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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 13. Language: Aftermaths of Empire


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Aftermaths of Empire

Before the Era of Empire, a tower of babel was alive and well. Afterward, there were nine languages collectively connecting most nations, minimally at the official level.

With the English language, the British Empire connected most people from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, eleven of Oceania’s twelve nations,1 and the twelve nations of ESNA. The connectivity provided by English in the region of ESNA geographically stops at the Mexican border. But, language connectivity with Spanish resumes south of the border.

In Latam, eighteen out of twenty-three countries use the language of the Spanish Empire’s motherland as a national language. Similar to Spanish, Portuguese, the official language of the Portuguese Empire is spoken in the region’s most populous country Brazil. The only countries in Latam not connected by language are the handful colonized by Britain, France, or the Netherlands where the national languages are English, French, and Dutch respectively.

With minor exceptions, empires in Europe did not mandate the use of their languages,2 and there are almost as many national languages as nations. When nations were economically isolated, this did not create communication challenges. When trade began increasing, coincident with industrial revolutions, polities in Europe started mandating or encouraging students to learn ← 121 | 122 → multiple languages in school. In the 19th century, for example, the Netherlands made Dutch, English, French, and German compulsory languages in secondary school.i


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