for what was in store. When the Spanish came to Mexico’s shores, the Mayan Empire failed to put up a united front and ultimately fell.

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Despite the Mayan Empire’s fall Debate it! at the arrival of the Spanish, the empire is worth analyzing for its Resolved: That the Mayan Empire would have remained in power had the Spanish Conquest not taken place. Take stands, craft arguments ability to transcend the and practice presenting with your team. individual rule of several citystates to persist for almost two centuries. Likely because its administration often centered around the alliance of several city-states or a tribute system,51 the fall of one city-state did not mean the fall of the entire empire (unlike other empires such as the Roman Empire, which was largely dependent upon the success and power of Rome). Furthermore, the contributions that the Maya made throughout history cannot be overstated—their astrological observations, calendars, mathematics, and writing were some of the most advanced of their time. This kept a system of otherwise disparate regions connected and allowed for a large portion of Mesoamerica to adhere to one set of traditions, language, and culture. This cohesion has even persisted into the modern era where the Mayan language and some traditions are still in practice today, having survived the Spanish conquest and the founding of the nation-states of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize.

The Incas
While the Mayan Empire was moving to the Tawantin: The Four Regions Yucatan peninsula and attempting to remain in The four regions (or collectively called tawantin power through the Mayapán League, down south or “group of four things” in the Incan language in present-day Peru, the Kingdom of the Incas was Quecha) intersected at the site where Pachacuti gaining in power. Rival kingdoms throughout founded the Incan capital of Cuzco. Peru’s highlands in the Andes Mountains were trying to do the same, competing for the fertile valleys where the Incas ruled. In the early fifteenth century, the groups would come into contact in a series of battles that the Incas ultimately won.x With rival kingdoms defeated (including the largest group, the Chancas), the Inca were able to establish their capital at Cuzco and expand their empire to neighboring lands. The first king, Pachacuti,52 used an army of conscripted peasant warriors to conquer an enormous region that extended into modern-day Bolivia and Chile.xi Without Pachacuti’s expansionist efforts, the Inca Kingdom would have remained just that—a kingdom—and today likely would not be judged by scholars as an empire worthy of study. The empire that Pachacuti established was not only one that encompassed a huge region along the western coast of South America, but also one that represented a diverse set of cultures and ethnicities. This point is crucial in understanding the success of the Inca Empire; in the empire’s ability to conquer and incorporate diverse regions under its rule, it was able to create a system that benefited the Inca leadership at the center (in the capital of Cuzco).

A tribute system is one in which one party (or in this case, city-state) gives wealth or taxes to another more powerful party in order to receive some benefits (such as trade ties, military protection, etc.). 52 Is it terrible that his name reminds me of “Cootie Catcher?” (That type of origami construction also known as a fortune teller.) –Tania
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How the Inca Empire did this is complex. For one, Pachacuti’s conquest efforts were bloody. This was no peaceful affair that he was leading. Pachacuti set out to unify four regions (tawantin) that he saw as essential to the Inca Empire and he did so through a brutal method of conquest; those who did not immediately agree to become part of the empire by negotiation or coercion were treated with the invasion of Pachacuti’s fierce army.53 Pachacuti realized the power of expansion and he used the new provinces to extract taxes from peasants, a form of tribute (like in the tribute systems we discussed in the Mayan study). The provinces, however, were left mostly autonomous. The treatment of autonomous or freely-ruled provinces (typically at the periphery of the empire) is crucial to many empires, as we discussed early in this guide. There is always a delicate balance between the center and the periphery and many empires take advantage of the cooperation of local elites to maintain their central power. Although Inca governors were installed locally to oversee administrative affairs, other provincial leaders that had been in power prior to the Incan conquest maintained their status and were especially well-liked and rewarded if they acted in the interest of the Incas.54 In general, this system ultimately benefited Peasants, and the goods they produced, were the central imperial apparatus. The peasants that worked the lands in the Incan essential to the continued prosperity (and power) provinces and peripheries and the goods of the Incan Empire. that these peasants produced were essential to the continued wealth and prosperity (and hence, power) of the Incan Empire. The empire also controlled a taxation system that Pachacuti had installed. This system taxed peasants on their labor and proved to be an even more formidable wealth-extraction tool than the production of goods (like the prevalent potatoes or the wool removed from llamas and alpacas55). Two generations after Pachacuti’s rule, the Incan Empire was at its largest and most powerful state. The Incas had conquered all of the civilized regions of South America (those people that were settled and not nomadic). Those who lived what the Incas considered “non-civilized lives” (i.e., nomadic) were deemed
In case you’re interested, the four regions were Chinchaysuyu, Cuntisuyu, Collasuyu, and Antisuyu. Now that’s a mouthful! - Kaitlin 54 The autonomy of the provinces is an important point to remember throughout this guide and subsequent analyses of empires. In particular, the Roman Empire did the same thing and as a result, would find that those provincial regions would eventually become strong enough to fight against the center. 55 Hooray for alpacas! - Kaitlin
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“barbarians” and left outside the borders of the empire. The Incas maintained their imperial system through an intricate infrastructure, one with more than 25,000 miles of roads between Cuzco and the four regions.56 Sadly, however, it was a heyday that would be short-lived. Pachacuti’s grandson, the Incan Emperor Huayna57 Capac (1467 to 1527 AD), while running a successful empire, heard of Incans dying in what is present-day Ecuador.58 Much like the Aztec and Mayan Empires, the native Incans would find themselves incapable of defending what many scholars consider an even greater adversary than Spanish naval and military superiority: infectious disease (including measles, cholera, various plagues, yellow fever, and smallpox). Soon enough, Huayna Capac would die of an imported disease, but not before first learning of the huge ships that had arrived in Incan territory.xii The ships belonged to Francisco Pizarro, a noteworthy Spanish conquistador, who was on his second expedition to the continent between 1526 to 1528 AD. Once Pizarro learned of the Incan Empire, he decided he had to make Peru and all the regions of the Incan Empire into Spanish territory.
Huayna Capac: Father to Fifty? Although Huayna Capac and his wife (and sister) Coya Cusirimay produced no male heirs, the great emperor fathered over fifty children with a variety of wives. Talk about a father of Incan civilization (quite literally)!

Pizarro hoped that his conquest would be much like that of his fellow conquistador Hernan Cortés to the north (Cortés led the expedition to conquer the Aztec Empire of Mexico’s Central Valley). While the conquest of the Incan Empire would not prove quite as easy as that of the Aztec, there were several events preceding Pizarro’s arrival that assisted in the Spanish success. For one, the infectious disease that preceded the Pizarro expedition into Incan territory essentially wiped out a large part of the native population. There was also, simultaneously, a struggle for power upon the death of Huayna Capac. Because Incan men could sire as many children with as many wives as they wanted, the imperial system of primogeniture59 was not employed as in other empires in Europe. Instead, the death of a leader caused a veritable war for power between the emperor’s various sons. In the case of Huayna Capac, a battle for leadership of the Incan Empire broke out between his son Huascar (who had been crowned emperor of Cuzco) and another son, Atahualpa, who was in Quito (which Huayna Capac made an ancillary capital after the conquest of Ecuador).
Again, this is another crucial method by which empires maintain their central power. Hey, AcaDec people, does this make you want to dance a Huayno? –Tania 58 By the time of Huayna Capac’s rule, Ecuador was subject to Incan rule. 59 Primogeniture is when power and possessions are passed from a father to his first-born son with no properties passed to other children.
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Naturally, this civil war, coupled with the debilitating import of a number of deadly infectious diseases, set the stage nicely for Pizarro’s invasion. Although Atahualpa had largely succeeded in his campaign,60 the Incan Empire was left divided after the war and the population largely decimated by both warfare and disease. Pizarro and his expedition, which included the young conquistador Hernando de Soto (famous in the United States for his conquest of Florida and his discovery of the Mississippi River), were excited for the prospect of a swift conquest of the Incan Empire, expecting it to be much like that of the Spanish Conquest in Mexico. The expedition would be quickly validated. After a failed negotiation with Atahualpa, on November 15, 1532, the Spanish conquistadors (better-equipped with cannons, guns, and on horses61) slaughtered Atahualpa’s army in the city of Cajamarca (several hundred miles north of Cuzco). The Incan forces found themselves caught largely unawares, unequipped (they had carried no arms in anticipation of a negotiation), and incapable of fighting against the formidable Spanish army. Although the Spanish numbered only two hundred, their brutal warfare killed somewhere between six to seven thousand native Incans. The Spanish didn’t lose one man in the fight. What has come to be known as the Battle of Cajamarca proved to be the meeting of two empires—the Incan and the Spanish—and one in which the Old World’s might triumphed over that of the New. It was also the first time the Incan Empire would come to know Christianity. Pizarro himself was, above all, a devout Christian and believed that the bloodletting of the battle for the Incan Empire was a divine right. In the end, the conversion of all the Incan souls would be further proof of the superiority of the Spanish Empire and its religion, Christianity. All told, the initial Incan defeat was swift. The Gold: A Step Away from God Spanish forces captured Atahualpa, who mistakenly Gold, having the same yellow color as the sun, believed that giving the foreigners all the gold he was sacred to Incas who revered the sun god, could would eventually lead to his release. He told Inti. As such, gold was not used in a monetary system, but kept in the capital under the Pizarro of the great riches he had in the capital of watchful eye of the emperor. Cuzco and advised Pizarro how to get there. Previously, the Spanish expedition had no idea of the scope of the Incan Empire; now Pizarro had an inkling that not only was the empire wealthy, it was also large, the kind of territory for which he and the Spanish Empire were looking. After all, the ultimate goal of the Spanish Conquest was to expand Spain’s territory, giving the empire access to new lands and, most importantly, ownership over peasantry who would work said lands and allow Spanish elites to sit back on their heels and retire comfortably. The fall of the Incan Empire would not go quite as smoothly as Pizarro and his Spanish expedition originally expected, however. After Atahualpa was convicted of treason by the Spanish and executed, the next Incan in line to the throne was Manco Inca, a brother to Atahualpa and Huascar, and the last of the Huascar allies. Manco Inca declared himself emperor and the Spanish allowed him to do so, hoping

In an effort to prevent nausea, I will not go into the various brutal methods Atahualpa used to force his half-brother Huascar into retreat. If you are interested you can read The Last Days of the Incas with particular emphasis on page 53, which goes into the events in much too bloody detail required for this guide. - Kaitlin 61 It must be noted that the arrival of horses shocked the native Incas who had never before seen such domesticated animals. In fact, Atahualpa’s original plan was to kill the Spaniards (they seemed like a small enough army) and then steal the horses and breed them in order to become the most powerful Incan king in history.
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that they could ally with him and use him as a puppet king.62 very long.

This arrangement would not last for

The Incas seemed determined not to go the way of their Aztec counterparts. Instead, in early November of 1535, after almost two years of the Spanish occupation, Manco Inca arranged for a secretive meeting between Inca leaders and decided to stage a rebellion against the Spanish. Fleeing Cuzco, he established a guerrilla base in the Andes in a city he called Vilcabamba.64 It was to become the capital of the free Incan world. He conscripted a force of Incan men between one and two hundred thousand men strong. He was prepared to rebel against what he saw as a small and unprepared Spanish force. Meanwhile, the situation with the Spanish was not going so well. The Spanish Empire’s King Charles decided to divide the large Incan Empire into two possessions—a northern half to be ruled by Pizarro and a southern part to be ruled by Diego de Almagro, another Spanish conquistador that had led forces into South America. This caused the Spanish territory to disintegrate, as no one under its rule knew to whom to report (this was especially the case in Cuzco, which both conquistadors claimed to rule). In the end, however, the Spanish divide did not provide the Incas enough of a chance to succeed in their rebellion. In a number of battles fought between Manco’s generals and the Spanish, the Incan army was demolished (often at a rate of thousands of Incans to the Spanish’s dozens). The Empire was certainly in shambles as a number of key assassinations took place. First Almagro was assassinated, then his followers, the Almagristas, took revenge, killing Pizarro. Manco Inca heard of all of this and when an emissary of the Almagristas, Diego Méndez, arrived at the outskirts of Vilcabamba, he told his generals to welcome them—any enemy of Pizarro was a friend of Manco Inca’s. Manco Inca ordered that the Spaniards be given housing in the city of Vitcos, thirty miles from Vilcabamba. The two sides seemed to get along splendidly, as was the intent of the Almagristas. Both sides exchanged military secrets and worked towards an alliance. It was all a ploy of the Almagristas, however, to lull Manco Inca into a state of ease and eventually kill him and stop the Incan rebellion. The plan succeeded. When Manco Inca visited Vitcos some time later to play Incan games with his Spanish friends, the plot was finally revealed and Manco Inca was assassinated. The year was 1544. The next fifteen years saw continued fighting and the kingdom of Vilcabamba survived precariously, led by a series of Incan kings, including Manco Inca’s son Titu Cusi. At the same time, the Spanish sent an increasing number of administrators and entrepreneurs to the region (later they brought African slaves). The intent of all this was that the area would eventually be overrun with Spanish settlers, that the slaves would help supply the labor, and that the power and presence of the Incas would be pushed into the periphery. Like in the case of the Maya, the Incan Empire could not survive without a unified imperial center. With the Spanish putting more and more pressure on them, the Inca were doomed to fall.

The term “puppet king” (or “puppet emperor”) typically refers to a leader who is head of the empire in form, but not in substance. He is usually controlled by some other governing power and his politics are lead as such (think of the child emperor Puyi in the late Qing dynasty—Puyi was actually controlled by the Japanese who had invaded Manchuria and set up what is considered a “puppet state” there.) 63 A puppet king, huh? Is that anything like a Tamagotchi king? –Tania 64 Not to be confused with “La Bamba,” although it is a catchy tune. –Tania
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Religious conversion was also a tactic the Spanish used to overturn the Inca. Along with the invasion of Spanish settlers came Christianity. Quickly, the number of missionaries on the continent swelled. The pagans, as the Incans quickly became known, needed to be converted to Christianity. As such, the second mission of the Spanish Empire began, one that would seal the fate of the Incan Empire. The last Incan emperor, Tupac Amaru, was captured in 1572 and executed for being leader of what the Spanish deemed a rebel state. Everyone in Cuzco, native and Spanish, stood and watched as Tupac Amaru was led to the chopping block. The last emperor was beheaded on September 24, 1572. The Spanish victory seemed complete (as it would be until independent movements started centuries later). In the end, the Incan Empire was one more peripheral region to which the maritime-based Spanish Empire could expand. Spanish military prowess, especially in the use of steel (which the Incas had not yet discovered) proved immeasurably successful in battle. Their swords were sharper, their methods of warfare (by horseback, not foot) quicker. The Incans did not have a system of writing at the time and could use only their quipus, knotted ropes used to record information, as a system of correspondence.65 Can it be argued that the Incans Debate it! just had inferior technology and a weaker military, and that this Resolved: That the Incan Empire may have been victorious if equipped with better weaponry. Take stands, craft arguments and practice alone caused their downfall? No: presenting with your team. it was more than that. The widespread epidemics that preceded the Spanish arrival (and that the Spanish may have caused simply by setting foot in the Americas) and the Christian missionaries that downplayed the beliefs of natives also played a part. In the end, the fall of the Incan Empire established a new world order, one in which colonial empires (and specifically maritime ones) would increasingly call the shots.

Africa and the Near East
Africa and the Near East have seen a number of local empires rise and fall on their lands; they have also been invaded by foreign empires hoping to gain access to some of the riches the continents have to offer. Some major empires with which you may be familiar include the Egyptian Empire (ca. 1570 to 1070 BC), the Ethiopian Empire (1270 to 1974 AD), and the Asante Empire (1670 to 1902 AD). As will The Roman Empire also had a large stake in areas of Africa (particularly the northern regions) and the Near East—an over-expanded conquest that would eventually be one reason for its downfall. In examining several key empires of this region, we need to understand the reasons for each empire’s rise and also the implications of its fall. For example, for the Asante Empire, its struggle against another larger empire, the British Empire, proved a meeting of two continents (much like that which occurred in the cases of the Mayan and Incan Empires). This meeting of empires from different regions represents a struggle for power that still exists in the global political sphere today.

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It must be noted here that just because the Incan system of writing was not the same as other systems, that did not mean that the Inca did not have an effective method of communication. Nevertheless, the inefficiency of the quipus in comparison with Spanish writing and communication did play a factor during the Spanish invasion.

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The Asante Empire At its heyday of power in the 18th and 19th centuries the Asante Empire was one of the greatest ever to exist in Africa. Situated on the western coast of Africa (in present-day Ghana), the Asante Empire also benefited from being located on the aptlynamed “Gold Coast” where some of the world’s greatest amounts of gold are found. Naturally, being in close proximity to such a great, rich resource was bound to cause the empire some triumphs, as well as some headaches, as we will discuss shortly. The empire’s rise was largely dependent upon the Asante kingdom’s win against rival kingdom Denkyira in 1701 (Denkyira was one of the largest suppliers of gold). Under the Asante king Osei Tutu, the empire greatly expanded by conquering Denkyira and a number of smaller chiefdoms. Asante legend also has it that at this time Osei Tutu and his priest, Anokye, were able to conjure a Golden Stool66 from the sky that was said “to contain the soul or spirit of the entire nation.”xiii A king’s stool was always important in Asante culture, but this god-given golden stool was the best yet. In truth, the stool served as a unifying imperial ideology, one that is still an important symbol of the Asante ethnicity today. While establishing relationships with its new tributary states, the Asante also monopolized on trade networks with the Europeans (namely the Dutch, Portuguese and British). With the gold they could now mine in Denkyira, the Asante could trade for guns and new weapons that would further serve their growing army and give them a superior military advantage over neighboring kingdoms. Under the thirty-year rule of Osei Tutu’s successor, Opoko Ware, the Asante Empire expanded even more. The capital of the empire was established at Kumase and leaders would rule from there, trying to use diplomacy (rather than warfare) to retain power throughout the empire. Key components that allowed the Asante Empire to prosper throughout the 17th, 18th, and 18th centuries are listed and described in the table below. In the 19th century, with the growing British Empire in Europe, it could only be expected that these two empires would someday meet on the battlefield. But the situation was not as simple as one may originally assume. To begin, a neighboring kingdom, the Fante, to the Asante Empire’s north, was one of the major reasons why the British and the Asante were not able to work out a suitable and diplomatic relationship. Furthermore, the misconception that the British had of the Asante—that they were a warhungry people—fueled a series of wars that would ultimately bring the Asante Empire to its knees.

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I assume this was a stool you sat on, not the other kind. – Daniel

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Key components to Asante power Slavery

Why it was important Slaves were a necessity to the strength and expansion of the empire. Typically taken from conquered kingdoms, slaves were used to mine gold, cultivate fields, and made up the lower orders of the army. Because slaves were from non-Asante ethnic groups, they were viewed by the empire’s leadership as “barbarian.” The Asante used gold to trade with Europeans for firearms. This was crucial in that it then gave the Asante Empire a military advantage over that of its neighbors and kept the empire powerful until this trade network broke down during a succession of wars with the British. Tributary states that were officially a part of the Asante Empire were ruled by their own chiefs or kings and paid an annual tribute to the center in Kumase. An extensive Asante police force (who often oversaw executions) kept tributary states in check. Because tribute paid by the empire’s states was the way in which the empire increased its wealth, peace and diplomacy became necessary ways of keeping those tributary relationships stable. War, therefore, was a last resort. Citizens of the Asante Empire all believed in the same Asante religion, one that had a supreme god as well as a hierarchy of other gods. A major component of the religion was the belief that all living beings had an immortal soul. The Asante regularly traded with Europeans. They would send ivory, gold and slaves and in return received xiv firearms, gunpowder and other European goods. The empire built an extensive system of roads that supported this trade (like that of other great empires, namely the Romans). Often times, trading units would have to pass through the territory of the Fante, a rival kingdom. As the Asante Empire’s relationship with the Fante deteriorated, trade would ultimately be blocked and be one reason for the empire’s demise. While when the British first visited the Asante Empire they believed that the civilization was based largely on warfare, this was not the case. In fact, the Asante relied upon diplomacy and peace to maintain power. While originally warfare was used to expand and conquer tributary states, once the Asante Empire’s power was dominant, it used trade and tribute to maintain peaceful relationships. The empire even trained and employed diplomats who would go on diplomatic missions and oversee the drafting of treaties.

Gold

Tribute

Religion

Trade

Diplomacy

The first mishap occurred in 1806 when the Asante army, chasing rebel Fante leaders, was shot at by British troops (the British had been protecting fleeing Fante at a fort at Cape Castle). The Asante attacked the fort but could not get inside. The next two decades saw increased fighting between the Asante and the Fante.67 The British response to the Asante Empire was cautious, but its new allegiance to the Fante grew, frustrating the Asante whose trade was disrupted by this. In the beginning, the Asante were a formidable military force. They were comprised of an army of over 200,000 men and their weaponry mostly came from their trade with Europeans, so the firearms they used were technologically advanced for the time. However, with trade blocked through the Fante kingdom, this advantage would diminish throughout the 19th century. Furthermore, the British were increasingly interested in gaining a hold on the “Gold Coast” and saw the Asante Empire as its greatest roadblock. A series of Asante-Anglo Wars occurred as a result of this power play, as outlined in the timeline below.
Event First Asante-Anglo War Second Asante-Anglo War
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Year 1823 1863

Significance After attempts at diplomacy, several skirmishes between troops caused the two empires to declare the first war. In the end, the Pa River was declared as the official border between British and Asante territories. After thirty years of relative peace and stability, a legal dispute between the British and Asante empires sparked the second conflict that ended in a stalemate.

This included two all-out wars. One was called the Asante-Fante War and the other was the Ga-Fante War in which the Asante and Ga kingdom banded together against the Fante.

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Third Asante-Anglo War

1873-4

A European missionary family being held in Kumase was said to be the reason for the third war, one which eventually ended with a treaty signed between both sides in 1874. The treaty stated that the Asante empire would be broken up. After the Asante empire refused to become a British protectorate, the final war between the two sides was fought. The British, with superior firearms and military technology by this point (because of the Asante’s long-since lost trading networks), won the war. The Asante and Fante empires were annexed by the British in 1896 and were considered a colony by the British empire. In what is known as the War of the Golden Stool, Asante court officials that were left in Kumase (and led by the sixty-year old Asante queen mother Yaa Asantewaa) attacked British residents after frustrations with Christian missionaries grew. The rebellion, due to the lack of advanced firearms and inflexible military tactics on the part of the Asante, failed. In 1902, the British officially added the Asante territories as a protectorate—for the last time.

Fourth Asante-Anglo War Annexation of Asante Empire

1891 1896

Last Asante Uprising

1900

As has been the case for many empires, a battle with Rome: Land of Opportunity another empire is sure to cause the downfall of one Those who aimed high could find a home in of the parties involved. For the Asante Empire, the Rome—the city allowed citizens from all th reaches of the empire to hold positions of problems it faced started in the 19 century and power. Emperor Trajan himself was Spanish and dragged right on through to the 20th. To begin, the his advisors included a Greek, a Moor, and a empire’s strained relationship with its rival descendant of an Israelite King. neighbor, the Fante, was one that complicated its ability to properly fend off the British advances.68 Using the trade networks accessed through Fante territory allowed Asante to sell their gold in exchange for new weaponry—with this network blocked, their firearm stocks suffered (and grew antiquated over time). Likewise, with too many resources directed towards conflicts with the Fante, other tributary states rose up against the Asante, meaning that the empire’s central control eroded. Finally, as this power slipped away, the Asante often resorted to poor military tactics (of enveloping the enemy) that had worked in the past, but not in a protracted war with the British—this inflexibility to change their approach to warfare also hastened their demise. In sum, it was a combination of Debate it! a number of factors—as we are Resolved: That the Asante Empire could have defeated the British if increasingly seeing is the case— their weaponry was more advanced. Take stands, craft arguments that led to the Asante Empire’s and practice presenting with your team. fall. It may have once been one of Africa’s greatest powers, but the Asante too succumbed to the Europeans. It would not be until the region was declared the independent nation-state of Ghana in 1957 that the various ethnicities of the Gold Coast (the Asante, Fante, and others) would break free of the colonial binds the British imposed upon them.

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This is a classic example of how an anti-imperial player on an empire’s periphery can cause the downfall of an empire. Kaitlin

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The Roman Empire The Roman Empire, at its heyday, was such a large and formidable power that to sum it up in one small chapter feels an impossible (and perhaps feeble) task. Nonetheless, a study of the fall of empires would not be complete without at least a cursory analysis of the great empire of ancient Rome.

To begin, we must examine Rome’s rise and its success throughout the period of the Western Roman Empire (ca. 27 BC to 476 AD).69 There are two key components to the success of the Roman Empire. The first is that the empire set forth an ambitious plan of expansion and one that incorporated a great measure of tolerance in order to assimilate those in outer regions who were of diverse cultures and societies. In fact, the second component to the success of Rome, assimilation, was at the heart of this expansionist effort.xv Although the Roman Empire by the second century AD was home to over 60 million people and encompassed an area that stretched from the British Isles to Northern Africa to Asia, the central imperial leadership promoted the “idea” of Rome as a way to tie the periphery to the center. This central idea was one that upheld standards of high art, literature, science and culture. Only Roman and Greek were to be spoken in the empire, a linguistic feat that would further bind the disparate regions the empire encompassed.
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It is crucial to note here that when most contemporary people and scholars refer to Rome, they are most likely referring to the Western Roman Empire, which was most powerful from about 27 BC to 476 AD. The Eastern Roman Empire (also known as the Byzantine Empire) that followed was centered around the city of Constantinople and lasted until 1453 when the Ottomans invaded and took over the city.

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In its heyday, also known as the High Empire (70 to 192 AD), Rome and all its empire was seen as the most advanced and impressive civilization of its time. The capital, Rome, was home to a diverse set of people and even religions (while the Roman pantheon of gods was at the center, there were many Jews and a growing number of Christians). The city represented the best of modern architecture, including the Coliseum and the Forum. In general, the empire was seen as a “communis patria” or “common fatherland,” and as such, the provinces were given a certain amount of autonomy (or independence from the center). The provinces could retain some of their traditions but at the same time would benefit from the great commonality that all Romans were said to share.70 (A commonality in which all peoples subscribed to the Roman ideological project,71 the idea that Rome was the greatest civilization of all time and would progress as such.)

The Roman economy was also in high gear at the time. While initially the center taxed the periphery, as the empire’s power grew it withdrew some of these tax laws and allowed for a great amount of free trade throughout the empire (from Spain to Scotland to North Africa).

During the High Empire, Rome spanned an estimated 1.9 million square miles and represented a population of 60 million.

How does this compare with the case of Puerto Rico and the United States? How about Tibet and China? Or Australia and the United Kingdom? It may be worth considering these comparisons between empires. - Kaitlin 71 This is exactly the kind of project that we discussed in the first section on empires; a project that helps to bind the center to the periphery.
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Yet, although this freewheeling kind of empire survived through several generations of emperorship (from Augustus Caesar, formerly Octavius, to Diocletian), the assimilation project of the Roman Empire would ultimately fail. For exactly what reason the great civilization and its ideological project failed is a subject of great debate amongst scholars. Some, like Edward Gibbon (who wrote the esteemed treatise The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the 18th century), placed great emphasis on the role of Rome’s over-expansionism and the growing importance of Christianity to the central imperial apparatus. Others, like Peter Heather in his work, The Fall of the Roman Empire, cite Rome’s inability to handle a number of rebellions around its periphery. Still others, like Amy Chua in Day of Empire, find that it was because of Rome’s growing intolerance that all of the above-cited events occurred. She believes that it was ultimately this intolerance that caused the downfall of the Roman Empire. For the purposes of this guide, we will examine each of these factors in order to provide the most all-encompassing approach. We will start with an examination of Rome’s overexpansion and how the periphery came to play such a large role in the center’s fall (and the empire’s move to Constantinople) in the 5th century AD.
Here Come the Huns The Huns were a confederation of Central Asian and European tribes, likely of Turkish ancestry. Their military might was achieved through use of their composite bow and arrow and ruthless battle savvy.

The Roman Empire was, as you Debate it! know, much larger than just the Resolved: That Christianity played a major role in the decline of the capital itself, or even than Roman Empire. Take stands, craft arguments and practice presenting modern-day Italy. During the with your team. High Empire, Rome spanned an estimated 1.9 million square miles—almost as large as the Achaemenid Persian Empire, and a land region that entirely encompassed the Mediterranean Sea. As such, the central bureaucracy had its hands full in administering control of this immense and diverse area. While initially the Roman project (to conquer and spread Roman ideology) gave the expansionist effort a casus bellum,72 once the effort had been accomplished, the rule of this new empire proved more difficult than the leaders originally imagined. For one, there was widespread corruption both at the center and in various localities throughout the periphery. Several scholars have cited this corruption as one of the main factors leading to the fall of the Roman Empire; however, it is just one element and surely was nothing new in the process of empire building.73 Rather, it was local corruption paired with the growing power of several entities at the periphery that proved the center’s greatest adversary. Throughout the latter half of the High Empire, three enemies of Rome drained economic and military resources from the capital. The Persian Empire was always a threat to the stability of Rome and until it was stamped out in the fourth century, the Roman Empire had to rely upon recruits from its own “barbarian” regions in order to fight off the Persians. To subsidize this effort, Rome increasingly relied upon new tax levels that ruined many members of the empire’s landholding classes. At the same time, the Huns, led by Attila the Hun, were another force that distracted the Roman central power. When many groups of Roman citizens situated in the empire’s periphery grew tired of Roman leadership, the
A reason or rationality to justify acts of war. Throughout time, as you are surely aware, people in power often abuse it and those trying to get into power will often take advantage of loop holes or bribery in order to get where they want to be.
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Huns took advantage of this change in sentiment. They quickly enacted a brutal military campaign that took back much of the Balkans from Roman control and even stretched into modern-day Germany and Austria. Although the Huns were ultimately unsuccessful in their empire takeover, the distraction proved enough to ruin Rome’s economy and the confidence of its peoples. By the late 4th and early 5th centuries, a number of small rebellions broke out amongst the Germanic peoples, further threatening Rome’s standing on its northern borders. After the Huns significantly lessened Rome’s power, the Germanic groups rode this wave and were beginning to invade parts of Rome’s imperial frontier lands by the turn of the 5th century. At the same time, the rise of the emperor Constantine the Great complicated matters for the central imperial project. Although in 303 AD the Roman emperor Diocletian launched his Great Persecution against Christianity, ultimately his successor Constantine converted to the religion in 312 AD. This represented a large philosophical and ideological shift for the Roman Empire. Constantine moved the center of Roman power to what he called New Rome, or Constantinople, and the city became the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire (or Byzantine Empire) from that point forward. It would also take Christianity (and the principles of the religion) as its central ideological project. How this new empire, and its embrace of Christianity, was a factor in the fall of the Western Roman Empire is a subject of much debate. Suffice it to say that the new influence of Christianity on the administration and ideological project of Rome further precipitated Rome’s fall. As Amy Chua points out, Christianity was just one more element of “intolerance”xvi that acted against the embrace of assimilation tactics of previous administrations. Efforts towards Christian uniformity caused a backlash of religious and ethnic conflict. This intolerance coincided with the influx of “barbarians” (both the Huns and Germanic tribes) into Roman territory, one that threatened Rome’s outer regions. Chua also cites further examples of the Roman Empire’s growing intolerance, including a ban on intermarriage between ethnicities and systemized racism against Germanic peoples.xvii As a result, in the 5th century, Rome broke down into a number of rival kingdoms. Although remnants of the old Roman Empire (by way of Constantine and his administration in Constantinople) survived in the new Eastern Roman Empire (which would last another thousand years), ultimately the glory days of Rome were long gone. The Eastern Roman Empire would prove to be nothing like its predecessor; it was largely intolerant of diverse religions and cultures and would never reach the enlightened state attributed to the High Empire. The Achaemenid Persian Empire In the family of empires, the Achaemenid Persian Empire (ca. 559 to 330 BC) is the eldest child. Considered the oldest and one of the largest, most all-encompassing empires, it is a shame the Achaemenid Persian Empire is not as widely studied and known as the Roman Empire. But that is exactly why we have included it here and why it deserves a thorough examination.

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The Achaemenid Persian Empire began much like any other empire—under the leadership of one great man. That man was Cyrus the Great, who founded the empire in 559 BC. Twenty years later, in 539 BC, one of the empire’s major cities, Babylon, was “liberated” by Cyrus and his army. This event is evidence that even in the earliest empires, cities (and the centrality they provided) were crucial to an empire’s success. At its largest, the Achaemenid Persian Empire was larger than even the Roman Empire and was home to a population of 42 million (one-third of the world’s population at the time!). Modern-day scholars consider Cyrus to be the founder of human rights; however, the implication of this cannot be stretched too far.
Artful Displays of Tolerance In the early Achaemenid Persian Empire, monumental art was designed to reflect the diverse nature of the empire. A king and his subjects would be displayed in varying dress and weaponry, each representing the differing styles of the empire’s people.

Cyrus understood the importance of a tolerant empire, one that In the family of empires, accepts a diversity of people (including their cultures, languages, and the Achaemenid Persian religions) under its rule. However, this tolerance and the human rights Empire is the eldest that it implied, were more “strategic tolerances”xviii than a real ideological or philosophical breakthroughs. Only by accepting a local child. culture (and typically its religion) could Cyrus and his new empire could be seen as legitimate. Therefore, while Cyrus was right to incorporate diverse cultures, in many ways, he had no other choice. In utilizing this kind of methodology of expansion, a series of Persian emperors conquered new territories and eventually amassed an empire of such a scale that, at its height of power, it laid claim to over thirty diverse peoples. A list of these groups of people was kept in the royal inscriptions (often carved onto stone reliefs of important architecture, such as royal palaces) and was added to when new emperors added new groups. In other words, Persian emperors placed an emphasis on the spatial reach of the empire in terms of peoples absorbed, not necessarily geographical boundaries reached. This is an important distinction and one that was crucial to the success of the empire. In general, within this system, the emperor kept his distance from his subjects, but was accessible through court representatives. As such, he often served as a mediator in an “increasingly mixed, multiethnic environment.”xix This multi-ethnic environment also served the Persian war machine—one that increasingly incorporated the growing population, accepting the army units of rival kingdoms it defeated. With this strategic foundation, the Achaemenid Persian Empire was able to expand to one of the largest and most powerful in the world’s history. However, it cannot be ignored that in this system of conquest and tolerance, ethnic Persians were still considered the top of the pyramid. The positions of king, places in his administration, and the position of satrap,74 were accessible only to those of the Persian aristocracy. In other words, the Persians viewed themselves as the best of all ethnicities; they accepted diversity, but only so much as those diverse peoples believed Persians to be the pinnacle of all the world’s cultures.

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Satrap, and its derivative satrapy, are from old Persian and mean “protector of the province.” The term satrap is used in modern terms to describe a world leader who is greatly influenced by world superpowers or hegemonies.

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Significant Leaders of the Achaemenid Persian Empire Cyrus the Great

Ruled from…

Contribution The founder of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, under his thirty-year rule, the empire expanded to encompass much of Southwest and Central Asia. He freed the Jews after his conquest of Babylon and also rebuilt the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. He is considered the founder of “human rights.” Cambyses II took over after the death of his father, Cyrus. He is largely known for his expansion of the empire to Egypt (where he was named a Pharaoh). He died in 522 BC, possibly in an assassination orchestrated by one of his brothers (other sources cite the reason for his death as gangrene or suicide). During his forty years of rule, Darius furthered the empire’s expansionist project and gained territory in India, Greece, and even in Eastern Europe. He successfully quelled a number of rebellions at home and was known as xx an “exceptional administrator” who enacted a provincial tax system that greatly increased the empire’s economic scale. He called himself “king of the xxi countries containing all races” and seemed to firmly believe in tolerant rule.

Ca. 559 to 530 BC

Cambyses II

530 to 522 BC

Darius the Great

522 to 486 BC

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Xerxes

485 to 465 BC

The son of Darius, Xerxes is known primarily for his despotic rule and his violent crushing of a number of internal rebellions. He was less tolerant than his predecessors and made the Persian god Ahura Mazda the head of all deities and also forced Egypt and Babylonia into a state of servitude rather than equality.

The Achaemenid Persian Empire, like the Roman Empire, divided itself into provinces that were ultimately under the control of the imperial center. At the head of each province, or satrapy, was a satrap75 a leader who was typically a part of the Persian aristocracy. The satrap oversaw local affairs and for the most part allowed indigenous people to live their lives without much imperial interference. This leniency and tolerance on the part of leadership would change with the reign of Xerxes and his successors. Xerxes was largely intolerant during his rule, most likely because of a slate of rebellions that took place in the empire during his leadership. Xerxes also lost Egypt to a rebellion and then his successor, Artaxerxes III, took the region back by violent force (and with much plundering of precious Egyptian jewels and records). By the rule of the last Persian king, Darius III (336 to 330 BC), the empire had become even more intolerant of and aggressive toward its peripheral provinces. Enter Alexander the Great. While the Achaemenid Persian Empire was becoming increasingly intolerant of diversity and internal rebellions were causing regions to break away from the center, Alexander the Great of Macedonia76 entered the Persian homeland and filled a much-needed void. The peoples of Persia had lost faith in their empire and did not feel ideologically or politically connected to the central imperial apparatus. Ironically, Alexander used much the same type of “strategic tolerance” as the first emperors of the Achaemenid Persian Empire to win their affection. When Alexander successfully defeated Darius III and his army at the Battle of Guagamela in 331 BC, he asked that the Persian king be delivered to him alive. This did not happen. Instead, a frustrated satrap assassinated Darius and Alexander used the death to prove his own righteous place as the ruler of Persia. He even went so far as to dress in the Persian tradition, an obvious attempt to show his assimilation and his

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Not to be confused with a sand trap, which is much less of a fun position to find oneself in. –Tania When I hear “Macedonia” I always think of macadamias. Mmm. –Tania

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tolerance for the peoples of this once rival empire. At one point, in a show of great acceptance, he ordered that his officers (along with himself) intermarry with Persian brides. It was therefore the end of the Debate it! Achaemenid Persian Empire. Resolved: That the Achaemenid Persian Empire would have survived Despite its greatness, it quickly were it not for Alexander the Great’s conquest. Take stands, craft fell to Alexander and the Greeks. arguments and practice presenting with your team. With its fall, the Greek language and philosophy became dominant in the region until Alexander’s unexpected death on June 19, 322 BC (at the age of 32). Although Alexander ruled over the largest empire in Greek history, with his death it disintegrated into smaller states. Subsequent Persian empires would exist,77 but none would be as great as the Achaemenid. Nevertheless, the legacy of the Achaemenid Persian Empire left its mark on all future empires. Its revolutionary use of strategic tolerance proved a mighty weapon in the conquest of new territories and peoples. Likewise, its internal struggle for a unifying ideology and its central intolerance left it exposed; when Alexander the Great came to its borders, he would find a society eager for new leadership and change. The imperial game was not over, however, as Alexander’s success showed. In the end, the victor, like increasingly proved the case for empires, was he who could best integrate various realms of a diverse society under one inclusive banner.

Asia
Asian empires have faced the same challenges as their friends to the west, namely a desire to become powerful while balancing the diverse needs of a growing and diverse populace. We will examine two major continental empires in Asia, the Maurya and the Mongols, to see how they handled the task of growing and maintaining an empire, as well as the factors that ultimately led to their fall. The Maurya Dynasty It is quite likely you have not heard of the Maurya Empire. It does not get as much press among historians as, say, the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians or the British. Nonetheless, the Maurya Dynasty (also called the Maurya Empire) was once the largest to rule the Indian subcontinent. At one time it incorporated over 50 million people. The Maurya Empire oversaw the Indian subcontinent’s shift from a pastoral78 to an agrarian economy.79 The empire also built an extensive infrastructure that rivaled that of Rome; the routes connected the entire empire with areas as far as Persepolis and Antioch.80 One of the major contributions of the Mauryan state, as first established by Chandragupta Maurya, was the creation of the first centralized administration in the history of the Indian subcontinent. While previously Indian kingdoms had worked together in tentative alliances, the founding of the Mauryan
Namely the Parthian and Sasanian Persian Empires (ca. 171 BC to 224 AD and 224 to 651 AD respectively). An economy consisting mostly of semi-nomadic tribes that subsist on shepherding (yes, the herding of sheep!). - Kaitlin 79 An agrarian economy relies mostly on farming and livestock. 80 One of the major roads built during this period, the Royal Highway (that runs from the north-west region of Taxila to Pataliphutra) is still known to modern Indians as the Grand Trunk Road.
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dynasty (one which was considered a centralized monarchy) was the first time all factions were subservient to the center. While some tribes on the periphery maintained their political independence, they were still and ultimately, under the jurisdiction of the central apparatus. As such, they were expected to keep the peace and not to rebel against the central imperial power. Under the Maurya, the importance of urban life to the overall empire also increased. Although the agrarian economy was crucial to the empire’s growth, urban centers provided a place for newly emerging trade guilds to meet. This new structure further assisted the centralization project of the imperial administration in keeping all of these trading networks organized and accessible with ultimate power resting with the empire’s center. In examining the leadership of the Maurya Empire, it is crucial to direct our discussion towards that of two kings—first, the empire’s founder Chandragupta Maurya and then a later king (seen as one of the greatest kings of all time) Asoka the Great. Chandragupta Maurya (who ruled from 322 BC to 298 BC) is considered the founder of the empire and as such was responsible for originally conquering the previous Nanda Empire (which ruled the northern-central regions of the Indian subcontinent) and then expanding it to include much of the subcontinent (Asoka the Great would later finish the quest by conquering the southern kingdom and that of Kalinga). Chandragupta Maurya was largely responsible for enacting the central administration that was crucial to the Maurya’s success and expansion. He also established the center at the city of Pataliputra. The economy expanded greatly under his rule and saw continued expansion for centuries. However, while Chandragupta Maurya brought about the empire’s rise, it was Asoka the Great that is said to have contributed the most to its greatness. Asoka’s philosophical and religious beliefs were revolutionary for their time and it was his application of these personal beliefs to his rule that would ultimately, many scholars believe, bring about the downfall of one of the greatest empires of the Indian subcontinent. Asoka the Great ruled from 273 to 232 BC. In that time, Asoka continued Chandragupta’s rule over the subcontinent and was responsible for expanding the Maurya territory into the Kalinga region at India’s

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southern tip. Although born a Hindu, Asoka81 is said to have converted to Buddhism after witnessing the ruthless killing during the Battle of Kalinga. He strongly believed in one of Buddhism’s central tenets of ahimsa or “non-violence” and made this a central theme of his reign. While Asoka was greatly loved throughout his rule,82 the legacy of his rule and its effect upon the Maurya Empire is still controversial today. Prior to Asoka’s rule, there were several religions practiced within the Mauryan Empire, including Jainism (a relative of Buddhism that was established by a contemporary of Buddha), Hinduism, and Vedic rituals. Asoka’s desire to spread the teachings of Buddhism (known collectively as “dharma”) throughout the subcontinent (and beyond) coincided with an empire that was increasingly cosmopolitan and was the “culminating epoch of [several] centuries of rational inquiry and cultural advance.”xxii Asoka aimed to bring these three elements together to form one great Buddhist civilization. This attempt should sound familiar to you by now as it follows the “centralization project” of many world empires. Asoka had to convince his populace that making Buddhism orthodox83 (which was not previously the case) would benefit the empire. Ultimately, Asoka hoped that it would consolidate the vast empire, one that was home to many diverse cultures in a number of provinces (such as Taxila and Ujjain). Just like Constantine’s focus on Christianity during the Eastern Roman Empire, this new focus aimed to make religion the center of Mauryan policy. However, like Constantine, Asoka had to extinguish a number of practices that were common in the empire. To begin, he took aim at the practice of animal sacrifices. This ritual act, commonly performed by brahmins84 throughout antiquity, was prohibited under Asoka’s rule. He also banned festive meetings or gatherings. Both of these prohibitions refute the idea that Asoka was a tolerant ruler. It is likely that Asoka took moral offense to the animal sacrifices, but he also probably saw the festive gatherings as potential outlets for uprising against his new centralizing bureaucracy. Although ultimately he desired a non-violent society that adhered to Buddhist ideology, his prohibition of what were seen as specifically Mauryan cultural elements offended many of his empire’s peoples.
Establishing the Buddhist Kingship The idea of Asoka’s “Buddhist Kingship” (one in which the king receives the approval of the Buddhist sangha , or monastic order, is perhaps one of his greatest legacies. Thai kings (who belong to the Theravada sect of Buddhism) have used the practice for centuries.

In Sanskrit the name Asoka means “without sorrow.” He is now revered as one of the most benevolent world leaders of all time. He is known as establishing the notion of a “Buddhist kingship” one that is still seen in Thailand today. 83 In this case, Buddhist orthodoxy in the empire meant that there was a strict adherence to the central tenets of Buddhism. Even the law was altered to reflect these religious beliefs. 84 Brahmins are the priestly (highest) class of the Hindu caste system.
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While his non-violent rule is certainly one to be respected, his preference for Buddhism above all else did not go over well with his subjects. In the end, it would prove an unrealistic endeavor especially after Asoka’s death. Asoka may have been able to promote his cause, but his successors cared less about his Buddhist orthodoxy and as a result the centralization of the empire broke down during their rule. In the fifty years following Asoka’s death in 232 BC, the Mauryan Empire disintegrated and in the end existed only in the small territory from which it had expanded under Chandragupta’s rule. The reasons for the fall of the Mauryan Empire are complex and aplenty, like with all the empires studied in this guide. Asoka’s centralization of the empire may have worked, if only it did not revolve entirely around a Buddhist administration and ethic. This ideology alienated non-Buddhist peoples and could not be maintained by successive kings who did not believe as strongly in its tenets. Along with this, revived hostility of the Greeks was felt along the empire’s outer regions.85 The kings after Asoka were weaker than him and unable to solidify the sub-continental rule; almost immediately, the empire disintegrated into two parts—an eastern region ruled by the king Dasaratha, and a western one ruled by Kunala. This further aided the Greek invasion in the northwest as the center of the Mauryan Empire was split in two and unable to properly defend its territory. As for Asoka’s rule, some scholars think that it made the Mauryan Empire into a weak civilization because of the focus on non-violence. Others felt that, although at their core Asoka’s policies preached tolerance, ultimately they disenfranchised a number of elements in society who did not believe in Buddhism.
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It should be noted that this often occurs in empires that are too focused on the central project—they lose focus on the periphery, which, under more local leadership, either rebels against the center or cannot defend itself from outside attack.

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In the end, it was a congruence of these factors that caused the Mauryan Empire’s demise. Subcontinental India would not be unified again in this form for centuries. The Mongol Empire You may not know it,but you probaly know about the legacy of a man named Temujin. The name may not be familiar, but the story surely is: as a great leader of a tribal group called the Mongols, Temujin conquers vast lands by horseback, slaughtering and pillaging as he goes. The conclusion of that story is that the great leader, whose name was originally Temujin, would one day be given the title of Genghis Khan. And the rest, as they say, is history. Well, not so quickly.86 By the thirteenth century, the Mongol Empire, like many of the other great empires studied in this guide, was expansive. It ruled half of the known world at the time, including a number of major world cities such as Moscow, Damascus, and Baghdad. Temujin (later known as Genghis Khan) was the equivalent of the Mongol Empire’s founding father. After solidifying a Mongol tribal alliance with another larger and more powerful group, the Kereyids, at the end of the twelfth century, Temujin was able to conquer the Tartars and eventually command an army of as many as 80,000. Temujin used intermarriage to solidify bonds between the growing diversity of his empire and promoted those loyal to him—regardless of their ethnic makeup. In 1206, he formally announced the creation of the Great Mongol Nation and during a gathering of hundreds of thousands of his supporters, took the title of Genghis Khan and declared that he would rule over all the tribes of his land.87 As Genghis Khan, the Mongol leader invaded and claimed the territories of the Jurchen kingdom in northern China in 1215. He continued to employ a strategy of religious and ethnic tolerance often promoting leadership within the empire that represented a diversity of backgrounds and talent. For example, as soon as the Jurchen conquest was complete, he quickly “brought back from northern China entire regiments of soldiers and officers” and even “skilled workers of every kind.”xxiii He also promoted religious freedom, often emancipating lands, like the central Asian city of Balasagun (in contemporary Kyrgyzstan) from the tyranny of non-tolerant leadership. After Genghis Khan chose his third son Ogodei as his successor, the Mongol Empire turned its sights on Europe. Ogodei pressed expansion into Russia and Eastern Europe, and then to Germany, Poland and Hungary. Because during the thirteenth century Christian Europe was largely divided, this environment was open to Mongol invasion (particularly due to the Mongol Empire’s policy of religious tolerance). By the end of Ogodei’s reign (he died in 1241), the Mongol Empire extended almost to Vienna.

Because this guide is about the fall of empires, we have the worthy task of looking at the reasons for the Mongol Empire’s rise as well as its demise (and, as you’ve surely noticed, it is never as simple as it first appears). - Kaitlin 87 Sounds something like a political convention, eh? - Kaitlin
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After Ogodei’s death, a series of Genghis Khan’s grandsons ruled the Mongol Empire, each assigned to a separate region of the Mongol stead: Mongke was first named Great Khan, Hulegu oversaw Middle Eastern affairs, and Khubilai88 the conquest of southern China. It is to Khubilai’s successes that we now turn, as they are of great consequence to Chinese history and the future of the Mongol Empire. Khubilai named Will the Real Great Khan Please Stand Up? himself Great Khan in 1260 (taking the post from Mongke) and ruled the Mongol Empire until 1294. Genghis Khan (1206-1227): the founder of the Mongol Empire Although it took him over a decade to do so, and first Great Khan, took the Jurchen kingdom in 1215 eventually Khubilai led his Mongol forces into Ogodei (1229-1241): Genghis’ son and responsible for the China, overtaking the Song dynasty and expansion into Russia and Eastern Europe establishing the Yuan dynasty. What is so Mongke (1251-1259): Genghis’ grandson, named Great Khan in interesting about the turn of events and the Mongol Hulegu (1255-1265): another Genghis grandson, oversaw the empire’s Middle Eastern affairs rule of dynastic China is that although previously Khubilai (1260-1294): Genghis grandson who conquered the the Mongol Empire tried to absorb and assimilate Song dynasty of Southern China, named Great Khan in 1260 diverse cultures into its folds, it did not do the same for China. Instead, it chose the opposite approach: Khubilai allowed many Chinese practices to remain intact in the new Mongol-ruled China, including the arts and literature, and even gave himself a Chinese title. But this was about as far as the Mongols were willing to go. They appointed many non-Chinese (such as Persians, Europeans and central Asians) to govern the region. Khubilai himself even kept his summer capital outside the bounds of the Great Wall, a somewhat symbolic act that showed how different the two cultures really were. It is likely that much of this political change came from a fear that the Chinese were a strong, developed culture that could easily rebel against Mongol leadership. And it was because of this fear that Khubilai passed laws against the intermarriage of Chinese and Mongols and did not allow Chinese to be appointed to top governmental positions. While the Yuan dynasty’s society was ethnically and religiously diverse (its cities soon filled with Mongols from all over the empire, including even Marco Polo in the city of Yangzhou), it was not a diversity that promoted Chinese prominence. The Chinese were well

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I dare you to say this man’s name ten times fast: Khubilai Khan… Khubilai Khan… Kubilai… - Kaitlin

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aware of this and always judged their rulers as “others” (or “barbarians”), an integral point that would allow them to rebel against the Mongol Empire in the name of ethnic Chinese solidarity in the 14th century. Khubilai died in 1294 and the Mongol Empire started to disintegrate with his passing. A succession of emperors succeeded him (the average emperorship was a brief four years!) and a number of problems plagued the Great Mongol Nation, as will be discussed in brief below. The first set of problems were a number of rebellions that broke out throughout the vast empire after citizens grew frustrated by growing decadence, corruption and poor leadership. This was paired with the arrival of the bubonic plague (also known as the Black Death) throughout the empire’s lands.89 The plague killed 35 million people in China, almost a third of the total population. With trade ties and the economy deeply affected by the loss in population, China would finally stand up against its “barbarian” leaders. In 1368, an ethnically Chinese rebellion forced Mongol leadership to flee Chinese territories and for China’s Ming dynasty to be established. In the end, the Mongol Empire was not able to keep together a set of diverse cultures and civilizations. A rise of intolerance, a breakdown of power at the periphery, a staggering decrease in population, and finally the loss of China, all proved too powerful to keep the empire in one piece. Although originally tolerant of diverse cultures, ultimately the empire’s people would share no common identity; it was only the ethnic Mongols themselves who could claim that right. Despite all this, the Mongol Empire did leave an important legacy. It expanded contact and trade networks between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The Yam, a Mongolian-controlled set of relay stations connecting the span of the empire, allowed communication to pass freely and quickly. The religious and ethnic tolerance originally instituted in the empire was one that ultimately promoted a global system, one wherein all beliefs were accepted.
I’ll Take the High Road Communication is key to any empire. Likewise, empires often build great infrastructures to support the communication and trade that is crucial to their power. The Mongol’s used the Yam for this purpose; other empires, like the Romans and the Mayans, used road networks and causeways.

But unfortunately for the Mongols, the ideal did not survive the reality. With the breakdown of the empire into smaller regions, local leaders were unable to see the greater vision that Genghis Khan once possessed. Instead, bigotry and localism triumphed. This is a trend that we have already seen leads to the demise of any empire, no matter how great it once was.
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Did you know the Black Death reached China? I didn’t until I did the research for this chapter. Man, that was certainly a potent disease! - Kaitlin

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Maritime Empires The increasing role of naval power and access to seaborne trade routes changed the nature of empires from the 15th century onward. With increased navigational capabilities, maritime-based empires like the Portuguese and British were able to set sea for distant lands, both for exploration and conquest. For the Portuguese, arguably the first to dominate the world’s seas, the quest was originally exploratory; naval vessels, often commissioned by the crown, looked to chart distant lands and report their findings back home. In doing so, they found themselves with access to great new resources—like spices, sugar, gold, silver, and even slave laborers—that would not only bring them wealth, but also power. Quickly, the ability to take control of trading networks proved quite attractive to many European powers. Pretty soon a number of maritime empires—the Spanish, the French, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British, the American (to name just a few!)—took to the seas, eager to find all that the world could provide them. You are likely aware of the consequences of this maritime movement. Over several hundred centuries, it has produced a globalized world where in recent years you may find yourself eating food imported from Chile,

This maritime movement produced a globalized world.

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buying clothing made in China, watching a film produced in India, and driving a car designed in Japan—and all this in one day! But how we came to this point is worth examining and it is one in which maritime empires certainly played a large part. The Old World Again we raise the imperial distinction, albeit somewhat arbitrary, between “New World” and “Old World” empires. While the designation of New World, as we previously discussed, is that which was “new” to European exploration (namely the Americas), the Old World, it can be deduced, is that which was “old” to Europeans. Typically, the Old World refers to the Eastern hemisphere, namely Europe, Africa, and Asia. It may seem arbitrary to base this distinction upon geographical constraints, but in the comparison of Old World and New World maritime empires, it has greater significance. The maritime empires of the Old World are those that created a new global framework for trade and civilization. The New World maritime empires (really just the United States) have come to age at a later stage, one in which the framework of globalization was just set, but the details of which are still not completely meshed out. As such, any new empires to come into being during the 21st century will likely be dealing with a new set of rules. They will likely be both continental and maritime and their spheres of influence will spread over both Old World and New World territories. This change is likely to produce some very strange results; in other words, the nature of empire is about to change.90 The British Empire At its heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the British Empire spanned over 25 million square miles and ruled over a population totaling a quarter of the world’s total. At first glance, it would seem that this was quite the enviable position in which to be. Unfortunately for the British, such an expansive empire would prove impossible to manage and, in the end, it would disintegrate into a number of nations, some of which would form the basis of the current Commonwealth of Nations. How the empire could rise to such prominence (and then fall) is worth examining, however. We will begin with an analysis of the factors that led to the British Empire’s rise and impressive expansion and then follow this with reasons for its fall. What will be strikingly similar to several other empires already studied (including the Achaemenid Persian, Mauryan, and Roman) is a growing intolerance between the central imperial project and the way in which this project was perpetuated in the empire’s peripheral territories. While markedly different from the environment in which it fell, the British Empire originally rose after a period of domestic tolerance, particularly a newfound religious tolerance. After a number of ethnic and religious wars throughout Europe, the English parliament passed two documents into law in 1689: the Bill of Rights and the Act of Toleration. While the Act of Toleration protected
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Tolerance and the Bank of England The Bank of England was a necessary financial backer to the British Empire’s expansionist project. The bank was originally conceived by Scottish thinkers, funded by Huguenots, and its loans were brokered by Jews, making it representative of the new tolerance of the empire.

Get ready! (Insert an ominous, frightening laugh here.) - Kaitlin

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only Protestants (and not Catholics), it was nevertheless a step towards a more tolerant religious environment. Both documents proved that the British government was ready to promote a more accepting society, one that did not persecute people on the grounds of ethnic or religious background. From this, new players were able to enter British society and shape the future of the emerging empire.xxiv Jews, emigrating mostly from Holland, quickly arrived at England’s shores in greater numbers and established a community of bankers and lenders who would be crucial to the British Empire’s financial success. Huguenots, a term given to a particular group of French Protestants, left France en masse after persecution from Louis XIV’s administration. This new community (the Huguenots) brought with them not only their skills (they were adept clock makers), but also their connections with other Huguenots abroad; connections that proved financially beneficial when Huguenot investors shifted their banking interests from France to England. Finally, the incorporation of Scotland into Great Britain with the Act of Union in 1707, brought a new population of people under British governance, one that included not only a number of great thinkers and inventors, but also a set of men known for their hardiness in warfare.91 Several key components that solidified the strength of the British Empire are outlined (in brief) in the table below.
The British Empire: Key Components Bank of England Details Founded in 1694 by a Scotsman, William Paterson, as the primary bank for the British government. The bank would use private financing to create public debts. An English joint-stock company founded in 1600, the East India Company oversaw trade between the British Empire and Southeast Asia and India. Major goods traded included tea, opium, cotton, and silk. In 1649 and 1660 two Navigation Acts gave British merchants and their ships the protection of the Royal Navy. This nationalized the fleet that would from that point onwards accompany British interests into international waters and become a powerful policing force for the British Empire. The East India Company primarily ruled India from roughly 1757 to 1858, at which point the empire officially took control of the colony. “The Mutiny” of 1857, wherein Indians attempted to rebel against their rulers, resulted in the empire placing India under the direct rule of the crown as well as a more tolerant approach to the colony. Significance By 1815, London was the world’s financial center with the central Bank of England at its core. This growing economy funded the British Empire’s expansion and maritime pursuits. Now it oversees the monetary policy of the nation of England. Before the passing of the Government of India Act in 1858, the East India Company was actually responsible for much of the administration in the colony of India. It was an important force in the region that first used its commercial ties to strengthen Great Britain’s presence in Asia. The British Empire’s Royal Navy was a force to be reckoned with. Its technologies were vastly better than that of its th enemies, as because of this, in the middle to late 19 century, the empire began using what is called “gunboat diplomacy” to force new regions into submission and/or to become trading partners. These gunboats were smaller than the typical navy ships, but equipped with machine guns and were considered xxv the “workhorses of the informal empire.” In many ways, India proved the strength and duration of the British Empire. It was perhaps the empire’s greatest imperial project, one in which British customs and ideology were taught to natives as a method of “strategic tolerance.” In the end, however, this education would only give native Indians the ability to realize that independence was their right. Under the leadership of Gandhi, India gained independence from the British Empire in 1947 and further forced the empire to disintegrate.

East India Company (or formally, the Honourable East India Company, HEIC)

Royal Navy

India

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As noted in Chua, p. 204, “by the mid-eighteenth century, roughly one-quarter of the British army’s regimental officers were Scots.” Therefore, the incorporation of Scotland into British territory was one that not only added new land and resources but also padded the ranks of the British army.

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By the period of the British Empire’s global supremacy (scholar Amy Chua cites this as 1858 to 1918), the British were known for their dominance in three important realms: naval (the most technically advanced), commercial (the largest maritime trade networks), and financial (the largest economy in the world with the greatest bank—the Bank of England).
The Empire’s Naval Power

These three factors combined to make the British During the Opium War (1839-42), the British Empire a formidable force worldwide. By the 19th Empire displayed its naval superiority in a campaign against the Chinese that would century, the empire had holdings in locations as ultimately hand the British control of Hong Kong distant as Canada, Africa, India, and Australia. It for 150 years (until 1997). had also set into motion a central imperial project to rival that of the empires that preceded it. This new ideology was one that put British civilization on a pedestal and gave its citizens the right to the “civilizing project” of expansion and conquest (remember previous mention of the “White Man’s Burden”). A major contributor to this new outlook was the European Enlightenment, which occurred from the 15th through the 18th century. With this increased emphasis on scientific thought and analysis as well as the liberal principles of equality, the British Empire could promote the ideal of universal equality. This gave British leadership the ability to feel justified in its conquest of new peoples and civilizations; they believed they were bringing to these “uncivilized” areas (read: barbarian) new civil rights and ways of thinking otherwise inaccessible to them. As a result of this expansionism, by World War I, the British Empire included a population of 425 million, 366 million of which were non-white (and a whopping 316 million of which resided in India!).xxvi Naturally, the balance between the “civilized” British and the colonies was too precarious to exist peacefully forever. And, indeed, things were not as rosy as the central imperial ideology suggested. Although by the late 19th century the British Empire possessed colonies all over the world (including those in the continents of Africa and Asia), it seemed that the life of the empire had run its course. The empire had, throughout its

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expansion, established British educational systems in all of its colonies. In its largest and most prized colony, India, the native population was schooled in the English language and taught of British history and monarchic rule. But, ironically, it was partially because of this very access to information and to a world of liberal ideals in which individual rights were crucial, that the British Empire would lose India. The British Empire would find its hands full at the beginning of the 20th century and up through the events of World War II. At the turn of the century, a number of conflicts in Asia and Africa (including several uprisings and rebellions) distracted the Royal Army and drained the British economy. World War I further tipped the scale, forcing the British to recognize the growing strength of the United States. No longer could the British Empire view itself as the head of a unipolar world. When the League of Nations was founded as a result of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, it reshaped the nature of empire, giving way to the prevalence of nation-state relations. India also proved to be the Achilles heel of the British Empire. Indians were always held below that of white Anglicans. This treatment came to a head after World War I when Mahatma Gandhi mobilized a nonviolent revolution against the British. By 1947, India and Pakistan were founded as independent nation-states and the British Empire was officially in disarray. Although throughout the twentieth century some The Commonwealth holdings of the British Empire remained intact (including Consisting of fifty-three previous colonies of the British Hong Kong until 1997), the Empire’s might had severely Empire, the Commonwealth represents the shared diminished. The most powerful remnant was the interests of member states. The Commonwealth Secretariat (established in 1965) is the Commonwealth, which includes fifty-three members, intergovernmental agency overseeing the cooperation such as Australia, Canada, South Africa, and New and consultation between members. Zealand.92 However, the Commonwealth has proved less of a political force than a cultural connection and a way for the empire to cling to its past. Still, the lessons of the British Empire, fresh in the minds of scholars and citizens of the world today, must be heeded. As we examine other empires, remember the British. Although domestically tolerant, its
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For a full list of Commonwealth members, visit: http://www.thecommonwealth.org/Internal/142227/members/

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intolerance abroad proved to be its greatest failure. When a series of wars (World Wars I and II) further stressed its economy, it could not properly dispel the anti-British sentiment brewing in its colonies (particularly in India). The wars and a burgeoning domestic welfare program left the empire with massive debt, owed to emerging foreign powers (namely the United States). For those of you students of current international politics, this should all be sounding quite familiar; today, many of the same problems plague the United States. In the end, for the British Empire, it would be a confluence of factors—the wars, Indian independence (stemming from British intolerance), and a failing economy—that would hasten its demise. Of course, the United Kingdom is still a formidable nationstate today, but it lives with the legacy of an empire that once spanned the globe. That empire was home to an ideology that stressed the elitism of the Anglicized civilization project, a failed attempt to bring diverse ethnicities and cultures under the umbrella of British rule. The Portuguese Empire An empire’s greatest strength often becomes its greatest weakness. The Portuguese Empire was one of the greatest maritime empires of all time (and a model for other maritime empires that followed, primarily the Dutch and the British). For the Portuguese Empire, its strength was in its ability to explore a range of places throughout the world and then to use diplomacy to build trade networks with those newly discovered territories.

Boats: In Brief
Não (or Carrack): a large merchant vessel with four decks; typically carried heavy commercial loads long distances Caravel: a faster boat than the Não, preferred by explorers for its coastal and river navigability Junk: a smaller, non-European boat used in shallow waters to 93 transport goods

The Portuguese began their exploration, dubbed the “Age of Discoveries,” in 1419 AD. These maritime expeditions were for both state and unofficial purposes. They started within the vicinity of Portugal—
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An interesting tidbit: when the Dutch East India Company gained headway in India and blocked trade through the port city of Goa, the Portuguese used local junks to bypass the company and conduct trade without being seen as Portuguese.

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places like the Atlantic islands of Madeira, the Azores and Cape Verdes—then quickly expanded by 1500 to North America, the Cape of Good Hope, and Africa. The height of the empire is said to have occurred roughly between 1494 and 1580. During this time, much expansion and exploration occurred. Commercial trade blossomed and Portugal itself benefited greatly from new access to wealth and resources such as sugar (from the Caribbean), gold (from Africa), and spice (from Southeast Asia and India). The Portuguese maritime expeditions were fueled by a blossoming scientific age, one that saw the usage of new navigation techniques and a range of boating vessels (see side box). During the 16th and early 17th centuries, the Portuguese navigated two major long distance routes for both exploration, trade and diplomacy: the carreira da India and the carreira do Brasil. The Indian route was usually traveled by fleets of ships bound for the Spice Islands in the Indian Ocean; the Brazilian route (across the Atlantic) did not require fleets as the trip was quicker (it did not have to go around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa).

A major result of all this trading was that the Portuguese Empire could establish fortified trading posts throughout the newly explored lands. The posts provided the empire access to new resources. An example of one of the said resource-rich territories was Brazil. By the 17th century, Brazil was a prized possession of Portugal and the empire had established a colonial outpost in the new South American territory. Brazil quickly became the empire’s greatest supplier of sugar and native labor. In 1649, the Brazil Company began to provide protection for fleets traveling between Portugal and Brazil. This was necessary because in 1660 the Portuguese royal court forbid individual voyages between the two lands. In general, the Portuguese Empire expanded by way of tolerance and the cooperation of locals. In India, the native Mughal kings were left to rule their kingdoms while the Portuguese established diplomatic relationships with them in order to build Portuguese trading ports and settlements in places like Goa

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and Cochin. The Portuguese Empire called these kingdoms “neighbor kings” (or reis vizinhos in Portuguese). This title suggests the “neighborly” (or cooperative) relationship they hoped to have with the rulers of foreign lands. Along with increased diplomatic envoys and commercial voyages came religious orders eager to find converts. Like in colonial Mexico, secular clergy, monastic orders, and the Society of Jesus all ventured to the new imperial settlements to convert the natives to Christianity.94 By the time Brazil declared its independence from Portugal in 1822, there were eight bishoprics there, just one example of the success of these religious missions. Despite all these successes, the Portuguese Empire found that they were not alone in their quest for maritime expansion and control of commercial trading routes. First the Dutch Empire (fueled by a religious tolerance that caused many entrepreneurial outcasts to migrate there), then the British Empire aimed at overturning the Portuguese stranglehold on maritime commercial trade. Unfortunately for the Portuguese, the Dutch were successful at making headway against the Portuguese in a number of ways. The growing Dutch Empire was one founded on an enterprising capitalist spirit and funded by a new population of merchants who, in the 17th and 18th centuries, fled religious persecution in Spain. With this ideology and new economic prosperity as the backdrop, the Dutch grew eager to take over the Portuguese Empire’s holdings in Asia; in 1605, the Dutch took power of the Indonesian Spice Islands.xxvii The Dutch East India Company grew in size as well and started establishing trading posts throughout the Indian Sea and along Africa’s Gold Coast, wresting control of those regions from the struggling Portuguese. By the beginning of the 17th century, the Dutch were sending hundreds of vessels to the Caribbean and South America (most through the Dutch West India Company), and salivated over the sugar, salt, and tobacco found there.95 All of this occurred while the Portuguese were facing a number of crises at home. For one, the Spanish house of the Habsburg dynasty took over Portugal from 1580 to 1640 and was distracted by the Eighty Years War (1568 to 1648) in which the Dutch Republic (soon to be called an empire) fought for independence from the Spanish (Habsburg) Empire.
We’re Just Here to Exploit You

Meanwhile, the Portuguese Empire itself was One thing that the Portuguese and Dutch Empires fighting the Dutch in the Dutch-Portuguese did differently from the Spanish and British was that they cared only about commercial exploitation of War (from 1602 to 1654) in a series of battles new territories. Yet with an expanding global that took place over colonial disputes. The economy, empires increasingly needed to provide Dutch were fighting these wars on two fronts. the political structures necessary to maintain power Because they wanted to gain the economic in the periphery—which is why the Spanish and British Empires were remarkably different in power necessary to separate from Habsburg structure from their predecessors. control, they had to fight the Portuguese for access to the spice trade in Asia (one of the world’s most lucrative trades at the time). They also used the
Any visit to a place like Macao or Brazil proves the success of these missions where churches still dot the lands and Christianity remains widely practiced today. 95 They were also excited about the silver trade in the Caribbean, but for the purposes of the metaphor, I thought it best that only those items that could be consumed (and hence, salivated over) be included as examples. Of course, one could eat silver, although I would not suggest it. - Kaitlin
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Dutch West Indian Company to secure power of the sugar trade in the Caribbean, but due to the union of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns in 1580, they ultimately were not able to wrest this out of Portugal’s hands. It was therefore a mix of domestic distractions (the union of the Spanish-Portuguese crowns and the Eighty Years War) and the Dutch Empire’s push to gain access to Portuguese trade routes that would cause a downfall of the Portuguese Empire. The empire had failed on two fronts: one, it had not successfully fortified nor settled its trading outposts at the fringes of its empire, leaving them vulnerable to attack; two, it did not have a solid political center (as evidenced by the Habsburg takeover and the union with Spain) that in the end would destabilize it for good (in 1808 Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Portugal and finally laid the empire to rest). Although the Portuguese controlled trade in the Indian Ocean by establishing a mare clausum there (a closed space where they controlled the tolls and duties on trade), all the Dutch Empire had to do was to come in and take over that position in order to force the Portuguese out of power. Without any inherent Portuguese colonial establishments in place at the outposts (besides in Brazil), the Dutch did not have to deal with colonial administrations or settlers that felt aligned to Portugal. In all, the Portuguese Empire successfully expanded its commercial trade with distant locations, but it did not establish the local political structures necessary to protect these networks (again, this was the case in most outposts except for in Brazil). Whatever their shortcomings, Debate it! the Portuguese forged the way Resolved: That the Portuguese Empire shaped the nature of global for subsequent maritime empires politics and economics that exists today. Take stands, craft (such as the Spanish, Dutch, arguments and practice presenting with your team. British, and arguably the American empires). It also created global trade networks still at work in the global economy today: spices from Asia, teas from China, wheat from Europe, sugar from the Caribbean. At present, there are over 186 million speakers of Portuguese worldwide, ranking it third among European languages (there are 487 million English speakers and 401 million Spanish speakers). The Portuguese navigational skills allowed them not only access to new commercial markets, but were also disseminated to the new cultures that they encountered—they even introduced European maps and globes to Japan in the sixteenth century.xxviii The extent to which Portuguese settlers introduced the European Enlightenment worldwide is still debated today; nevertheless, an important legacy was certainly left in Brazil, which gained its independence in 1822 and in which the Portuguese influence is still deeply felt today.
Directed Research Area: American Imperialism Looking at previous examples and your understanding of the theoretical foundation of empires, determine whether or not the United States qualifies as an empire, and if so, what sort of empire it is. What do you think is in store for the United States in the future? Will it too, like all the empires we have studied thus far, fall? Note the questions to the left as well.

Perhaps most importantly the Portuguese changed the nature of the imperial game. No longer was imperial conquest won only by land or continental war. The new rules were softer, the lines less easy to draw. Diplomacy replaced battle, naval fleets replaced foot soldiers, and commercial trade replaced tributary relationships. In many ways, it is a global structure that still exists today.

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Maritime Empires of the New World: American Imperialism
If the British, Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese were the major maritime empires of the Old World, there had to be a rival maritime empire in the New World, right? The answer is not quite that simple. The rise of the American Empire96 is one that has come after the time of maritime discovery, exploration, and exploitation. As such, it has become a much different global power, one that has to live by the sovereign rules of statehood generally practiced by all nation-states. Being a superpower (or in the words of scholar Amy Chua, a “hyperpower”) in the modern era is a bit different; previous empires did not have to adhere to an international set of rules that assumed the sovereignty of independent nation-states. Furthermore, the political makeup of hyperpowers (powerful countries that have great influence over global events, like the United States) is different from that of previous empires. The United States is not a monarchy or a dictatorship (where one leader is in power and the general populace has no say over affairs of the state). It is a democracy.97 Now the task is left to you to determine the answers to a set of important questions that will allow you to better understand the implications of American imperialism.98 The first and perhaps most important question is this: does the American sphere of influence in the world qualify as an empire? There are several key points to remember in your directed research on the subject of American imperialism.99 Be sure to take into account the “rise” of the American Empire, utilizing examples such as the Monroe Doctrine, the Carter Doctrine, and, most recently, the Bush Doctrine.100 What regions did the United States “colonize”? Some other crucial historical moments to consider include the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Cold War, and the Iraq War. Looking at the literal scope of the United States (it has only six-and-a-half percent of the world’s land and five percent of the world’s populationxxix), ask yourself this question: do empires have to be large in geographical scale? What are other means that empires use to grow in power? The concept of cultural imperialism should be crucial to this examination. What is it, and how does cultural imperialism play a role in American imperialism? In the end, you will hopefully come away from this exercise with a better understanding of the political and global ramifications of the existence of the American Empire. It may even inspire you to look at the world in a different way.101

Conclusion and Review
All the empires we have studied thus far have risen to become great powers. They also have all— exempting one thus far (if you consider the United States an empire)—fallen. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding as to the reasons that lead an empire to become so powerful, and even more
Is it as strange to you as it is to me to see this (“American Empire”) written out like this? Why are we so afraid to call the United States an empire? A question worth pondering! - Kaitlin 97 For lack of a better term! This is another point for discussion! - Kaitlin 98 Lucky you! -Kaitlin 99 I’m giving you a head start here, so take this and run with it! - Kaitlin 100 If you don’t know what these are, here’s your chance to conduct some research. Or ask Sarah Palin. – Kaitlin 101 Perhaps I am waxing a bit too poetic here, but certainly I have found that an examination of empire, and particularly that of the American Empire, changes the way I think of global politics today. - Kaitlin
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importantly, the reasons why an empire falls. Some key points to remember from our case studies are listed below. ! Continental empires typically use several methods to expand. These may include military warfare, the creation of tributary states, tolerance of diversity (ethnic, cultural, and religious), and land-based trading networks (often supported by impressive infrastructure systems). Maritime empires expand by way of naval expeditions and the establishment of colonial trading outposts. The new navigational capabilities made through scientific discoveries in the 14th and 15th centuries greatly fueled the capabilities of maritime powers. Both continental and maritime empires use strategic tolerance to expand power and incorporate new territories and peoples. Problems arise for empires when this tolerance wears off (for a variety of reasons). This usually coincides with uprisings against the empire at the periphery. The end result: downfall of the empire.

!

!

Now that you have a better understanding of the specific reasons empires have risen or fallen, you can begin to ask questions about how these lessons learned can be applied to future empires. ! ! ! Are there continental and/or maritime empires in the world today? Is strategic tolerance still an important factor to an empire’s rise? If not, what is? What do you think is the future of empire?

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III. Ethnic Nationalism and the Last of Empires
Empires are, by their very nature, meant to unify. But what happens when they do not achieve unity? What happens when an empire takes its central mission to be one of ethnic or religious nationalism? As we have seen in past case studies, growing intolerance more often than not leads to the breakdown of an empire. Typically, empires are more tolerant of diversity when they rise, but a variety of factors (warfare, localized uprisings, new leadership) can change the course, often with dramatic (read: not good!) results. In this chapter we will look at several major empires and why their intolerance of diversity prevented them from becoming true global empires. At the heart of each study will be a focus on ethnic nationalism and the role it plays in the imperial project.

Objectives
By the time you complete this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions. ! ! ! What is ethnic and religious nationalism and how does it affect the trajectory of an empire? How does racism factor into empire building and is it a factor in the fall of empire? Is ethnic and religious nationalism still present in the world today? If so, what does this mean for the future of empire?

Introduction
Here is the problem that often faces a growing empire. To grow, one has to incorporate new regions, which often means that it must be tolerant of different cultures and ethnic groups (those that may be slightly or even very different from the makeup of the core imperial center). As discussed in the first chapter, there is a relationship between the center and the periphery (and an inherent balance between the two) that is crucial to the success of the empire. As such, empires must walk that tightrope carefully. To expand is to grow in power; it also often behooves empires to be welcoming to new cultures. However, when the empire is reaching its full potential, it will often face the problem that it is too divided; with no “glue” (as coined by scholar Amy Chua), an empire simply falls apart. In other words, it is done for. But what happens when an empire skips the tolerance stage altogether? Can it grow to become a true world power or will it be forced back by rivals, those that are shocked and frightened by the ethnic nationalism project at its core?

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We will look at a sample of empires that have often held imperial projects of ethnic or religious nationalism.102 The terms ethnic and religious nationalism refer to a national identity that is built upon either one ethnic or religious association. In the cases we will study, some, like the Ottoman Empire, were more tolerant in their phase of development, but turned a corner to intolerance, thus ending their reign of power and causing their downfall. For Han China (a complicated subject in itself), the same can be said as it used the “Han” ethnicity to incorporate other ethnicities into one shared identity, sometimes by literally forcing the population to interbreed.103 In the cases of Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan,104 it was a strong belief in ethnic/racial superiority that formed the basis of the imperial project.105 For the Soviet Union, the case was practically reversed from that of Germany and the Empire of Japan. In fact, it was a rise in ethnic nationalism that hastened the Soviet Empire’s demise. Tolerance as a Tool: The Ottoman Empire and Han China For the Ottoman Empire and Han China, the thought seemed to be that tolerance was necessary—only up to a point. That point was the top, the apex of society, where leadership (and power!) was held. In other words, the empire was largely tolerant of diverse cultures and religions at lower levels of society (like the lower and middle classes), but those who were in the administration, especially in the highest ranks, still had to be “ethnically pure.” For the Ottoman Empire, this meant that one had to be a practicing Muslim. For Han China, this meant one had to be ethnically Han. We will discuss how this played out for both empires, why intolerance grew, and how that intolerance affected the empire. Ottoman Empire You may have heard the song “Istanbul (not Constantinople).” If not, the lyrics themselves make light of the fact that the capital of the Ottoman Empire has, throughout history, been hotly contested. It was once the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (also known as the Byzantine Empire) and at that time was called Constantinople (remember our discussion of Constantine?). During the Ottoman Empire it was under Ottoman control and also called Constantinople. However, when the Republic of Turkey

You shall soon realize (if you have not already) that these two facets—ethnicity and religion—can sometimes be tied as well. It is a complicated spectrum of intolerance, to be sure! - Kaitlin 103 If this sounds confusing, hold your horses (or skip quickly to the section on Han China). 104 Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan are often viewed as “failed empires.” Although they failed to become true empires, it is still important to identify the reasons for their failures. - Kaitlin
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was founded at the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the city was named Istanbul.106 Why, you may ask, is all this so important? For one, Constantinople (now Istanbul!) has been the center of several major world empires. It is also geographically well positioned between Europe and the Middle East and as such serves as a nexus for trade flowing into both regions.

The Ottoman Empire did not always claim rights to Constantinople, however. In fact, the empire’s rise came some one hundred and fifty years before it took the city. Because of this, it is important to understand how the empire was able to overtake the capital of the Byzantine Empire and to establish a Muslim-led authority in what was once a heavily Christian city. Osman I (1258-1326) founded the Ottoman Empire in roughly 1300 AD. Osman ruled the Turkish House of Osman107 and his personal origins are vague; all that is known is that he was originally a lord
106 107

For the full song lyrics, see http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~yavuzcet/lyrics.htm. His name means “bone breaker,” something that may have helped him rise above his enemies? I would think having that kind of name would be of benefit to an empire founder. - Kaitlin

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(or bey) of the state of Bithynia. After establishing an army made up of an assorted cast of characters (everyone from shepherds to peasants to runaways), Osman expanded the empire’s territory, pressing towards Byzantine-held lands to the west. And although Islam was originally a nomadic religion and one without an established priesthood, Osman and his followers were able to establish a more settled Islamic civilization.108 One of the more successful policies of Osman and his successors was that of “calculating tolerance.”xxx The Islamic empire realized that the intolerance of its Christian neighbor (the Byzantine Empire) had ostracized many people, especially those of the Jewish faith. Therefore, Ottoman rulers allowed Christians and Jews to participate in the Ottoman Empire so long as they recognized that Islam was the superior religion. They would not be persecuted for their religious beliefs (although they would be rewarded with governmental posts if they converted to Islam). With this kind of relative tolerance, the Ottoman Empire was able to expand throughout a region that hosted a diversity of religious and ethnic groups. The pinnacle of this movement came with the fall of neighboring Byzantine Empire in 1453 AD and the subsequent Ottoman conquest of the city of Constantinople in that same year. Mehmet II, then the Sultan109 of the Ottoman Empire, rode into the conquered city declaring that a return to Islamic law be established. The Greeks of the former Byzantine world were transferred to Ottoman rule. During the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent (ruler from 1520 to 1566), the Ottoman Empire expanded to include territories of modern-day Iraq, Hungary, and North Africa. Much like the Roman Empire, this was accomplished through a mix of warfare and strategic tolerance. The Ottomans were especially good at both. On that note, every man who held a political post also held a military one (for example, every governor was also a generalxxxi) such that the line between administrative and military was blurred. And while tolerance was key to expansion, it was also crucial to subjugation. While Suleyman allowed Jews and Christians to freely practice their religion, these groups were subject to much tighter regulations than their Muslim counterparts. An example of this inequality is that non-Muslims not only had to pay special taxes to the imperial state, but also had to wear specific clothing colors and could not own land. The relative tolerance and
It should be noted, however, that some of the Ottoman Empire’s earliest founders still upheld some nomadic traditions. Both Osman and his son, Orhan, summered in tents and were always on the move throughout the territory. Sounds somewhat like the life of presidential candidates on the campaign trail, no? - Kaitlin 109 Sultan was the Islamic term used to refer to a leader of a sovereign Islamic state. It was used during the Ottoman Empire as a title that implied ultimate authority.
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intolerance in regards to non-Muslim citizens of the Ottoman Empire are further detailed in the table below.xxxii
Tolerance during the Ottoman Empire Freedom of worship Little restrictions on where to live or the kind of work one conducted Allowed non-Muslim participation in Muslim trade guilds Allowed to grow and establish wealth If converted to Islam, could become a member of the ruling class (or askeri ) Intolerance during the Ottoman Empire Intermarriage discouraged Islam was supreme in hierarchy of religions Social status was always below that of Muslims Forced to wear certain colors (like blue-dyed tunics) and could not wear the Prophet’s color (green) or white turbans Could not buy land or build new houses of worship

Despite the relative tolerance that the Ottoman Empire promoted, ultimately it would be an intolerance within its own central religion that would prove a major factor in its downfall. While the empire was largely accessible to a variety of ethnicities (everything from Greek to Persian) and religions (Christians and Jews), after Suleyman’s death a succession of sultans changed the rules of the game. Suleyman himself had been a great upholder of The Role (and Rule) of Sharia Koranic Law (also called Sharia; see pull-out box). Sharia (which means roughly “the way”) is He made sure that in Constantinople and Islamic law based upon the tenets of the Koran. throughout his administration, Islamic precepts For Muslims, it is the legal framework for both were applied to all of his subjects and governed the public and private life and regulates both daily life and governmental administration. It is the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims same system as common or civil law only it is (this was one reason why Jews and Christians could based upon Islamic beliefs. not wear green). However, his son, Selim, who served as sultan, was a drunkard. The sultans that followed Selim were equally inept. This latter Ottoman leadership increasingly focused on their hatred of the Shia (also called Shiite) sect of Islam. Throughout the latter 16th and 17th century, the schism between Sunni and Shiite factions began to harden. Most Ottoman practices had been Sunni throughout history, and yet even during the rule of Suleyman, Shiite practices were still allowed to co-exist. However, in the succession of intolerant sultans that followed Suleyman, things were not as peachy between the two sides. First, the Ottoman administration tried to oppress Shiite thought and took control of printing presses. They also violently quelled a number of Shiite movements. The Sultan Selim himself (also called Selim the Grim110) hunted down Shiites (who were also known as “red heads” for the red turbans they wore) and killed them whenever he thought it necessary to do so.

110

Surely no one wanted to mess with a man with that name! I suppose he had quite the temper! - Kaitlin

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Naturally, this kind of internal religious warfare was not beneficial to the power of the empire. In practical terms, Sunnis tended to be more worldly and more in tune with political processes and the foundation of imperial rule. Shiites, and those followers of Ali, “tended to mysticism.”xxxiii Furthermore, the Ottoman Empire was a theocracy, meaning that it was ruled by Islamic laws, not those of a nationstate (e.g., Turkey). As a Sunni state, the Ottoman Sultan was also thought of as the spiritual successor (or caliph) to the Prophet, Muhammad. The Shiites did not believe this to be the case and protested it throughout Ottoman rule.111 At the same time as this rising internal intolerance, the Ottoman Empire was also facing a losing battle against European powers to its west. While the European Enlightenment was progressing, bringing scientific reasoning and innovation to the fore, the Ottoman Empire stagnated, retracting into “a shell”xxxiv of ignorance. As discussed in previous chapters, the Dutch and British Empires began attracting Jewish émigrés from an increasingly intolerant and unsuccessful Ottoman Empire. At the same time, the Ottoman Empire’s territory began to shrink. In 1878, after citizens of the Balkans revolted in what is called the Russian War (lasting from 1877 to 1878), the Ottoman Empire lost the

111

Perhaps this small discussion of the differences between Sunnis and Shiites will give you insight into the current conflict between the two Islamic sects in Iraq. - Kaitlin

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territories of modern-day Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria. Over half the empire was gone along with a fifth of its population. The end of the Ottoman Empire was certainly near. World War I drew the empire into battle and the Ottoman Empire aligned with the Holy Roman Empire, namely Germany and Austria-Hungary, in 1914. After the war, the Ottoman Empire seemed to be an anachronism,112 which means that it did not fit within a new international framework of nation-states (especially nation-states that were not theocracies). During the 1922 settlement in which the territories of the Ottoman Empire were divided into nations, the independent state of Turkey was founded and other European victors (like France and Britain) were awarded control of former Ottoman territories (such as Syria and Palestine).
What’s in a Name? For Sunnis and Shiites, a Lot The debate between the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam go back all the way to the death of the founder of the Muslim faith, Muhammad. Here’s what each believes: Sunni: That Abu Bakr, a friend and confidante to Muhammad, was the founder’s true successor. Islamic leaders should be chosen by a consensus among the Ummah (the entire Muslim world).

Shiite: That Muhammad chose his son-in-law Ali (also the father to Muhammad’s only grandsons) as his successor. Subsequent Islamic leaders should be those descendents of Ali.

As you are likely aware, this was not the end of the story. The breaking up of the Islamic Ottoman Empire was one that proved a sticky affair. Muslims did not live by the same geographical or political partitions that had been established at the end of World War I. In fact, the national boundaries that the settlement of 1922 imposed remain some of the world’s most contested regions today.113 The Ottoman Empire had established one kind of leadership in the Muslim world. The question still remains how that legacy will play out in the context of an international framework much different from that which existed at the empire’s founding seven centuries ago. Han China Defining Han China is a bit tricky. No, the concept of Han China does not refer to a specific empire as in the cases we have already studied. It does not even refer to a particular dynasty—or even a nationstate. You may (and rightfully) ask, why study it at all then? The simple answer: China is very, very important nowadays. The more complex answer to this question is that Han China is part of a longlasting concept of the Chinese identity and affects the current national policies of the People’s Republic of China and the rise of a “Chinese Empire” more than any other factor alone. Let me explain.114 As you may be aware, the geographical confines of modern-day China have been home to over twenty ruling dynasties throughout history. Civilization has existed in China from as early as 2000 BC. Despite this, there has never been what is considered a fully-fledged “Chinese Empire” that was comprised of only ethnically Chinese people. As previously discussed, the Mongol Empire (or Yuan dynasty as it was known in China) incorporated areas and administrations once ruled by the Chinese Jin and Song dynasties. However, the Mongols ruled this empire and although parts of it existed within China and Chinese bureaucrats were employed by the Mongol administration, ultimate power was in the hands of the Mongol “barbarians.”
The definition of anachronism is a person or thing that is chronologically out of place. Just think about Pakistan and India, Palestine and the Gaza strip, and Iraqi Kurdistan. - Kaitlin 114 And you’ve got to give me some street cred on the subject considering I am fluent in Mandarin and have lived in China for over five years. -Kaitlin
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So what of the Chinese identity, then? And how has the Han Chinese identity come into being? The (perhaps unsatisfying) definition of Han Chinese identity is controversial and has changed throughout time.

Where There’s a Mandate What the heavens giveth, they can also taketh away. Although Chinese rulers were said to be given a stamp of approval by the heavens, if their rule was considered unjust or despotic, the heavens could also take this rule away. That is why natural disasters have consistently played a role in the Chinese public’s confidence level with its leadership; it is thought that an event such as an earthquake or flood signifies heaven’s dissatisfaction with earthly administration.

It is believed that Chinese civilization originally sprung from the cradle of the Yellow River Basin and therefore included only one ethnic group. However, throughout the early Qin and Han dynasties, various tribal groups began to see themselves as belonging to one shared ethnic group, hence the term “Han Chinese” to refer to one set of people. However, as Chinese dynasties grew geographically, other tribes (such as the southern Cantonese groups) were added to the mix. The end result: now, over ninety two percent of the People’s Republic of China is considered “Han” along with millions of Chinese diaspora. It is estimated over 1.3 billion people in the world are Han Chinese; in other words, one-fifth of the total global population. It is important to note that the Han identity (originally called Hanren, or “Han people”) has been a carefully crafted subject, molded into being after thousands of years of dynastic rule. The geographical boundaries of China have changed throughout the past four thousand years. Likewise, within this time the concept of a “Chinese person” has emerged. The first instance of a shared Chinese identity first came into being during the Western Zhou dynasty (1046 BC to 771 BC). Under the Western Zhou, dynastic rulers formally instituted the “Mandate of Heaven.” The Mandate of Heaven refers to the philosophical concept that all Chinese rulers are approved by heaven, thus legitimizing their rule. This authority also shaped the conception of China as the “Middle Kingdom”115 and led all Chinese leaders (and citizens) to believe that China was the center of the world. This belief has significantly shaped China’s foreign relations policies throughout its history. The Qin dynasty (221 BC to 207 BC) was the first of imperial China to unify several rival kingdoms under one leadership. Many Chinese scholars cite that the Qin dynasty’s founding emperor, Qinshi Huang, was integral to centralizing the Chinese bureaucracy.116 With this new centralization, the Han dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD) that succeeded the Qin was able to perpetuate a growing sense of Chinese identity. The Han dynasty is considered one of the greatest in Chinese history and it was during the rule of the Han that the term Hanren was officially adopted. In subsequent dynasties (such as the Tang and Song), China expanded to include more regions south and west of the original Qin center (which was centered along China’s northeastern coast). This caused the Han identity to expand to include those regions then added to the imperial system. However, it was not until the invasion by two sets of foreigners that the Han identity would be put to test. The first, as previously mentioned, was the Yuan dynasty (1271 to 1368 AD), which was part of the larger Mongol Empire. The Han Chinese rose up against the barbarian rulers and established the Ming

In Chinese, the word that means “China,” !", literally means “Middle Kingdom.” Qin Shihuang also built the first portion of the Great Wall of China and ordered the creation of the Terracotta Army outside of Xi’an.
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dynasty in 1368. Then it would be another foreign group (this time the Manchurians from northeastern China) who would invade China in 1644 and establish the last Chinese dynasty,117 the Qing dynasty. It was at the end of the Qing dynasty that the concept of Han China was most fervently promoted. When Sun Yatsen and other revolutionaries of the Chinese Nationalist Party overturned the Qing dynasty in 1911, they used the Han identity as a rallying cry. Furthermore, they challenged the traditional notion of a nation-state, claiming that China would be a “race-nation” with the Han ethnicity as the ruling race. This concept was redefined when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took control in 1949 and established the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Communists, dealing with a truly multiethnic society that encompassed Tibet, Xinjiang, and Mongolia, could not uphold this Han elitism. Instead, it promoted a multiethnic nation (with a recognized fifty five ethnic minorities), although Han Chinese were (and are) still an overwhelming majority at ninety two percent of the total Chinese population.
Major Event that Shaped Han Identity Qin Shihuang founds the Qin dynasty Han dynasty establishes the term Hanren Mongol invasion Han Chinese overturn the Yuan dynasty Manchus establish the Qing dynasty 1911 Revolution It all went down in… 221 BC 206 BC 1271 AD 1368 AD 1644 AD 1911 AD Significance This is the first time rival kingdoms are unified under Chinese dynastic rule. Qin Shihuang centralizes the bureaucracy and makes upper levels of administration accessible by merit, not just inheritance. Chinese ethnicity.

Hanren becomes an officially recognized term that refers specifically to
Han people become subject to the rule of the Mongolian Empire. Mongols recognize the importance of Han ethnicity and allow Hans to remain in levels of leadership. The Han, having had enough of non-Han rule, take matters into their hands and revolt. The Ming dynasty is founded and the Mongols are sent packing. Yet another foreign dynasty (this time from Manchuria) invades China and subjugates Han Chinese rule. In 1911, Sun Yatsen and fellow revolutionaries end the Qing dynasty’s imperial rule and establish the Republic of China. The concept of a “racenation,” with Han ethnicity being the premier race, is established. With the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, all of the area’s ethnic minorities are recognized, but the Han majority is still central to the nation’s policies and progress. It is used as a nationalizing force.

CCP takes power

1949 AD

Although the CCP claims China’s minorities have the same rights as the Han majority (there is even a university in Beijing, the Central University for Nationalities, that promotes this very concept), many in modern China have felt ostracized by the prevalence of the Han majority. One need look no further than the recent uprisings in Tibet for evidence that not every member of the Chinese nation-state feels a part of the Han Chinese identity. The end result is that China is effectively described as “a civilization pretending to be a state.”xxxv The Han identity (and with it, ethnic nationalism) remains central to China’s unity as well as its foreign

117

Unless you consider the Chinese Communist Party yet another Chinese dynasty. Many scholars of modern China in fact make that claim. - Kaitlin

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policy. Whether or not China will become a full-fledged empire with this ethnic nationalism at its core is yet to be seen (and is a subject of discussion in the last chapter of this guide).

Forces of Intolerance: Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan
It is not always the case, unfortunately, that strategic tolerance is used in order to expand imperial influence. There have been two major twentieth century powers of note, Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan, who instead tried to use ethnic intolerance as a means to grow an empire. Yet both, because of this very tactic, failed to create an effective imperial system. Nazi Germany It is likely you know the historical story of Nazi Germany. It includes major world events like World War II, the rise of Adolf Hitler, and the Holocaust. But you have also probably noticed (and if not yet, then you will soon) that no one ever refers to the Nazi Empire. The reason for that is quite simple: Nazi Germany was never an empire. Like the Empire of Japan, Nazi Germany attempted to become an empire, but failed miserably. To begin, one needs to examine the particular social and economic backdrop in place during the Nazi party’s rise to power in Germany. World War I was devastating to German morale (both personally and politically). The Treaty of Versailles signed at the end of the conflict forced Germany to admit that it was the sole party responsible for the war. It also called for Germany to pay billions of dollars in war reparations; as a result, the nation lost control of its colonial territories as well.118 Naturally, this kind of arrangement did not work in Germany’s favor. It also greatly depressed the German public who felt they were being unjustly punished.
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One of these territories was the Shandong region of China, which was given to the Japanese as opposed to back to the Chinese. This act caused great turmoil in China and was one reason why China did not sign the treaty.

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Coupled with this, throughout the 1920s, economic woes hit Germany hard. Runaway inflation during 1923 caused the middle class to become drastically poorer. German citizens grew increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the ruling Weimar Republic. The rightist parties, like the Nazi party itself, became more attractive to them. Within this context, it is perhaps more understandable that citizens would align with a political party that rebelled against the failing Weimar Republic.119 The Great Depression that hit the United States in 1929 had devastating effects on Germany throughout the 1930s. Leftist wings (like the Communist Party) and rightist wings (like the Nazi Party) were ready to fill the political void. Supporters flocked to them throughout the decade, expressing their discontent with the current situation. In 1920, Adolf Hitler and founder Anton Drexler Hitler’s First Failure led the German Workers’ Party first mass meeting In 1924, Hitler was imprisoned for a failed coup in a large Munich beer cellar. The name of the against the Weimar government (in what is party was changed to the National Socialist known as the Beer Hall Putsch). Although his German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), or Nazi for five-year sentence was reduced to only one, the 120 time he spent in prison was used wisely: he short. Although Hitler had previously been wrote the first volume of his treatise “Mein enlisted in the army, he quit and took up his Kampf” (My Struggle) and laid out an political career full-time. Under his leadership, the ambitious political plan that became the basis of Nazi party greatly expanded (from just 27,000 his rise to power. members in 1925 to 108,000 in 1929). This rise coincided (and was greatly fueled by) the economic hardships facing Germans. Farmers joined for economic reasons and urbanites saw the party as pro-working-class.xxxvi At the same time, Hitler focused his efforts on propaganda campaigns and a strengthening of the party’s ideological goals. In 1933, Hitler became the chancellor of Germany and the republic became a oneparty state overnight. In 1934, he merged the positions of President and chancellor to form one premier leadership position: the Führer. As Führer, Hitler would control the German state, which he called the Third Reich. He would also further his ideological campaign, one infamous for its ethnic and religious intolerance and extremism. Key concepts of intolerance that Hitler promoted within the Nazi party and all of Germany are outlined in the table below. It is crucial to note that each was utilized to justify Hitler’s mission to wipe out the entire Jewish population and to expand German power to one day create an entirely Aryan121 world.
Ideology Concept The soul of one’s race Significance The Volk was a concept used to explain that every person’s race was also in one’s blood, and hence, in one’s soul. The Aryan race was considered the premier race because Hitler believed that Aryans were created in the image of God and were thus perfect. A Volksstaat (or racial state), based entirely on pure Aryan blood, was Hitler’s ultimate goal. Underlying Aryan superiority was the idea that Jewish blood was impure. Hitler believed that the Jewish race was not created by God and that it was the Nazi party’s (and thus the Aryan’s) responsibility to wipe out the Jewish race from existence.

Volk

AntiSemitism
119 120

Bigotry against Jewish people and culture

Which was actually a democratic republic, believe it or not! - Kaitlin I never knew that! Quite the interesting tidbit. - Kaitlin 121 In the case of Nazi Germany, Aryan refers to Caucasian people of non-Jewish origins, typically those with Nordic features like blond hair and blue eyes.

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Führerprinzip

Leadership principle

Within a Volksstaat, Hitler proclaimed that the individual was “transitory” but that Volk xxxvii was “permanent.” As such, any leadership must recognize that the will of the nation and preservation of a racial state are above any individual freedoms or wills. This concept was called Führerprinzip. Those individuals most capable to conduct themselves with this ideology in mind were chosen as Nazi elite. Hitler believed that at the base of all international relations was what he called a “struggle for space.” He was interested in gaining new territories for the Third Reich, but not to assimilate those peoples living there. The native population was to be “expelled or exterminated” as the racially superior Aryans were the only ones to exist in the new space.
xxxviii

Lebensraum

A struggle for living space

All of these concepts combined Debate it! to create the evil forces that led Resolved: That the concept of volk is the same as the White Man’s to the rise of Nazi Germany and Burden of the British Empire. Take stands, craft arguments and the prevalence of rabid antipractice presenting with your team. Semitism in Germany and throughout any lands the Third Reich conquered.122 Hitler’s campaign to create an entirely Aryan world had devastating consequences unmatched by any other historical event. First, Hitler enacted the Nuremberg Racial Laws in 1935. These laws were wholly anti-Semitic and made anyone who was three-quarters Jewish into a “subject” of the Third Reich, not a citizen. Furthermore, the laws did not allow for the intermarriage of Aryan Germans and Jews. These laws stoked racism, providing Germans with a rationale for burning and looting Jewish businesses and ghettoizing Jewish communities. In 1941 and 1942, Germany established its notorious death camps. In this way the ghettos served the Third Reich’s campaign perfectly; Jews could easily be rounded up in the ghettos and shipped off to death camps where they were systematically killed. The totality of Hitler’s project to exterminate all Jews from the world is now known as the Holocaust. As if ghetto life (which was often full of starvation, sickness, and general misery) was not enough, the death camp experience was one that goes beyond the comprehension of anyone trying to understand the rationality behind the evil inherent in the Nazi campaign. During the Holocaust, no life was spared. Jews were shipped to gas chambers where they died from exposure to carbon monoxide. After their death, they were stripped of their belongings (even down

122

It should be noted that the Nazi party was indiscriminate in its discrimination; not only did the party want to rid the world of Jews, they were equally opposed to the existence of Polish people, gypsies, gays, and the disabled.

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to the gold crowns on their teeth123) before being sent to a crematory. Children, even babies, were killed in these horrific ways.124 As Hitler’s army conquered surrounding territories, like that of Poland and Hungary, the Jews found there were also shipped off to death camps, including the most famous camp, Auschwitz. Why it took the rest of the world so long to respond to this campaign of terror is still disputed today.126 Nonetheless, World War II would force the German hand; in 1945 the Allied Powers127 successfully conquered Germany and its territories. Hitler committed suicide just a few days before the Germans surrendered on May 7th. With his death and the fall of Germany, the idea of the Aryan empire expired. The Ghetto125
The ghettos were walled off areas of cities where the Germans forced Jews to live. Ghettos were under the authority of a Judenrat (or Jewish council), which carried out all Nazi orders. Ghettos were located in the worst parts of the city and living conditions there were extremely squalid and crowded.

The intolerance of Hitler’s Nazi Germany is indisputable. In many ways then the attempt to build an empire consisting entirely of an Aryan race was doomed to fail. One of the major factors that caused the failure of Nazi Germany was not only its intolerance, but also its inability to create a stable and secure community. In Hitler’s obsession with racial purity, Nazi Germany failed to satisfy the ultimate demands that Germans originally required of the party: a better economy and a secure life. Instead, Germans were subject to a totalitarian state, one that brought them into a global war. This was not, ultimately, what the German citizens had wanted. In many ways, they were only pawns to Hitler’s extreme ideology, an “instrument to achieve a larger goal of conquest”xxxix that betrayed the very core of their original demands. Sadly enough, the Nazis were not alone in their quest for world domination by way of racial purity. On the other side of the world another empire was attempting to come to power. The Empire of Japan, as it called itself, would become another failed empire, one built upon intolerant principles of its own. The Empire of Japan The Empire of Japan sprung into being during Japan’s Meiji Restoration (from 1868 to 1912 AD), a period of great economic and social reform. While previously Japan had been politically closed off to the outside world, with the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry’s American ships in 1854, the Japanese imperial rulers were forced to reckon with the power and influence of the West (both the United States and Europe).

As is famously illustrated in a scene from the award-winning Spielberg film, Schindler’s List. I would spare you these gruesome details, but I think it is integral to understand the true scope of the Holocaust in order to prevent it from ever happening again. - Kaitlin 125 It is likely you recognize this now-popular slang term (which can even be used as an adjective these days). However, understanding the historical context from which the word came is crucial—and may cause you to think twice about using the word in the future. - Kaitlin 126 And one need to look no further than the horrors of the Rwandan and Darfur genocides to question whether the international community really learned its lesson or if similar mistakes are capable of being repeated. -Kaitlin 127 The Allied Powers of World War II were led by the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union.
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As a result of the Meiji Restoration, Japan became an economic powerhouse. However, its Directed Research Area: The Fall of the Empire of Japan geographical limitations (it is only about the size of California) proved a problem. With the The rise of the Empire of Japan was one that th greatly affected world politics in the 20 establishment of the zaibatsus, large groups of century. But how did the Empire fall? How did it businesses often owned collectively by powerful lose Taiwan, Korea, and Manchuria? Who ruled families, Japan found itself in a quagmire: the the Empire in its final days, and who ruled Japan population was booming as well as the economy afterward? along with it, but there was little in the way of resources to go around. The empire looked outward to conquer new territories that were resource-rich. One of their first stops was the Chinese province of Manchuria (which would eventually cause the SinoJapanese War of 1937-1945). Shortly thereafter, it also added Taiwan and Korea as Japanese territories (in 1895 and 1910 respectively). All of this expansion was not without its domestic ideological program. Crucial to the Empire of Japan’s rise was a new militarism and nationalism at home. The Japanese had generally believed in the “mythic xl origins” of their race and a new focus on Social Darwinism128 furthered their belief that capabilities were determined by biology (or race). As such, Japanese colonies and their citizens were thought of as “lesser” peoples, subject to the authoritative rule of Japan. The Japanese national identity was one that greatly fueled the rise of the Empire of Japan and ultimately led to the direct confrontation between the Allied Powers of World War II and the greatest power in the eastern hemisphere. In the end, the Empire of Japan failed to unify its colonial interests under any shared ideology or purpose. Although it had strived to create a unity of Asian races (with the Japanese as the “master race”), the form of “repressive tolerance”xli used during the Japanese colonial period was one that came to a boil during World War II. The legacy of the Empire of Japan was one in which its colonial states were confused about their own domestic political direction; the US-Korean War and the still cloudy status of the Republic of Taiwan are just two of the long-term results of the foiled efforts of the Empire of Japan.
128

Social Darwinism is the belief that the socially elite are also biologically superior to other races. For example, if Japan is the most powerful society in the world, then the Japanese race (or biology) is also better than that of other races.

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To this day, the people of South Korea deeply resent the Japanese. (Relations with Taiwan are warmer, perhaps because Taiwan needs allies against the imperial interest of Mainland China.) The Soviet Union The Soviet Union was once one of the United States’ most despised enemies. The rise of the Soviet Union, as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, is one that greatly affected the political makeup of the world. For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on the failures of the Soviet Union; namely, that intolerance of the imperial leadership towards the empire’s “satellites” was one of the major factors that led to the empire’s downfall. What was it about Soviet policy that was particularly intolerant? During an all-Union Census in 1927, over 172 “nationalities” were declared a part of the Soviet Union. Somehow in 1939, this number was only 57.xlii A major result of the Bolshevik Revolution was not a humbling of the Communist Party members, but rather a promotion of all-out Russian superiority. This in turn created a political and social environment wherein enemies of the Soviet Union were not tolerated and blind pursuit of imperial expansion was crucial to the power of the empire.”xliii
Directed Research Area: The Fall of the Soviet Union Briefly examine the major factors that caused the demise of the Soviet Union. To what degree were Gorbachev’s policies the cause? Was it military spending prompted by the arms race with the United States? Research the coup that effectively dissolved the Soviet Union and led to the ascent of Boris Yeltsin. Which were the first countries to exit the Soviet Bloc? What circumstances (and speeches and announcements) surrounded the fall of the Berlin Wall? Have there been efforts to revive the Soviet Empire?

The Soviet Union dealt with the pursuit of global expansion in a manner somewhat different from that of previous colonizers. Rather than hold colonial interests, at the end of World War II, the Soviet Union occupied several territories throughout the world. Under the leadership of Joseph Stalin (leader of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party from 1922 to 1953), those territories were made into “satellite” states for Communist expansion. They included a range of localities such as Poland and the Baltic States, North Korea, and East Germany. The successful Communist revolutions in China, Vietnam, and Cuba also bolstered the Soviet Union’s imperial aims for a communist-led world. This new arrangement and fight between political ideologies led to the stalemate of the “Cold War” between the world’s only superpowers from 1945 to 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union. But despite this expansive power, things were not entirely peachy for the Soviet Union. A major defeat in the war with Afghanistan (in the 1980s) coupled with the rise of a new kind of leadership in Mikhail Gorbachev changed the name of the game. Internally, leadership was not sure that Communism and the doctrine of Leninism was infallible. There was also growing tension between imperial rule and the many nationalities (in the 1980s, the number is cited at around one hundred) represented by the regime. Many of the republics that made up the union were dissatisfied with the leadership and took it upon themselves to revolt. Eastern European states, including those in the Baltic region, were the first to rally for independence. The Berlin Wall separating East (Soviet-occupied) and West (independent) Germany was famously breached on November 10, 1989. The ultimate result, which you will be learning more about in your research: the breakdown of the Soviet Union.

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IV. The Aftermath of Empires
When empires fall, they often leave behind a mess. Sure, this legacy can sometimes be good—like the Roman Empire’s influence on modern governmental organization—but it can also be bad—as when former imperial territories, like those of the Soviet Union, break down into civil war. A fallen empire can also leave opportunity for new empires to fill in the gaps, picking up the pieces of an old world order and creating a new one. That is even true today, unless the age of empires is at an end…129 Objectives
By the time you complete this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions. ! ! ! What is often the result of an empire’s fall? How do colonial territories react at the fall of their imperial center? Is the age of empires extinct or is there a new imperial order about to emerge?

Introduction
With what we now know about the rise and fall of empires, we should turn our attention to what empires leave behind. For instance, the Roman Empire gave the modern era many of its legal systems, as well as the concepts of a Senate and specialized lawyers. The Byzantine (or Eastern Roman) Empire promoted Christianity, a major world religion today, and spread it eastward towards Europe and ultimately, the New World. As discussed in the last chapter, the Soviet Union may have been one of the world’s greatest Communist powers, but the idea of a Communist state certainly did not disappear when that empire failed.130 Instead, the political ideology of Communism lives on in the minds and lives of politicians and civilians throughout the world, and especially in the former Soviet sphere of influence. For all that, however, empires also can leave power vacuums after they fall. Often, when an empire abandons its holdings, the areas at both its periphery and center find it difficult to come to terms with their new political reality. In the case of the British Empire, its colonial territories were mostly left to create their own stable societies and governments. The former Soviet republics are also still struggling to create governments that satisfy their diverse ethnicities and meet their economic interests.131

Insert eerie, frightening-sounding music here. - Kaitlin For a case in point, look no further than North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba. - Kaitlin 131 In this case, part of the problem often lies with geographical boundaries that reflect the old imperial order, but not the reality of that particular territory. For example, North and South Korea are ethnically the same, but the legacy of both the Soviet influence in North Korea and the Empire of Japan’s colonization of the entire Korean peninsula has left the area split.
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Therefore, while the rise and fall of an empire are important, it is often in the aftermath of an empire that we best understand its legacy. And yet, there is an even greater question to consider. That is, is a world ruled by empires still a possibility? What have past empires given to the present global structure and is the idea of empire dead? The Eastern Roman Empire The Eastern Roman Empire, also called the Byzantine Empire, was a long-lived remnant of the original Roman Empire. Even before Rome fell, Emperor Constantine had moved to Constantinople in 330 AD and founded a new capital there. Constantine was also a convert to Christianity and he took this new purpose seriously.
Directed Research Area: The Eastern Roman Empire The Eastern Roman Empire fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, markedly changing the nature of the region once home to a strong Greek and Christian culture. How did the Eastern Roman Empire begin? When and why did it fall, and to whom? Why did some call it the Byzantine Empire? Was it connected to the Crusades? What was the capital, and in what ways did it carry on the traditions of ancient Rome? How was its culture different than that of the original Roman empire? What was its religious tradition? Was it the same as the Holy Roman Empire?

Over a thousand years later, the Ottoman Empire took the city and the Eastern Roman Empire joined the original in the history books. The result was that much of the flourishing Greco-Roman culture that had survived throughout the Eastern Roman Empire was buried below a Turkish and Muslim worldview—while other parts of it spread through Europe in exile, helping ignite the Renaissance.

Because the Eastern Roman Empire did make such a mark on Europe, it is important to assess what legacy it left and what that legacy means in the modern era. The British Commonwealth Empires fall, but they do not exactly disappear. For a case in point, one needs to look no further than the aftermath of the British Empire. While on the one hand the removal of the British Empire’s oversight gave some colonial territories a means to independence (especially so in the case of India), those independent nations still desired some form of connection to the British monarchy that had ruled them for so many years. Enter the British Commonwealth.132
Directed Research Area: The British Commonwealth One major remnant of the British Empire is the British Commonwealth, now called the Commonwealth Secretariat. How has the Commonwealth continued the legacy of the British Empire? Where and when was it founded, and how does it work? What is the significance of the fact that several ex-British colonies chose not to join the Commonwealth, and which ones did join?

As a number of former British colonial territories gained their independence (including Canada in 1867, Australia in 1900, and South Africa in 1910), they looked for a way to represent their unity of beliefs. During a succession of Imperial Conferences between these new nations and their old ruler the British Empire, the details of the Commonwealth were laid out.

132

It must be noted that in 1949 the word “British” was dropped from the proper name of the organization to become the Commonwealth Secretariat in 1965. It is still known by that name today.

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The British Empire once aimed (for better and worse) to uphold the Roman ideals of a universal civilization in which all citizens were equal. The Commonwealth, in many ways, still promotes these exact ideals. The Former Soviet Bloc When the Soviet Empire fell in 1991, the political organization of the world drastically changed. Many of the former Soviet republics, now collectively called the former Soviet bloc, are still struggling to create a domestic political system that represents their diverse citizens. The fall of the Soviet Union also marked the end of the Cold War, a stalemate of political conflict between the United States and the Soviet Empire,
Directed Research Area: The Former Soviet Bloc While the former Soviet republics (including Russia itself) still exist as nation-states today, they differ significantly in their political orientations, economic conditions, international alliances, and ethnic makeup. Research the countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union and those that existed behind the Iron Curtain. What are their names and locations, and what are they like today politically, economically, and with regard to their relations with Russia? Are any of them part of NATO— and which ones are the most “Westernized”?

Ultimately, it was a new openness within the Soviet Union (Gorbechev’s glasnost) and a rising ethnic nationalism among its republics that altered the state of the empire forever. As a result, a number of divisions still exist within the former Soviet Republics, both politically and ethnically. Independence meant that the new nation-states could choose their own form of governance, many opting for capitalism and democracy but some clinging to (or gradually returning to) the old power structure left by communism. There were also ethnic and religious divisions within many of the republics, conflicts still seething today. One need look no further than the current conflict in Georgia for evidence of the legacy of the Soviet Empire and its ramifications for global politics.

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V. The Future of Empire
We know that empires have existed throughout history. But the question remains whether they will always exist. The world as it is today is much different from the world that existed when the Roman Empire was in power or even, more recently, the Ottoman Empire. The lessons of imperialism are familiar to historians and regular citizens alike. But how will those lessons be applied to future powers? Is imperialism a dead concept or is it alive and well?

Objectives
By the time you complete this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions. ! ! ! ! Which major powers are likely to emerge as new world empires? What are their core political and ideological beliefs? How has American imperialism changed the world? Is empire a foregone conclusion or is a world in which empires can exist no longer feasible? Have we entered a post-imperial age?

Introduction
The world sure looks a lot different than it did during the time of ancient Rome. Or does it? While we are increasingly connected to diverse areas of globe and can send a message across the world with the click of a button, we are still not any closer at some semblance of lasting and universal peace and prosperity. We can look at history for a sense of what might come next (as we have done throughout this guide), but how will those lessons apply to a world that may exist without empires? Or will empires continue to rule? Will China, India, the European Union, or even Russia aspire to imperial status? Can global cultures set aside their differences in the hopes of creating a peaceful and prosperous world? There are obviously many questions to be asked and each deserves answering (though it may not be possible!). In the pages that follow, we will examine several of the world’s potential future empires and their ability to maintain the old imperial structure or, alternatively, to issue in a new kind of imperial order. The future is, of course, unknown. But if history is any guide, we may be able to understand where imperialism is likely to lead us.

The Legacy of American Imperialism
There is certainly a sense in the world lately that American power is waning. In the past decade, the United States has suffered a massive terrorist attack on home soil (9-11 was the first foreign attack in the United States since Pearl Harbor). The United States has also gone to war in the Middle East—defying international institutions along the way—and experienced an economic downturn that may prove to be

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the biggest since the Great Depression of 1929. The country is divided politically and ideologically. Things look bleak. Despite all this, the United States still guides international policy. It still is the place to which world leaders turn for direction on major issues such as climate change and economic policy. At the same time, a host of other international Directed Research Area: powers are starting to show their strength. The The Legacy of American Imperialism European Union has solidified power in Europe When did American imperialism first take shape, and has proved a formidable international player. and what countries have been most affected? Be sure to consider what countries have been In Asia, both China and India (called the “dragon” considered American colonies in the past, and and “tiger” respectively) are rising as well. These the ones over which the United States maintains two nations are economic powerhouses with significant influence today. Who have been the growing middle classes and expanding power. greatest proponents and critics of American imperialist endeavors? Russia cannot be ruled out either as it begins to flex its political muscle in a number of conflicts in Eastern Europe, such as that seen in the nation of Georgia in recent months. All of these rising powers surely see an opportunity in the recent decline in the reputation of the United States. Some, such as in the case of China, hold a much different political ideology than that of the United States and perhaps see a chance to persuade other nations to align with them. The future of American power is yet to be seen.133 What lies at stake, however, is the American “imperial mission,”xliv the details of which are still debated today by everyone from America’s leading politicians to its civilians. After all, what is the American imperial mission exactly? Is it the same as it was in the 20th century or will the new reality of the 21st century change the way American ideology is presented to the world? After his reelection, President George W. Bush claimed the United States would work to promote “freedom” around the world. Has it done so successfully? How much international intervention does the pursuit of freedom for other peoples justify? Be sure to discuss these questions with your team. How the United States will react to its lessening power and the threat of rising competitors may shape the future of imperialism. And, if history is any way to judge, the United States best act with tolerance and a fair hand if it expects to maintain any hold on its imperial stature.

The European Union
It is likely that anyone who lived in Europe during World Wars I and II would not believe that by the beginning of the 21st century twenty seven European nations would be a part of a unifying European organization. But that has indeed been the European reality over the past fifteen years. Since the 1993 enacting of the Treaty of Maastricht which solidified the terms of the European Economic Community, the European Union (EU) has acted upon its core principles of “peace, prosperity, and stability” for all peoples.134 The foundation of the EU also created a free market between member states, one in which people, commerce, and money could flow freely without restrictions or tariffs. To facilitate

133 134

Because it is the future, duh! - Kaitlin For more on the European Union, check out the EU website: http://europa.eu/

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this open market, the EU established the shared currency of the Euro, which at present has been adopted by fifteen EU member states and is used informally elsewhere. In general, the European Union represents a different kind of international power. It is not unilateral and does not represent one ethnicity or culture. In fact, it represents a diversity of ethnicities and nationalities; however, while it is diverse in this way, politically and economically, it is fairly solidified. The political and economic ideology of the European Union is divided into “three pillars”: the European Community (EC), the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and the Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters (PJCC). These subsets of the European Union are responsible for handling separate issues that may come up between member states. In a way, they act as a “supranational” government, one that rules above that of the national sovereignty of each member state. The exact issues that each pillar handles are listed in the table below.
“Three Pillars” European Community (EC) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters (PJCC) Main focuses Overall economic, social, and environmental concerns and policies including healthcare and immigration Foreign policy and military organization, including human rights work and the promotion of democratic institutions All cross-border criminal activities, including terrorism and drug trafficking

While the structure of the European Union is still debated by member states (some find the “three pillars” impede too much upon a nation’s national sovereignty), the future of the European Union remains solid. In 2004, several differing nations such as Poland, Ireland, and Malta were added to the EU representing a new kind of organization that went beyond the typical alliances of Western Europe. Currently, the EU is considered the “largest single market in the developed world” with a gross domestic product (GDP)135 nearly equaling that of the United States.xlv Does all of this qualify the European Union as an empire? The EU certainly aims to promote the strategic tolerance employed by all successful empires in history. It is also large in area and has a central imperial mission. Yet, the European Union’s focus on welcoming new nations into
The gross domestic product (GDP) is the total value of the goods and services produced in a nation in a particular year in addition to the total value of exports, minus the value of imports. Economists typically look at the growth or loss of the GDP on a year-to-year basis. For example, the growth of the United States’ GDP is typically 2.5-3% while recently China’s GDP growth has averaged over 9% per year.
135

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its supranational organization means that it is also trying to change the name of the imperial game. While the advent of the idea of sovereignty changed the way empires performed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, now organizations like the European Union are further shaping the future of empire for the 21st century. In a way, the rise of the European Union has been partially fueled by unilateral American imperialism. Many of the member states of the EU feel that the United States has acted too much like a typical empire and is not tolerant or respectful of the rest of the world. Because the EU represents a different kind of imperial structure (one that can be called “post-imperial”)xlvi this will likely shape the way that empires and transnational unions arise in the future. In the 21st century, empires may not look the way they have for the past thousands of years.

The Rise of China and India
Scholars and journalists alike call China a “dragon” India: Land of a Billion Opinions and India a “tiger.” These are no wimpy-sounding One of India’s greatest triumphs is becoming titles. As such, there is a general consensus that the world’s largest democracy with its people speaking sixteen official languages. It can also China and India are a force to be reckoned with in boast over two hundred political parties and a the years ahead; together they hold nearly forty variety of religious beliefs; although Hinduism is percent of the world’s population and their most widely practiced, there are still Muslims, developing economies are growing at a staggering Christians, Buddhists, and Jains, among others. rate. They continue to attract capital from developed nations throughout the Americas and Europe. And as they grow, they also flex their political muscle, involving themselves in foreign affairs. So, what is it about these two nations that give them the potential to become empires? Can they exist while the American Empire also exists or do they pose a threat to the current world order? There are certainly some heavy questions to consider. But first one needs to look at how each of these nations currently act to understand how they might act as empires in the future. In the case of India, the nation is the world’s largest democracy with over 1.1 billion people. In part because India was once a British colony, it has many highly educated and English-speaking citizens. It is now famously home to a growing outsourcing industry in which companies from the United States and Europe hire Indian firms to handle programming, customer service, and other tasks. India’s economic growth has been the subject of much attention lately, as its gross domestic product has grown by an average of seven percent over the past few years. But while all of this would make India seem a formidable potential empire, there are many problems lurking under the surface. For one, there is religious intolerance based upon the fact that Hinduism is overwhelmingly the majority religion. When in 1998 the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was elected into power, it took up the cause of Hindu nationalism and as a result spawned some of the most horrific religious violence India had ever seen. And although the nation’s economy is growing, with such a large population, that wealth does not always trickle down to improve the lives of the lower classes. Roughly 80 percent of Indians still subsist on a mere two dollars per day.xlvii It is still unclear what kind of country India will become. China is a bit of a different story. Its GDP has been growing at an average of 9.5 percent per year and its ballooning middle class is reaping the benefits of this growth. Foreign direct investment (which means money that comes from foreign places and is invested in various industries in China) is the highest in the

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world. And while China used to be known as the world’s manufacturer of cheap goods, now it has turned its attention to producing higher quality goods, such as electronics. All of this would make it seem as if China is poised to be not only the next superpower, but also perhaps the world’s next empire—particularly when you consider that it claims regions such as Tibet and Taiwan as its own. This assumption, however, is a bit superlative. To begin, China is not home to the kind of diverse, pluralistic society that makes up most successful empires. While it is home to fifty-six different ethnicities, all of these people are minorities when compared with the majority Han group. It is also largely intolerant of religious practices, with nearly 94 percent of the population claiming atheism.xlviii While it is not necessary to have religions practiced within an empire, most empires throughout history have promoted a kind of intellectual curiosity that leads to the belief in a diversity of religions and also helps to promote the empire’s central ideological project of diversity and expansion.
China: Beyond the Three Kingdoms Furthermore, as mentioned in a previous chapter, China’s dependence on the Han majority has Perhaps the greatest evidence of China’s rising power is its growing influence abroad. While a created a kind of ethnocentric nationalism that member of the United Nations Security may have difficulty gaining traction with non-Han Council, it has often sided with Russia against peoples and societies. It will, however, try to lead Western powers on a variety of international regional organizations (such as the Asia-Pacific affairs. It also is involved with nations in Africa and the Middle East, where it often disregards Economic Cooperation) and in doing so, China political problems in order to access natural can manipulate those groups to represent Chinese resources. desires. While it may hold some sway regionally, China has a long way to go before being the world’s greatest superpower. Like India, it has a hugely unequal income gap between its wealthiest and poorest citizens. Any visitor to China will be struck by the great opulence of its cities and the stark poverty of its rural areas. It also lags behind nations in North America and Europe in regards to the educational level of its people. Most of the wealthiest Chinese still aim to attend institutions of higher education abroad because of a lack of high-level research and scholarship present in China.

All of this is not to say that Debate it! China is not improving on Resolved: That China and India are the world’s next empires. Take several fronts. However, like stands, craft arguments and practice presenting with your team. India, it has a long way to go domestically before it can become a diverse, tolerant empire capable of great global influence. Nevertheless, both China and India deserve the attention they are receiving. It will be in the United States’ best interest to carefully and thoughtfully approach these two rising powers. Rather than China and India becoming empires, it is more likely that the European Union will continue to grow in power and to shape a post-imperial age in which the United States is a leading player—or still the leading player—but not the sole one. How China and India will also react to this shifting international reality is yet to be seen.

Conclusion and Review
In conclusion, the future of empire is one that will likely take a markedly different route than that of the rest of imperial history. With the world’s first democratic empire (the United States) leading the way,

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there is the hope by many scholars and citizens alike that future governments will use multilateral approaches in their imperial projects. No longer can any empire assume that it exists as the sole power of any substance in the world. As the rise of the European Union, China, and India continue to challenge the hegemony of the United States, the overall focus will most likely shift to more multilateral solutions to global problems. The United Nations may then begin to play an increasingly important role, along with the EU, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The new imperial world (or post-imperial age, as it has been called by scholars) will likely be one in which a number of powers act together by way of a supranational organization. What this means to empire and whether the concept of “empire” will survive this shift is still to be determined. There are several key points to remember from this discussion of the future of empire: ! ! ! The United States, as the first democratic empire, will increasingly be forced to walk a fine line between its imperial aims and those of multilateral organizations (like the United Nations). China and India will increasingly play a role but will likely not rise to “imperial” status in the classic sense. The lack of any real imperial power will result because the world will enter a post-imperial age where most organizations resemble that of the European Union, a supranational group.

There are many questions to consider and discuss. ! ! ! ! Will there be a post-imperial age and if so, what will it look like? Will the American Empire continue to act as an empire? If there is a shift to a post-imperial age, can the United States survive as a major world power? If so, what role would it play? Are China, India and the European Union capable of achieving imperial status? If not, why not? Is the concept of empire dead?

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Works Consulted
Allen, Lindsay. The Persian Empire (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005). Chua, Amy. Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance—And Why They Fall (New York: Doubleday, 2007). Cohen, Warren. East Asia at the Center (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000). Crozier, Brian. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire (Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing, 2000). Edgerton, Robert B. The Fall of the Asante Empire: The Hundred-Year War for Africa’s Gold Coast (New York: The Free Press, 1995). Foster, John Bellamy. Naked Imperialism: The U.S. Pursuit of Global Dominance (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2006). Fromkin, David. A Peace to End All Peace (New York: Owl Books, 1989). Gibbon, Edward. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (New York: Penguin Books, 1952). Goodwin, Jason. Lords of the Horizon: A History of the Ottoman Empire (New York: Picador, 1998). Hansen, Valerie. The Open Empire: A History of China to 1600 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000). Heather, Peter. The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). James, Lawrence. The Rise and Fall of the British Empire (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1997). MacQuarrie, Kim. The Last Days of the Incas (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007). Münkler, Herfried. Empires (Polity Press, 2007). Meyer, Michael et al. The Course of Mexican History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). Myers, Ramon H. and Mark R. Peattie (eds.). The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984). Pagden, Anthony. Peoples and Empires (New York: Modern Library, 2003). Russell-Wood, A.J.R. The Portuguese Empire, 1415-1808: A World on the Move (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998). Sakwa, Richard. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, 1917-1991 (New York: Routledge Press, 2005). Sharer, Robert and Loa P. Traxler. The Ancient Maya (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006). Spielvogel, Jackson J. Hitler and Nazi Germany: A History (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005). Thapar, Romila. Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). Toland, John. The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945 (New York: Random House, 1998). Zhao, Suisheng. A Nation-State by Construction: Dynamics of Modern Chinese Nationalism (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004).

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About the Author
Kaitlin Solimine is a writer based in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from Harvard University in 2002 with a B.A. in East Asian Studies (emphasis on Chinese language and culture), Cum Laude. Since graduating from college, Kaitlin has worked as a media associate for News Corporation and Pan Media Corporation in Beijing, China, sung lead vocals for a Beijing rock band, taught undergraduates about East Asian history at the University of Southern California (where she received her M.A. in East Asian Studies), and received a Fulbright grant to conduct research in China. She is currently working on her first novel, The Soap Tree, which is based on the true story of a family she knows in China. The novel was recently short-listed for the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. When not writing for DemiDec or working on her novel, she enjoys doing yoga, running on the beach, hiking with her fiancée, watching baseball (go Red Sox!), and playing with her cat, Chairman Mao.

From Peoples and Empires, Anthony Pagden (Modern Library, 2003, p. xxii). As quoted in Day of Empire by Amy Chua (Doubleday, 2007, p. 14). iii See Münkler, p. 47. iv See Chua, p. 30. v See Münkler, p. 50. vi See Münkler, p. 52. vii See Münkler, p. 118. viii See Chua, p. 164. ix See The Ancient Maya, p. 155. x The Incan king Cusi Yupanqui is known as the Incan version of Alexander the Great and was the man who battled the rival kingdom the Chancas and established the Inca capital at Cuzco. As emperor, he named himself Pachacuti, which means “earthshaker” or “he who turns the world upside down” (MacQuarrie, p. 44). xi See The Last Days of the Incas, p. 44. xii At the time Huayna Capac received the news, the Spanish ships were in the Chimu City of Tumbez (MacQuarrie, p. 47). xiii See Edgerton, p. 4. xiv See Edgerton, p. 37. xv As Amy Chua notes in Day of Empire, p. 43. xvi See Chua, p. 54.
i ii

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See Chua, p. 56. See Chua, p. 19. xix See Allen, p. 131. xx See Chua, p. 13. xxi See Chua, p. 14. xxii See Thapar, p. 142. xxiii See Chua, p. 101. xxiv See Chua, p. 193. xxv See James, p. 177. xxvi See James, p. 353. xxvii See Chua, p. 155. xxviii See Russell-Wood, p. 205. xxix See Chua, p. 233. xxx See Chua, p. 169. xxxi See Goodwin, p. 65. xxxii Much of this information was collected from Chua, pgs. 170-176, and Goodwin, Chapter 23. xxxiii See Goodwin, p. 91. xxxiv See Goodwin, p. 265. xxxv Lucian Pye, as quoted in Chua, p. 296. xxxvi See Spielvogel, p. 51. xxxvii Adolf Hitler, as quoted in Spielvogel, p. 143. xxxviii See Chua, p. 273. xxxix See Spielvogel, p. 309. xl See Myers and Peattie, p. 13. xli Herbert Marcuse, as quoted in Myers and Peattie, p. 492. xlii See Chua, p. 255. xliii See Crozier, p. 5. xliv See Münkler, p. 84. xlv See Chua, p. 301. xlvi See Chua, p. 302. xlvii See Chua, p. 313. xlviii See Chua, p. 289.
xvii xviii

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