As the first millennium was beginning, it was not apparent that Western
As the first millennium was beginning, it was not apparent thatWestern Europe could have an overriding role in world trade. Locatedat Eurasia’s edge, Europe’s exports comprised mainly of forestgoods, as well as slaves. The nation was not properly linked to otherregions of Eurasia and the economic connections were mainly Islamic.However, from 1500 onwards, Europe had become the center of worldtrade. It was in direct contact to all Eurasia, coastal Africa andhad control over larger parts of America. Massive development inglobal commerce summed up the rise of an interconnected world economycontrolled by Europe. The sudden rise in Europe’s function in worldtrade resulted in cultural, political and economic calculations byAfricans, Russians and Asians. This paper is an evaluation of thesecalculations.
Cultural, Political and Economic Calculations
The rise of West Europe meant that they secured new regions, whichincluded Africa, Asia and Russia. As a result, they formed newcultures, as well as social patterns. This was possible due to thecreation of Europeans trading posts of African coastlines, inaddition to the development of slave trade and trade in differentgoods (Walter 1). In Asia, there was colonization through smallmerchant group like the Indies, China and India. The Europeans wereable to have influence over trading organizations, which includedPortuguese, British and Dutch. Russia was used as a transit forEurope’s products (Walter 1). Nonetheless, because these nationswere not open to accepting European dominance, they adopted variouspolicies and reactions.
The first reaction of Russians, Africans and Asians was to attemptat driving away the foreigners (Europeans). However, they weredefeated in war and focused on the preservation of their cultures. InRussia, Tsar Peter the Great focus was on the discovery of puttingships to sea during a war. Russians aimed at driving away Europeansfrom entering their territory while at sea. However, industrialrevolution of the Europeans meant that they were more equipped thanRussians were, resulting in their defeat. The same defeat wasapparent amid Africans. Africans determined to cut anchors ofEuropeans ship were unsuccessful, because the Europeans learnt oftheir plans in advance and progressed to Malindi (Goldstone 55). TheAfricans in Malindi were apprehensive of the foreigners, as a resultsubmitting to their commands by giving them all they needed. Thismade it easier for Europeans to progress with their expansion duringthe world trade. In China, the rise of the Europeans led to theissuance of a manifesto aimed at regulating Europeans actions inAsia.
In Asia, religion was a major unifying factor, which ensured thatAsians were able to maintain their cultures. The Ottoman Empireemerged to become an economic as well as political power, which wasable to control the actions of the Europeans in Asia (Goldstone 72).Different calculations undertaken by Asians included the formation offoreign enclaves for regulating trade, creation of the imperialpolicy of regulating overseas control and trade, and enhancement inEuropean demand for Chinese products like porcelain and tea(Goldstone 4). The continued reliance of Europe on Chinese productsensured that the Asians were not compelled to give up their economicactivity, and progressed to trade in tea and porcelain. Asians alsoadopted an isolation policy that was meant to restrict overseasinfluences, hence ensuring that there were minimal changes to theircultural, political and economic lifestyles.
Africans largely collaborated with the Europeans. Their involvementin world trade with Europe changed their traditional economicactivities. Africa was engaged in the trade via exporting of slavesand raw materials (Walter 1). In exchange they got manufacturesproducts from Europe, including new foods like peanuts and corn. Thisimplies that European growth resulted in widespread slavery in Africaas an economic activity. Politically, leaders and elders, who weremainly involved in the capture of slaves, headed the communities. Theoutcome of the European-African trade is that a majority of theAfrican states became reliant on European colonial rule (Walter 1).Africans economic activities shifted to becoming that of suppliers ofraw products for European nations. Due to the large influence ofEuropeans in Africa, they were not able to maintain their culture andadopted western cultural practices.
In Western Europe, there was an unending demand for Russianproducts. Hence, Russians adopted policies, aimed at enhancing theEuropeans reliance on their products. As a result, Russians were ableto maintain their economic actions as a source of skins, tallow,flax, hemp and ashes. Russia still maintained the political rule ofTsar Ivan during the 1500s. Because of a predominant Russianpropaganda, it was difficult for Europe to intrude in the politicalaffairs of Russians (Goldstone 71).
The rise of west Europe function in the world trade resulted ineconomic, cultural and political reactions, as well as policies byRussians, Africans and Asians. The reactions or calculations weremainly aimed at regulating European dominance over the nations. Allthe nations were involved in economic actions with Europe throughtrade. Africa largely collaborated resulting in new influences ontheir culture and politics by west Europe. Russia and Asia had strongcultural and political institutions, which enabled them to implementpolicies that were able to reduce European influence in the nations.
Goldstone, Jack. Why Europe? The rise of the west in worldhistory, 1500-1850. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009.
Walter, Rolf. Economic relations between Europe and the world:dependence and interdependence. European History Online(2012): 1-1.