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ERIC Number: ED443775
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Seeing European History from the Outside In.
Gillis, John R.
In global history courses and in western civilization courses Europe might be better treated as a subcontinent or, better yet, as a coastal, peninsular, or even insular phenomenon. This would be more consistent with both its geography and its history. H. J. Mackinder argued that until the 15th century Europe was powerfully shaped by repeated waves of invasion of nomads from the east. From 1500 to the mid-19th century, Europe was influenced less by what Mackinder called its continental heartland than by the seas. Beginning in 1500, Europe's geographical and historical frontiers shifted from east to west. W. P. Webb argued that the frontiers of the Americas were responsible for many of the developments previously attributed to internal European causes. Students should be introduced to the vast advantage that water held over land transport until the coming of the railway in the 19th century. The development of plantation economies was largely a coastal and insular enterprise, with African slaves as the chief source of labor. The loss of the control of U.S. coasts and islands by 1820 had a revolutionary effect on European economies. European capitalism had no choice but to move from a commercial to an industrial enterprise. In the 19th century Europeans became true migrants, giving up their ancient diasporic habits for a one-way passage. The age of continents, the most powerful challenge to the 20th century, has come from the globalization of capitalism itself, which has gone "offshore," defying the boundaries of both continents and nation states. (Contains 26 endnotes.) (BT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A