The Unconquered World

By Neuroskeptic | February 15, 2012 11:59 pm

A thought struck me the other day: China is the only place in the world that has never been controlled by a European power, whether as a colony, protectorate, territory, mandate, etc.

Thinking about it a bit more I realized this is not quite true, but it’s not far off. As far as I can tell (thanks Wikipedia) the following countries were never officially under European control. I’m including the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the USSR as “European”. Note that I use the modern names of countries to refer to the territory that falls within their borders, even though it wasn’t always called that.

Most of China
Thailand
Mongolia
Saudi Arabia (assuming the Ottoman Empire was not a “European power”)
Bhutan
Nepal

Iran and Turkey make the list, unless you count Alexander the Great.

Japan and North and South Korea make the list unless you count the post-WW2 occupations.

All of these areas were under various forms of influence at different times, but they never formally lost their sovereignty to Europe. (Edit: Iran and Turkey removed because they were conquered by Alexander.) (Edit 2: Added Bhutan and Nepal which I missed before. Changed map to show special status of Japan, Korea, Turkey & Iran).

Disclaimer: I’m not a geographer; this is something I put together purely out of interest. It’s quite likely that I’ve missed some. In particular I don’t know anything about the small island nations. Please comment if you can correct this, it’s a work in progress.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: history, politics
  • Anonymous

    Maybe look into the Greek Alexander the Great's conquest of Iran and Afghanistan. Did he not defeat the Persians?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06251303782979227488 Aporia

    Japan???

  • Laser_dragon

    Japan pretty convincingly surrendered to America not so long ago…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06251303782979227488 Aporia

    Surrendered in a war, not their sovereignty. They were not controlled by any European power. Which is what this states.

  • Anonymous

    You leave out the most genuine country, Ethiopia, which you shouldn't. It was conquered by Italy in the 30s, but you should be talking about the great 17th-19th C era of colonialism, shouldn't you? It was never a colony like the rest of Africa – its Italian experience was more like Albania being occupied by the Germans.
    Also it's a bit eurocentric of you to leave out China, which felt itself to be very much an occupied country during the Qing Dynasty, which was felt to be an alien ruling party, 1644 to 1912 – smack in the middle of the great age of imperialism worldwide. And Korea was a colony of Japan in a completely “modern” and European way, as was the island of Formosa. It's arbitrary for you to call Korea uncolonized simply because it was colonized by non-whites (unless you're idiotic on the pomo postcolonial BS, in which case I beg your forgiveness).

  • omg

    Um, China had more warriors than Europe which wasn't “Europe”. France and Belgians had colonial missions different to British colonialists. Britain had their eye on India, East Africa, Australia, poorish countries. France had Vietnam, West Africa, resource rich countries. France did a bad job, their colonies ended up in war – their policies were racist. British colonies thrived and some gained independence. Japan colonialized Korea for decades before the split. China could have colonialized parts of Europe but they had their own civil wars to worry about blablabla you should stick to blogging about science.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05439450941327856701 callingnew

    “The Unconquered World” Bit of a joke, no? Got to get out of that eurocentric ghetto boyo. Maybe do a bit of overseas travel. Another “liberal” education victim.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    Anonymous #1: That's a very good point. Iran is off the list.

    Aporia: For 6 years they were occupied and controlled by the USA which I'm counting as a European power for these purposes. According to the Japanese Instrument of Surrender “The authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the State shall be subject to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers”

    I agree it's a grey area but I think it's very hard to see it as a sovereign state from 1945-51.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    Anonymous: Yes it is arbitrary to only include European empires. Which becomes apparant when you ask “What counts as a European empire?” (I counted the USSR but not the Ottomans, but you could argue with both of those.)

    But that's the arbitrary decision behind this map. I have no interest & no agenda about whether white European imperialism is better or worse or different to any other kind or whether Postcolonial Studies is pomo nonsense or not. I'm just interested in the historical facts.

    callingnew: Not a joke, just a catchy title.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05660407099521700995 petrossa

    You have not defined 'European' as such this is all moot.

    European, continent or European as in Europe.

    Russia is European and from there they did a good lot of chinese invading and occupying.

    And what is China anyway? Didn't exist till Emperor Chin unified a territory.

    Pretty vague for a scientist ;)

  • Anonymous

    I like how Anonymous 2 and callingnew couldn't even be bothered to read what probably is the shortest post on this blog. It's in the FIRST sentence: “controlled by a European power”.

    How does Japan colonizing Korea change that?

    By the way, are you about to introduce ads, and wanted to inflate your reader base as much as possible by writing on an inflammatory topic? :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08897374407990627879 Tardigrade

    Bhutan.

    Possibly Nepal.

    Thailand?
    “Much later, the European colonial powers threatened in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but Thailand survived as the only Southeast Asian state to avoid European colonial rule. – Wikipedia”

  • Ivana Fulli MD

    Interesting post Neuroskeptic since we need to think about respecting different cultures and learning from them in every fields.

    And what about which countries resisted to the Big Pharma friendly DSMs overmedication of being human?

    I read that Greece health budget deficit is phenomenal.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08897374407990627879 Tardigrade

    My bad. While trying over a dozen times to get past the captcha I missed that you already had Thailand.

  • omg

    Germany and Japan were allies. Germany under the Weimar Republic tried to “colonialize” the whole world. Europe as a political conglomerate didn't exist until recently. So it just seems ignorent or ill-informed to suggest Europe couldn't conquer China or some nonsense like that. Germany under Hitler “colonialized” France, Hungary and most of Europe and did try to colonialize China working with Japan – Nanking rape – one of the dirtiest genocides in history. NS, please do a crash course on history before speculating nonsense.

  • omg

    Correction: Nanking rape was Japanese colonialism. Germany and Japan did Pearl Harbour. I got mixed up from the Kigali genocide memorial I went for some prime minister years ago. Reoccuring theme etched in my mind was Hitler and Japan.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    omg: I never said European powers couldn't take over China, I just said that they in fact didn't. I'm just trying to get the facts straight.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16081043545665083189 king abdaoe

    Thanks very possible, please visit my humble blog

    ?????4????

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13114257724762074636 Barkley Rosser

    Liberia not listed. Taken over by former slaves from the US, but independent under their rule, and they were certainly not Europeans.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10902549819721668804 Andy Olson

    Mongolia's government was essentially Soviet-controlled for much of the 20th century.

  • jean

    If you count Japan, then you have to count Korea. The North was occupied by Russians and the South by USA at the end of World War II.

  • Anonymous

    China was defeated by the Anglo-French during the Opium War, and forced to cede territory and alter policy. Whether this counts depends on how extensive a definition of “control” you go by.

  • improbable

    I guess it all comes down to definitions, but I don't think anyone normally counts Japan as having been an American colony. Certainly opened by force. Certainly occupied. But not a colony.

    Ethiopia proudly proclaims that it was not colonised, but it was certainly occupied, for about as long as Japan was.

    Afganistan, occupied but not colonised, right? Ah then I saw the comment… but it doesn't seem very useful to think of the europeans of Alexander's time in the same breath as the +-19thC ones. And if the Ottoman empire is not considered European, then doesn't Turkey count too?

    Nepal & Bhutan, as mentioned. Liberia.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04734112325437054218 Tulgaa

    @Andy Olson: Soviets had influence on most socialist country governments, and Mongolia was far from controlled, not to mention colonized.

    Also, Mongolia is the only country in history to colonize these unconquered countries (China, Korea, Thailand, but not Saudi Arabia), as well as Russia and large part of Europe.

  • DS

    Has Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan ever colonized?

    But the bogeyman is reported to have been spotted in those countries. Maybe the bogeyman prefers to live in non-imperialist countries? Isn't that odd?

  • Anonymous

    FYI, what is modern day Eritrea–which used to be a province of Ethiopia–was the territory that was occupied by Italy. The capital city of Ethiopia has never been colonized or occupied…if you want to get technical.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    Hmm, lots of good points here.

    Liberia: I think should count as an American… erm, not a colony or protectorate clearly but… creation? It wouldn't have existed without “settlers” from the USA, even if they weren't acting on behalf of their government.

    China: “China was defeated by the Anglo-French during the Opium War, and forced to cede territory and alter policy.” Right, but it remained sovereign. Sovereign states are always forcing things from each other through war, in the Franco-Prussian War for example, Prussia forced France into concessions but it was still France afterwards.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    jean: “If you count Japan, then you have to count Korea. The North was occupied by Russians and the South by USA at the end of World War II.”

    Good point. Maybe Japan and Korea (and Afghanistan?) need a category of their own…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10902549819721668804 Andy Olson

    @Tulgaa
    Soviet influence was enough in Mongolia that tens of thousands of Mongolians were purged during Stalin's purges. I think that probably counts.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    Maybe Mongolia should count… Then we'd be down to China, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia.

    But I think I missed Nepal and Bhutan who were British-influenced but never annexed.

  • Anonymous

    Afghanistan is not a country.

  • Kevin

    TONGA!

  • Anonymous

    Ethiopia is larger than Texas. How many Italian troops were in Ethiopia? How many Ethiopians even noticed that they had been conquered? The conquest of Ethiopia was a joke.

  • Anonymous

    It's ridiculous to speak of Alexander conquering Turkey. There were no ethnic Turks, Osmanli or otherwise in Anatolia at the time of Alexander. Turkey didn't exist then.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07405787771198956545 Ralph Hitchens

    All of Korea was conquered/colonized by Japan, starting in the 1890s I believe (after Japan defeated China). Not European, but Japan had certainly been engaged in a great rush to “Europeanize” during the previous four decades.

  • Anonymous

    Tonga!!!

  • Anonymous

    Tibet has never been colonized by Europeans, although it has been occupied and colonized by Imperial China for the last 60 years.

    Fiji was a protectorate at one point but was never colonized by Europeans.

    Greenland is a protectorate of Denmark, but the only European colony was brief, long ago and didn't displace or affect any native peoples.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    Re: Turkey (and Iran/Persia) on second thoughts I think the fact that they were only conquered by Alexander makes them a special case because that's not what we normally mean by the term “imperialism” (or “European” really).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06251303782979227488 Aporia

    'China: “China was defeated by the Anglo-French during the Opium War, and forced to cede territory and alter policy.” Right, but it remained sovereign. Sovereign states are always forcing things from each other through war, in the Franco-Prussian War for example, Prussia forced France into concessions but it was still France afterwards. '
    Yet, Japan still counts? It was simply the terms of peace. Surely, China would get knocked off for the Yihetuan Movement if Japan counts.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    I'm counting protectorates.

    For the purposes of this discussion, because it makes things simpler, Tibet and Taiwan are part of “China”. I'm not saying they really are, I'm not saying they should be, but that's not something I want to get into in this post.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04734112325437054218 Tulgaa

    Andy Olson, Neuroskeptic: I really don't see how purging can be interpreted as controlling or colonization. Yes they had influence (to reiterate, just as they have influence on North Korea, Poland until 90s etc), but it's not like Russians came to Mongolia to conquer or pressurized Mongolia in any way.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12954218534813623123 Aloof Guy

    Your criteria of “conquered by Europeans” sucks.

    China was wholly conquered by the Mongols. And it stuck in their psyche. Also, the Manchus were generally viewed by the Chinese as a foreign dynasty.

    If Japan's surrender to the US counts, then Mongolia being overwhelmed by the Soviets has to count. Again, you're just using shitty criteria.

    Thailand is probably the closest to an unconquered country, but, again, you have to not count their conquest by Japan in the 40s or their time as a US satellite state during the Cold War.

    How the Turkish occupation of Saudi Arabia doesn';t count I'll never know. Turkey has long posited itself as a European nation. That or it just decided to get the shit kicked out of it for no good reason during WWI.

    All around, one of the dumber articles I've read in a long time.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10902549819721668804 Andy Olson

    @Tulgaa

    From various Wikipedia articles:

    “In the 1980s, an estimated 55,000 Soviet troops were based in Mongolia.”

    “In 1928, Stalin ordered the collectivization of Mongolian agriculture.”

    “In 1936, Stalin then ordered the liquidation of the country's Buddhist institutions.”

    Consider also that modern Mongolian is written primarily in Cyrillic.

    Consider also this articule, which refers to Mongolia as having a “neocolonial status.” http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-02-09/news/9001120123_1_soviet-republics-sino-soviet-soviet-garrison

    Here's another article: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2642142.

    Dude, if protectorates count, this TOTALLY counts.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04734112325437054218 Tulgaa

    Andy Olson: Arguing about something you don't know citing Wikipedia? Hmmm.

    In the 1980s, an estimated 55,000 Soviet troops were based in Mongolia.
    Currently, there are many countries around the world (SKorea, Pakistan…) hosting US troops.

    “In 1928, Stalin ordered the collectivization of Mongolian agriculture… In 1936, Stalin then ordered the liquidation of the country's Buddhist institutions.”
    Your take here is the word “ordered”, isn't it? It can mean Stalin gave an order to his men, which in turn went to Mongolia to “advise” such actions using its influence.

    Consider also that modern Mongolian is written primarily in Cyrillic.
    Well old mongolian letters needed to be replaced, and Mongolia used latin letters for a while, and then switched to cyrillic.

    Consider also this articule (sic), which refers to Mongolia as having a “neocolonial status.”
    That's just a word reporter chose.

    Here's another article: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2642142
    This article mentions “Soviet-Mongolian Treaty of Friendship” in its first page. USSR and Mongolia called each others “brother”, had close ties, and yes USSR had some influence in Mongolia, but Mongolians always saw itself as an independent nation and Russians saw
    Mongolia as an independent nation too.

    West doesn't know much about Mongolia because Mongolia was pretty much closed until 2000s, hence it's no wonder you see some odd references to Mongolia. In either case, arguments you supplied were very poor.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04734112325437054218 Tulgaa

    Andy Olson, Neuroskeptic: By the way, there's a list of protectorates in Wikipedia, which doesn't mention Mongolia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protectorate

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10902549819721668804 Andy Olson

    @Tulgaa

    You're right that I'm not a Mongolia expert, but I am a Soviet Union expert and that's what I'm working with here. I could cite you may additional sources that would be useless to you because you, presumably, don't speak Russian.

    Anyway, here's some from the Library of Congress:
    “The challenge for Mongolia's foreign policy makers was to comply with Soviet initiatives, about which they had little choice, but to do so in a manner that suggested that Mongolia was acting as an independent country, shaping a foreign policy that served its national interests.”

  • Anonymous

    China should count as colonized not just because they lost the opium wars, but because they did not in fact retain their sovereignty as so many of you are saying. In fact, extraterritoriality applied to the Europeans, but not the Chinese. So to more accurately say “the Chinese retained sovereign power over their own people but were not authorized to arrest or exert power over europeans within their territory” really shows that they were colonized but the europeans didn't care to extract as much as they had from other countries. It should count.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00882380444757084193 HARSHA VARDHAN

    superb data and a great thought .

  • Anonymous

    Is this the most commented on post ever????

  • Anonymous

    Tonga.

  • Anonymous

    Your observation about what is now Saudi Arabia is right and not well-known, but needs some qualification. There are remains of Turkish forts in the Eastern Province and in Taif and Jeddah. But the Ottomans never bothered attempting to control the central area, the Nejd. This is an important distinction to the Saudis because they say it's the Nejd that that represents the untouched centrality of Arabness.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01765454902750138047 Kevin

    I'm sorry, but a couple of these guys are right. Tonga was the only Pacific island not to be colonised.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    OK, I'm working on Tonga in the new version. Thanks for the comments.

    “Is this the most commented on post ever????” – Not quite, but I think it's second place to this one with 77. IIRC.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    OK I've updated the map to show the special status of Alexander's conquests and Japan / Korea. And I've added Bhutan and Nepal to the main list.

    Mongolia, I'm going to keep on the list. The important thing is whether it was formally sovereign. Informal Soviet (or other) pressure isn't what I had in mind when I made this list.

    Tonga, was never colonized but it was a British protectorate and in the original post I said protectorates are off the list. But I may make a “protectorate only” list in future.

    How many other similar cases are there?

  • Anonymous

    Some stuff west of the thirteen colonies was never under British or Spanish rule.

    Americans are not Europeans…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    For the purposes of this post they are.

  • Anonymous

    You're forgetting that Japan was a colonial power from 1895 until 1945: Korea for 40 years; Taiwan for 50 years; and Northern China(Manchuria) for 30 years.

    So Korea and Taiwan should definitely not be on this list.

    Japan went on to occupy large swathes of the rest of China during the 30s. See the wikipedia entry on Manchukuo for a nice map.

    Meanwhile the significant economic centers of China were European colonies: Hong Kong and Shanghai.

    Not sure how much independence China really had after this.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10943250575588381082 andres

    From the Russian revolution until 1991, Mongolia was virtually a Russian colony. During the Soviet purges, Stalin even have some of their leaders executed in Russia.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05458251089528837121 Unknown

    Most of the criticisms I would have made have already been made by others so I won't repeat them.

    However.

    While “Turkey”, the nation-state currently occupying Anatolia which succeeded the Ottoman Empire has never been conquered (though the Greeks made a good try in 1919-1920), Anatolia itself has been under “European” “occupation” (using both those terms in the rather broad sense they seem to be used in your post) since the Romans conquered them. Anatolia, in particular, was the breadbasket and main source of manpower and tax revenue for the “Byzantine Empire” (that is, what was left of the Roman Empire after 476) until they managed to blow it all in 1071.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    unknown: Good point. Turkey is a unique case, really.

  • Ivana Fulli MD

    omg,

    ///you should stick to blogging about science.

    16 February 2012 03:21///

    I enjoy your comments on science -with very few exceptions because it is boring to read only ” technical comments” or whatever on NSK's posts and you never know where ideas comes from.

    For the same reasons I enjoy NSK's too rare out of “business as usual posts.

    This was inspiring-to me at least.

    Plus, can you imagine how many people will have discover NSK on that post and get interesting in his usual stuff?

  • omg

    Ivana, true.

    NS – aight.

    This site should answer your geography queries..

    http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/

    /maps/historical/shepherd/colonial_dominion_1700_1763.jpg

    /maps/historical/colbeck/world_1772.jpg

    /maps/historical/ward_1912/world_1910.jpg

    /maps/historical/nato_1970.jpg

    /maps/historical/uscda_1970.jpg

    /maps/historical/ward_1912.html

    /maps/historical/ward_1912/chinese_empire_1910.jpg

    /maps/historical/history_shepherd_1923.html

    Ethiopia had Haile Selassie. The man has JAAAHH followers all over the world. One view is neo-imperialists target leaders. A puppet is easier to impose on a newly enforced democracy than sparking small wars.

  • omg

    Also, partly why China was not that targeted, apart from the fact they had bigger monarchies and defence capabilities than France etc. was because they lacked shipping ports to smuggle out resources. Still have that problem today. They struggle to ship stuff in and out like oil which constrains their capacity to expand economically.

  • 2buns

    to omg: could you elaborate on evidence supporting on your view “they lacked shipping ports to smuggle out resources. Still have that problem today.”
    I'm curious thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Trying to bring this issue back to the topic of this blog: Is there any evidence that the unconquered lands have a lower or higher incidence of mental illness?

  • Reactionary_Konkvistador

    Liberia. Ethiopia makes the list if you discount the short Italian occupation.

  • Anonymous

    Iran has been controlled by outside powers much more recently than Alexander's day. If we're including Mongolia as having been colonized because its government took marching orders from the Soviet Union, then we must acknowledge the control that first the British and then the Americans wielded over Iran's government up until 1979. In fact, China would be in much the same boat, since from roughly the Opium Wars until 1948 anything that passed for a national government found itself forced to take orders from outside powers.

  • omg

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • omg

    Evidence ? China's port struggles are a known fact. Govts are not scholars, they're not gonna constipate metaphysics of why what how or run brain scans for consolidating evidence, here's something [this site also has those colony maps – Neo's recent epiphany]:

    lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/china_military_power_2008

    [you need to put www before lib and .pdf after 2008]

    On the subject of constipated academics I noticed they don't care about their industry accountability. Take for example Elsevier – arms dealers – holding firms in the Middle East to offshores. Yet a mere publisher for academics. How is it the Guardian, the New York Times uphold duties towards readers as in avoid blood activities whereas Elsevier bathe in blood ? Do scholars condone children in developing countries carrying guns or is it just one helova f up relationship with publishers – top dog Elsevier using and abusing readers + contributors because they can. What need would a publisher have in hiring govt think tanks, big pharma lobbyists, brunch with public officials, contributing to Republican campaigns, introducing a bill to enslave scholars into submission ? If this was a publisher serving the general public they'd be in prison by now, but aside from a handful, academics don't care. How sad.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    Reactionary_Konkvistador: I'm not counting Liberia because it was founded as kind of unofficial US colony, and even the short occupation of Ethiopia rules it out (otherwise you could start arguing about other places that were only briefly occupied.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11323216050300630970 Gary Arndt

    China was conquered by the Mongolians and most recently by the Japanese. Likewise, the Japanese controlled Korea for decades.

    Why do European conquests count but not Asian conquests??

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02537151821869153861 Andrew Oh-Willeke

    IIRC, the arrangement by which the various Middle Eastern monarchies secured their legitimate international status as successors to the Ottoman Empire and the boundaries of the successor states were brokered by European powers, particularly the British.

    The Opium wars came immediately to mind for China, as did territorial concessions at selected ports. And, Mongolian rule there was from an empire that extended into the fringes of Europe.

    I didn't recall Thai colonization.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Neuro: A new record has been established as for comments on your blog! Congratulations!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    Gary Arndt: Just because this is a post about European conquests. It's arbitrary, I quite agree. But “How close did Europe come to ruling the whole world?” is the question that I found myself asking.

    Ultimately, everywhere is a colony of the spot in Africa where Homo sapiens first evolved. And more recently, pretty much every country has been conquered by other countries many times over; but in this post I'm looking at European ones.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02789749748256219627 Vince

    It is a bit disingenuous to leave out the Ottoman Empire, since they were part and parcel of the European state system and were formally recognised as a European state after the Crimean War (they were the “sick man _of Europe_”). The Ottomans considered themselves to be the latest incarnation of the Roman Empire, and this is why they moved their capital to Constantinople.

    Whether Russia should be considered European is a matter of fierce debate, and many Russians and Western scholars reject the identification.

    Mongolia was a formal Russian protectorate for some time.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    Vince: Yeah, the 'sick man of Europe' quote was something I was worrying over. Ultimately it's subjective (“What is Europe?”) but I don't think many people would classify Turkey today as “a European country”, yet it was the heart of the Ottoman Empire, and it hasn't exactly got less European since then… if you see my point. And again, when we talk of the Age of European Empires, we mean British French Spanish, not Ottoman. But yet is it subjective.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    Actually thinking about it, it did get less European in one sense, when they kicked the Greeks out etc.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps “European” in the sense used here should be viewed as “culturally or linguistically influenced by classic Greece including said influence via Rome.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06647064768789308157 Neuroskeptic

    But that certainly would include the Ottomans.

    My feeling is that what we mean by “Europe”, in the modern sense, is roughly “Christendom” in the mediaeval sense, but also extrapolated back to before Christianity to include the Greeks and Romans and some (but not all) of the people they influenced.

    Which is an interesting thing in itself.

  • http://www.priceperheadcostarica.com/ pay per head

    I really love this post. Its really a great information in this blog. Keep it up.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10327618122473258214 mukut

    persia is the old name of iran

  • s.o.

    Concerning Turkey, at the end of the WW1, Constantinapolis (capital of OE) was occupied by the British dudes up there, most of the Anatolia was also occupied by other European nations until the Turkish-Greek war, where Greeks failed miserably (mainly because of their lack of military know-how, plus their over-ambitiousness e.g. they entered inside the Anatolian land far too much)… So between the dissolution of Ottoman Empire and the birth of Turkey, the sovereignty was not natively implemented.

    If you consider Budapest or Belgrade as European cities, they were under Ottoman control for over 4 centuries. In the balkans there were many important Ottoman towns, where actually the Ottoman Intelligentsia came from. Anatolia never provided that power to the Ottoman Bureaucracy. So yes Ottomans were Europeans to my opinion. Furthermore, OE was considered officially an European power (as pointed in a comment) following the Krimean war. For the British soldiers that were injured during this war, was erected a church in Istanbul, the Krimean Church, visible around the Galata tower. If you want to make an historian believe that Ottoman Empire was not an “European Power”, in the strictest sense, you will a have time I would say.

    Last, the ethnic origins of the dynasties that reigned a given geography is also of importance. Persia was never occupied but for long and long times non-persian dynasties were controlling persian lands…

    I am sorry but I cannot agree less with one of the buddies down there, “All around, one of the dumber articles I&#039ve read in a long time.” Please keep writing neuro articles, no geo-politics please.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Neuroskeptic

No brain. No gain.

About Neuroskeptic

Neuroskeptic is a British neuroscientist who takes a skeptical look at his own field, and beyond. His blog offers a look at the latest developments in neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology through a critical lens.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

@Neuro_Skeptic on Twitter

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »