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A Brief History of International Relations

The World Made Easy

Kathleen Brush

The world does not need to be complex and confusing. It can be made simpler so that the business, political, social, and economic implications of global news briefs beaming across televisions and electronic devices can be easily grasped. Key to this is knowing that a five-hundred-year competition for global supremacy between the Chinese, European, Islamic, and Russian empires only ended in 1945. When it did, the world had 57 independent nations. After all empires were dissolved in 1991, there were 193, and each nation carried histories of empires in the form of conquest, religions followed, languages practiced, diversified populations, repressive rule, and histories of discrimination. A Brief History of International Relations: The World Made Easy explores this history of global conflict to contextualize and simplify the often perplexing relations between nations and empires.

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The Aftermaths of Empire—An Introduction


The competition for global supremacy had many world-altering aftermaths. Organized religions were permeated across the globe, there were alterations in population diversity and patterns of discrimination, empire languages proliferated, empire political systems became familiar, many victorious winners and vanquished losers were produced, intergovernmental organizations were created, and a foundation was laid for the revival of historical global powers. Aftermaths made forgetting the Era of Empire impossible.

When the Era of Empire began the four major organized religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam were established on 2¼ continents. When it ended, they were present on all six inhabited continents.

The empires operated like giant population mixers and changed the world from collections of homogenous to heterogeneous populations. They also stratified these increasingly diverse populations, institutionalizing discrimination against select populations.

In all the empires, but those in Europe, political systems were hereditary, autocratic, and greatly overlapped church and state until the end. Europe’s were that way until near the end. The Era of Empire’s made autocratic rule ← 49 | 50 → familiar. In 1453 the world was a tower of babel, in 1945 most people spoke one of nine empire languages as a first or second language.

The empires weren’t in the business of preparing colonies for independence. In the closing years of the era, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) were created to facilitate nation-building and an environment of ongoing stability. This included the United Nations (UN), IMF, and the World Bank.

When the...

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