Global Domination Of Europe Before The Nineteenth Century

2162 words - 9 pages

A culture hearth is described by geographers and historians as an area where innovations develop, with subsequent diffusion to other areas. Few of the world's culture hearths have exerted their influences on peoples and regions around the globe to the extent that Europe had between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. For more than 500 years Europe and its cultural influences, diversified the world, changing the landscapes and people in an array of methods. From an economic view of trade, and simplistic goods exchange, to the conquering of foreign lands and subjugation of the indigenous populations, European domination for that period encompassed these ideals along with religion, politics and the need for expansion. However, what was it that placed Europe in the position to dominate the other cultures and civilizations of the world? Was it inevitable that Europe would dominate the World by the nineteenth century? "By 1500 C.E. peoples throughout the world had well-organized societies with distinctive cultural traditions." (Bentley 2003, 602). What were the decisive factors that brought Europe to the forefront of the four areas that defined this period? Biology, technology, ideology and economy all made instrumental gains during this era, most notably in Europe and in certain areas throughout the world.Europe and its ensuing influence on economic, political, and cultural development throughout the globe was assisted by a host of mitigating factors, location, demographics, religion, trade, survival and conquest. To change any of these factors may have caused a shift in power and a following rise for another civilization. European domination by the nineteenth century was inevitable, driven by the forces of geographic location, trade relations, ideology and technological advancement, culminating with the drive for expansion around the globe.The argument proposed by Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel on geographic determinism is well suited for the basis of our first premise of geographic location effecting the European domination of the period between the 1500's and the 1800's (L 4, S4). For years, European's had viewed themselves as the centre of the earth, assisted by the traditional classification of Europe as one of the world's seven continents. By the sixteenth century at the latest, the word "continent" had come to denote a landmass of very great size, possessing a well-defined maritime perimeter, and linked to other continents either by a single isthmus, as Africa is joined to Asia, the two Americas to one another, or not at all, as in the cases of Australia and Antarctica, the two island continents in the Southern Hemisphere. The story of how the word "Europe" has been used and how over time it came to denote, first, a continent and, second, a civilization has been told and retold countless times. The notion of a "continent" was formed in that civilization, but it applies only inexactly to "the continent of Europe." (Lukacs 1991, 116)...

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