It’s just over a month since a family emergency called me away from the work I had been doing, posting a daily-per-year bulletin here to track the world-historical developments of each of the 500 years since 1520 CE. Such family-crisis interruptions can be very disorienting. But I’ve reached an age/stage in my life where I’ve weathered enough of them to understand that I have the resilience to be able to return to my work afterwards. …


Hi everyone. Last Thursday, June 24, I published the 176th daily bulletin in this project, which covered the year 1695 CE. I had anyway been planning a pause when I reached 1700 CE, but a family emergency called me away from my work so I put the project’s daily bulletins on hold as of last Friday. The next few weeks will, quite predictably, be busy ones for me family-wise, so I shan’t be planning to resume the project any time before mid-August; and even then, I am not yet sure what form my work on it will take. I may…


Depiction of “Jack Avery” plundering the “Great Mogul” on an early 20th-century British, or American, cigarette card

The biggest news of 1695 CE was the capture by a small English pirate flotilla in the Bab al-Mandeb strait of a heavily laden Mughal treasure ship returning to Surat from the Hajj. This event, which seems to have been very well documented from several points of view, including a fairly authoritative Indian one, illustrates numerous facets of the role that piratic looting played in the building of England’s global raiding/trading empire. …


Illustration of the founding of the Bank of England

There were several significant developments in 1694 CE. I shall look first at a couple of developments from southern Europe and the Mediterranean. Then we’ll go to England where 1694 saw the establishment of the Bank of England, the death of Queen Mary, and a couple other developments. Then we’ll go to Brazil, where the government finally suppressed the Qilombo dos Palmares, a significantly-sized community of people who had escaped slavery and of Indigenes and others, that had survived for nearly a century. …


A view of the Pondicherry waterfront in the late 18th century

1693 CE is a good year to look at the position of Louis XIV’s France both in Europe and in the worldwide battle the West European countries were waging as they built their global empires.


A well-known engraving of one of the witch-trials

So here we are, at 200 years after the fateful “contact” year of 1492 CE and all around the world there are developments that help illustrate the changes the coming of Western imperialism has made to the lives of hundreds of millions of people. So much to write about today!

I’ll keep the biggest story till last. Here’s the news budget for 1692:


An 1870 illustration of an auto-da-fé held in Seville

In 1691 CE, The Spanish and Portuguse conquistadores, adventurers, and- especially- the various Catholic religious orders continued to pursue their various genocidal settler-colonial projects in the Americas and the East Indies. English, Dutch, French, and Spanish plantation owners in the Caribbean continued to import and exploit enslaved laborers to generate their hyper-profits for investors back “home” in Europe… It was slavery-accelerated settler-colonial business as usual in the world created by the West European empires. And back in their home-continent, as also to a lesser degree worldwide, the empires continued to fight harshly against each other for some marginal comparative advantage…


Early 19th-century engraving of the Battle of Beachy Head by De Gudin

Lots happening in 1690 CE! All the above-listed items, plus the founding of Barclays Bank (which merits a short notice here, for reasons that will become clear.)

First, let’s go to India.

EIC grovels to Aurangzeb, founds Calcutta

In yesterday’s post, I noted that the intervention of the local Muslim navy that Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had hired to take on the English East India Company (EIC), had done so successfully, forcing the EIC to its knees. Well, literally so, according to this French engraving that showed EIC head Josiah Child groveling before Aurangzeb and begging his forgiveness (see image):


People signing Jacob Leisler’s Declaration in New York

1689 was another big year in the (always violent) development of the 4.5 globe-circling empires whose home-countries lined the mid-Atlantic coast of Europe. The “0.5” there is France, whose aspirations to build a globe-circling empire have not yet been as well fulfilled as those of the “Big Four”, namely Portugal, Spain, England, and the Dutch United Provinces. But though France was the weakling among these powers at the global level, on the home continent of Europe it had emerged over the preceding 10–15 years as the single most powerful actor, one that controlled a relatively large chunk of real estate…


Detail from a 1703 engraving of William and Mary

1688 CE was a huge year in the history of “the big 4 (or 4.5)” of the Western imperialisms- being in order of empire-building Portugal, Spain, England, the Dutch UPs, with France being the 0.5 at the end.

These things happened:

  • The Stadtholder of Holland, William III of Orange, invaded England (ostensibly at the invitation of seven key members of the Anglican elite) and effectively ousted the very Catholic King James II who was both his father-in-law and his uncle, though the story put about was that James had “abandoned” his Crown. (He went to France.) …

Helena Cobban

Veteran analyst of global affairs, with a focus on the Middle East. Senior Fellow, Ctr for International Policy. Fuller bio at my Wikipedia page.

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