The English/British

Discussion in 'History' started by Sefter, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. Sefter Registered Senior Member

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    Apparently the British empire used to cover 80% of the world. I can imagine the rest of the world being angry at the brits forcing themselves on the world and it was they who 'discovered' America. Columbus set sail and discovered it and the English then conquered it. Academics then set up the laws for the country with the best of their 'knowledge'. Do other people agree or disagree with this rough history of the sea faring nation?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2003
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  3. Killjoy Propelling The Farce!! Valued Senior Member

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    "Rule Britannia"

    The Empire undoubtedly spanned 80% of the globe, but it wasn't as though more than 3/4 of the world's nations had been conquered by it...

    Also, don't forget, the Spanish got South America (with Portugal),which yielded up lotsa "yeller metal" of high value, and kept the Spanish empire afloat for a awhile...
    Imagine if the territorial possessions were reversed...
    (paging Harry Turtledove...)

    And, of course, those peoples who were conquered did not like it one little bit...
    (Heck, there were people living on the "British Isles" who didn't want any part of Britain! Still don't!)

    I suppose one could say they brought with them the side effect of a manner of improvement in the standard of living in some of the territories of the Empire, and if it was for the sole reason that it kept the Imperial apparatus running smoothly (and was thus well worth the investment), that doesn't make the British any more reprehensible than Rome, or America (and, of course, both have been "naughty" here and there...)

    I believe American colonial law would have basically been English law. Same for any of her colonies.
     
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  5. Mystech Adult Supervision Required Registered Senior Member

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    Columbus was Italian and he was sailing for the Spanish, how does England factor into that?
     
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  7. Sefter Registered Senior Member

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    I didn't know that Mystech! Thanks for the info.

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    Well he set sail from England, that's what I meant. Did the 'world' really beleive the Earth was flat before that, or is there just no wirtten evidence stating otherwise? I suspect it's the latter.
     
  8. Killjoy Propelling The Farce!! Valued Senior Member

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    Hold on, now...

    Columbus set sail from Spain, after basically bamboozling the Spanish into acceptin a smaller diameter for the Earth than had previously been accepted by scholars of the day.
    An ancient Greek, his name escapes me, calculated a fairly accurate estimate with what amounted to a stick and mathematics.
    Columbus apparently cited whatever other sources existed to refute, at least for his purposes, the prevailing theory.

    The "flat Earth" may have been a myth perpetuated by the fact that people who sailed off into the Atlantic very often did not return.

    One thing to remember:
    Nobody in Europe even knew the Americas were there. Columbus was out to find Japan, the better to access the trade market in "exotic" Eastern goods.
     
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    England? How about the rest of the world!

    History has a way of being self-correcting. Look at all the great empires back to the dawn of civilization.

    Babylon/Mesopotamia. That's Iraq now.
    Ancient Egypt. The people were overrun by Muslim Arabs. Their descendants are the Ethiopians and Copts, and aside from the Pyramids, their civilization survives only in museums.
    India. 'Nuff said.
    Persia. That's Iran now.
    Phoenicia. Anybody know where that is?
    Greece. Now one of Western Europe's poorest nations.
    Mongol. They made the mistake of conquering China and it swallowed them up like all its conquerors.
    Olmec/Maya/Aztec. Spain (see below for their turn) did them in.
    Inca. Spain got them too.
    Rome. Ferraris are pretty cool.
    Spain. Its former colonies make more news that Spain does.
    Ottoman. Only Turkey remains.
    Netherlands. Who?
    Austro-Hungary. WWI was the end of them.
    France. Conquered by Germany twice.
    Third Reich. Cut in two for everyone's safety, and only recently allowed to reconnect.
    England. With the technology of full-rigged ocean-going ships they cut a wider swath than their predecessors, but many of them had much longer reigns, like Egypt and China. England, back to its original borders, lives on, possibly to serve as a humble reminder of the transitory nature of greatness. It is arguably the proudest of the remnants of the old European-based empires... or perhaps it only seems that way to us Americans, who will forever cherish Dear Mother England no matter how tattered her housedress becomes.
    USSR. Seemed like forever to those of us who lived through it, probably because they had nukes, but when it fizzled it really fizzled.

    All of these empires had their day and then sank into the sunset. Some, like Greece, survive as humble shadows of their former selves. Others, like Egypt, were obliterated and different people live there now. That just seems to be the way history works. What goes up must come down, and what goes around comes around.

    To get back on topic: The English (don't call them Britons, those were the original Celtic people of Great Britain whom the Anglo-Saxon invaders drove into Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany 1500 years ago) had their turn, during a very interesting historical era that allowed them to really mess with the nations they occupied, contaminating their culture, religion, technology, language, and even the shape of their national borders. But they too have passed.

    I've overlooked a few long-gone empires, but we've gotten to the present and there are only two empires that haven't crumbled -- yet. Both of them seem ignorant of the old adage, "Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." One is uniquely ancient, one is an intemperate upstart. Both have recently set out on paths that seem deliberately chosen to increase the chances of failure.

    Talking about China and the USA. China's experiment with communism has been just as ruinous as Russia's. Perhaps their willingness to compromise on a system of despotic quasi-capitalism will bail them out for a while. The Three Gorges Dam -- a Third World civil service project staffed by foreign mercenary engineers and supervised by communist managers -- how can it possibly hold water? If it collapses it will take the entire country with it and possibly the entire East Asian economy.

    America's sudden emergence as the One Superpower is apparently not something we were ready for. Our political leaders don't know what to make of it. Our industrialists were caught during a particularly embarrassing loss of long-term planning ability. The citizenry, after two generations of New Math, Transactional Analysis, Social Promotions, and Remedial English for College Freshmen, has lost its attention span and its ability to reason. It's hard not to wonder whether this is the twilight of the dear old United States.

    Does anybody have a clue about what might happen next?
     
  10. Clockwood You Forgot Poland Registered Senior Member

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    That Britain is long dead. No country is the same country longer than about half a century.
     
  11. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Care to estimate the length of hte American empire?

    And as for hte british,w e took canada from the Frennch, the coloniews got themselves free in the 1770's i think, so really, we didnt do much in the americas at all, except some poxy little carribean islands that killed lots of troops and sailors through disease.
     

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