Nations and empires


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Armed Armenian revolutionaries, Turkey, 1906. Photo courtesy of B Dickson/Royal Geographical Society/Getty

Essay/
Nations and empires
Roving revolutionaries

Moving between the Russian, Iranian and Young Turk revolutions, cosmopolitan Armenians helped usher in the 20th century

Houri Berberian

Plaque depicting warrior and attendants (16th-17th century), Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria. Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Essay/
Global history
Africa, in its fullness

The West focuses only on slavery, but the history of Africa is so much more than a footnote to European imperialism

Toby Green

The Miracles of Saint Francis Xavier (1619-22) by André Reinoso. Saint Francis Xavier was a missionary and co-founder of the Jesuit order. Courtesy Museu de São Roque, Lisbon/AKG

Essay/
Nations and empires
Architects of empire

Jesuits knew the miserable truth of European empire in India and Brazil, yet their writings rendered it grandiose and sacred

Ananya Chakravarti

Fisherman at Saint Jean d’Acre in then Ottoman Syria, now Israel. Photo taken in 1891 by André Salles. Courtesy Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris

Essay/
Nations and empires
Cosmopolitan Ottomans

European colonisation put an abrupt end to political experiments towards a more equal, diverse and ecumenical Arab world

Ussama Makdisi

Members of the American Indian Movement and the Oglala Sioux in a stand-off with FBI agents, National Guard soldiers, and federal marshals at Wounded Knee in March 1973. Photo by Bettmann/Getty

Essay/
Nations and empires
It is time to recognise

The Lakota, like other groups, see themselves as a sovereign people. Can Indigenous sovereignty survive colonisation?

Pekka Hämäläinen

Berber women photographed in January 1932. Photo by Marcelin Flandrin/National Geographic

Essay/
Race and ethnicity
Race on the mind

When Europeans colonised North Africa, they imposed their preoccupation with race onto its diverse peoples and deep past

Ramzi Rouighi

Detail from Cerro Rico and the Imperial Municipality of Potosí (1758), by Gaspar Miguel de Berrío. Courtesy Museo Universitario Charcas, Sucre, Bolivia/AKG
 

Essay/
Cities
The first global city

High in the Andes, Potosí supplied the world with silver, and in return reaped goods and peoples from Burma to Baghdad

Kris Lane

Nissho Inoue at the time of his trial in June 1933. Photo courtesy the author

Essay/
Religion
Zen terror

Master Nissho Inoue and his band of assassins teach some uncomfortable truths about terrorism, for those who will hear

Brian Victoria

Warships in a Heavy Storm (c1695), by Ludolf Bakhuysen. Courtesy Rijksmusuem, Amsterdam

Essay/
History of science
When pirates studied Euclid

How did the sailors of early modern Europe learn to traverse the world’s seas? By going to school and doing maths problems

Margaret Schotte

Coloured lanterns featuring Peppa Pig characters at Fo Guang Shan during a dharma assembly on the Chinese New Year, 5 February 2019, in Kaohsiung, China. Photo by Chen Xiaoyuan/China News Service/Getty

Essay/
Global history
Re-made in China

From Marxism to hip hop, China’s appropriations from the West show that globalisation makes the world bumpy, not flat

Amy Hawkins & Jeffrey Wasserstrom

The Hongs at Canton (c1820), unknown artist. Chinese school. Photo by AKG London

Essay/
Nations and empires
Scots running amok

As loan sharks, drug smugglers, generals and plant hunters, Scots played a central role in expanding the British Empire

Jessica Hanser

Detail from Nagasaki Harbour (c1833-6), by Kawahara Keiga. Ink and colour on silk. On the left is the crescent-shaped island of Deshima (flying the national flag), from which the Dutch were the only Westerners to trade with Japan from 1641 to 1859. Courtesy the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Essay/
Nations and empires
Asia had the upper hand

For centuries, Europeans in Asia were guests, trading partners and subordinates. Only much later did Empire seem imaginable

Chris Nierstrasz

European tourists having a picnic in a temple in Egypt, 1898. Photo by LL/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

Essay/
Global history
Who really owns the past?

Cultural heritage is an ideal imposed from above. It’s time to listen to what communities value about their own histories

Michael Press

A poster of Kemal Atatürk by the entrance door of a house in Çeşme, Turkey. August 2015. Photo by Alfredo D'Amato/Panos Pictures

Essay/
Nations and empires
Turkey’s hard white turn

In 20th-century Turkey, modernisers turned to eugenics and claims of an ancient Asian past to argue that Turks were white

Murat Ergin

Internally displaced people fleeing from fighting in the village of Shora, 25km south of Mosul, reach an Iraqi army checkpoint on the Northern outskirts of Qayyarah. Photo by Ivor Prickett/UNHCR/Panos

Essay/
War and peace
Separatism is no solution

Partition in Iraq rests on Orientalist ideas – and overlooks what many Iraqis, minorities included, say they want

Alice Su

Sir Pratap Singh, Maharaja of Idar. 1888 by Rudolf Swoboda. He wears the badge and star of the Star of India and the Jubilee medal. Photo the Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Essay/
Nations and empires
Titles, medals and ribbons

The British honours system has outlived the Empire it was designed to foster. Does it have a role in the world today?

Tobias Harper

Bamangwato chief Seretse Khama addresses a tribal council meeting in March 1950. Under his leadership, between 1966 and 1980 Botswana had the fastest-growing economy in the world. Photo by Margarte Bourke-White/Time Life/Getty

Essay/
Nations and empires
How nations come together

Nations come with a vast array of peoples, languages and histories, but the strong ones share three simple things

Andreas Wimmer

An 18th-century Indian Matchlock Musket from Lahore. Photo courtesy the Royal Armouries Collections

Essay/
Nations and empires
Guns and the British empire

Eighteenth-century Indian arms were as sophisticated as European. Then came the British Empire to drive industry backwards

Priya Satia