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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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Chapter 9. Increasing Diversity and Discrimination: Aftermaths of Empire


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Aftermaths of Empire

The diversifying of populations counts among the most expansive and enduring empire aftermaths. When the era commenced, the world was composed of homogenous indigenous societies. Homogeneity was maintained by cultural practices, basic modes of transport, and laws that encouraged people to find marriage partners, raise their families, and attend religious services in their communities. It was a formula for eliminating religious and ethnic diversity and discrimination. When the era ended the world consisted of heterogeneous societies where discrimination was prevalent.

During the Era of Empire diversity skyrocketed from the conquest and annexation of lands and diverse people, and tens of millions freely or forcibly traveling to foreign lands to escape religious persecution, for reasons of government security or policy,1 to work, or serve prison sentences. In some colonies, populations became overt composites of descendants from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

Many populations suffered terribly from the discriminatory practices of the empires, but for slaves from Africa, New World indigenous populations, and the Jewish people the outcomes measurably increased or decreased their presence in parts of the world. There were though many populations that experienced the very worst of discriminatory practices: massacres, expulsions, ← 71 | 72 → forced emigration, slavery, indentured servitude that resembled slavery, genocides, population transport, and ethnic cleansing.

Enslaving conquered people following wars of conquest was a traditional behavior throughout history.2 It counts among history’s...

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