Writing the History of the World
To write a history of the world, one must begin at a point when the
world is shifting from the remnants of old empires into the modern or
at least the pre modern world as we know it. During the 15th century,
we begin to see a change; Europe climbs out of the Middle Ages, tosses
off its religious shackles and starts evolving. The Europeans set sail
and we start to see well-documented evidence of other cultures and
religions. The Americans and Africans had written records and many of
the Asian nations remained isolated from outside influences. We are
then forced to begin our knowledge of these cultures when Europeans
first come into contact with them or at least close to that point in
During the 1400s, Europe was under the tight yoke of the Catholic
Church, which held control over literature, scripture, and placed
restrictions on science and thought. However, when the Protestant
movement starts to spread, we begin world history rather than simply
European history. Through the pilgrims and missionaries in the New
World we learn about life in other cultures. From the starting point
of the Reformation, we are able to begin actually studying much of the
world, rather than just concentrating on Western Europe.
I would discuss the fact that the purpose of colonization by European
powers was not for religious means, but rather to secure trade routes.
It is through this trading that we come into close contact with the
Asian history and culture is very important both in inter-Asian
relations and relations with Westerners. If I were to write a course
on world history, Asian nations would have to play a large part.
Chinese prosperity and invention can be linked to the bloodshed and
slaughter in the West; the popularity of gunpowder completely changed
the nature of warfare and the riches of the Orient made China the
unfortunate victim of Western Imperialists. It led to the devastating
Opium Wars and a period of Chinese control by foreign powers. To this
day groups in China bear a grudge to the West.
Japan, too, has an impressive history, perhaps even richer the
European history. I would have to include a section of Japanese
history during the Sengoku Jidai, a period of Japanese history that
set them on a powerful path. I would concentrate on the politics and
wars of Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and finally unification under
Tokugawa Ieyasu. The unification of Japan and resistance to 'gaijins'
allowed them to be a power in Southeast Asia and also their
militaristic attitude to the rest of Asia would eventually be a cause
of World War II.
As Japan became unified, I would bring the centre of study back to