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How and Why did Western Civilization Dominate the world??

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posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 09:03 AM
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How and why did western civilization become the dominate force on the planet?

Western civilization isn't the oldest civilization and in its earlier forms did not really have a technological advantage over other civilizations. So why and how did they beat larger and older civilizations.

I've been on a military history kick lately and think I may have stumbled on the lynch pin(s) that led to the European empires that basically conquered the world.

Was it economic and to do with the development of trade networks?

Was it about military power or smarter generals?

Did they win the tech race or do a better job of adopting the accomplishments of other cultures?

Was it based on their religion or social/givermental set up?

Was it just dumb luck?
Well I don't really think so..

The Egyptian and Persian empires were larger with larger armies and vast trade networks. They also had most of the early technological advantages and had no problem adopting the inventions of other cultures.

So what gave them the edge allowing them to craft most of history and the modern world?

Imho I think it MIGHT have been about 2 things.

1) the unwillingness to admit defeat and bend the knee. Even when they were quite thoroughly defeated lol.

2) the invention of total war, meaning mobilizing your entire population and fighting a battle of anihilation.


When you look back at the beginning of eastern civilization (Greeks and romans) those jokers just refused to quit.

The Greeks should have lost to Persia. Persia was actually a really good empire to join. Pay your taxes and keep your own king and everything. However the Greeks , against all odds fought and won.

The romans should have lost to Carthage but in the words of polibius (I think) "you are only defeated when you admit defeat". Hannibal killed 20k romans at trebia, 40k at lake trasimene and 70k at Cannae. But the romans just wouldn't quit.

Instead the two cultures "invented" total war.

No longer would you fight a big battle or 3 and admit defeat then agree to a peace treaty. Noooo...

From then on you would have only 2 choices.

Annialate rome, or Rome would annialate you..

That is where Hannibal failed, he was fighting an honerable form of warfare. A warfare where you only cared that they submitted, not that they existed.



So in conclusion I kinda think, starting with Alexander, the concept of total war flowed down through history. Each western civilization adopting the concept from those who came before. A concept that irrevocably changed every civilization it touched.


Most if not all cultures went to war in little spurts. Death tolls were not as high as they would later be. They would fight until one side ran and then basically it was over.

But as Total war was introduced and proved to beat the old way of warfare, it was adopted by culture after culture.

i think a good example of this is Shaka zulu. The African tribes fought battles in the old way before him. Tribes would meet up and clash for a few minutes, then one side would run and it was over. There were very few relative casualties and their culture had maintained that way for thousands of years. However once Europeans showed up and showed him how they fought a far bloodier form of warfare. Shaka adopted it and conquered most of Africa.

Also king Henry arming his peasants vs the French at agrincourt.


Thoughts.



















edit on 29-12-2016 by JoshuaCox because: (no reason given)

edit on 29-12-2016 by JoshuaCox because: (no reason given)

edit on 29-12-2016 by JoshuaCox because: (no reason given)

edit on 29-12-2016 by JoshuaCox because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 09:12 AM
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I think it comes down to infrastructure. Roman roads, bridges, tunnels and other buildings such as aqueducts were still in use through the middle ages and in some cases the Renaissance. Their roads allowed people and goods to move quickly and travel long distances thanks to periodic mansios along the way.

The British (and to a lesser degree the European powers) took this a step further with their shipbuilding, allowing trade and conquest outside of the reach of land armies.

The New World is really where things took off. Ownership of land and property was largely unknown to the Natives, making it ripe for the European mindset to take advantage of.

Christianity is also a factor, even though it might have led to the downfall of the Western Empire through spiritual based malaise it was a particularly virulent (not in the negative context) religion in that it was attractive and spread quickly, either through the force of ideas (salvation, better things to come after death) or the sword (forced conversion).



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 09:21 AM
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a reply to: JoshuaCox

Last i looked Rome was in Italy ......... could have sworn that was Western Europe




posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 09:24 AM
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originally posted by: JoshuaCox

i think a good example of this is Shaka kahn. The African tribes fought battles in the old way before him.


I think you meant Shaka Zulu. Chaka Khan was a female R&B singer and, if memory serves me, not much into warfare.



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 09:25 AM
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a reply to: JoshuaCox



Wow ... that is a very interesting subject to ponder. I have also wondered this. I read a book once titled: "Guns, Germs, and Steel", and the author had pondered the same question.

en.wikipedia.org...

I think this guy, Jared Diamond, makes a pretty good case that Western civilization triumphed due to a number of factors, including military armaments, disease spread, and metal technology. Trade networks certainly played a part also. It is a really good book, and an interesting read.



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 09:25 AM
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a reply to: JoshuaCox
If you want to undertand why, just look at when it started happening.
It begins with Columbus and Vasco da Gama, giving access to America and the Far East. Changes in ship design, making them fitter for ocean travel, helped here.
Control of trade routes has always meant economic power.
There is a feedback effect between economic power and population growth.
Also colonies in America, which provide fresh markets (more economic growth) and are in themeselves a factor in population growth.
The eighteenth-century agricultural revolution made food-growing more efficient.
This in turn was one of the necessary conditions of the industrial revolution. Until food is plentiful and cheap, nobody has any money to spare to spend on anything else.
Until the industrial revolution, military superiority was mainly about gunpowder. The Ottomans had gunpowder too, and were very formidable opponents up to the eighteenth century.
By 1900, as a result of all these factors, western culture dominated many areas of the world AND the ocean routes between them (thank you again, Columbus and Vasco da Gama).



edit on 29-12-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 09:27 AM
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perhaps, OP

... i consider it was because of "soullessness"
now and then disguised with a shallow form of 'christianity'

that was the impression, Western man had upon other cultures ;
who intuitively felt that the Western man had no soul anymore - but a daimon, instead
- creating cold, soulless techniques to aid his conquest
Just as in your example : when that african copied that, he got 'successfull' too



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 09:30 AM
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I would counter-argue that western civilization has become a dominate bloc simply due to progression. Some build upon the bones of their dead and some build with the bones of their dead.

When "western culture" goes into a "with the bones of the dead" such as the height of the HRC's power we enter stagnation and even decline.

Shaka Zulu, contolled a sizable portion of what is now South Africa, hardly "most of Africa". Shaka Khan was a awesome dance/R&B/Early rap artist that laid the foundation for today's urban music scene. Neither of these should be "blamed" on Western" powers.

The Hittites were conquering long before Rome came to power. Look into their campaigns. Their "victory feast" celebration is one I learned as a child in school and it stuck with me my whole life.

After defeating an enemy, they separated the men, women, and children for several weeks. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The captives all feared they would be killed and their loved ones would be killed. After several weeks of near starvation, the adults were brought out to a huge banquet. After the eating was complete the Hittite General addressed them saying "we desire peace. We have defeated you and so that you remember this we must punish you, so that your children do not rise up against us in the future we must kill them. You have helped us tonight with both."

They had fed starving people their own children. Machievelli himself couldn't envision total warfare on that scale.

All cultures, no matter their position in the world must progress or eventually die off. Western civilization accomplishes this by building upon the civilization prior (still western), whereas most others stagnate through ancestor worship, complacency, or in some rare cases die off to dumb luck.



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 09:38 AM
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a reply to: Fowlerstoad

That is a good book on the subject. I will expand on my take when i got a keyboard but as the book implied and as I thought, it was a combo.



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 09:50 AM
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a reply to: JoshuaCox

The ethnic Huaxia and Han people of China are just as ancient and advanced as the empires listed in the OP. They have launched countless campaigns of assimilation, total war, and annihilation against the people of Jiu-Li, San-Miao, Nanman, Nanzhao, Tai, Bai, Yi, Yao, Bo, Miao/Meo, Hmong, and other indigenous eastern-Asian minorities.

Why do you think your reasoning led to the rise of global Western rule, yet the same reasoning saw China as a powerful unifying isolationist?



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 09:58 AM
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The US, specifically, was rather unscathed through WW1 and WW2 (except Pearl Harbor). War profiteering and all. We didn't feel the destruction of our infrastructure that Europe, Japan and Asia felt. The US was poised and ready to rebuild after a long and trying economic time prior to WW2 (the great depression). Largely, a drive to succeed permeated the late 40's and into the 50's and 60's There was a golden age shortly after WW1 as well.

Just thought.
edit on 29-12-2016 by wdkirk because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 10:02 AM
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originally posted by: AugustusMasonicus

originally posted by: JoshuaCox

i think a good example of this is Shaka kahn. The African tribes fought battles in the old way before him.


I think you meant Shaka Zulu. Chaka Khan was a female R&B singer and, if memory serves me, not much into warfare.


Yup my bad



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 10:04 AM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: JoshuaCox
If you want to undertand why, just look at when it started happening.
It begins with Columbus and Vasco da Gama, giving access to America and the Far East. Changes in ship design, making them fitter for ocean travel, helped here.
Control of trade routes has always meant economic power.
There is a feedback effect between economic power and population growth.
Also colonies in America, which provide fresh markets (more economic growth) and are in themeselves a factor in population growth.
The eighteenth-century agricultural revolution made food-growing more efficient.
This in turn was one of the necessary conditions of the industrial revolution. Until food is plentiful and cheap, nobody has any money to spare to spend on anything else.
Until the industrial revolution, military superiority was mainly about gunpowder. The Ottomans had gunpowder too, and were very formidable opponents up to the eighteenth century.
By 1900, as a result of all these factors, western culture dominated many areas of the world AND the ocean routes between them (thank you again, Columbus and Vasco da Gama).




Man I think it had been over by then...

I think it was over by the Devine of the ottomans... not even the end lol. Just from the second western culture surpassed them.



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 10:08 AM
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This is an excellent question and the reasons for the emergence of the West as a world power can be explained with reference to four main areas. The OP brushed on two, namely military and economic might, but also worth considering are the legal and religious differences of early modern Europe compared with the rest of the world.

The development of Europe's military prowess can be explained by the the constant competition experienced by the smaller states of the Holy Roman Empire (the Habsburgs) being in constant competition with French, Swedish, Prussian and indeed Russian and Polish ambitions. When one of these powers, the Swedes for instance developed a military advantage, the others either followed suit or expired. This perpetual arms race, encouraged by the constant competition of the various European hegemonies gave Europe a clear military advantage over any other world power.

This is also true of early modern European economics. The banking systems developed in renaissance Italy and later improved upon by the the financial houses of the Dutch Republic and then the Bank of England provided Europe with not only with reliable and trustworthy forms of specie but also several of the financial instruments we are familiar with today, mortgages, credit and insurance for instance. This allowed Europe to easily finance expansion and trade. One must also consider the difficult lessons learned by the Spanish and the Dutch in dealing with various crashes in the silver and tulip markets.

Most important to the encouragement of successful innovation and trade was the legal protection of private property, both intellectual and actual. Europe's political evolution from feudal, to autocratic to democratic orders. Political scientist might describe this as the move from "limited access order" States to "open access order" States. Any system which protects the private citizen from the excesses of the State is sure to flourish. This is bourn out in recent history also with the fall of the Soviet Union. What is the point in innovating when the State can just take it?

Finally, and I think most importantly is the shift in religious outlook brought about by the Reformation. Prior to this, the main religious groups viewed work as a penance, something to be avoided. Max Weber described this shift in attitude as "the Protestant Work Ethic". Here, rather than being a penance, the protestant viewed work as pious and to be embraced as prayer. This encouraged the industriousness that drove all the developments mentioned earlier.

It is not enough to suggest that Europe's rise be attributed to military prowess alone. This had to driven and supported by political, economic, legal and most importantly cultural advancement too.

Feoil



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 10:09 AM
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Public Education came from Western Europe, common people were taught to read and write
War and violence never moved any civilizations forward

Most well educated country's are westernised

Thank Luther



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 10:17 AM
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posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 11:21 AM
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The Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683. Which failed.
This was, perhaps, the moment when Western Europe began to lose their old sense of inferiority with respect to the Ottomans.
edit on 29-12-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 11:28 AM
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originally posted by: corblimeyguvnor
a reply to: JoshuaCox

Last i looked Rome was in Italy ......... could have sworn that was Western Europe

Huh? Who said Rome was any where else?
edit on 29-12-2016 by JoshuaCox because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 11:30 AM
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originally posted by: Sahabi
a reply to: JoshuaCox

The ethnic Huaxia and Han people of China are just as ancient and advanced as the empires listed in the OP. They have launched countless campaigns of assimilation, total war, and annihilation against the people of Jiu-Li, San-Miao, Nanman, Nanzhao, Tai, Bai, Yi, Yao, Bo, Miao/Meo, Hmong, and other indigenous eastern-Asian minorities.

Why do you think your reasoning led to the rise of global Western rule, yet the same reasoning saw China as a powerful unifying isolationist?
They never left Asia though.



posted on Dec, 29 2016 @ 11:53 AM
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originally posted by: JoshuaCox
They [the Chinese] never left Asia though.

This is a very important issue, because there was a time before Columbus when the Chinese were venturing out on to the high seas and got as far as Africa (1433).
The puzzling decision to draw back from such ventures is one of the key turning-points in world history, because it left the field clear for the Europeans who were about to arrive.


edit on 29-12-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)




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