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Write a 5-7 page paper (double spaced, 12 point font, standard margins) on one of the following topics. Your title page and bibliography (and any other pages that are not writing) do not count towards the page count. Please cite all your sources, with an accepted citational standard of your choice. For sources, you may only use:
- Readings assigned in class.
- Other writing by authors assigned in class.
- Sources which address the exact same topic as readings assigned in class (e.g. West African deindustrialization; gender roles in Iriquois Confederacy, etc.).
- Discuss the outlines of the emergence of the mercantilist system. Using several examples, what role did violence play in forging the expansion of mercantilist relations across the globe? What role did voluntary exchange play in other parts of the system? Using examples from three different continents, discuss how the expansion of market relations drastically transformed social relations. Finally, discuss how mercantilist accumulation opened up possibilities for industrial capitalist accumulation, and what processes enabled that.
- Describe the Great Divergence (or Reversal of Fortune) that took place in the world from around 1500 to around 1850, both in terms of average incomes as well as outlines of changes in mode of production. In terms of national incomes and wealth, how did Europe jump ahead of Asia, Africa, and the Americas? Two broad schools of thought seek to explain the Great Divergence, which we have termed ‘culturalist’ and ‘world systems throught’ explanations. Describe the main ideas of each. What’s at stake with these theories? Which one makes more sense to you, and why?
Write a 5-7 page paper (double spaced, 12 point font, standard margins) on one of the following topics. Your title page and bibliography (and any other pages that are not writing) do not count towards
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Walter Rodney 1973 How Europe Underdeveloped Africa Published by: Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications, London and Tanzanian Publishing House, Dar-Es-Salaam 1973, Transcript from 6th reprint, 1983; Transcribed: by Joaquin Arriola. To Pat, Muthoni, Mashaka and the extended family Contents Preface Chapter One. Some Questions on Development 1.1 What is Development 1.2 What is Underdevelopment? Chapter Two. How Africa Developed Before the Coming of the Europeans up to the 15th Century http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/index.ht m (1 of 3) [8/22/05 11:01:42 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 2.1 General Over-View 2.2 Concrete Examples Chapter Three. Africa’s Contribution to European Capitalist Development — the Pre-Colonial Period 3.1 How Europe Became the Dominant Section of a World- Wide Trade System 3.2 Africa’s contribution to the economy and beliefs of early capitalist Europe Chapter Four. Europe and the Roots of African Underdevelopment — to 1885 4.1 The European Slave Trade as a Basic Factor in African Underdevelopment 4.2 Technological Stagnation and Distortion of the African Economy in the Pre-Colonial Epoch 4.3 Continuing Politico-Military Developments in Africa — 1500 to 1885 Chapter Five. Africa’s Contribution to the Capitalist Development of Europe — the Colonial Period 5.1 Expatriation of African Surplus Under Colonialism http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/index.ht m (2 of 3) [8/22/05 11:01:42 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 5.2 The Strengthening of Technological and Military Aspects of Capitalism Chapter Six. Colonialism as a System for Underdeveloping Africa 6.1 The Supposed Benefits of Colonialism to Africa 6.2 Negative Character of the Social, Political and Economic Consequences 6.3 Education for Underdevelopment 6.4 Development by Contradiction Walter Rodney Archive | Marxism & Anti-Imperialism in Africa http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/index.ht m (3 of 3) [8/22/05 11:01:42 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Chapter Four. Europe and the Roots of African Underdevelopment — to 1885 ‘The relation between the degree of destitution of peoples of Africa and the length and nature of the exploitation they had to endure is evident. Africa remains marked by the crimes of the slave-traders: up to now, her potentialities are restricted by under-population.’ Ahmed Sekou Toure, Republic of Guinea, 1962 4.1 The European Slave Trade as a Basic Factor in African Underdevelopment To discuss trade between Africans and Europeans in the four centuries before colonial rule is virtually to discuss slave trade. Strictly speak ing, the African only became a slave when he reached a society where he worked as a slave. Before that, he was first a free man and then a captive. Nevertheless, it is acceptable to talk about the trade in slave s to refer to the shipment of captives from Africa to various other parts of the world where they were to live and work as the property of Europeans. The title of this section is deliberately chosen to call attention to the fact that the shipments were all by Europeans to market s controlled by Europeans, and this was in the interest of European capitalism and nothing else. In East Africa and the Sudan, many http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (1 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Africans were taken by Arabs and were sold to Arab buyers. This is known (in European books) as the ‘Arab Slave Trade’. Therefore, let it be clear that when Europeans shipped Africans to European buyers it was the ‘European Slave trade’ from Africa. Undoubtedly, with few exceptions such as Hawkins, European buyers purchased African captives on the coasts of Africa and the transaction between themselves and Africans was a form of trade. It is also true tha t very often a captive was sold and resold as he made his way from the interior to the port of embarkation — and that too was form of trade. However, on the whole, the process by which captives were obtained on African soil was not trade at all. It was through warfare, trickery, banditry and kidnapping. When one tries to measure the effect of European slave trading on the African continent, it is very essential to realise that one is measuring the effect of social violence rather than trade in any normal sense of the word. Many things remain uncertain about the slave trade and its consequences for Africa, but the general picture of destructiveness is clear, and that destructiveness can be shown to be the logical consequence of the manner of recruitment of captives in Africa. One of the uncertainties concerns the basic question of how many Africans were imported. This has long been an object of speculation, with estimates ranging from a few millions to over one hundred million. A recent study has suggested a figure of about ten million Africans landed alive in the Americas, the Atlantic islands and Europe. Because it is a low figure, it is already being used by European scholars who are http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (2 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 apologists for the capitalist system and its long record of brutality in Europe and abroad. In order to white-wash the European slave trade, they find it convenient to start by minimising the numbers concerned. The truth is that any figure of Africans imported into the Americas which is narrowly based on the surviving records is bound to be low, because there were so many people at the time who had a vested interest in smuggling slaves (and withholding data). Nevertheless, if the low figure of ten million was accepted as a basis for evaluating the impact of slaving on Africa as a whole, the conclusions that could legitimately be drawn would confound those who attempt to make light of the experience of the rape of Africans from 1445 to 1870. On any basic figure of Africans landed alive in the Americas, one would have to make several extensions — starting with a calculation t o cover mortality in transhipment. The Atlantic crossing or ‘Middle Passage’, as it was called by European slavers, was notorious for the number of deaths incurred, averaging in the vicinity of 15% to 20%. There were also numerous deaths in Africa between time of capture and time of embarkation, especially in cases where captives had to travel hundreds of miles to the coast. Most important of all (given that warfa re was the principal means of obtaining captives) it is necessary to make some estimate as to the number of people killed and injured so as to extract the millions who were taken alive and sound. The resultant figure would be many times the millions landed alive outside of Africa, and it is that figure which represents the number of Africans directly removed from the population and labour force of Africa because of the establishment of slave production by Europeans. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (3 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 The massive loss to the African labour force was made more critical because it was composed of able-bodied young men and young women. Slave buyers preferred their victims between the ages of 15 and 35, and preferably in the early twenties; the sex ratio being about two men to one woman. Europeans often accepted younger African children, but rarely any older person. They shipped the most healthy wherever possible, taking the trouble to get those who had already survived an attack of smallpox, and who were therefore immune from further attacks of that disease, which was then one of the world’s great kill er diseases. Absence of data about the size of Africa’s population in the 15th century makes it difficult to carry out any scientific assessment of the results of the population outflow. But, nothing suggests that there was any increase in the continent’s population over the centuries of slav ing, although that was the trend in other parts of the world. Obviously, fewe r babies were born than would otherwise have been the case if millions of child-bearing ages were not eliminated. Besides, it is essential to recognise that the slave trade across the Atlantic Ocean was not the onl y connection which Europeans had with slaving in Africa. The slave trade on the Indian Ocean has been called the ‘East African slave trade’ and the ‘Arab slave trade’ for so long that it hides the extent to whi ch it was also a European slave trade. When the slave trade from East Africa was at its height in the 18th century and in the early 19th century, the destination of most captives was the European-owned plantation economies of Mauritius, Réunion and Seychelles-as well as the Americas, via the Jape of Good Hope. Resides, Africans labouring as http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (4 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 slaves in certain Arab countries in the 18th and 19th centuries were all ultimately serving the European capitalist system which set up a demand for slave-grown products, such as the cloves grown — Zanzibar under the supervision of Arab masters. No one has been able to come up with a figure representing total losses to the African population sustained through the extraction of slave labour from all areas to all destinations over the many centuries that slave trade existed. However, on every other continent from the 15th century onwards, the population showed constant and sometimes spectacular natural increase; while it is striking that the same did not apply to Africa. One European scholar gave the following estimates of world population (in millions) according to continents: 1650 1750 1850 1900 Africa 100 100 100 120 Europe 103 144 274 423 Asia 257 437 656 857 None of the above figures are really precise, but they do indicate a consensus among researchers on population that the huge African continent has an abnormal record of stagnation in this respect, and ther e is no causative factor other than the trade in slaves to which attention can be drawn. An emphasis on population loss as such is highly relevant to the http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (5 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 question of socio-economic development. Population growth played a major role in European development in providing labour, markets, and the pressures which led to further advance. Japanese population growth had similar positive effects; and in other parts of Asia which remained pre-capitalist, the size of the population led to a much more intensive exploitation of the land than has ever been the case in what is still a sparsely-peopled African continent. So long as the population density was low, then human beings viewed as units of labour were far more important than other factors of production such as land. From one end of the continent to the other, it is easy to find examples that African people were conscious that population was in their circumstances the most important factor of production. Among the Bemba, for instance, numbers of subjects were held to be more important than land. Among the Shambala of Tanzania, the same feeling was expressed in the saying ‘a king is people’. A mong the Balanta of Guinea-Bissau, the family’s strength is represented by the number of hands there are to cultivate the land. Certainly, many African rulers acquiesced in the European slave trade for what they considered to be reasons of self-interest, but on no scale of rationalit y could the outflow of population be measured as being anything but disastrous for African societies. African economic activity was affected both directly and indirectly by population loss. For instance, when the inhabitants of a given area were reduced below a certain number in an environment where tsetse fly was present, the remaining few had to abandon the area. In effect, http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (6 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 enslavement was causing these people to lose their battle to tame and harness nature — a battle which is at the basis of development. Violence also meant insecurity. The opportunity presented by European slave dealers became the major (though not the only) stimulus for a great deal of social violence between different African communities and within any given community. It took the form more of raiding and kidnapping than of regular warfare, and that fact increased the element of fear and uncertainty. Both openly and by implication, all the European powers n the 19th century indicated their awareness of the fact that the activities connected with producing captives were inconsistent with other economic pursuits. That was the time when Britain in particular wanted Africans to collect palm produce and rubber and to grow agricultural crops for export in place of slaves; and it was clear that slave-raiding was violently conflicting with that objective in Western, Eastern and Central Africa. Long before that date, Europeans accepted that fact when their self-interest was involved. For example, in the 17th century, the Portuguese and Dutch actually discouraged slave trade on the ‘Gol d Coast’ for they recognised that it could be incompatible with gold tr ade. However, by the end of that century, gold had been discovered in Brazil, and the importance of gold supplies from Africa was lessened. Within the total Atlantic pattern, African slaves became more important than gold, and Brazilian gold was offered for African captives at Whydah (Dahomey) and Accra. At that point, slaving began undermining the ‘Gold Coast’ economy and destroying the gold trade . Slave-raiding and kidnapping made it unsafe to mine and to travel with http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (7 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 gold; and raiding for captives proved more profitable than gold-mining. One European on the scene noted that ‘as one fortunate marauding makes a native rich in a day, they therefore exert themselves rather in war, robbery and plunder than in their old business of digging and collecting gold’. The above changeover from gold-mining to slave-raiding took place within a period of a few years between 1700 and 1710, when the ‘Gold Coast’ came to supply about 5,000 to 6,000 captives per year. By the end of the 18th century, a much smaller number of captives were exported from the ‘Go1d Coast’, but the damage had already been do ne. It is worth noting that Europeans sought out different parts of West and Central Africa at different times to play the role of major suppliers of slaves to the Americas. This meant that virtually every section of the long western coastline between the Senegal and Cunene rivers had at least a few years experience of intensive trade in slaves — with all its consequences. Besides, in the history of Eastern Nigeria, the Congo, Northern Angola and Dahomey, there were periods extending over decades when exports remained at an average of many thousands per year. Most of those areas were also relatively highly developed within the African context. They were lead rig forces inside Africa, whose energies would otherwise have gone towards their own self- improvement and the betterment of the continent as a whole. The changeover to warlike activities and kidnapping must have affected all branches of economic activity, and agriculture in particular. Occasionally, in certain localities food production was increased to http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (8 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 provide supplies for slave ships, but the overall consequence of slaving on agricultural activities in Western, Eastern and Central Africa were negative. Labour was drawn off from agriculture and conditions became unsettled. Dahomey, which in the 16th century was known for exporting food to parts of what is now Togo, was suffering from famines in the 19th century. The present generation of Africans will readily recall that in the colonial period when able-bodied men left the ir homes as migrant labourers that upset the farming routine in the home districts and often caused famines. Slave trading after all, meant migration of labour in a manner one hundred times more brutal and disruptive. To achieve economic development, one essential condition is to make the maximum use of the country’s labour and natural resources. Usually, that demands peaceful conditions, but there have been times in history when social groups have grown stronger by raiding their neighbours for women, cattle and goods, because they then used the ‘booty’ from the raids for the benefit of their own community. Sla ving in Africa did not even have that redeeming value. Captives were shipped outside instead of being utilised within any given African community for creating wealth from nature. It was only as an accidental by-product that in some areas Africans who recruited captives for Europeans realised that they were better off keeping some captives for themselves. In any case, slaving prevented the remaining population from effectively engaging in agriculture and industry, and it employed professional slave hunters and warriors to destroy rather than build. Mite apart from the moral aspect and the immense suffering that it http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (9 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 caused, the European slave trade was economically totally irrational from the viewpoint of African development. For certain purposes, it is necessary to be more specific and to speak o f the trade in slaves not in general continent-wide terms but rather with reference to the varying impact on several regions. The relative intensity of slave-raiding in different areas is fairly well known. Some South African peoples were enslaved by the Boers and some North African Muslims by Christian Europeans, but those were minor episodes. The zones most notorious for human exports were, firstly, West Africa from Senegal to Angola along a belt extending about 200 miles inland and, secondly, that part of East Central Africa which today covers, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Northern Zambia and Eastern Congo. Furthermore, within each of those broad areas, finer distinctions can be drawn. It might therefore appear that slave trade did not adversely affect the development of some parts of Africa, simply because exports were non- existent or at a low level. However, the contention that European slave trade was an underdeveloping factor for the continent as a whole must be upheld, because it does not follow that an African district which did not trade with Europe was entirely free from whatever influences were exerted by Europe. European trade goods percolated into the deepest interior, and (more significantly) the orientation of large areas of t he continent towards human exports that other positive inter-actions were thereby ruled out. The above proposition may be more fully grasped by making some http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (10 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 comparisons. In any given economy, the various components reflect the well-being of others. Therefore, when there is depression in one sector, that depression invariably transfers itself to others to some extent. Similarly, when there is buoyancy in one sector then others benefit. Turning to biological sciences, it will be found that students of ecolog y recognise that a single change, such as the disappearance of a small species could trigger off negative or positive reactions in spheres that superficially appear unconnected. Parts of Africa left ‘free’ by e xport trends in captives must have been affected by the tremendous dislocation — in ways that are not easy to comprehend, because it is so much a question of what might have happened. Hypothetical questions such as ‘what might have happened if . . . ?’ sometimes lead to absurd speculations. But it is entirely legitimate and very necessary to ask ‘what might have happened in Barotseland (southern Zambia) if there were not generalised slave-trading across t he whole belt of central Africa which lay immediately north of Barotseland?’. ‘What would have happened in Buganda if the Katangese were concentrating on selling copper to the Baganda instead of captives to Europeans?’ During the colonial epoch, the British forced Africans to sing Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves Britons never never never shall be slaves The British themselves started singing the tune in the early 18th century, at the height of using Africans as slaves. ‘What would have http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (11 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 been Britain’s level of development had millions of them been put to work as slaves outside of their homeland over a period of four centuries?’ Furthermore, assuming that those wonderful fellows could never never never have been slaves, one could speculate further on the probable effects on their development had continental Europe been enslaved. Had that been the case, its nearest neighbours would have been removed from the ambit of fruitful trade with Britain. After all, trade between the British Isles and places like the Baltic and the Mediterranean is unanimously considered by scholars to have been the earliest stimulus to the English economy in the late feudal and early capitalist period, even before the era of overseas expansion. One tactic that is now being employed by certain European (including American) scholars is to say that the European slave trade was undoubtedly a moral evil, but it was economically good for Africa. Here attention will be drawn only very briefly to a few of those arguments to indicate how ridiculous they can be. One that receives much emphasis that African rulers and other persons obtained Europe commodities in exchange for their captives, and this was how Africans gained ‘wealth’. This suggestion fails to take into account the fa ct that several European imports were competing with and strangling African products; it fails to take into account the fact that none of the long l ist of European articles were of the type which entered into the productive process, but were rather items to be rapidly consumed or stowed away uselessly; and it incredibly overlooks the fact that the majority of the imports were of the worst quality even as consumer goods — cheap gin, cheap gunpowder, pots and kettles full of holes, beads, and other http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (12 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 assorted rubbish. Following from the above, it is suggested that certain African kingdoms grew strong economically and politically a consequence of the trade with Europeans. The greatest of the West African kingdoms, such as Oyo, Benin, Dahomey and Asante are cited as examples. Oyo and Benin were great, before making contact with Europeans, and while both Dahomey and Asante grew stronger during the period of the European slave trade, the roots of their achievements went back to much earlier years. Furthermore — and this is a major fallacy in the argument of the slave trade apologists — the fact that a given Africa n state grew politically more powerful at the same time as it engaged in selling captives to Europeans is not automatically to be attributed to t he credit of the trade in slaves. A cholera epidemic may kill thousands in a country and yet the population increases. The increase obviously came about in spite of and not because of the cholera. This simple logic escapes those who speak about the European slave trade benefitting Africa. The destructive tendency of slave trading can be clearly established; and, wherever a state seemingly progressed in the epoch of slave trading, the conclusion is simply that it did so in spite of the adverse effects of a process that was more damaging than cholera. This is the picture that emerges from a detailed study of Dahomey, for instance, and in the final analysis although Dahomey did its best to expand politically and militarily while still tied to slave trade, that form of economic activity seriously undermined its economic base and left it much worse off. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (13 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 A few of the arguments about the economic benefits of the European slave trade for Africa amount to nothing more than saying that exporting millions of captives was a way pf avoiding starvation in Africa! To attempt to reply to that would be painful and time-wasting. But, perhaps a slightly more subtle version of the same argument requires a reply: namely, the argument that Africa gained because in the process of slave trading new food crops were acquired from the American continent and these became staples in Africa. The crops in question are maize and cassava, which became staples in Africa late in the 19th century and in the present century. But the spread of food crop s is one of the most common phenomena in human history. Most crops originated in only one of the continents, and then social contact caused their transfer to other parts of the world. Trading in slaves has no special bearing on whether crops spread-the simplest forms of trade would have achieved the same result. Today, the Italians have (hard) wheat foods like spaghetti and macaroni as their staple, while most Europeans use the potato. The Italians took the idea of the spaghetti type foods from the Chinese noodle after Marco Polo returned from travels there, while Europe adopted the potato from American Indians. In neither case were Europeans enslaved before they could receive a benefit that was the logical heritage of all mankind, but Africans are t o be told that the European slave trade developed us by bringing us maize and cassava. All of the above points are taken from books and articles published recently, as the fruit of research in major British and American Universities. They are probably not the commonest views even among http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (14 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 European bourgeois scholars, but they are representative of a growing trend that seems likely to become the new accepted orthodoxy in metropolitan capitalist countries; and this significantly coincides with Europe’s struggle against the further decolonization of Africa economically and mentally. In one sense, it is preferable to ignore such rubbish and isolate our youth from its insults; but unfortunately one of the aspects of current African underdevelopment is that the capitalist publishers and bourgeois scholars dominate the scene and help mould opinions the world over. It is for that reason that writing of the type which justifies the trade in slaves has to be exposed as racist bourgeoi s propaganda, having no connection with reality or logic. It is a question not merely of history but of present day liberation struggle in Africa. 4.2 Technological Stagnation and Distortion of the African Economy in the Pre-Colonial Epoch. It has already been indicated that in the 15th century European technology was not totally superior to that of other parts of the world. There were certain specific features which were highly advantageous to Europe-such as shipping and (to a lesser extent) guns. Europeans trading to Africa had to make use of Asian and African consumer goods, showing that their system of production was not absolutely superior. It is particularly striking that in the early centuries of tra de, Europeans relied heavily on Indian cloths for resale in Africa, and they also purchased cloths on several parts of the West African coast for resale elsewhere. Morocco, Mauretania, Senegambia, Ivory Coast, Benin, Yorubaland and Loango were all exporters to other parts of http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (15 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Africa — through European middlemen. Yet, by the time that Africa entered the colonial era, it was concentrating almost entirely on the export of raw cotton and the import of manufactured cotton cloth. This remarkable reversal is tied to technological advance in Europe and to stagnation of technology in Africa owing to the very trade with Europe. Cloth manufacture in the world went through a stage of handlooms and small-scale craft production. Up to the 16th century, that was the general pattern in Africa, Asia and Europe: with Asian cloth makers being the most skilled in the world. India is the classic example where the British used every means at their disposal to kill the cloth industr y, so that British cloth could be marketed everywhere, including inside India itself. In Africa, the situation was not so clear-cut, nor did it require as much conscious effort by Europeans to destroy African cloth manufacture, but the trend was the same. Europe benefitted technologically from its external trade contacts, while Africa either failed to benefit or actually lost. Vital inventions and innovations appeared in England in the late 18th century, after profits from externa l trade had been re-invested. Indeed, the new machinery represented the investment of primary capital accumulated from trading and from slavery. African and Indian trade strengthened British industry, which in turn crushed whatever industry existed in that is now called the ‘underdeveloped’ countries. African demand for cloth was increasing rapidly in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, so that there was a market for all cloth produced locall y as well as room for imports from Europe and Asia. But, directed by an http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (16 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 acquisitive capitalist class, European industry increased its capacity t o produce on a large scale by harnessing the energy of wind, water and coal. European cloth industry was able to copy fashionable Indian and African patterns, and eventually to replace them. Partly by establishing a stranglehold on the distribution of cloth around the shores of Africa, and partly by swamping African products by importing cloth in bulk, European traders eventually succeeded in putting an end to the expansion of African cloth manufacture. There are many varied social factors which combine to determine when a society makes a breakthrough from small scale craft technology to equipment designed to harness nature so that labour becomes more effective. One of the major factors is the existence of a demand for more products than can be made by hand, so that technology is asked to respond to a definite social need-such as that for clothes. When European cloth became dominant on the African market, it meant that African producers were cut off from the increasing demand. The craft producers either abandoned their tasks in the face of cheap available European cloth, or they continued on the same small hand-worked instruments to create styles and pieces for localized markets. Therefore , there was what can be called ‘technological arrest’ or stagnation, and in some instances actual regression, since people forgot even the simple technique of their forefathers. The abandonment of traditional iron smelting in most parts of Africa is probably the most important instance of technological regression. Development means a capacity for self-sustaining growth. It means that http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (17 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 an economy must register advances which in turn will promote further progress. The loss of industry and skill in Africa was extremely small, if we measure it from the viewpoint of modern scientific achievements or even by standards of England in the late 18th century. However, it must be borne in mind that to be held back at one stage means that it is impossible to go on to a further stage. When a person was forced to leave school after only two years of primary school education, it is no reflection on him that he is academically and intellectually less developed than someone who had the opportunity to be schooled right through to university level. What Africa experienced in the early centuries of trade was precisely a loss of development opportunity, and this is of the greatest importance. One of the features associated with technological advance is a spirit of scientific enquiry closely related to the process of production. This leads to inventiveness and innovation. During the period of capitalist development in Europe, this was very much the case, and historians lay great emphasis on the spirit of inventiveness of the English in the 18th century. Socialist societies do not leave inventions merely to chance or good luck — they actively cultivate tendencies for innovation. For instance, in the German Democratic Republic, the youth established a ‘Young Innovators’ Fair’ in 1958, calling upon the intellectual creativity of socialist youth, so that within ten years over 2,000 new inventions were presented at that fair. The connection between Africa and Europe from the 15th century onwards served to block this spirit of technological innovation both directly and indirectly. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (18 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 The European slave trade was a direct block, in removing millions of youth and young adults who are the human :agents from whom inventiveness springs. Those who remained in areas badly hit by slave- capturing were preoccupied about their freedom rather than with improvements in production. Besides, even the busiest African in West, Central, or East Africa was concerned more with trade than with production, because of the nature of the contacts with Europe; and that situation was not conducive to the introduction of technological advances. The most dynamic groups over a great area of Africa became associated with foreign trade — notably, the Afro-Portuguese middlemen of Upper Guinea, the Akan market women, the Aro traders of the Bight of Biafra, the mulattos of Angola, the Yao traders of Mozambique, and the Swahili and Wanyamwezi of East Africa. The trade which they carried on was in export items like captives and ivory which did not require the invention of machinery. Apart from that, they were agents for distributing European imports. When Britain was the world’s leading economic power, it used to be referred to as a nation of shopkeepers: but most the goods in their shop s were produced by themselves, and it was while grappling with the problems posed by production that their engineers came up with so many inventions. In Africa, the trading groups could make no contribution to technological improvement because their role and preoccupation took their minds and energies away from production. Apart from inventiveness, we must also consider the borrowing of technology. When a society for whatever reason finds itself http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (19 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 technologically trailing behind others, it catches not so much by independent inventions but by borrowing. Indeed, very few of man’s major scientific discoveries have been separately discovered in differen t places by different people. Once a principle or a tool is known, it spreads or diffuses to other peoples. Why then did European technology failed to make its way into Africa during the many centuries of contact between the two continents? The basic reason is that the very nature of Afro-European trade was highly unfavourable to the movement of positive ideas and techniques from the European capitalist system to the African pre-capitalist (communal, feudal, and pre-feudal) system of production. The only non-European society that borrowed effectively from Europe and became capitalist is that of Japan. Japan was already a highly developed feudal society progressing towards its own capitalist forms in the 19th century. Its people were neither enslaved nor colonised by Europe, and its foreign trade relations were quite advantageous. For instance, Japanese textile manufacturers had the stimulus of their own growing internal market and some abroad in Asia and Europe. Under those circumstances, the young Japanese capitalist class (including many former feudalist landowners) borrowed technology from Europe and successfully domesticated it before the end of the 19th century. The use of this example from outside of Africa is meant to emphasise that for Africa to have received European technology the demand would have had to come from inside Africa — and most probably from a class or group who saw profit in the new technology. There had to be both willingness on the part of Europeans to transfer technology and African http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (20 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 socio-economic structures capable of making use of that technology and internalising it. Hunting for elephants or captives did not usually induce in Africa a demand for any technology other than firearms. The lines of economic activity attached to foreign trade were either destructive as slavery wa s, or at best purely extractive, like ivory hunting and cutting camwood trees. Therefore, there was no reason for wanting to call upon European skills. The African economies would have had little room for such skills unless negative types of exports were completely stopped. A remarkable fact that is seldom brought to light is that several African rulers in different parts of the continent saw the situation clearly, an d sought European technology for internal development, which was meant to replace the trade in slaves. Europeans deliberately ignored those African requests that Europe should place certain skills and techniques at their disposal. This was a n element in the Kongo situation of the early 16th century, which has already been mentioned. It happened in Ethiopia also, though in Ethiopia no trade in captives was established with Europeans. A Portuguese embassy reached the Ethiopian court in 1520. Having examined Portuguese swords, muskets, clothes, books and other objects, the Emperor Lebna Dengel felt the need to introduce European technical knowledge into Ethiopia. Correspondence exists between the Emperor and European rulers such as kings Manuel I and John III of Portugal and Pope Leo X, in which requests were made for European assistance to Ethiopian industry. Until late in the 19th century, http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (21 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Ethiopian , petitions to that effect were being repeated with little or no success. In the first half of the 18th century, there were two further examples o f African rulers appreciating European technology, and stating their preference for skills and not slave ships. When Agaja Trudo of Dahomey sought to stop the trade in captives, he made an appeal to European craftsmen, and he sent an ambassador to London for that purpose. One European who stayed at the court of Dahomey in the late 1720s told his countrymen that ‘if any tailor, carpenter, smith or an y other sort of white man that is free be willing to come here, he will fi nd very good encouragement’. The Asantehene, Opoku Ware (1720-50), also asked Europeans to set up factories and distilleries in Asante, but he got no response. Bearing in mind the history of Japan, it should be noted that the first requests for technical assistance came from the Ethiopian and Kongo empires, which in the 16th century where at a level undoubtedly comparable to most European feudal states, with the important exception that they had not produced the seeds of capitalism. During the 18th century the great African states of Dahomey and Asante became prominent. They had passed out of the communal stage and had a somewhat feudal class stratification along with specialisation in many activities such as the working of gold, iron and cloth. Asante society under Opoku Ware had already shown a capacity for seeking out innovations, by going to the trouble of taking imported silk and unravelling it so as to combine the silk threads with cotton to make the http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (22 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 famous kente cloth. In other words, there would have been no difficulty in such African societies mastering European technical skills and bridging the rather narrow gap which existed between them and Europe at that time. Well into the 19th century, Europe displayed the same indifference to requests for practical assistance from Africa, although by that period both African rulers and European capitalists were talking about replacing slave trade. In the early 19th century, one king of Calabar ( in Eastern Nigeria) wrote the British asking for a sugar refinery; while around 1804 king Adandozan of Dahomey was bold enough to ask for a firearms factory! By that date, many parts of West Africa were going to war with European firearms and gunpowder. There grew up a saying in Dahomey that ‘He who makes the powder wins the war’, which was a far-sighted recognition that Africans were bound to fall before the superiority of Europeans in the field of arms technology. Of course, Europeans were also fully aware that their arms technology was decisive, and there was not the slightest chance that they would have agreed to teach Africans to make firearms and ammunition. The circumstances of African trade with Europe were unfavourable to creating a consistent African demand for technology relevant to development; and when that demand was raised it was ignored or rejected by the capitalists. After all, it would not have been in the interests of capitalism to develop Africa. In more recent times, Western capitalists had refused to build the Volta River Dam for Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah, until they realised that the Czechoslovakians would http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (23 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 do the job; they refused to build the Aswan Dam for Egypt, and the Soviet Union had to come to the rescue; and in a similar situation they placed obstacles in the way of the building of a railway from Tanzania to Zambia, and it was the Socialist state of China that stepped in to express solidarity with African peasants and workers in a practical way. Placing the whole question in historical perspective allows us to see th at capitalism has always discouraged technological evolution in Africa and blocks Africa’s access to its own technology. As will be seen in a subsequent section, capitalism introduced into Africa only such limited aspects of its material culture as were essential to more efficient exploitation, but the general tendency has been for capitalism to underdevelop Africa in technology. The European slave trade and overseas trade in general had what are known as ‘multiplier effects’ on Europe’s development in a very positive sense. This means that the benefits of foreign contacts extende d to many areas of European life not directly connected with foreign trade, and the whole society was better equipped for its own internal development. The opposite was true of Africa not only in the crucial sphere of technology but also with regard to the size and purpose of each economy in Africa. Under the normal processes of evolution, an economy grows steadily larger so that after a while two neighbouring economies merge into one. That was precisely how national economies were created in the states of Western Europe through the gradual combination of what were once separate provincial economies. Trade with Africa actually helped Europe to weld together more closely the different national economies, but in Africa there was disruption and http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (24 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 disintegration at the local level. At the same time, each local economy ceased to be directed exclusively or even primarily towards the satisfaction of the wants of its inhabitants; and (whether or not the particular Africans recognised it) their economic effort served externa l interests and made them dependent on those external forces based in western Europe. In this way, the African economy taken as a whole was diverted away from its previous line of development and became distorted. It has now become common knowledge that one of the principal reasons why genuine industrialisation cannot easily be realised in Africa today is that the market for manufactured goods in any single African country is too small, and there is no integration of the markets across large areas of Africa. The kind of relationship which Africa has had with Europe from the very beginning, has worked in a direction opposite to integration of local economies. Certain interterritorial lin ks established on the continent were broken down after the 15th century because of European trade. Several examples arose on the West African coast down to Angola, because in those parts European trade was most voluminous, and the surviving written record is also more extensive. When the Portuguese arrived in the region of modern Ghana in the 1470s, they had few commodities to offer the inhabitants in exchange for the gold coveted by Europe. However, they were able to tranship from Benin in Nigeria supplies of cotton cloths, beads, and female slaves, which were saleable on the ‘Gold Coast’. The Portuguese we re responding to a given demand on the ‘Gold Coast’, so that a previo us http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (25 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 trade must have been in existence between the people of Benin and those of the ‘Gold Coast’, particularly the Akan. The Akan were go ld producers, and the people of Benin were specialist craftsmen who had a surplus of cloth and beads which they manufactured themselves. As an expansionist state with a large army, Benin also had access to prisoners of war, while the Akan seemed concerned with building their own population and labour force, so the latter acquired female captives from Benin and rapidly integrated them as wives. When the Portuguese intervened in this exchange, it was subordinated to the interests of European trade. As soon as Portugal and other European nations had sufficient goods so as not to be dependent on the re-export of certain commodities from Benin, then all that remained were the links between the ‘Gold Coast’ and Europe on the one hand and between Benin and Europe on the other. Probably, Benin products had reached the ‘Gold Coast’ by way of th e creeks behind the coast of what is now Dahomey and Togo. Therefore, it would have been more convenient when Europeans established a direct link across the open sea. As pointed out earlier, the superiority of Europeans at sea was of the greatest strategic value, along with their organisational ability. This was illustrated in several places, beginnin g with the Maghreb and Mauretania. After the Portuguese took control of the Atlantic coast of North-West Africa, they were able to secure horses, woollen goods and beads, which they shipped further south to West Africa for gold and slaves ; up to the early 16th century, the most important article brought by the Portuguese for trade in Senegambia was the horse. In exchange for one horse they received as many as http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (26 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 fifteen captives. North African woollens and beads were also utilised by the Portuguese in buying gold on the river Gambia and as far south as Sierra Leone. It needs to be recalled that the Western Sudan had links with the West African coast and with North Africa. Long before the European arrival, horses were moving from North Africa to be inter-bred with local West African stock. Long before the European arrival, the Arabs and Mauretanians travelled to the river Senegal and further south to meet the Mandinga Djola traders and hand over to them products such as beads made in Ceuta and cloth spun from the wool of North African sheep. With the advantage of rapidity of transport by sea as opposed to overland across the desert, the Portuguese were in effect breaking up the economic integration of the region. As with the Benin / Akan example, the point to note is that after the Portuguese became middlemen they had the opportunity of developing a new trade pattern by which both North West Africa and West Africa looked to Europe and forgot about each other. A similar situation came into existence on the Upper Guinea coast, and this time the European exploitation was aided by the presence of white settlers in the Cape Verde Islands. The Portuguese and the Cape Verde settlers broke into the pattern of local Upper Guinea trade ever since t he 1470s. They intervened in transfers of raw cotton and indigo dye from one African community to another, and the Cape Verdean settlers established a flourishing cotton-growing and cotton-manufacturing industry. They used labour and techniques from the mainland, and http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (27 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 exported the finished products along the length of the coast down to Accra. The Portuguese also took over the trade in cowries in the Kongo and its off-shore islands, the trade in salt along the Angolan coast, and the tr ade in high-quality palm cloth between northern and southern Angola. In some instances, they achieved dominance not just because of their ships and commercial skills but also by the use of force — providing they were operating on the coast and could bring their cannon into use. In East Africa, for instance, the Portuguese used violence to capture trade from the Arabs and Swahili. The disruption of African commerce between the ‘Ivory Coast’ and the ‘Gold Coast’ followed that pattern. A strong coastal canoe trade existed between these two regions, with the people of Cape Lahou (modern Ivory Coast) sailing past Cape Three Points to sell their cloth as far east as Accra. The Portuguese set up a fort at Axim near Cape Three Poínts to service gold trade with the hinterland; and one of its functions was to chop the east-west coastal African trade. They banned Axim residents from going to Cape Lahou, and they stopped canoes from ‘Ivory Coast’ from travelling east be yond Axim. The purpose was obviously to make both areas separate economic entities exclusively tied to Europe. The above-mentioned African commerce proved to have roots. The Dutch found it still going on when they took over Axim in 1637. The servants of the Dutch West India Company which was operating on the ‘Gold Coast’ wanted put a complete stop to the African trade; and when that was not achieved they tried to force the people of the ‘Ivory Co ast’ http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (28 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 to buy a certain amount of Dutch goods. The Dutch ruled that each Axim canoeman going to Cape Lahou should carry Dutch goods worth at least 4 ounces of gold. The purpose was to convert a purely inter- African exchange into a European/African trade. What was doubly detrimental to African attempts to integrate their own economies was the fact that when Europeans became middlemen in local trade networks, they did so mainly to facilitate the extraction of captives, and thereby subordinated the whole economy to the European slave trade. In Upper Guinea and the Cape Verde islands, the Portuguese and their mulatto descendants engaged in a large variety of exchanges involving cotton, dyes, kola nuts and European products. The purpose of it all was to fill the holds of slave ships. In Congo and Angola, the same picture emerges. The salt, cowry shells and palm cloth that came in Portuguese hands made up for their shortage of trade goods and served to purchase captives on different parts of the coast and deep in the interior. The element of subordination and dependence is crucial to an understanding of African underdevelopment today, and its roots lie far back in the era of international trade. It is also worth noting that the re is a type of false or pseudo integration which is a camouflage for dependence. In contemporary times, it takes the form of free-trade areas in the formerly colonised sections of the world. Those free-trade areas are made to order for the penetration of multi-national corporations. From the 15th century onwards, pseudo integration appeared in the form of the interlocking of African economies over long distances from http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (29 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:22 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 the coast, so as to allow the passage of human captives and ivory from a given point inland to a given port on the Atlantic or Indian Ocean. For example, captives were moved from Congo through what is now Zambia and Malawi to Mozambique, where Portuguese, Arab or French buyers took them over. That was not genuine integration of the economies of the African territories concerned. Such trade merely represented the extent of foreign penetration, thereby stifling local trades. The West African gold trade was not destroyed, but it became directly dependent on European buyers by being diverted from the northward routes across the Sahara. Within the savannah belt of the Western Sudan, the trans-Saharan gold trade had nourished one of the most highly developed political zones in all Africa from the 5th century onwards. But it was more convenient for Europe to obtain its gold on the West Coast than through North African intermediaries, and one is left to speculate on what might have occurred in the Western Sudan if there had been a steady increase in the gold trade over the 17th and 18t h centuries. Nevertheless, there is something to be said in favour of African trade with Europe in this particular commodity. Gold production involved mining and an orderly system of distribution within Africa. Akan country and parts of Zimbabwe and Mozambique sustained flourishing socio-political systems up to the 19th century, largely because of gold production. Certain benefits also derived from the export of ivory. The search for ivory became the most important activity in several East African http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (30 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 societies at one time or another, sometimes in combination with the trade in captives. The Wanyamwezi of Tanzania were East Africa’s best known traders — acquiring their reputation through carrying goods for hundreds of miles between Lake Tanganyika and the Indian Ocean. When the Wanyamwezi gave their attention to the export of ivory, this sparked off other beneficial developments, such as increased trading in hoes, food and salt between themselves and their neighbours. Yet, ivory was an asset that was rapidly exhausted in any given region, and the struggle to secure new supplies could lead to violence comparable to that which accompanied the search for human captives. Besides, the most decisive limitation of ivory trade was the fact that i t did not grow logically from local needs and local production. Large quantities of ivory were not required by any society inside Africa, and no African society turned to elephant hunting and ivory collection on a big scale until the demand came from Europe or Asia. Any African society which took ivory exports seriously, then had to re-structure its economy so as to make ivory trade successful. That in turn led to excessive and undesirable dependence on the overseas market and an external economy. There could be growth in the volume of commerce and the rise of some positive side-effects, but there was decrease in capacity to achieve economic independence and self-sustaining social progress. Besides, at all times one must keep in mind the dialectical opposite of the trade in Africa: namely, production in Europe or in America under European control. The few socially-desirable by- products of elephant hunting within Africa were chicken-feed in comparison with the profits, technology and skills associated with the http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (31 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 product in Europe. In that way, the gap between Africa and Europe was constantly widening; and it is on the basis of that gap that we arrive a t development and underdevelopment. 4.3 Continuing Politico-Military Developments in Africa, — 1500 to 1885. Modern African nationalist historians correctly stress that Africa had a meaningful past long before the coming of Europeans. They also stress that Africans made their own history long after coming into contact with Europe, and indeed right up to the period of colonisation. That African centred approach to the continent’s past is quite compatible with one which equally emphasises the transformatory role of external forces, such as overseas trade in slaves, gold, ivory, etc. The reconciliation of the two approaches is facilitated by bearing in mind the following three factors: (a) The external (and mainly European) impact up to 1885 was very uneven in geographical terms, with the coasts being obviously more exposed. (b) Commerce with Europeans affected different aspects of African life in varying degrees, with the political, military and ideological apparatus being virtually untouched. (c) Dynamic features of independent African evolution and development (as illustrated in chapter 2) continued to operate after 1500. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (32 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 It has already been argued that it would be misleading to try and compartmentalise Africa into areas that were affected by slave trading and those which were not, for the continent as a whole had to bear the costs. However, for present purposes, it is enough to make the crude distinction between those parts of Africa which were directly caught up in European-generated activities and those parts which to all appearances continued in the traditional manner. Developments continued in certain areas such as south Central Africa,, because the population there was free to pursue a path dictated by the interplay between African people and the African environment in the particular localities. Besides, there were achievements even in those societies under the heaviest bombardment of slaving. Slave trading led to the commercial domination of Africa by Europe, within the context of international trade. In very few instances did Europeans manage to displace African political authorities in the various social systems. So African states in close contact with Europe in the pre-colonial era nevertheless had scope for political manoeuvre, and their evolution could and did continue. Military conquest of Africa awaited the years of the imperialist Scramble. In pre-colonial centuries of contact with Europe, African armies were in existence, with all the socio-political implications whic h attach to an armed sector in society. Equally important was the fact tha t direct imports; from Europe in the cultural and ideological spheres were virtually nil. Christianity tried sporadically and ambivalently to make an impact on some parts of the continent. But most of the few http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (33 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 missionaries in places like the Congo, Angola and Upper Guinea concentrated on blessing Africans as they were about to be launched across the Atlantic into slavery. As it was, Christianity continued only in Ethiopia, where it had indigenous roots. Elsewhere, there flourished Islam and other religions which had nothing to do with European trade. As before, religion continued to act as an element of the superstructure , which was crucial in the development of the state. So long as there is political power, so long as people can be mobilised to use weapons, and so long as society has the opportunity to define its own ideology, culture, etc., then the people of that society have some control over their own destinies, in spite of constraints such as those imposed as the African continent slipped into orbit as a satellite of capitalist Europe. After all, although historical development is inseparable from material conditions and the state of technology, it is also partially controlled by a people’s consciousness at various stag es. That is part of the interdependence of base and superstructure alluded t o at the outset. Revolution is the most dramatic appearance of a conscious people or class on the stage of history; but, to greater or lesser extent, the rul ing class in any society is always engaged in the developmental process as conscious instruments of change or conservatism. Attention in this section will be focussed on the political sphere and its power companion, the military. In those areas, Africans were able to excel even in the face of slave trading. Politico-military development in Africa from 1500 to 1885 meant that http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (34 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 African social collectives had become more capable of defending the interests of their members, as opposed to the interests of people outsid e the given community. It also meant that the individual in a politically mature and militarily strong state would be free from external threat of physical removal. He would have more opportunities to apply his own skill in fields as diversified as minstrelry and bronze-working, under t he protection of the state. He could also use his creativity and inventiveness to refine the religion of his people, or to work out a mor e manageable constitution, or to contribute to new techniques of war, or to advance agriculture and trade. Of course, it is also true that the benefits of all such contributions went mainly to a small section of African society, both within and without the zone of slaving; for, as communalism receded, the principle of egalitarian distribution was disregarded. These various points can be illustrated by concrete historical examples drawn from all over the continent during the pre- colonial period in question. (a) The Yoruba In a previous discussion, the Yoruba state of Oyo was merely listed as one of the outstanding representatives of African development up to the eve of European arrival in the 15th century. The remarkable 14th- and 15th-century artistic achievements of Oyo, of its parent state of life, and of the related state of Benin have been well studied, because of the preservation of ivory, terracotta and bronze sculptures. It is clear tha t the earliest bronzes were the best and that there was a deterioration in execution and sensitivity from the 16th through to the 18th century. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (35 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 However, politically, states such as Oyo and Benin did continue to prosper for a very long time after the arrival of Europeans on the West African coast. Since Oyo and the Yoruba people were within an intensive area of slave trading, their fate between 1500 and 1885 is of considerable significance. The kingdom of Oyo kept fairly clear of any involvement with slave trading until the late 18th century. Instead, its people concentrated on local production and trade, and on the consolidation and expansion of the trade. Indeed, although the nucleus of the Oyo kingdom had already been established in the 15th century, it was during the next three centuries that it expanded to take control of most of what was later termed Western Nigeria, large zones north of the river Niger and the whole of what is now Dahomey. In effect, it was an empire, ruled over by an Alafin in conjunction with an aristocracy. It was in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries that the subtle constitutional mechanisms which regulated relations between the Alafin and his principal subjects and between the capital and the provinces were crystallised. In so far as Oyo had an interest in the coast, it was as an outlet more for cloth than for slaves. Being some distance inland, the Yoruba of Oyo concentrated on relations with the hinterland, thereby connecting with the Western Sudanic trading zone. It was from the North that Oyo got the horses which made its armies feared and respected. Oyo is a prime example of that African development which had its roots Jeep in the past, in the contradictions between man and environment. Its people continued to develop on the basis of forces which they did not http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (36 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 consciously manipulate, as well as through the deliberate utilisation of political techniques. Early in the 19th century, Oyo and Yorubaland in general began to export captives in considerable numbers. They were obtained partly by military campaigns outside Yorubaland, but also through local slave procuring. Local slave procuring involved kidnapping, armed raids, uncertainty and disunity. Those features, together with internal constitutional tensions and an external threat from the Islamic North, brought about the downfall of the Oyo empire by about 1830. The famous Yoruba ancestral home of Ife was also despoiled and its citizens turned into refugees, because of quarrels among the Yoruba over kidnapping for sale into slavery. But it was testimony to the level of development in that part of Africa that, within a few years the inhabitants were able to reconstruct new political states: notably those of New Oyo, Ibadan, Ijaye, Abeokuta and Ijebu — each centred on a town, and with enough land for successful agriculture. Until the British arrived to kindly impose ‘order’ in Nigeria, the Yoruba people kept experimenting with various political forms, with heavy emphasis on the military, and keeping to the religion of thei r forefathers. Being conscious of territorial boundaries, the inhabitants and rulers of any given state invariably become involved in clashes with neighbouring states. The state in the feudal epoch in Europe and Asia was particularly concerned with its military capacity. The ruling class comprised in whole or in part the professional fighting forces of the http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (37 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 state. One rationalisation by which they justified their enjoyment of th e major portion of the surplus of society was that they offered armed protection to the ordinary peasant or serf. This generalisation was as true of 19th-century Yorubaland as it was of Prussia and Japan. Without a doubt, Africans in that region were proceeding along the line of development leading to social organisation comparable to feudalism in Europe, Asia and parts of Africa such as Ethiopia and the Maghreb, which were at that stage some centuries earlier. In the Oyo empire, the civil power was dominant, and the military generals were servants of the king. Subsequently, however, the military took over effective political power. For instance, the Ajaye state was founded by Kurunmi, said to have been the greatest Yoruba general of those troubled times following the fall of Oyo. Kurunmi established a personal military ascendancy in Ajaye. Ibadan was slightly different, in that there it was a group of military officers who collectively formed t he political elite. Efforts to put civilians back in power were half-hearte d and unsuccessful. After all, the town itself grew out of a military encampment. The city-state of Abeokuta perhaps made the most consistent effort to make the military an arm of the civil state. But, what mattered most was the defence of the townships within the fortified walls of Abeokuta. Abeokuta’s fortified walls became famous as the place where many a rival army met disaster; and, under those circumstances, the Ologun or war-chiefs were the social and political powers. While the militarisation of politics was going on in Yorubaland, http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (38 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 changes were taking place in the structure of the society, which brought about sharper class stratification. Numerous captives were taken in war, most of whom were sold to Europeans, so that Yorubaland became notorious as a slave supplying region right up to the 1860s. But many war prisoners were retained locally, in conditions approximating either to slavery or to serfdom, depending on whether or not they were first- generation captives. Sometimes, refugees fleeing from destroyed towns also had no option other than to become clients or serfs of other free Yoruba. Such refugees were made to give service to their new overlords by farming the land, in return for armed protection. However, serfs were also used as soldiers, which means that they had access to the means of production (the land) only through meeting an obligation in military labour. That is a measure of the extent to which the principle of kinship had been weakened, and it indicates that, in contrast to the typical communal village, states such as those in 19th-century Yorubaland allocated roles and rewards to their citizens on the basis of reciprocal obligations characteristic of feudalism. During the period under discussion, the division of labour among the Yoruba was extended with the rise of professional soldiers or ‘war- boys,’ as they were called. The professional soldiers, who were sons of aristocrats, left farming disdainfully to prisoners and serfs-the large number of whom ensured agricultural plenty. Other branches of economic activity also flourished, notably the making of cloth and palm oil and the trade in various products. These things were true, in spite of the fact that by that time some labour was being lost both in the form o f slaves exported and in the form of labour power devoted to capturing http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (39 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 people for export. European visitors to Yorubaland in the middle of the 19th century could still admire the level of its material culture, along with the highly colourful and impressive aspects of its non-material culture such as the annual ‘Yam Festivals’ and the ritual of the r eligious cults of Shango, Ogboni, etc. One item of European technology that was anxiously sought by Africans and that was fairly easily obtainable from Europeans was the firearm. From the 1820s onwards, the Yoruba acquired European firearms in large numbers, and integrated them into the pattern of trade , politics and military strategy. On the eve of colonial rule, Yoruba generals were reaching out for breech-loading rifles and even rockets; but Europe stepped in too quickly for that move to get very far. Through a series of actions which started as early as 1860 in Lagos (an d which included missionary infiltration as well as armed invasion) the British managed to bring that part of Africa under colonial rule. Economic development is a matter of an increasing capacity to produce, and it is tied up with patterns of land tenure and class relations. Thes e basic facts were well brought out both positively and negatively in Yoruba history, in the decades before independence was lost. So long as agricultural production was not disrupted, then for so long any given Yoruba state remained in a strong position. Ibadan was once the greatest military power in Yorubaland, selling captives as well as retaining many for use as labourers for its own benefit. But Ibadan’s farming areas were hit by war, and Ibadan’s rulers also started removing prisoners farming the land and selling them instead to http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (40 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Europeans. That became necessary because Ibadan needed firearms, and those could be obtained only by selling slaves. It was at that point that the undermining effect of the presence of European slave buyers on the coast became really paramount. By selling its own captives and serfs, Ibadan was undermining its own socio-economic base. If the prisoners were to develop into a true serf class, then those prisoners would have had to be guaranteed the right to remain fixed on the soil and protected from sale. That was one of the reasons why slavery as a mode of production in Europe had to give way to serfdom and feudalism; and, under normal circumstances, Yoruba society did rapidly guarantee the irremovability of those captives who were integrated into the local production pattern. But, forces unleashed by the European presence as slave buyers were too great to be withstood, and any hope of solving the problem disappeared with the loss of political power under colonialism. Too often, historians lay undue emphasis on the failure of 19th-century Yoruba states to unite and produce an entity as large as the former empire of Oyo. But, firstly, the size of a political unit is not the mos t important criterion for evaluating the achievement of its peoples. And, secondly, a given people can disintegrate politically and later integrat e even more effectively. The Yoruba states of Ibadan, Abeokuta, Ijaye, etc., had populations of up to 100,000 citizens — as large as most of the city-states, principalities and palatinates of feudal Germany. That is a comparison which is worth bringing to light, and it is one that struck European observers who happened to visit Yorubaland in the middle http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (41 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 years of the 19th century. Germany has long had a common culture and language, and there was a form of political unity under the Holy Roman Empire from the 12th to the 15th century. However, after the Reformation and the break-up of the Holy Roman Empire, the German people were divided into as many separate political entities as there are days in the year, some of them being hardly bigger than a public park. Yet, the internal class relation s and productive forces continued to develop throughout Germany, and ultimately by 1870 unity was again achieved, with feudalism giving way to a powerful capitalist nation state. Similarly, the Yoruba were a widely spread cultural entity with a single language. After the fall of the Oyo empire the developmental processes were slowed down by both internal and external factors, but they were not stopped. It took the arrival of European colonialism to do that. Within the sphere of West and Central African slaving, state building continued with varying degrees of success. For instance, the Akan state system grew up in a manner as impressive as that of the Oyo empire. Fortunately for the Akan, slave exports reached alarming proportions only during the first half of the 18th century. By that time, a state su ch as Asante had sunk roots deep enough to withstand the adverse effects of slaving. It continued to be incorporated with the heartlands of the Western Sudan, and by the 1870s when the British tried to dictate to Asante, these famous African people did not give up without heroic armed struggle. Asante’s connection with the export of slaves in the 18th century led its http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (42 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 rulers to concentrate on expansionism of the type which would bring in captives through wars, raids, tribute, and as articles of trade from regions where they had been made prisoner. Besides, since the 15th century, Akan country was building up rather than exporting its human resources. Captives were incorporated locally into the society; and on the eve of colonialism a substantial proportion of Asante society was made up of Odonko-ba — the descendants of one-time captives, who were the labouring population on the land. Development had come not through exporting and losing labour but by increasing and maximising it. (b) Dahomey Asante’s eastern neighbour beyond the Volta river was Dahomey. Since Dahomey was more deeply involved in the European slave trade and for a much longer period, its experiences shall be cited at a greater length . Throughout the 18th and 19th century, Dahomey had a stagnant if not declining population, and an economy that had virtually no props other than slave exports. What Dahomey succeeded in doing in spite of all that is a tribute to the achievements of man inside the African continen t. It should be made clear that the groundwork far the socio-political development of the Aja or Fon people of Dahomey was laid down in the period preceding the influence of Europe on West Africa. By the 15th century, the Aja states of Allada and Whydah were already in existence, having a loose connection with the Yoruba of Ife. Dahomey was an offshoot from Allada in the 16th century, and by the early 18th century it expanded to incorporate both Allada and Whydah. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (43 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 The kings of Allada and Whydah had made the mistake of either failing to protect their own citizens from enslavement or of actually conniving at their enslavement. Dahomey never followed such a policy, which was directly antagonistic to the very maintenance of the state. Instead, Dahomey eventually became the classic raiding state of West Africa, after failing to get Europeans to accept any products other than human beings. To achieve that, Dahomey had first to build up a tightly organised military state, whose monarch came much closer to an authoritarian or despot than did the Alafin of Oyo or the Asantehene of Asante. Secondly, Dahomey invested a great deal of time and ingenuity on its army, so as to protect its own citizens and wage war abroad. Within European history, the state of Sparta stood out as one that was completely dedicated to the art of war. Europeans in Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries invariably referred to Dahomey as a Black Sparta. Throughout the 18th century, the cavalry of Oyo was more than a match for Dahomey’s foot soldiers, and Dahomey remained a tribute-paying portion of the Oyo empire. But with the fall of Oyo, Dahomey became the supreme military state in that region, and indeed wreaked vengeance on its former Yoruba overlords. Warfare was necessary for securing slaves outside of Dahomey and for obtaining firearms. It was in fact essential for survival. Dahomey’s profound pre-occupation with militaristic activities can be illustrated in many ways. Their value system rewarded the brave and the victorious, while ruthlessly despising and even liquidating the cowardly and the unsuccessful on the battlefield. The two chief http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (44 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 ministers of the king were the commanders of the ‘Left’ and ‘Ri ght’ armies, and other military officers held political appointments. Then, too, the artistic media constantly harped upon the theme of war. Beautiful mosaics and paintings appeared on the walls of the palaces of Dahomey — all dealing with military victories. Historical accounts, a s rendered by professional reciters, reflected the same bias; and the clot h workers busied themselves making emblems, ‘colours’, and umbrellas for the generals and the regiments. Two unique innovations set Dahomey off from its African neighbours and even gives it a special claim within the context of feudal or semi- feudal military organisation. Firstly, Dahomey encouraged young boys to become apprentices of war. By the age of 11 or 12, a boy would be attached to a veteran soldier-helping to carry his supplies, and observing battle. The second innovation (and the one that was more widely commented upon) was Dahomey’s utilisation of its female population within the army. Apparently, the wives in the royal palace started off as a ceremonial guard in the 18th century, and then progressed to become an integral part of Dahomey’s fighting machine, on terms of complete equality of hardship and reward. Dahomey’s population in the 19th century was probably no more than 200,000; and the state consistently managed to send 12,000 to 15,000 actives on its annual campaigns. Of those, it was estimated in 1845 that some 5,000 were women — the so-called ‘Amazons of Dahomey’, who were feare d for their ferocity in battle. In the long run, the trade in slaves cast a blight on Dahomey. Slaving http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (45 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 campaigns were costly and not always rewarding in terms of captives. European buyers failed to turn up during certain years, depending on European conditions. E.g., during the American War of Independence, the French Revolution and the subsequent revolutionary wars, there was a lull in Dahomian slave exports, because far fewer European ships could be spared for the trade in slaves. Without selling captives to get firearms to carry on more warfare for slaves, Dahomey felt its glory and military honour was slipping. Resort to human sacrifice was one attempt to compensate for the diminishing reputation of the state and it s monarch as was the case with the Oba of Benin in the 19th century. Even so, the story of the reputed savagery of Dahomey was exaggerated incredibly. The Dahomian state created such refinements as a population census; it conducted diplomacy far and wide, with all the niceties and the protocol that one usually hears of only in connection with ‘civilised’ European states; and it built up a system of espi onage and intelligence as an essential ingredient in its own security. Above a ll, attention should be focussed at least briefly on the role of the artist in Dahomian society. Much of African art springs from elaboration of things functional, such as pottery and cloth. However, both religion and the state power also stimulated art. For instance, the brasses and bronzes of Ife were executed on behalf of the religious cults and were associated with the Oni of Ife and the royal family. Indeed, it is a most widespread phenomenon that the feudal ruling class gave its protection to artists, along with sustenance and recognition. This was true in Mandarin China with pottery makers and theatre artists; it was true of 16th century Italy of the Renaissance; and it was true of Dahomey from http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (46 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 the 17th to the 19th centuries. No one now knows which Dahomian is to be credited with any given artistic achievement of the independent pre-colonial period. However, in that time, particular individuals were being given the opportunity fo r self-discovery and self-development and of serving the society as a whole. Their task was to give pleasure and to capture the hopes and ambitions of the people in palace wall paintings, in wrought-iron sculptures, in the stamped patterns of hand-woven cloths designed for royalty, on the intricately carved heads of the safe-conduct staffs of t he king’s ambassadors, and in the lively tales of how the founder of the Dahomian kingdom came out of the belly of a leopard. It was art that centred around royalty and noble families, but it was also a national product and a point of identification for the people as a whole. Subsequently, such artistic skills either disappeared or became debased to serve the curiosity of philistine colonialists. It is still held in some quarters that Dahomey’s development in certa in spheres must be credited to slave trading. To demonstrate conclusively that African political and military development through to the 19th century was an extension of groundwork already laid in an earlier epoch, it is best to turn to zones where foreign influence was non- existent. The interlacustrine zone of East Africa is one such. (c) The Eastern Inter-Lacustrine States In an earlier discussion, attention was directed to Bunyoro-Kitara as th e most advanced socio-political formation in East Africa up to the 15th http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (47 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 century. Its ruling dynasty, the Bachwezi, declined for reasons that are not clear, and they were overwhelmed by new immigrants from the north. While there is some doubt as to whether the Bachwezi had an Ethiopian origin, it is clearly established that the 16th century immigrants were Luo peoples from a section of the Nile that flows through the Sudan. Following upon Luo migrations, a new line known as the Babito dynasty, was placed in power over Bunyoro proper. Other branches of the same dynasty were enthroned in several places, sometimes breaking off from the main line. As late as the 19th century, a separate Babito kingdom was carved out in Toro. Meanwhile, the Bachwezi or Bahima had staged a comeback in regions to the south, in the form of a clan known as the Bahinda. The Bahinda were one of the pastoralist clans of the old Bunyoro-Kitara state, and in the period from the 16th century onwards their stronghold was in Ankole and Karagwe. Obviously, the new Babito ruling class immediately sought to take control of the land, but in accordance with settled African customs, the y later tried to project themselves as the original owners of the land, rather than usurpers. In Busoga, where there were several small Babito kings, a researcher reported the following dialogue about land between a member of a royal clan and a commoner: Royal clan member — ‘We found this place empty and made something of it. You fellows later came round begging for land, so we were generou s and gave you some. Naturally you’re now our slaves.’ Commoner — ‘Oho! What a lie! We were here long before you. You took http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (48 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 your power by trickery. You princes have always been scoundrels!’ At no stage in the independent history of these interlacustrine states d id land become purely a personal possession, to be monopolised by a given class, as in the classic European feudal model. Scholars frequently demand this feature before they concede that feudalism has arrived; but they fail to take into account the reality of the distribut ion and usufruct (or produce) of the land being in the hands of a few, and they fail to realise that where cattle were a dominant form of wealth then private ownership of herds was also part of a process by which producers were separated from the means of production. To be specific, those who owned the herds were usually the Bahinda or other Bahima or the new Babito families, while those who tended them were clients and virtually serfs of the owners. As far as land was concerned, the peasant who farmed it paid a heavy tax in crops to the clan heads and ruling authorities, to allow the latter to live without resort to agricu ltural work. It is necessary to recall that in the process of independent evolution o n all continents, the increase in productive capacity was accompanied by increasing inequality at all stages except socialism. To say that the in ter- lacustrine zone continued developing uninterruptedly up to the eve of colonialism is to highlight the expanded productive capacity of the states and at the same time to recognise frankly that it was the result of increased exploitation not only of natural resources but also of the labour of the majority. The latter were disenfranchised and oppressed to get them to toil in the interests of a few who lived in palaces. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (49 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 The inter-lacustrine kingdoms fell mainly in what is now Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Only in the north-east of Tanzania are there representatives of the inter-lacustrine complex of states. North-east Tanzania was the most developed portion of the country in the pre- colonial epoch, because the rest of mainland Tanzania comprised numerous small kingdoms that had not decisively left behind the communal stage. But north-east Tanzania was also the corner of the country in which problems arose when a new ideology of egalitarianism was being preached after the end of the colonial era, because there was already a regime of inequality in the distribution of land and produce and in the rights granted to individuals. In fact, in any meaningful political sense, the area was feudal. There is some disagreement as to the origins of the important inter- lacustrine state of Buganda. Some traditions give it the same Luo origin as Bunyoro, while others tend to hold that it was a Bachwezi survival. Its social structure certainly paralleled that of Babito Bunyoro closely . Unlike in Ankole, in Buganda the Bahima did not have the reins of political power. They were only associated with the cattle-owning ruling class, very often in the junior capacity of herdsmen. In any even t, Buganda’s history was one of gradual expansion and consolidation at the expense of Bunyoro and other neighbours. By the 18th century, it had become the dominant power in the whole region. The Buganda state had a sound agricultural base, with bananas as a staple and with cattle products being available. Their craftsmen manufactured bark-cloth for export, and local production of iron and http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (50 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 pots was supplemented by imports from neighbouring African communities. Their lack of salt was a big stimulus to the extending of their trade network to obtain the necessary supplies; and, as was true o f the Western Sudan, such an extension of the network of commerce was in effect integrating the productive resources of a large area. Carl Peters, the advance agent of German colonialism in East Africa remarked that ‘in estimating the political and commercial affairs of East Africa too little stress is laid on this internal trade among the tribes . The barter trade of Buganda defies all direct calculation.’ In Buganda’ s case, the absence of slave trading must have been important in expanding internal production and trade, and therefore providing a sound base for the political superstructure. The kings of Buganda set up a small permanent armed force, which served as a bodyguard; and the rest of the national army was raised when necessary. The political administration was centralised under the Kabaka, and district rulers were appointed by the Kabaka and his council, rather than left to be provided by the clans on a hereditary family basis. Great ingenuity went into devising plans for administering this large kingdom through a network of local officials. Perhaps the bes t tributes to the political sophistication of Buganda came from the British, when they found Buganda and other East African feudalities in the 19th century. They were the best tributes because they were reluctantly extracted from white racists and culturally arrogant colonialists, who did not want to admit that Africans were capable of anything. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (51 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Actually, Europeans were so impressed with what they saw in the inter- lacustrine zone that they invented the thesis that those political state s could not possibly have been the work of Africans and must have been built at an earlier date by white ‘Hamites’ from Ethiopia. This my th seemed to get some support from the fact that the Bachwezi were said to have been light-skinned. However, in the first place, had the Bachwezi come from Ethiopia they would have been black or brown Africans. And secondly, as noted earlier, the cultures of East Africa were syntheses of local developments, plus African contributions from outside the specific localities. They were certainly not foreign imports . Assuming that the Bachwezi or Bahima were from Ethiopia, then they lost their language and became Bantus-peaking like their subjects. The same thing happened to the Babito dynasty of Luo extraction, indicating that they had been absorbed by the local culture. Furthermore, the Babito and the Bahima/Bahinda also forged close connections from the 16th to the 19th centuries. In effect, out of different ethnic groups, castes and classes, a number of ‘nationalities’ were emerging. The ‘nationality’ group is held to be that social formation which immediately precedes the nation state, and the definition applies to the peoples of Buganda, Bunyoro, Ankole, Karagwe and Toro, as well as to those in Rwanda and Burundi. (d) Rwanda The western most portion of the inter-lacustrine zone comprised the kingdoms of Rwanda and Burundi. The two countries which today bear those names are centred around the old kingdoms. The experiences of http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (52 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Rwanda will be instanced here. Like the old Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom and like its north-eastern neighbour state in Ankole, Rwanda was split into two major social groups. Though the great majority of the population were cultivators known as the Bahutu, political power was in the hands of Batutsi pastoralists, comprising about 10% of the population. An even smaller minority were the Batwa (about 1 %), who were at a very low level of pre-agricultural social organisation. The relative physiques of the three social segments in Rwanda offers an interesting commentary on the development of human beings as a species. The Batutsi are one of the tallest human groups in the world; the Bahutu are short and stocky; and the Batwa are pygmies. The differences can be explained largely in terms of social occupation and diet. The Batwa were not living in settled agricultural communities : instead, they wandered around in small bands, hunting and digging roots, thereby failing to assure themselves of plentiful or rich food. A t the other extreme, the Batutsi pastoralists were subsisting on a constantly accessible and rich diet of milk and meat. The Bahutu were more socially advanced than the Batwa; they ate more and more regularly than the latter because Bahutu agriculture meant that they did not live entirely on the whims of nature, following scarce game like the Batwa. However, the quality of their food fell short of the protein-rich Batutsi diet. Thus, the development of man, the physical being is also linked in a broad sense to the expansion of productive capacity and the distribution of food. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (53 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 In any event, it was their political and military achievements rather th an their height which distinguished the Batutsi from a historical viewpoint . Their contribution to the kingdom of Rwanda goes back to the 14th century, to a period contemporaneous with the Bachwezi. There were indeed striking parallels and actual links between Rwanda and Ankole and between Karagwe and Burundi. But unlike Bunyoro-Kitara, Rwanda in the 14th and 15th centuries, was far from being a single political entity. There were several small chiefdoms, and it was the expansion of a central Rwanda Tutsi clan which gradually created a small compact state in the 17th century. Later still, that central Rwand a state extended its frontiers; and it was still doing so when the colonialists arrived. For instance, rulers in Mpororo (Ankole) were already paying tribute to Rwanda, which was growing at Ankole’s expense. At the head of the Rwanda kingdom was the Mwami. Like so many other African rulers, his powers were sanctioned by religious beliefs and his person surrounded by religious ritual. Feudal kings in Europe often tried to get their subjects to believe that royal authority emanat ed from God and that the king therefore ruled by ‘divine right’. Subj ects of African kings like those of the Mwami of Rwanda often accepted something quite close to that proposition. Of course, in addition, the authority of the king had to be based on real power, and the Mwami of Rwanda did not overlook that fact. Rujugira was a famous Mwami of the 18th century, and the last of the independent line was Rwaabugiri (known also as Kigeri IV), who díed http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (54 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 in 1895. Gahindiro is another whose praises were sung by the court musicians and historians. Each of them was associated with one or more contributions to refining and elaborating the power structure of the state, which meant that they each embodied certain historical, class and national forces. The Mwami Rujugira in the 18th century took the step of placing his frontier zones under the exclusive authority of a military commander, and stationing strong contingents of soldiers -there. The move was significant because in any young and growing state the most uncertain areas are those on the frontiers, known as the ‘marcher provinces’ in European feudal terminology. Rujugira was in effect placing the marcher provinces under military law, and he also put permanent military camps at strategic places. Early in the 19th century, Mwami Gahindiro overhauled the civil administration. In each province, there was created both a land-chief and a cattle chief-one being responsible for farm rents and the other fo r cattle dues. Besides, there were smaller district authorities or ‘hil l chiefs’ within all the provinces, all members of the Batutsi aristocr acy. Whether by accident or design, it turned out that administrators responsible for different areas and different matters were jealous of each other, and that kept them from uniting to conspire against the Mwami. The ‘hill chiefs’ were for a long time hereditary within gi ven Batsutsi clans or lineages; but under Rwaabugiri they became appointive-another move which strengthened central government. Meanwhile, the civil servants and councillors (collectively known as http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (55 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Biru) were given grants of land which were free from the intervention of the land- and cattle-chiefs, thereby cementing the loyalty of the Bir u to the throne. The system of social relations which emerged in Rwanda were more completely hierarchical and feudal than in most other parts of Africa. Hierarchy and socio-legal interdependence of classes and individuals were features found in the army, the civil administration and in the social fabric itself. The key to everything else was the control over cattle, through an institution known as ubuhake. This meant that the poor (in cattle) and those of low status (by birth) could approach a nyone with more cattle and more respected status, and offer his physical labour services in return for cattle and protection. The cattle were nev er given as outright property, but only the usufruct was handed over to a client. Therefore, the client could have the use of the cattle for so lo ng as he reciprocated by handing over milk and meat to his overlord, and for so long as he remained loyal. Of course, the peasant on the land als o had to perform labour services and provide tribute in the form of food. The Batutsi aristocracy fulfilled their function of offering ‘protect ion’ partly by making representations at the Mwami’s court or by defending their dependents in legal cases. Above all, however, the protection came through specialisation in the military art. Ever since the 15th century, there was compulsory military service for certain Batutsi lineages. Sons of the Batutsi aristocracy became royal pages, receiving all their educational training within a military context. Each new Mwami made a fresh recruitment to add to existing forces. Some Bahutu were http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (56 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 associated with particular regiments to provide supplies, and the Batwa were also incorporated as specialist archers (with poisoned arrows). Of course, the ‘protection’ which the Batutsi gave the Bahutu was a myth, in the sense that what they were guarding was their exploitation of the Bahutu. They defended them from external enemies, so that the population became dense and plentiful. They conserved the Bahutu, so that the latter could exercise their highly developed agronomical knowledge to produce surplus. Furthermore, the top stratum of Batutsi were the cattle owners, and they left their cattle to the lesser Batutsi to tend, thereby exploiting the labour and profound empirical knowledge which the common cattle herders possessed. As in Europe and Asia, such was the socioeconomic base which supported a life of leisure and intrigue among the Batutsi aristocracy. There was little inter-marriage between Batutsi and Bahutu, and hence they are regarded as castes. The Batwa, too, can be similarly categorised; but since the castes were hierarchically placed one over th e other, it was also a situation of class, and there was upward and downward mobility from one class to another to a certain extent. At the same time, Batutsi, Bahutu and Batwa together evolved as the Rwanda nation, having common interests to defend against even the Batutsi, Bahutu and Batwa who comprised the kingdom of Burundi. The people of Rwanda were not unique in developing a state and a sense of national consciousness, while at the same time experiencing the rise of more sharply differentiated classes and castes in society. The important thin g is that they were free to develop relatively unaffected by alien http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (57 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 influence, and certainly free from direct ravages of slave trading. (e) Ama-Zulu The same freedom from slave trading was operational in South Africa, for West African exports of capotes began in Angola and East African exports came from Mozambique and zones further north. The area south of the Limpopo was one that had some of the simpler social formations in Africa up to the 15th century. The eastern side was sparsely peopled up to a late date by the Khoi Khoi herdsmen, who were slowly edged out by Bantu speakers. When European ships touched on the Natal coast in the 16th century, it was still a region of widely-scattered homesteads; but in the years to come the population became denser and important politico-military development took place. Anyone with a nodding acquaintance with the African past would have heard the name of Shaka, the Zulu leader who most embodied the social and political changes which took place in the eastern portion of South Africa. One biographer (a European) had this to say of Shaka: ‘Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Hannibal. Charlemagne . . . such men as the se have arisen periodically throughout the history of the world to blaze a trail of glory that has raised them high above the common level. Such a man was Shaka, perhaps the greatest of them all.’ The above praise-song appeared on the back-cover of the biography in question; and, since capitalist publishers treat books just like boxes o f soap-powder, one has admittedly to be suspicious of any advertisement designed to sell the book. Nevertheless, all commentators on Shaka http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (58 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 (both African and European) frequently compare him favourably with the ‘Great Men’ of European history. It is therefore appropriate t o examine Ama-Zulu society up to the 19th century with a view to understanding the role of the leader in relationship to the development of society as a whole. Shaka was born about the year 1787, and the impressive achievements attributed to him in his 40-year life span can only be briefly enumerate d here. By 1816, he was head of a small Ama-Ngoni clan, the Ama-Zulu. Within a few years, he had re-organised it militarily — both in terms of weapons and the tactics and strategy of war — so that the Ama-Zulu clan became a feared fighting force. Through warfare and political manoeuvring , he united and commanded the Ama-Ngoni who had previously been divided into dozens of independent or semi- independent clans. At one point, it seemed as though Shaka was about to unite under one rule the whole of the region that is now Natal, Lesotho and Swaziland. That task was not accomplished when he met his death in 1828, nor were his successors able to maintain Shaka’s sway. But the territory belonging to the Ama-Zulu nation in the late 19th century was 100 times greater than the 100 sq. miles of the origina l patrimony of the Ama-Zulu clan as inherited by Shaka in 1816. It was a diminished and less powerful AmaZulu that was still capable in 1876 of inflicting upon the British one of the most crushing defeats in their history of overseas adventuring — at the battle of Isandlwana. Shaka grew up at a time when the questions of unity and of effective armies were being posed seriously for the first time among the Ama- http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (59 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Ngoni. Previously, the clans (which generally coincided with chiefdoms) displayed a tendency to segment or break into smaller and smaller units. As the eldest son of a clan head grew to adulthood, he went off to settle his own kraal; and a new junior clan was born, for hi s father’s clan remained senior and its headship passed to the eldest s on of the ‘great wife’. That pattern of segmentation was possible so long as population density was low and land was plentiful for farming and- grazing. Under those circumstances, there was little competition for resources or political power; and wars were hardly any more dangerous than a game of football in Latin America. Usually a clan had traditional rivalry with another given clan. They knew each other well, and their champions fought in a spirit of festivity. One or two might have been killed, but then everyone went home until the rematch. Early in the 19th century, the casual tempo of Ama-Zulu life and politics had changed considerably. A greater population meant less and less room for junior members to ‘hive off’ on their own. It meant less grazing land for cattle, and disputes over cattle and land. As the Ama- Zulu began to fight more frequently, so they began to feel the necessity to fight more effectively. At the same time, senior clan heads began to recognise the need for a political structure to ensure unity, the maximisation of resources and the minimisation of internecine conflict. Shaka addressed himself to both the military and political problems of Zululand, which he saw as two sides of the same coin. He thought that the centralising political nucleus should achieve military superiority a nd demonstrate it to other sectors. That would generally lead to peaceful http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (60 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 acceptance of the greater political state, or else the dissidents would be thoroughly crushed. The era of conflict and warfare in Zululand in the early 19th century brought troops face to face much more often, but the pattern of military encounter still remained that of the long-distance hurling of light Umkhonto or spears. For close fighting, a weapon grasped in the hands is much more damaging-as feudal armies discovered in Europe and Asia, and therefore resorted to sword and pike. Shaka, while serving as a young soldier, came up with the solution of devising a heavy short assegai, which was used purely for stabbing rather than throwing. In addition, he discarded the loose sandals so as to achieve more speed in closing with the enemy and more dexterity at close quarters. Through experience, Shaka and his fellow youth then discovered the specific techniques of using their shields and assegais to best effect. Of course, warfare comprises not just the encounter of individual soldiers, but (more importantly) a pattern of tactics and strategy in relationship to the opposing forces taken as a whole. This aspect of war also attracted Shaka’s attention, and his outstanding innovation came in the form of izimpi (regiments) deployed so as to allow for a reserve behind the fighting vanguard and for two wings or ‘horns’ capable of encircling the enemy’s flanks. Finally (and most importantly), an a rmy has to be trained, disciplined and organised so that it is a meaningful unit in peace and in war. Shaka created new regiments to include men up to 40 years of age. He kept his izimpi on constant exercises and ‘fatigues’, so that the individual soldier was fit and proficient, while the http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (61 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 army as a whole synchronised in accordance with the wishes of its commanders. The Zulu army was more than a fighting force. It was an educational institution for the young, and an instrument for building loyalties that cut across clans and could be considered as national. Promotion came through merit, and not through clan or regional origin. The enforced use of the Zulu branch of the family of Ngoni languages also worked in the direction of national consciousness. Over an area of 12,000 sq. miles, citizens came to call themselves ‘Ama-Zulu’, and to relegate their clan names to second place. Over a much larger area still, Zulu influence was profoundly felt. Policies such as curbing the excesses of witchcraft diviners (izanusi) and the fact that Zululand became free of internal struggles led to an influx of population from outside its boundaries — a positive contribution to the resources of the Zulu state. European travellers who have left written accounts of Zululand in Shaka’s time were impressed by the cleanliness (as they were in Beni n in the 15th century) and they were equally struck by the social order, absence of theft, sense of security, etc. (just like the Arabs who travelled in the Western Sudan during its period of imperial greatness) . In actual fact, both the cleanliness and the security of life and proper ty were part of Zulu life from long before, and under Shaka what was impressive was the scale on which these things extended, owing to the protective umbrella of the state. The people being impressed were Europeans; and European evidence is the best evidence in that it can scarcely be said to have been pro-African propaganda. One white http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (62 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 visitor who saw a march-past of fifteen of Shaka’s regiments, wrote that: ‘it was a most exciting scene, surprising to us, who could not have imagined that a nation termed “savages” could be so disciplined an d kept in order.’ A great deal more could be added concerning Ama-Zulu political institutions and its army. But what is relevant here is to understand wh y a Shaka was possible in Africa in the 19th century, before the coming of colonial rule. Had Shaka been a slave to some cotton planter in Mississippi or some sugar planter in Jamaica, he might have had an ear or a hand chopped off for being a ‘recalcitrant nigger’, or at best he might have distinguished himself in leading a slave revolt. For the only great men among the unfree and the oppressed are those who struggle to destroy the oppressor. On a slave plantation, Shaka would not have built a Zulu army and a Zulu state — that much is certain. Nor could any African build anything during the colonial period, however much a genius he may have been. As it was, Shaka was a herdsman and a warrior. As a youth, he tended cattle on the open plains — free to develop his own potential and apply it to his environment. Shaka was able to invest his talents and creative energies in a worthwhile endeavour of construction. He was not concerned with fighting for or against slave traders; he was not concerned with the problem of how to re-sell goods made in Sweden and France. He was concerned with how to develop the Zulu arca within the limits imposed http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (63 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 by his people’s resources. It must be recognised that things such as military techniques were responses to real needs, that the work of the individual originates in a nd is backed by the action of society as a whole, and that whatever was achieved by any one leader must have been bounded by historical circumstances and the level of development, which determine the extent to which an individual can first discover, then augment and then display his potential. To substantiate the above points, it can be noted that Shaka was challenged to create the heavy stabbing assegai, when he realised that the throwing spear broke when used as a stabbing weapon. More important still, what Shaka came up with depended upon the collective effort of the Ama-Zulu. Shaka could ask that a better assegai be forged, because the Ama-Ngoni had been working iron for a long time, and specialist blacksmiths had arisen within certain clans. It was a tribute to the organisational and agricultural capacity of the society as a whole that it could feed and maintain a standing army of 30,000 men, re-equip them with iron weapons, and issue each soldier with the full-length Zulu shield made from cattle hide. Because the scientific basis and experimental pre-conditions were lacking in Zulu society, Shaka could not have devised a firearm — no matter how much genius he possessed. But, he could get his people to forge better weapons, as we explained above; and he found them receptive to better selective breeding practices when he set up special http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (64 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 royal herds, because the people already had a vast fund of empirical knowledge about cattle and a love of the cattle herding profession. In the politico-military sphere, Shaka was following in the footsteps of his original protector, Dingizwayo, and to some extent in the footsteps of Zwide, who was a rival to both Dingizwayo and Shaka. Dingizwayo opened up trade with the Portuguese at Delagoa Bay in 1797 (mainly in ivory), and he stimulated arts and crafts. His most distinguished innovation was in the army, when he instituted a system of recruiting regiments according to age grades. Previously, each locality tended to dominate within a given regiment; and, in any event, people were accustomed to fighting side by side with members of their own kraal, locality and clan. However, when all men in a given age-grade were brought into the same regiment, this emphasised a greater national feeling and also increased Dingizwayo’s power vis-a-vis the smaller clan heads. Dingizwayo was head of the important Ama-Mthethwa clan, and he succeeded in establishing his paramountcy in what later became the southern portion of Zululand. In the north, Zwide of the Ama- Ndwandwe was also engaging in political consolidation. Shaka served in one of the junior age-grade regiments of Dingizwayo, and remained faithful to the latter’s centralising power, until Dingizwayo met his death at the hands of Zwide in 1818. Thereafter, Shaka took up many of the military and political techniques of Dingizwayo and greatly improved them. That is development: It is a matter of building upon what is inherited and advancing slowly, provided that no one comes to http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (65 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 ‘civilise’ you. Conclusion The regions of Yorubaland, Dahomey, the inter-lacustrine kingdoms and Zululand, which have so far been discussed, are examples of leading forces in the political development which was taking place in Africa right up to the eve of colonisation. They were not the only leading forces, and even where the states were territorially much smaller, there were observable advances in political organisation. Areas of Africa that were most advanced by the 15th century generally maintained their standards, with few exceptions such as Kongo. In North Africa and Ethiopia, for example, feudal structures remained intact, though there was a noticeable lack of continued growth. In the Western Sudan, the Hausa states were heirs to the political and commercial tradition of the great empires after the fall of Songhai in t he 17th century; and early in the 19th century there arose the Islamic Caliphate of Sokoto with its centre in Hausaland. The Sokoto empire was one of the largest political units ever established on the African continent, and it suffered from many internal schisms through lack of adequate mechanisms for integrating so vast a territory. Experiments to deal with the problem of unity were continued in the Western Sudan, with Islam as the hoped-for unifying factor. An Islamic theocratic state was established across the Niger bend by Ahmadu Ahmadu in the middle of the 19th century, while another was created by Al Haj Omar on the upper Niger. Most outstanding of all was the Mandinga state carved out under the leadership of Samori Toure by the 1880s. Samori http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (66 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Toure was not a scholar like the renowned Uthman dan Fodio and Al Haj Omar, who before him had been creators of Islamic states; but Samori Toure was a military genius and a political innovator, who went further than the others in setting up a political administration where a sense of loyalty could prevail over and above clans, localities and ethn ic groups. Zimbabwe, too, progressed, with only slight interference from Europeans. Locally, the centre of power shifted from Mutapa to Changamire; and eventually in the 19th century, Nguni groups (fleeing from the power of the Zulu) overran Zimbabwe. So long as the Nguni were warrior bands on the march, they obviously proved destructive; but by the middle of the 19th century the Nguni had already spread their own building techniques to Mozambique and to what is now Southern Rhodesia, and had joined with the local population to establish new and larger kingdoms — infused with a sense of nationality, as was the cas e in Zululand. Meanwhile, across vast areas of Central Africa, striking political chang e was also taking place. Up to the 15th century, the level of social organisation was low in the area between Kongo and Zimbabwe. Precisely in that area, there arose the group of states known as the Lub a- Lunda complex. Their political structures rather than their territorial size made them , significant; and their achievements were registered in the face of constantly encroaching slaving activities. On the large island of Madagascar, the several small states of an earlie r epoch had by the late 18th century given way to the powerful feudal http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (67 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Merina kingdom. More often than not, Madagascar is ignored in general assessments of the African continent, although (both in the physical an d cultural sense) Africa is writ large on the Malagasy people. They, too, suffered from loss of population through slave exports; but the Merina kingdom did better than most slaving states, because more intensive cultivation of high-yielding swamp rice and the breeding of cattle offse t the loss of labour. This situation should serve as a reminder that development accompanied by slave trading must not be superficially and illogically attributed to the export of the population and the dislocation attendant upon slave raiding. The bases of the political development of the Merina kingdom and of all others (whether or not engaged in slaving) lay in their own environment — in the material resources, human resources, technology and social relations. So long as any African society could at least maintain its inherited advantages springing from many centuries of evolutionary change, then for so long could the superstructure continue to expand and give further opportunities to whole groups of people, to classes and to individuals. At the beginning of this section, attention was drawn to the necessity for reconciling a recognition of African development up to 1885 with an awareness of the losses simultaneously incurred by the continent in that epoch, due to the nature of the contact with capitalist Europe. Tha t issue must also be explicitly alluded to at this point. It is clearly ridiculous to assert that contacts with Europe built or benefitted Afric a in the pre-colonial period. Nor does it represent reality to suggest (a s President Leopold Senghor once did) that the slave trade swept Africa like a bush fire, leaving nothing standing. The truth is that a developi ng http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (68 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Africa went into slave trading and European commercial relations as into a gale-force wind, which shipwrecked a few societies, set many others off course, and generally slowed down the rate of advance. However (pursuing the metaphor further) it must be noted that African captains were still making decisions before 1885, though already forces were at work which caused European capitalists to insist on, and succeed in taking over, command. 4.4 The Coming of Imperialism and Colonialism In the centuries before colonial rule, Europe increased its economic capacity by leaps and bounds, while Africa appeared to have been almost static. Africa in the late 19th century could still be described as part communal and part feudal, although Western Europe had moved completely from feudalism to capitalism. To elucidate the main thesis of this study, it is necessary to follow not only the development of Europe and the underdevelopment of Africa, but also to understand how those two combined in a single system — that of capitalist imperialis m. The European economy was producing far more goods by making use of their own resources and labour, as well as the resources and labour o f the rest of the world. There were many qualitative changes in the European economy, which accompanied and made possible the increase in the quantity of goods. For example, machines and factories rather than and provided the main source of wealth; and labour had long since ceased to be organised on a restricted family basis. The peasantry had been brutally destroyed and the labour of men, women and children was ruthlessly exploited. Those were the great social evils of the capitalis t http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (69 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 system, which must not be forgotten; but, on the issue of comparative economics, the relevant fact is that what was a slight difference when the Portuguese sailed to West Africa in 1444 was a huge gap by the time that European robber statesmen sat down in Berlin 440 years later to decide who should steal which parts of Africa. It was that gap which provided both the necessity and the opportunity for Europe to move into the imperialist epoch, and to colonise and further underdevelop Africa. The growing technological and economic gap between Western Europe and Africa was part of the trend within capitalism to concentrate or polarise wealth and poverty at two opposite extremes. Inside of Western Europe itself, some nations grew rich at the expense of others. Britain, France and Germany were the most prosperous nations. Poverty prevailed in Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Southern Italy. Inside of the British, French and German economies, the polarisation of wealth was between the capitalists on the one hand and the workers and a few peasants on the other. The big capitalists got bigger and the little ones were eliminated. In many important fields, such as iron and steel manufacture, textiles and particularly banking, i t was noticeable that two or three firms monopolised most of the business. The banks were also in a commanding position within the economy as a whole, providing capital to the big monopoly industrial firms. European monopoly firms operated by constantly fighting gain control over raw materials, markets and means of communications. They also fought to be the first to invest in new profitable undertakings related to http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (70 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 their line of business — whether it be inside or outside their countr ies. Indeed, after the scope for expansion became limited inside of their national economies, their main attention was turned to those countries whose economies were less developed and who would therefore offer little or no opposition to the penetration of foreign capitalism. That penetration of foreign capitalism on a world-wide scale from the late 19th century onwards is what we call ‘imperialism’. Imperialism meant capitalist expansion. It meant that European (and North American and Japanese) capitalists were forced by the internal logic of their competitive system to seek abroad in less developed countries opportunities to control raw material supplies, to find market s, and to find profitable fields of investment. The centuries of trade with Africa contributed greatly to that state of affairs where European capitalists were faced with the necessity to expand in a big way outside of their national economies. There were certain areas of Africa in which European investment was meant to get immediate super-profits. The mines of South Africa, the loans to North African governments, and the building of the Suez Canal were in that category. The Suez Canal also ensured the greater profitability of European investment in and trade with India. However, Africa’s greatest value to Europe at the beginning of the imperialist era was as a source of raw materials such as palm products, groundnuts, cotton and rubber. The need for those materials arose out of Europe’s expanded economic capacity, its new and larger machines and its increasing wage-earning population in towns. All of those things had http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (71 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:23 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 developed over the previous four centuries; and again it needs to be repeated that one of the important factors in that process was the unequal trade with Africa. Imperialism is essentially an economic phenomena, and it does not necessarily lead to direct political control or colonisation. However, Africa was the victim of colonisation. In the period of the notorious Scramble for Africa’, Europeans made a grab for whatever they thought spelt profits in Africa, and they even consciously acquired many areas not for immediate exploitation but with an eye to the future. Each European nation that had these short-term and long-term economic interests ran up its own flag in different parts of Africa and establish ed colonial rule. The gap that had arisen during the period of pre-colonial trade gave Europe the power to impose political domination on Africa. Pre-colonial trade in slaves, ivory, gold, etc., was conducted from the coasts of Africa. On the coasts, European ships could dominate the scene, and if necessary forts could be built. Before the 19th century, Europe was incapable of penetrating the African continent, because the balance of force c their disposal was inadequate. But the same technological changes which created the need to penetrate Africa also created the power to conquer Africa. The firearms of the imperialist epoch marked a qualitative leap forward. Breech-loading rifles and machine guns were a far cry from the smooth-bored muzzle loaders and flintlocks of the previous era. European imperialists in Africa boasted that what counted was the fact that they had the Maxim machine gun and Africans did not. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (72 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Curiously, Europeans often derived the moral justification for imperialism and colonialism from features of the international trade as conducted up to the eve of colonial rule in Africa. The British were the chief spokesmen for the view that the desire to colonise was largely based on their good intentions in wanting to put a stop to the slave trade. True enough, the British in the 19th century were as opposed to slave trading as they were once in favour of it. Many changes inside Britain had transformed the 17th century necessity for slaves into the 19th century necessity to clear the remnants of slaving from Africa so as to organise the local exploitation of land and labour. Therefore, slaving was rejected in so far as it had become a fetter on further capitalist development; and it was particularly true of East Africa, where Arab slaving persisted until late in the 19th century. The British took special self-righteous delight in putting an end to Arab slave trading, and in deposing rulers on the grounds that they were slave traders. However, in those very years, the British were crushing political leaders in Nigeria, like Jaja and Nana who had by then ceased the export of slaves, and were concentrating instead on products like palm oil and rubber. Similarly, the Germans in East Africa made a pretence of being most opposed to rulers like Bushiri who were engaged in slave trading, but the Germans were equally hostile to African rulers with little interest in slaving. The common factor underlying the overthrow of African rulers in West, Central, North and South Africa was that they stood in the way of Europe’s imperial need s. It was the only factor that mattered, with anti-slaving sentiments being at best superfluous and at worst calculated hypocrisy. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (73 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 King Leopold of Belgium also used the anti-slavery excuse to introduce into Congo forced labour and modern slavery. Besides, all Europeans had derived ideas of racial and cultural superiority between the 15th an d 19th centuries, while engaged in genocide and the enslavement of non- white peoples. Even Portugal, an impoverished and backward European nation in the imperialist era, could still presume that it had a destiny to civilise the natives in Africa! There is a curious interpretation of the Scramble and African partition which virtually amounts to saying that colonialism came about because of Africa’s needs rather than those of Europe. Africa, they say, requ ired European colonisation if it were to advance beyond the stage it had reached the late 19th century. Clearly, they do not appreciate that such a line of reasoning was suggesting that Africa would develop if it were given bigger doses of the European concoction that had already started its underdevelopment — that it would develop if it lost the last remnants of its freedom of choice, which had clearly been seriously undermined by the pre-colonial trade — that it would develop if its economy became more integrated with Europe’s on terms that were entirely dictated by Europe. Those implications and their fallacies would be plain to anyone who tries to understand the development process before making pronouncements on any particular epoch of human development in Africa. Throughout the 14th century, African rulers were displaying great initiative in pursuit of the broadest forms of cultural contact with Europe. In the case of West Africa, that meant seeking substitutes for http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (74 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 trade in slaves. Dahomey, one of the most embroiled in slave trading, was among those states that used many of the last years of its independence to find a healthy basis for cultural exchange with Europeans. In 1850, the reigning Dahomean king, Ghezo, proclaimed an edict whereby all-young oil-palms were to be freed from parasites surrounding them, and severe penalties were to be imposed for cutting palm trees. Ghezo who ruled from 1818 to 1857 was a reformer, and he made sincere efforts to meet criticisms of his policies by groups such a s missionaries and anti-slavery campaigners; but it soon became clear that Europeans were not bent on seeing Dahomey re-emerge as a strong state, but were rather creating excuses and the subjective conditions to justify their proposed colonisation of the people of Dahomey. Under those circumstances, the last Dahomean monarch, Glele, fell back on his capital at Abomey, and pursued the policies which he considered most consistent with the dignity and independence of Dahomey. Glele raided Abeokuta, which contained converts who were already ‘British protected persons’; he told the French to get the hell out of Porto Novo ; and he generally resisted until defeated militarily by the French in 188 9. African groups who had little or nothing to do with slave exports also intensified their efforts to integrate into a wider world in the 19th century. Gungunhana, the Nguni ruler of Gaza in Mozambique, asked for a Swiss missionary doctor and maintained him at his court for several years until the Portuguese conquered his kingdom in 1895. After the Portuguese imposed colonial rule, it was a long time before http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (75 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Africans saw another doctor! It is particularly instructive to turn to the example of Egypt under Muhammad Ali, who ruled from 1805 to 1849. Capitalist Europe had left feudal North Africa behind over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries. Muhammad Ali was aware of that, and consciously aimed at catching up with Europe. He instituted a series of reforms, the most important of which were of an economic nature. Egypt grew and manufactured its own cotton, and it made glass, paper, and other industrial goods. Egypt was not to be used as a dumping ground for European goods which would undermine local industry, so that protective tariff walls were set up around Egypt’s ‘infant industr ies’. That did not mean that Egypt became isolated from the rest of the world. On the contrary, Muhammad Ali borrowed experts from Europe, and he increased Egypt’s foreign trade. The ideals of Muhammad Ali could be related in the idiom of modern social science as being the creation of a viable, self-propelling econom y to provide the basis for national independence. Such ideals were diametrically opposed to the needs of European capitalism. British and French industrialists wanted to see Egypt not as a textile manufacturer but as a producer of raw cotton for export, and an importer European manufactures. European financiers wanted Egypt to be a source of investment, and in the second half of the 18th century they turned the Sultan of Egypt into an international beggar, who mortgaged the whole of Egypt to international monopoly financiers. Finally, European statesmen wanted Egyptian soil to serve as a base for http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (76 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 exploiting India and Arabia. Therefore, the Suez Canal was dug out of Egyptian soil by Egyptians, but it was owned by Britain and France, who then extended political domination over Egypt and Sudan. Education is undeniably one of the facets of European life which had grown most appreciably during the capitalist epoch. Through education and extensive use of the written word, Europeans were in a position to pass on to the others the scientific principles of the material world which they had discovered, as well as a body of varied philosophical reflections on man and society. Africans were quick to appreciate advantages deriving from a literate education. In Madagascar, the Merina kingdom did a great deal to sponsor reading and writing. They used their own language and an Arabic script, and they welcomed the aid of European missionaries. That conscious borrowing from all relevant sources was only possible when they had the freedom to choose. Colonisation, far from springing from Malagasy needs, actually erected a barrier to the attainment of the ‘modernisation’ initiat ed by the Merina kings in the 1860s and 1870s. A similar example can be found in the history of Tunisia before the axe of Partition fell. In many parts of the world, capitalism in its imperialist form accepted that some measure of political sovereignty should be left in the hands o f the local population. This was so in Eastern Europe, in Latin America, and to a more limited extent in China. However, European capitalists came to the decision that Africa should be directly colonised. There is evidence to suggest that such a course of action was not entirely planned. Britain and France up to the 1850s and 1860s http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (77 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 would have preferred to divide Africa into informal ‘spheres of influence’. That means that there would have been a gentlemen’s agreement that (say) Nigeria would be exploited by the British merchants while Senegal would be exploited by Frenchmen. At the same time both Englishmen and Frenchmen would trade in a minor way in each other’s informal empire. But, firstly, there was disagreement over who should suck which pieces of Africa (especially since Germany wanted to join the grabbing); and, secondly, the moment that one European power declared an area of Africa as a Protectorate or a colony, it put up tariffs against European traders of other nationalitie s, and in turn forced their rivals to have colonies and discriminatory tariffs. One thing led to another, and soon six European capitalist nations were falling over each other to establish direct political rule over particular sections of Africa. Make no mistake about it, gentlemen like Karl Peters, Livingstone, Stanley, Harry Johnston, de Brazza, General Gordon and their masters in Europe were literally scrambling for Africa. They barely avoided a major military conflagration. In addition to the factors that caused the chain-reaction of the Scrambl e as described above, Europeans were also racially motivated to seek political domination over Africa. Thee 19th century was one in which white racism was most violently and openly expressed in capitalist societies, with the U.S.A. as a focal point, and with Britain taking the lead among the Western European capitalist nations. Britain accepted granting dominion status to its old colonies of white settlers in Canada , Australia and New Zealand; but it withdrew self-government from the West Indies when the white planters were ousted from the legislative http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (78 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 assemblies by black (or brown) people. As far as Africa is concerned, Englishmen violently opposed black self-government such as the Fante Confederation on the Gold Coast in the 1860s. They also tried to erode the authority of black Creoles in Sierra Leone. In 1874, when Fourah Bay College sought and obtained affiliation with Durham University, the Times newspaper declared that Durham should next affiliate with the London Zoo! Pervasive and vicious racism was present in imperialism as a variant independent of the economic rationality that initially gave birth to racism. It was economics that determined that Europe should invest in Africa and control the continent’s raw materi als and labour. It was racism which confirmed the decision that the form of control should be direct colonial rule. Africans everywhere fought against alien political rule, and had to be subdued by superior force. But a sizeable minority did insist that their trade connections with Europe should remain unbroken, for that was a measure of the extent to which they were already dependent on Europe. The most dramatic illustration of that dependence was the determination with which some Africans fought the end of the European slave trade. For most European capitalist states, the enslavement of Africans had served its purpose by the middle of the 19th century; but for those Africans who dealt in captives the abrupt termination of the trade at an y given point was a crisis of the greatest magnitude. In many areas, major social changes had taken place to bring the particular regions effective ly into the service of the European slave trade — one of the most http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (79 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 significant being the rise of ‘domestic slavery’ and various forms of class and caste subjugation. African rulers and traders who found their social existence threatened by the earliest legal edicts such as the 180 7 British Act against the trade in slaves found ways of making contact with Europeans who still wanted slaves. In sub-Saharan Africa and especially in West Africa, the export of slaves declined most rapidly where Europeans were prepared to buy other commodities. As soon as inhabitants of any region found that they had a product which Europeans were accepting in place of the former slave trade, those inhabitants put tremendous effort into organising the alternatives: namely, ivory, rubber, palm products, groundnuts, etc. Once more, those efforts demonstrated the determination of a small but decisive proportion of Africans. It was a determination based on the desire to obtain European trade goods, many of which had ceased to be mere curiosities or luxuries, and were regarded instead as necessities. The first four centuries of Afro/European trade in a very real sense represent the roots of African underdevelopment. Colonialism flourished rapidly from a European viewpoint, because several of its features were already rooted in Africa in the preceding period. One of the most decisive features of the colonial system was the presence of Africans serving as economic, political and cultural agents of the European colonialists. Those agents or ‘compradors’ were already serving European interests in the pre-colonial period. The impact of trade with Europe had reduced many African rulers to the status of middlemen for European trade; it had raised ordinary Africans to that http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (80 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 same middleman commercial role; and it had created a new trading group of mixed blood-the children of European or Arab fathers. Those types can all be referred to as ‘compradors’, and they played a ke y role in extending European activity from the coast into the hinterland, as soon as Europeans thought of taking over political power. One outstanding example of the above is the way that the French colonialists used Africans and mulattoes on the Senegalese coast as agents for the spread of French control for thousands of miles into areas now covered by Senegal, Mali, Chad, Upper Volta and Niger. Those particular blacks and mulattoes were living in the trading ports of Gorée, Dakar, St. Louis and Rufisque; and they had had long-standing links with Atlantic trade. Africans conducting trade on behalf of Europeans were not merely commercial agents, but also cultural agents, since inevitably they were heavily influenced by European thought and values. The search for European education began in Africa before the colonial period. Coastal rulers and traders recognised the necessity to penetrate more deeply int o the way of life of the white man who came across the sea. The mulatto sons of white traders and the sons of African rulers were the ones who made the greatest effort to learn the white ways. This helped them to conduct business more effectively. One Sierra Leone ruler in the 18th century explained that he wished ‘to learn book to be rogue as good a s white man’; and there were many others who saw the practical advantages of literacy. However, the educational process also meant imbibing values which led to further African subjugation. One West African educated in this early period wrote a Ph.D. thesis in Latin http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (81 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 justifying slavery. That was not surprising.: The Rev. Thomas Thompson was the first European educator on the ‘Gold Coast’, and he wrote in 1778 a pamphlet entitled, The African Trade for Negro Slaves Shown to be Consistent with the Principles of Humanity and the Laws of Revealed Religion. One of the most striking features of 19th century West ‘African histo ry is the manner in which Africans returned from slavery under European masters and helped in the establishment of colonial rule. This was especially true of Africans who returned from the West Indies and North America to Sierra Leone or who were released from slave ships and landed in Sierra Leone. To a lesser extent, it also applied to Africans who were once in Brazil. Such individuals had assimilated capitalist values, and like most European missionaries, promoted the kinds of activity that went along with colonial rule. In a rather differ ent context, it can be argued that the Arabs of Zanzibar and the East African ere also transformed into agents of European colonialism. At first, they resisted because European colonialism affected their own expansionist ambitions on the East African but they soon came to an arrangement which gave Europeans the ultimate powers. The Europeans reduced the small Arab clique into political and economic instruments of imperialism. European superiority over the Arabs in East and North : and in the Middle East demonstrates conclusively modern imperialism is inseparable from capitalism, and the role of slavery in the context of capitalism. The Arabs had acquired Africans as slaves for centuries, but http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (82 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 they were exploited in a feudal context. African slaves in Arab hands became domestics, soldiers, and agricultural serfs. Whatever surplus they produced was not for reinvestment and multiplication of capital, as in the West Indian or North American slave systems but for’ consumption by the feudal elite. Indeed, slaves were often maintained more for social prestige than for economic benefit. The major exceptions to that rule were 19th century Zanzibar and Egypt under Muhammed Ali. In both those instances, African labour was being exploited to produce profit on a plantation basis; and this may also have applied to date palm production in Arabia. But, Europe had already been exploiting African labour to maximise surplus for three centuries previously, and the contribution which the plantation system made to the European capitalist development was so great that Western Europe in the 19th century had engulfed the lesser exploitation of Zanzibar and Arabia, and it secured a firm grasp on Egypt’s economy after the death of Muhammed Ali in 1849. In other words, the cloves, cotton and dates produced in Zanzibar, Egypt and Arabia, respectively, previous to colonisation were already going to strengthen European trade and production. Eventually, it was no problem for the capitalist slave traders of Europe to extend political domination over the feudalis t Arab slave traders and to use the latter as agents of colonialism in Eas t Africa. Returning to the question of indigenous African agents of European colonial rule in Africa, it should be recognised that Europeans recruite d Africans to serve in the armies that actually conquered Africa in the http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (83 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 bloody period from the 1880’s through to the first Great War started by Europeans in 1914. It is a widespread characteristic of colonialism to find agents of repression from among the colonial victims themselves. Yet, without the previous centuries of trade between Africa and Europe, it would have been impossible for Europeans to have so easily recruited the askaris, porters, etc., who made their colonial conquest possible. African residents of the Senegalese ports already referred to were the ones who were put in French army uniform and fought to establish French rule in the interior and other parts of the coast such as Dahomey . When the British defeated Asante in 1874, they had in their forces African troops from the coastal towns around the ‘Gold Coast’ fort s. Those Africans had been in contact with Europeans ‘for so long that ever since the 17th century they identified themselves as ‘Dutch’, ‘Danish’, or ‘English’, depending upon whose fort gave them employment. They had fought battles for one European nation against another; and by the late 19th century it was an easy matter to get them to fight against fellow Africans on behalf of the conquering colonial power of Britain. In the Portuguese territories, the origins of the black colonial police and army also went back into the ‘pre-colonial’ trade period. Around t he forts of Luanda and Benguela in Angola and Lourenço Marques and Beira in Mozambique, there grew up communities of Africans, mulattoes and even Indians who helped ‘pacify’ large areas for the Portuguese after the Berlin Conference. Traders in Mozambique and in the rest of East, West and Central Africa who had experience with http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (84 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 Europeans previous to colonialism were the ones to provide porters to carry the heavy machine guns, cannons and the support equipment; they were the ones who provided the would-be European colonialist with the information and military intelligence that facilitated conquest; and the y were the interpreters who were the voice of the Europeans on African soil. Of course, it is true that many Africans who had little ‘ nothing to do with pre-colonial trade also allied themselves with European newcomers. In that respect, the gap in levels of political organisation between Europe and Africa was very crucial. The development of political unity in the form of large states was proceeding steadily in Africa. But even so, at the time of the Berlin Conference, Africa was still a continent of a large number of socio-political groupings who had not arrived at a common purpose. Therefore, it was easy for the European intruder to play the classic game of divide and conquer. In that way, certain Africans became unwitting allies of Europe. Many African rulers sought a European ‘alliance’ to deal with thei r own African neighbour, with whom they were in conflict. Few of those rulers appreciated the implications of their actions. They could not know that Europeans had come to stay permanently; they could not know that Europeans were out to conquer not some but all Africans. This partial inadequate view of the world was itself a testimony of African underdevelopment relative to Europe, which in the late 19th century was self-confidently seeking dominion in part of the globe. Political divisions in Africa were no evidence of innate inferiority or http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (85 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 backwardness. That was the state in which the continent then found itself — a point along a long road that others had traversed and alon g which Africa was moving. Commercial impact of Europe slowed down the process of political amalgamation and expansion; in contrast to the way trade with Africa strengthened Europe’s nation states. When European capitalism took the form of imperialism and started to subjugate Africa politically, the normal political conflicts of the pre- capitalist African situation were transformed into weakness which allowed the Europeans to set up their colonial domination. Altogether, it is very clear that to understand the coming of colonialis m into Africa, one has to consider the previous historical evolution of bo th Africa and Europe and in particular one has to consider ways in which their trade contacts influence the two continents mutually, so that what was called ‘pre-colonial’ trade proved to be a preparatory stage f or the era of colonial rule. It is widely accepted that Africa was colonised because of its weakness. The concept of weakness should be understood to embrace military weakness and inadequate economic capacity, as well as certain political weaknesses namely, the incompleteness of the establishment of nation states which left the continent divided and the low level of consciousness concerning the world at large which had already been transformed into a single system by the expansion of capitalist relation s. Brief Guide to Reading Section 3 of this chapter dealing with African society is a continuation http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (86 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 of Chapter 2; and general books cited there are also relevant in this context. More African writers are involved in this recent pre-colonial period, which is of course one aspect of a national struggle. There are also more and better monographs on given areas and subjects. But, the coming of imperialism has not yet been seriously pursued from an African viewpoint, and there is a marked absence of theory linking together the numerous facts that are now well established about events taking place in Africa between 1500 and 1885. J. Webster and A. Boahen, The Revolutionary Years: West Africa since 1800. Davidson with J. E. Mhina, The Growth of African Civilisation: East and Central Africa lo the late nineteenth century. These two should be added to the list of general texts which provide regional surveys over a long period of time. They have the advantage of being coherent interpretations and not just collected essays. W. Rodney, West Africa and the Atlantic Slave Trade. E. Alpers, The East African Slave Trade. I.A. Akinjogbin, Dahomey and its Neighbours. The first two are short accounts of the impact of slave exports on the African regions concerned. The third is a detailed account by a Nigerian scholar of Dahomey’s involvement with Europeans. http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (87 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM] How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Walter Rodney 1973 J. Egharevba, A Short History of Benin. B.A. Ogot, History of the Southern Luo. I. Kimambo, A Political History of the Pare. J. Vansina, Kingdoms of the Savannah. The first three are good examples of scholarship by Africans concerning historical developments starting before contact with Europe. They are characterised by the use of African oral traditions as a basis for interpretation. The fourth (by a European) was a pioneering work which drew heavily on oral traditions in reconstructing Central African history. J. Ajayi, Christian Missions in Nigeria, 1845-1891. E.A. Ayandele, The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria. One aspect of the imperialist epoch that has been probed by African historians (and many non-Africans) is that of the Christian missionari es, as evidenced by the above works. Table of Contents http://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/rodney-walter/how-europe/ch04.htm (88 of 88) [8/22/05 11:06:24 AM]
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Global Political Economy This page intentionally left blank GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY EVOLUTION & DYNAMICS ROBERT O’BRIEN & MARC WILLIAMS EDITION 5 TH © Robert O’Brien and Marc Williams 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, Saffron House, 6–10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. The authors have asserted their rights to be identified as the authors of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. First edition 2004 Second edition 2007 Third edition 2010 Fourth edition 2013 Fifth edition 2016 Published by PALGRAVE Palgrave in the UK is an imprint of Macmillan Publishers Limited, registered in England, company number 785998, of 4 Crinan Street, London, N1 9XW. Palgrave Macmillan in the US is a division of St Martin’s Press LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. Palgrave is a global imprint of the above companies and is represented throughout the world. Palgrave® and Macmillan® are registered trademarks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and other countries. ISBN 978–1–137–52312–9 hardback ISBN 978–1–137–52311–2 paperback This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully managed and sustained forest sources. Logging, pulping and manufacturing processes are expected to conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. To our daughters Isabella and Louisa The world is yours to explore and improve This page intentionally left blank List of Boxes, Tables, Figures and Maps x Preface to the Fifth Edition xiii List of Abbreviations xiv Introduction 1 Part 1 Theoretical Perspectives 5 1 Theories of Global Political Economy 6 Understanding the Global Political Economy 6 The Economic Nationalist Perspective 8 Key actors 8 Key dynamics 9 Conflict and cooperation 10 Economic nationalism today 10 The Liberal Perspective 12 Key actors 13 Key dynamics 13 Conflict and cooperation 13 Liberalism today 14 The Critical Perspective 16 Key actors 17 Key dynamics 17 Conflict and cooperation 18 Critical theory today 18 Contending Perspectives: A Summary 19 Further Reading 21 2 International Political Economy and its Methods 22 Locating the Field 22 Economics 23 Political science 24 Political economy 24 International relations 25 Methodological Issues 26 Case studies and large n studies 26 Rational choice 27 Institutionalism 28 Constructivism 30 Contents Trends in Contemporary GPE Theory 32 Consolidation 32 Integration 33 Expansion 34 Approach of the Book 36 Further Reading 38 Part 2 Evolution 39 3 Forging a World Economy: 1400–1800 40 Regions of the World Economy 41 The Middle East 42 China 43 India 44 Africa 45 The Americas 45 Europe 46 European Expansion 51 Into the Americas 51 Along Africa: the triangular trade 54 On the peripheries of Asia 56 Conclusion 58 Further Reading 62 4 Industry, Empire and War: 1800–1945 63 The Industrial Revolution 64 What was the Industrial Revolution? 64 Why Britain? Why then? 66 What did the others do? 67 Pax Britannica 68 The gold standard and capital flows 68 Free trade 71 Balance of power 71 Renewed Imperialism 74 War and Economic Disorder 77 The world wars 77 Interwar economic failure 79 Conclusion 82 Further Reading 85 viii Contents 5 Growing a Global Economy: 1945–2015 86 The Cold War Era: 1945–89 86 The US-led Western political economy 86 The communist political economy 89 The southern political economy 89 The Post-Cold War Era: 1990–2015 91 Competing capitalisms and state transformation 91 The information revolution 93 International organizations and governance 95 Conclusion 97 Further Reading 100 Part 3 Dynamics 101 6 International Trade 102 Definitions 102 Theoretical Perspectives: Free Trade and Protectionism 103 Proponents of free trade 104 Critics of free trade 105 Major Developments 108 Growth and protectionism 108 Changing institutional arrangements 112 Key Issues 115 Developing country interests 115 Regional trade agreements 120 Legitimacy 122 Conclusion 124 Further Reading 124 7 Transnational Production 125 Definitions 127 Theoretical Perspectives: Explaining the Growth of TNCs 128 Major Developments 131 The globalization of production 131 Changing organizational principles 135 Key Issues 138 Re-evaluating the benefits of FDI 138 State–firm interactions 142 Regulating capital 145 Conclusion 146 Further Reading 147 8 The Global Financial System 148 Definitions and Background 148 Theoretical Perspectives: The Mundell- Fleming Model 151 Major Developments 153 IMS: from fixed to floating and regional currencies 153 Credit: financial innovation and repeated crises 157 Key Issues 166 Global credit crisis 166 Future of the US dollar 168 The European sovereign debt and euro crisis 170 Corporate and individual tax abuse 173 Conclusion 177 Further Reading 178 9 Global Division of Labour 179 Definitions 179 Theoretical Perspectives: Adam Smith and his Critics 181 Major Developments 184 Changes in the production process 185 From the new international to the global division of labour 186 Key Issues 187 Global restructuring: the rise of China and India 188 The struggle for workers’ rights in a global economy 191 The division of labour and global stability 193 Conclusion 196 Further Reading 197 10 Gender 198 Definitions and Background 198 Theoretical Perspectives: GPE as if Gender Mattered 200 Major Developments 203 Women in the world economy: employment trends and prospects 203 Gender and global public policy 205 Key Issues 210 The feminization of poverty 210 Globalization of reproductive work 211 Gender and global restructuring 214 Conclusion 216 Further Reading 216 11 Economic Development 217 Definitions 218 Contents ix Theoretical Perspectives on Growth and Development 222 Major Developments 226 Development and national capitalism, 1947–81 227 Development, neoliberalism and beyond, 1982–2015 229 Key Issues 232 The organization of development 232 Debt and debt relief 235 North–South conflict 237 Conclusion 239 Further Reading 240 12 Global Environmental Change 241 Definitions and Background 242 Theoretical Perspectives: IPE and Environmental Studies 244 IPE debates 244 Environmental studies’ debates 246 Major Developments 249 Bringing the environment in 249 Mainstreaming environmentalism 251 Key Issues 253 Sustainable development 253 Climate change 256 Transnational land acquisitions 259 Conclusion 260 Further Reading 261 13 Ideas 262 Definitions 262 Theoretical Perspectives: Ideas about Ideas 263 Major Developments 266 The information revolution and the information society 266 The rise and stall of the Washington Consensus 268 Key Issues 271 Technological diffusion 271 Property rights and life (HIV/AIDS) 272 Ideas, interests and the global financial crisis 274 Conclusion 277 Further Reading 278 14 Security 279 Definitions: Three Views of Security 279 The traditional state-centric approach 279 New security studies 280 Human security 281 Theoretical Perspectives: Integrating Security and Political Economy 282 Major Developments 285 The Cold War security structure 285 The post-Cold War security structure 286 Key Issues 290 Economic statecraft and security 290 Transnational crime and corporate espionage 293 Disease, pandemics and security 296 Conclusion 298 Further Reading 298 15 Governing the Global Political Economy 299 Definitions 299 Theoretical Perspectives: Whither the State? 300 Major Developments 301 Proliferation of governance levels 302 Proliferation of actors 305 Rise of the BRICS 307 Twenty-First-Century Challenges 310 Development and growth 310 Equality and justice 311 Democracy and regulation 313 Conclusion 316 Further Reading 316 Bibliography 317 Index 342 W hy do we inhabit a world where there are such great inequalities of wealth and life chances between regions? Why do some countries seem to be caught in a trap of producing products whose value declines over time, such as sugar or coffee? What accounts for the racial hierar – chies in countries such as the US and South Africa? Why do some societies and countries seem suspicious of the foreign and economic policies of Western states, corporations and civic associations? The answers to these questions are partially rooted in the origins of the global economy. Indeed, a full understanding of today’s global economy requires a familiarity with patterns that were initiated hundreds of years ago. Croce’s argument that ‘however remote in time events there recounted may seem to be, the history in reality refers to present needs and present situations wherein those events vibrate’ (Croce, 1941, p. 19) implies that history is constantly rewritten in light of existing debates and sensibilities. New histories often tell us as much about the times in which they were written as they do about the historical events themselves. An interesting example of this can be seen in the last decade of the 20th century when several prominent scholars engaged in a debate about the ‘rise of the West’. They tried to explain why political and economic power was concentrated in the hands of several Western states (western Europe and the US). On one side of the debate were those who congratulated today’s winners in the global economy by arguing that the rich were wealthy because they had the most virtuous social, economic and political institutions. We can call this the ‘cultural approach’. The rich are rich because they have a culture that supports success. A prominent exponent of this view is Harvard historian David Landes in his book The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (1998). The other side of the debate argued that Western success was accidental and temporary, built on force and expropriation as much as any positive cultural attributes. We can call this the ‘global historical approach’, because it stresses the role of other civilizations and refutes the histori – cal claims of the culturalists. Such an approach challenges the notion that history has ended because Western states have discovered the ultimate model for struc – turing economic, social and political relations. A prominent illustration of this approach is Hobson’s The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization (2004). The debate between cultural and global historical explanations about the ‘rise of the West’ became heated because it concerned the present and the future as much as it did the past. Participants claimed that they had discovered the secrets to why some are rich and others are poor. Such knowledge can be used by others to restructure their societies in the hope of similar success. The practical implica – tions are immense. The culturalists see the cause of poverty as the behaviour of the poor, while the global historicist side sees it as a result of the relationship between the poor and the rich. The policy implications of the first view are that Chapter 3 Forging a World Economy: 1400–1800 Regions of the World Economy 41 European Expansion 51 Conclusion 58 Further Reading 62 Chapter 3 Forging a World E Conomy: 1400–1800 41 the poor are themselves primarily responsible for improving their position, while the implication of the second view is that the system of political and eco – nomic relations must be changed to create greater equity. The first message offers comfort to those already enjoying economic success, while the second urges mobilization and change. How far back in history should we go to gain a better understanding of today’s patterns of inequalities and wealth generation? In his bestselling book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies , Diamond (1997) argued that we need to go back 11,000 years to find the ultimate causes of differences in economic development between people and regions. In his view, environmental and geographic factors such as differ – ences in plant and animal species, rates of migration and diffusion within and between continents and total area/population size of continents privileged the peo – ples of Europe and Asia over people in other parts of the world. The ability to produce food and domesticate animals allowed for the creation of civilizations that overwhelmed societies with less complicated divisions of labour. Our investigation will begin in the late 1400s when Spanish adventurers forcefully integrated sections of the Americas into an intercontinental economy that already linked parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. This chapter focuses on the period when the major regional economies in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas were brought into increased contact through the persis – tence of European expansionism. It is the beginning of the first truly worldwide or global economy. This will be accomplished in two steps. First, we will provide a brief overview of the major economic areas before the Spanish conquest of the 1500s. This will give us an understanding of the diversity of political economy arrangements around the world and will lay the groundwork for understanding the varying pattern of European–non-European interaction in subsequent centuries. Second, we will look at the pattern of Euro – pean engagement with other parts of the world from the 1490s until the early 1800s. The conclusion analyses the historical record in terms of the key frameworks used in Part 3 – trade, production, finance, labour, gender, devel – opment, environment, ideas, security and governance. The chapter has two major arguments. First, the regional political economies that were connecting dur – ing this period varied greatly in terms of social, political and economic organization. Second, this heterogeneity created a variety of interactions from free exchange to open warfare and slavery. A third point, explored in fol – lowing chapters, is that these interactions would have long-lasting effects. Regions of the Wo Rld economy This section provides a snapshot of several areas of the world prior to European contact with the Americas, which created the first truly worldwide political econ – omy. In the year 1400, there was little hint that the resi – dents of Europe would have such an influence on the majority of people who lived in other regions. As the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English and French stead – ily moved outwards from their own continent, they encountered a variety of people and social organiza – tions. Rather than expanding into a vacuum, the Euro – peans interacted with established civilizations, economic systems and military forces. There are several points to keep in mind. First, with few exceptions, economic activity was on a local level. Agricultural production was the norm and this was usually centred on a market town with an agricultural hinterland of about 30 kilometres (Schwartz, 1994, p. 13). Second, despite the predominance of this local activity, intercontinental trade routes moving luxury goods had existed for thousands of years. Third, at the heart of these trade routes lay very different civiliza – tions with distinct political economies. Indeed, some approaches to international relations and global history take different civilizations as their starting point (Brau – del, 1994; Cox, 1996). Janet Abu-Lughod (1989) has provided an interest – ing account of the world system before Europeans began their transatlantic voyages. Her research reveals a system of trade and economic exchange reaching from China to Europe. The system was composed of eight overlapping regions. Economic activity was concen – trated within these regions, but they were linked to neighbouring regions, allowing products to move from eastern Asia to western Europe. Map 3.1 reproduces Abu-Lughod’s diagram showing the regions, but it also adds four additional regions that will be discussed below under ‘Africa’ and ‘the Americas’. Moving from west to east on the Eurasian continent, the first area is the region that brought together northern and southern 42 Part 2 EVol UT ion Europe. The second region sits above the Mediterra – nean, crossing the divide between Christian southern Europe and the Islamic centres of Egypt. This Mediter – ranean region overlapped with three central regions. Region 3 covered the overland trade routes that stretched across central Asia to China and were main – tained by the Mongols. Region 4 included the territory around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (modern-day Iraq) down to the Persian Gulf. Region 5 also joined the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, but through Egypt and the Red Sea. Products making their way into the Indian Ocean were then transported across Region 6, which covered the Arabian Sea, linking Ara – bia with the western coast of India. Region 7 linked India with South-east Asia, while Region 8 finished the route by taking in China and South-east Asia. This meant that there were three routes for products to move from China to Europe. The northern route moved goods overland from China via central Asia through the Mediterranean into the European region. Alterna – tively, products could move by sea through South-east Asia, the Indian Ocean and then into the Mediterra – nean either through the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea. Abu-Lughod’s work omits African trading regions, so we have added two regions that cover certain areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Region 9 brought goods from sub-Saharan Africa into northern Africa and the Medi – terranean/European world. Region 10 brought African goods into the Middle East and Asia via the Indian Ocean. Our map also includes two regions in the Amer – icas that were not joined to the African-European- Asian system. These are Region 11, which belonged to the Aztec Empire, and Region 12, ruled by the Incas. Although it would have taken years to travel around this circuit of trade in the 1400s and the volumes of trade were minuscule by today’s standards, economic activity was increasing across the system. Let’s turn our attention to each of these regions to get a brief idea of their nature. We are particularly interested in the types of economic activity and political relations that charac – terized each region. The Middle East In Abu-Lughod’s diagram of 14th-century regions, the Middle East acts as the key gateway between the Medi – terranean/European and the Eastern worlds. Indeed, the desire to get around this gateway was one of the key motivations driving European merchants into the Atlantic Ocean, around Africa and across to the Amer – icas. By the time of Christopher Columbus’s voyage across the Atlantic, there had already been a 700-year history of bloody and lucrative interchange between European Christendom and Middle Eastern Islam. Islamic and Christian clashes took place from the south 11 12 9 1 2 4 5 3 6 10 7 8 Map 3.1 Regions of the 15th-century world economy Chapter 3 Forging a World E Conomy: 1400–1800 43 of France, through modern-day Egypt, Israel and Tur – key, to the gates of Vienna. Yet, this rivalry was balanced by many instances of cooperation, with alliances and economic interchange between Europeans and Middle Easterners. For example, the Genovese sold Christian and pagan slaves to the Mamlukes in Egypt who then trained them as soldiers to be used against the Crusaders, while the Venetians financed an Ottoman fleet to battle the Portuguese in the Red Sea. For almost 1,000 years Islamic warriors waged suc – cessful military campaigns against European forces. Behind those Middle Eastern armies stood a dynamic economy, extensive trade networks, bustling cities and great centres of learning. In retrospect, we can see that the 15th century was a period of transition in the Middle East. While the religion of Islam was dominant, forms of political authority were the objects of intense rivalry. Although ultimate political authority eventu – ally came to rest in the hands of the sultan of the Otto – man Empire, this occurred only after a period of conflict with and between Turkish tribes, Mongols, Persians and Mamlukes. The competition between rival sources of political power characteristic of Europe was not absent in the Middle East. However, by the early 1500s, the Ottoman Empire held the upper hand. It proceeded to extend its rule eastwards and westwards towards Europe. On land and at sea the Europeans had great difficulty matching the might of Islamic forces. It would not be until the second siege of Vienna in 1683 that European militaries would start to win consistent victories. The Mamlukes, followed by the Ottomans, presided over a thriving trading economy. In the 14th century, Cairo had a population of approximately half a million, which was only exceeded by one or two cities in China (Abu-Lughod, 1989, p. 212). The Mamlukes developed a structured and prosperous trading relationship with the Venetians. Through force of arms they prevented Europeans from seizing Egyptian territory that would have granted direct access to the wealth of India and China via the Red Sea. Venetians docked in Alexandria to wait for access to spices, dyes, pepper, silk, cotton and porcelains from Malaysia, India and China. Outside the Mediterranean, Arab traders pursued economic activity along the coast of eastern Africa, the western coast of India and into South-east Asia. Zanzi – bar, off the coast of eastern Africa, was occupied by Arab traders as early as the eighth century. The cultural remnants of this early commercial activity can be seen in the Muslim populations of countries such as Malay – sia and Indonesia (the largest Muslim country in the world). China Of all the great civilizations of the 15th century, China was the largest and most powerful. It produced prod – ucts that were greatly desired by the elite in other regions of the world, chief among these being ceramics and silk. China contained the world’s largest cities, advanced technology and impressive military forces. Indeed, the wonders of China were so great that when the Italian Marco Polo returned from his travels to that land in 1295, his observations were often dismissed as being fanciful. Some of his tales were exaggerated, but there is no doubt that China was a world leader in tech – nology and inventions many years before the European Renaissance (see Box 3.1). During the 14th and 15th centuries China was also undergoing dramatic changes. In 1370, the Chinese had finally succeeded in driving out Mongol rulers and re- established a Chinese emperor. This line of rulers was called the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Initially, the Mings launched several long-range trading voyages as far as the eastern coast of Africa. Their ships were five times as large as later Portuguese ships and they con – tained far more cargo space and cannons. They would have been capable of crossing the Pacific Ocean if they had attempted the task (McNeill, 1982, pp. 44–5). Indeed, had the voyages continued, it is possible that the Chinese might have sailed around Africa and reached Portugal, as well as ‘discovered’ the Americas. However, expeditions to the west (1405–33) were eventually halted by the Ming emperors and the seagoing fleet decommissioned. For the next several hundred years, the Chinese were less engaged with the outside world and fell behind, relative to the expanding Europeans. There are several possible explanations for why the naval excursions were ended. One has to do with court politics. The leader of the expeditions (Zheng He) was both a Muslim and a eunuch and eventually lost the support of the emperors. Another explanation is that although the voyages brought back interesting goods, there was little the Chinese found that they actually needed. Unlike the Europeans, who were desperate for spices and silks, the Chinese did not find anything so attractive that it would justify the expense of further 44 Part 2 EVol UT ion exploration. Finally, the centre of gravity in China shifted towards the north and internal development. The Mings moved the capital from Nanjing northwards to Beijing and became more concerned with land rather than sea threats. In addition, new locks on the Grand Canal joined the Yangtze and Yellow River valleys, securing year-round rice transport in internal waters. This greatly reduced the importance of any maritime threats to Chinese stability and hence the need for a powerful navy (McNeill, 1982, p. 47). In terms of political structures, the Ming emperor was the sole source of law. His views might be restrained by appeal to precedent and scholarly discussions or debates, but his power was absolute (Mote, 1999, p. 637). China was governed by a single political authority, unlike the rival states that fought continuously in Europe. The court sat in Beijing and governors of prov – inces reported to the bureaucracy and the court in the capital city. The emperor was supported by a well- trained bureaucracy that was selected through a pro – cess of examination. Confucian scholar-officials played the major role in running the bureaucracy and advising the emperor. Increasingly during the Ming Dynasty, eunuchs played a key role in running the court and pro – viding services to the emperor. In some cases, they advanced their interests over that of the empire and cut the emperor off from developments in his realm. India Like China, India also possessed an ancient civilization, considerable economic wealth and military might. However, India was a more diverse and decentralized political economy than China. The northern section of India had experienced a series of invasions from Per – sian, Mongol, Turkish and Afghan tribes. In the 15th century, the northern region, known as the Delhi Sul – tanate, was ruled by descendants of invading Islamic forces, but they were constantly under attack from new waves of invaders. The sultanate was ravaged by the Mongol descendant Timur (Tamerlane) in 1388 and Delhi was sacked in 1398. Internal cohesion was diffi – cult to maintain. In 1526, Barbur, a descendant of Timur, invaded India and founded the Mughal (Mon – gol) dynasty. Many of India’s architectural wonders, such as the Taj Mahal, date from the Mughal era. Other parts of India were ruled by independent king – doms. The southern region was dominated by the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar from 1336 to 1565. It was often engaged in conflict with its neighbour, the Bahmani Sul – tanate. The eastern province of Bengal was usually con – trolled by independent rulers and the western coastal area of Gujarat also enjoyed independence. There were numerous other smaller kingdoms during this period. Ports in coastal areas of India enjoyed a great deal of autonomy from the inland empires and economic activity was conducted by a wide range of social and economic groups. In Kerala, external trade was con – ducted by Jews and Christians who had been resident since the sixth century. In other parts of India, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus were involved in trade (Bouchon and Lombard, 1987). On the western coast of India, the state of Gujarat dominated trade moving from the Middle East to the east coast of India. On the east coast, Bengal played a major part in moving goods on to South-east Asia. However, these coastal areas were relatively peripheral to the land-based empire. For Box 3.1 Ancient Chinese technology Archaeological discoveries point to the origins of Chinese civilization as early as 7,000–8,000 years ago. Traditionally, the Chinese view the greatest technological contributions of ancient China to the world as the Four Great Inventions: the compass ( ad 104 44), gunpowder ( ad 80 900), papermaking ( ad 105) and printing ( ad 868). Not only have the four discoveries had an enormous impact on the development of chinese civilization, but also a far-reaching global impact as other peoples adopted these innovations. a closer examination of china reveals a whole series of inventions that had their origins in that civilization (Needham, 195 1995). These include: ◗Metal casting (1800 bc) ◗Decimal system (1200 bc) ◗Row planting ( c. 500 bc) ◗Seed drill ( c. 202 bc ad 220) ◗Iron ploughs (202 bc ad 220) ◗Deep drilling (202 bc ad 220) ◗Ship’s rudder (202 bc ad 220) ◗Abacus (200 bc) ◗Paper money (140–87 bc) ◗Harness for horses ( ad 22 581) ◗Porcelain ( ad 58 618) ◗Mechanical clock ( ad 732). Chapter 3 Forging a World E Conomy: 1400–1800 45 example, it is reported that when the Mughal Emperor Akbar visited the recently conquered Indian ports of Cambay and Surat in the late 1500s, it was the first time he had ever seen the ocean (Risso, 1995). Reflecting on the experiences of the Middle East, China and India, it is noteworthy that while these civili – zations engaged in maritime activity, it was difficult for maritime interests to influence political power. The large land-based empires engaged in seaborne trade and established wide-ranging activity crossing the Mediter – ranean, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and around the seas to China. However, the Ottomans, Chinese and Mughals were primarily concerned with events within their existing empires and concentrated most of their effort in land-based expansion and defence. This was a very different pattern from the maritime-dependent Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and British Empires. Africa To Abu-Lughod’s diagram of trading networks we added two regions to cover interaction with sub-Saharan Africa (see Map 3.1). Region 9 covers land on either side of the Sahara Desert and the difficult trade across that arid territory. In western Africa, gold mines sup – plied European demand for currency while pepper was shipped north for consumption in food seasoning. This trade eventually encouraged the Portuguese to sail around the desert to establish direct trading contacts. Region 10 integrates the trade of eastern Africa with that of the Indian Ocean. In eastern Africa, trading posts exported slaves, ivory, iron, rhinoceros horn, tur – tle shell, amber and leopard skins to India and beyond. Both networks had existed for thousands of years. Africa contained a large variety of political groups (Shillington, 1995). Northern African states were integrated into the Islamic empire. In Ethiopia, a Chris – tian kingdom was founded in the fourth century and maintained its independence until the late 1930s. In the Shona state of Great Zimbabwe, 10-metre-high stone enclosures surrounded the king’s residence. Around the great lakes area of central Africa, the Luba and Lunda Empires concentrated on fishing and hunting. They purchased iron and salt from the north and copper from the south, which was made into rings, bracelets and necklaces. In summary, the large continent con – tained a number of different political economies linked together through trade. It is important that Africa is not viewed as static or stagnant in this period. Briefly we can note three main characteristics of the African political economy at that time. First, as noted above there was significant variation among different regions. Different ecological regions gave rise to differing factor endowments and thus the production of different goods and services. Second, over the period covered, commercial activity shifted as new commercial centres rose and old ones declined. For example, control over the gold trade made Hausaland a major commercial centre in the 16th century. But as gold declined in importance and the trade in people increased, Dahomey (modern day Benin) became the new hub of activity in the 17th century. Third, African economic activity was frequently disrupted by drought and fam – ine. These ‘limits to growth’ both spurred technical inno – vation and also limited consistent development. The Americas Although the existence of the Americas came as a sur – prise to Europeans, many areas were marked by advanced civilizations. Advanced civilization, in terms of intensive agricultural activity and large cities with complicated architecture, took place in two regions of the Americas. One region was the Inca Empire in the Andes in Peru and Bolivia, which stretched from Ecua – dor to Chile. The other was in Mesoamerica – Mexico and Guatemala. This was the home of the Maya who were starting to decline and the Aztecs who were in the process of creating a large empire. The Spanish encountered a well-developed empire when they began contact with the population of Mexico in 1519. The Aztecs ruled Mexico and were the successor to a series of civilizations, which included the Olmec, Teotihuacan and Toltecs. Although there were differ – ences between these civilizations, some continuities are noticeable (Davies, 1982). Similar to Old World civiliza – tions, the native Americans demonstrated an ability to build and maintain cities, erect large monuments and support sophisticated forms of art. Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, dazzled the Spanish invaders because of its large population and elaborate beauty. Its population was more than ten times that of leading Spanish cities of the same era. Unlike the Europeans and Asians, the native Americans faced greater transportation difficulties. They lacked beasts of burden, so most goods were carried on foot. Water transport was also limited due to the presence
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A B rie f H is to ry o f CO M MER CIA L CA PIT A LIS M JA IR US B AN AJI Hay m ark et B ooks Chic a g o, I llin ois C O N TE N TS 1 . Rein sta tin g C om merc ia l C ap it a lis m 2 . The I n fr a str u ctu re o f C om merc ia l C ap it a lis m 3 . The C om petit io n o f C ap it a ls : Str u ggle s f o r C om merc ia l D om in an ce f r o m t h e T welf th t o Eig hte en th C en tu rie s 4 . Brit is h M erc a n tile C ap it a lis m a n d t h e C osm opo lit a n is m o f t h e N in ete en th C en tu ry 5 . Com merc ia l P ra ctic e s : Puttin g-O ut o r t h e C ap it a lis t D om estic I n dustr ie s 6 . The C ir c u la tio n o f C om merc ia l C ap it a ls : C om petit io n, V elo cit y , V ertic a lit y A PPEN D IX : I SL A M AN D C APIT ALIS M A CKN O W LED GM EN TS N O TES S ELEC T B IB LIO GRA PH Y For H en ry , J a ved , M . J ., a nd S ughosh 3 TH E C O M PETIT IO N O F C A P IT A LS S tru ggle s f o r C om merc ia l D om in an ce f ro m t h e T w elf t h t o E ig h te en th C en tu rie s B YZA N TIU M : T H E S U BOR DIN ATIO N O F G R EEK C A P IT A L I n C onsta n tin ople th e e arly m odern w orld in herit e d a n “ u rb an m onste r,” 1 b u t o ne w hose tr a je cto ry h ad i n volv ed sh arp f lu ctu atio n s o v er t h e c e n tu rie s , w it h a h is to ry g oin g b ack , o f c o urse , t o la te a n tiq u it y ( u nlik e m eg acit ie s lik e C air o a n d B ag hdad ). O n t h e e v e o f it s c o nqu est b y t h e O tto m an s in 1 453, t h e c it y ’s p o pu la tio n h ad s ta b iliz e d a ro und s e v en ty t h ousa n d, 2 b u t a t it s e arly -B yza n tin e p eak in th e s ix th c e n tu ry it h ad b een p ro bab ly w ell o ver h alf a m illio n, a n d a t t h e e n d o f t h e t w elf th c e n tu ry w as a g ain s o m ew here in th e r e g io n o f h alf a m illio n, s a y , f o ur h undre d th ousa n d. 3 B etw een th ose p eak s c a m e a d ow ntu rn r e ach in g a l o w p o in t, f o rty t h ousa n d t o s e v en ty t h ousa n d, i n t h e e ig hth c e n tu ry ( fo llo w in g a p la g ue in 7 47– 8), 4 a n d t h en a s u sta in ed r e n ew al o r e x p an sio n f r o m t h e n in th c e n tu ry d ow n t o t h e e n d o f th e tw elf th . A s th e p o lit ic a l b ase o f a n e m pir e , h ow ev er, th e m assiv e e x p an sio n o f th e in te rn al m ark et t h at o ccu rre d f r o m t h e n in th t o t w elf th c e n tu rie s w as t r u e n ot j u st o f t h e m etr o po lis b u t t o s o m e d eg re e o f t h e w hole e m pir e i n clu din g i t s v ario us s e co ndary u rb an c e n te rs a s w ell a s t h e i s la n ds. 5 W hat w as in p la y h ere w as a h uge co m mon m ark et , th e b ig gest in th e w orld in th e tw elf th c e n tu ry (if w e e x ce p t C hin a, o f c o urse ), a n d i t w as b o und t o e x ert c o nsid era b le f o rc e a s a c o m merc ia l m ag net. C onsta n tin ople is s a n dw ic h ed b etw een t h e G old en H orn t o it s n orth a n d t h e S ea o f M arm ara t o t h e s o uth . I n t h e s ix th c e n tu ry , a s o ne s c h ola r h as a rg ued c o nvin cin gly , t h e p la g ue o f 5 42 t r ig gere d a m ajo r r e lo ca tio n o f b u sin ess an d re sid en ce to th e so uth ern (M arm ara ) co ast, b eca u se b o die s w ere b ein g d um ped in th e se a a n d a n y d um ped in th e G old en H orn w ould n ot h av e b een w ash ed a w ay . 6 T he G old en H orn h ad b een a b an doned w ell b efo re t h e l a te s e v en th c e n tu ry 7 a n d i t w as t h e s o uth c o ast t h at w as m ore a ctiv ely u se d in th e se v en th to te n th c e n tu rie s. 8 T he su sta in ed e x p an sio n o f th e n in th to t w elf th c e n tu rie s, h ow ev er, s a w a s u cce ssio n o f I ta lia n c it y -sta te s s ta rtin g t o t r a d e w it h t h e e m pir e i n a b ig w ay , a n d it w as e sse n tia lly t h eir p re se n ce in C onsta n tin ople t h at r e v it a liz e d t h e G old en H orn in to t h e m ajo r c o m merc ia l h ub t h at i t b eca m e f r o m t h e e le v en th c e n tu ry d ow n t o e arly O tto m an t im es 9 a n d t h en a g ain , w it h th e r e n ew ed c o lo niz a tio n o f P era ( G ala ta , o n th e E uro pean s id e o f I sta n bu l) , in th e m ain p art o f t h e n in ete en th c e n tu ry . A ll t h e m ajo r I ta lia n c o lo nie s ( A m alf i, P is a , G en oa, V en ic e ) w ere c lu ste re d in th e lo w er G old en H orn , w it h je ttie s o r la n din g-sta tio ns ( sk ala i ) w here s e ag oin g v esse ls c o uld lo ad a n d u nlo ad . T he c it y c e n te r a n d th e s e ash ore s w ere “ h eav ily b u ilt u p w it h th re e- o r e v en f iv e-sto ry h ouse s.” 10 I n t h e t w elf th c e n tu ry C onsta n tin ople w as a d en se ly p o pu la te d c o sm opo lit a n c it y , s h arp ly d iv id ed in s o cia l te rm s, a n d p ro ne to v io le n t, u nco ntr o lla b le fir e s. 11 J o hn T ze tz e s b o aste d h e c o uld s p eak to lo ca l r e sid en ts in n o fe w er th an s e v en la n guag es, in clu din g P ersia n , A ra b ic , R ussia n , a n d H eb re w . 12 E usta th io s o f T hessa lo nik i c o unte d six ty th ousa n d “ L atin s” in th e c it y , 13 a n d a k een obse rv er, t h e J e w is h t r a v ele r B en ja m in o f T udela t e lls u s, “ T hey s a y t h at t h e t r ib u te o f t h e c it y a lo ne am ounts e v ery d ay to tw en ty th ousa n d f lo rin s, a ris in g f r o m r e n ts o f h oste lr ie s a n d b aza ars, a n d f r o m th e d utie s p aid b y m erc h an ts w ho a rriv e b y s e a a n d b y l a n d.” 14 I t w as t h e g re ate st c o m merc ia l c e n te r o f th e e aste rn M ed it e rra n ean , 15 w it h a p o pu la tio n b y t h en n ot f a r s h ort o f h alf a m illio n. 16 F in ally , e v en a s la te a s 1 192 th e n ativ e, G re ek , m erc h an ts o f C onsta n tin ople w ere a “ la rg e, in flu en tia l, r ic h ” g ro up. 17 Oik onom id ès c it e s th e e x am ple o f K alo m odio s, a b an ker w ho a ccu m ula te d a v ast fo rtu ne th ro ugh su cce ssfu l o pera tio ns i n l a rg e-sc a le t r a d e, f in an cin g c o m merc ia l t r ip s u nderta k en b y o th ers. 18 Yet th e m ost e x tr a o rd in ary f a ct a b o ut B yza n tin e c o m merc e f r o m th e e n d o f th e e le v en th c e n tu ry to th e t h ir te en th c e n tu ry a n d la te r w as t h e s e v ere d is c rim in atio n G re ek m erc h an ts w ere s u bje cte d t o v is – à-v is fo re ig n c o m petit o rs by th eir o w n s ta te . B y th e te rm s o f th e tr e aty o f 1 082, “ V en etia n m erc h an ts co uld b u y a n d s e ll i n e v ery p art o f t h e E m pir e , f r e e o f d uty o r c u sto m s e x am in atio n.” M an y p o rts w ere open ed a n d “ v ast te rrit o rie s m ad e a cce ssib le to th em f o r f r e e tr a d e.” 19 “ T hese p riv ile g es, r e n ew ed b y th e e m pero rs o f t h e t w elf th c e n tu ry . . . r e n dere d t h e V en etia n s v ir tu al m aste rs o f t h e c o m merc ia l lif e of t h e e m pir e .” 20 B y t h e t h ir te en th c e n tu ry , w hen t h e G en oese c a m e in to B yza n tin e e co nom ic lif e in a big w ay a n d s im il a r w id e-ra n gin g c o nce ssio ns w ere g ra n te d , “ Ita lia n m erc h an ts , w heth er G en oese o r Ven etia n s, b eca m e s o e n tr e n ch ed in C onsta n tin ople th at th ey c o ntr o lle d th e e co nom y o f th at c it y .” 21 And b y th e e n d o f th e th ir te en th c e n tu ry , th e is la n ds o f th e A eg ean (th e A rc h ip ela g o) w ere b ein g div id ed b etw een G en oese an d V en etia n co ntr o l, 22 th e A eg ean ’s east co ast b eco m in g th e h eart o f Gen oa’s m arit im e d om ain . G re ek m erc h an ts , m ean w hile , c o ntin ued to p ay a d uty o f 1 0 p erc e n t a n d Byza n tin e a cce ss to m ark ets in th e w est re m ain ed se v ere ly lim it e d . G re ek m erc h an ts ra re ly g ain ed acce ss t o I ta lia n m ark ets . 23 T he I ta lia n s d is c o ura g ed B yza n tin e e x p an sio n w est o f t h e P elo po nnese , 24 s o th at G re ek c a p it a l w as e ffe ctiv ely s h ut o ut o f t h e l o ng-d is ta n ce t r a d e. 25 A m ajo r u psh ot o f e n tr e n ch ed I ta lia n e co nom ic d om in an ce w as th e e n dem ic h ostilit y th at g re w u p betw een th e Ita lia n s a n d la rg e se cto rs o f th e lo ca l p o pu la tio n. 26 T he v io le n t c ru sa d er o ccu patio n o f Consta n tin ople i n 1 204 a n d t h e l o ng-sta n din g d iv is io n b etw een t h e c h urc h es d id n oth in g t o a b ate t h at, of c o urse . E very a tte m pt to b rin g th e tw o c h urc h es to geth er w as se en a s a “ n atio nal b etr a y al” a n d sp ark ed rio ts . 27 G re ek s liv in g in te rrit o rie s under L atin co ntr o l w ere lo oked dow n upo n as a “co nqu ere d p eo ple ” a n d s u ffe re d th e e co nom ic a n d s o cia l c o nse q u en ce s o f th at e v en to th e p o in t o f bein g d en ie d th e rig ht to h av e th eir o w n b is h ops. 28 “ T hey tr e ate d c it iz e n s lik e sla v es,” w ro te o ne tw elf th -c e n tu ry c h ro nic le r. “ T heir b o ld ness a n d im pu den ce in cre ase d w it h t h eir w ealt h u ntil t h ey n ot only d ete ste d t h e R om an s [ G re ek -sp eak in g B yza n tin es] b u t e v en d efie d t h e t h re ats a n d c o m man ds o f th e E m pero r.” 29 O n t h e o th er h an d, a s t h e le ft- w in g h is to ria n N ic o la s O ik onom id ès e m ph asiz e d , n one of t h is p re v en te d G re ek b u sin ess c ir c le s f r o m e n te rin g i n to p artn ersh ip s w it h I ta lia n c a p it a l. T here w as ex te n siv e c o lla b o ra tio n, a n d G re ek m erc h an ts e v en s o ught G en oese o r V en etia n n atio nalit y to e n jo y th e s a m e b en efit s . The e m erg en ce o f a B yza n tin e c o m merc ia l “ m id dle c la ss” w as a r e m ark ab le f e atu re o f t h e e le v en th – ce n tu ry b o om in th e e co nom ic a n d c u lt u ra l lif e o f th e e m pir e , a n d it s m ost s tr ik in g p o lit ic a l o utc o m e was th e th re e d eca d es in th e m id dle o f th e c e n tu ry w hen a s tr ic tly a ris to cra tic m odel o f g overn m en t sp lit w id e o pen to a llo w th e p o pu la r c la sse s a n d c o m merc ia lly a ctiv e str a ta (lit e ra lly , “ th ose o f th e mark et p la ce ” ) acce ss, fo r th e fir st tim e ev er, to th e se n ate an d h ig her ad m in is tr a tio n. 30 N o le ss in te re stin gly , t h e s a m e r u le rs w ho b ro ught a b o ut t h is r e v olu tio nary c h an ge r e sp o nded t o t h e eco n om ic need s o f th e m id dle c la ss ( meso i ) b y a llo w in g fo r a c o ntr o lle d d ev alu atio n o f th e g old c o in ag e— a measu re not o f c ris is b u t o f t h e e co nom ic b o om r e fle cte d b y a g ro w in g d em an d f o r m ean s o f c ir c u la tio n an d p ay m en t as B yza n tiu m ’s m ark ets w ere b eco m in g m ore d eep ly in te g ra te d in to th e ex p an sio n occu rrin g in t h e w est. 31 W hat e m erg ed b rie fly in t h e e le v en th c e n tu ry w as a f a sc in atin g a llia n ce o f t h e ab so lu tis t p o w er w it h a m id dle c la ss h ostile to th e a ris to cra cy . It w as th is “ ca p it a lis t” d re am o f th e ele v en th c e n tu ry th at w as sh atte re d in 1 081/ 2 in th e v io le n t re actio n o f a str o ngly p ro -a ris to cra tic dynasty (th e K om nen oi) th at se t ab o ut cu rb in g th e g ro w in g afflu en ce an d p o w er o f th e G re ek merc a n tile c la ss b y a b o lis h in g “ all th e p riv ile g es th e b u sin essm en h ad ju st a cq u ir e d ” 32 a n d (ju st a s im po rta n t!) gra n tin g ex te n siv e co nce ssio ns to V en etia n ca p it a l, effe ctiv ely allo w in g a w hole sa le ta k eo ver o f B yza n tin e m ark ets b y I ta lia n m erc h an t c a p it a lis ts , w it h th e m ajo r e x ce p tio n o f th e B la ck Sea w hic h in a n y c a se fa ile d to a ttr a ct m uch a tte n tio n till th e la te r th ir te en th c e n tu ry . T he F re n ch Byza n tin is t L em erle d esc rib ed A le x io s I K om nen os’s ch ry so b u ll o f 1082 as a “m assiv e eco nom ic ca p it u la tio n,” th e p o in t b ein g th at th ough a B yza n tin e m erc h an t c la ss s u rv iv ed a n d c o ntin ued to b e activ e d ow n to th e e n d o f th e tw elf th c e n tu ry , it h ad lo st c o ntr o l o f th e e m pir e ’s m ark ets . 33 G oin g b y la te r e x p erie n ce , it is p o ssib le th at th e v ast m ajo rit y o f lo ca l m erc h an ts w ork ed a s b ro kers fo r th e Ita lia n f ir m s. 34 The la st tw o a n d a h alf c e n tu rie s o f th e B yza n tin e e m pir e (1 204– 1453) w ere c h ara cte riz e d b y th e ca ta str o ph e o f th e V en etia n o ccu patio n o f C onsta n tin ople , w hic h perm an en tly d is m em bere d th e em pir e a n d le ft t h e c it y it s e lf d ep le te d a n d im po veris h ed ; 35 b y f e ro cio us s tr u ggle s b etw een V en ic e a n d Gen oa f o r c o ntr o l o f t h e le ad in g t r a d e s e cto rs, o nce B yza n tin e r u le w as r e sto re d ( in 1 261) a n d G en oa esta b lis h ed a m ajo r p re se n ce th ro ugh it s allia n ce w it h M ic h ael V III P ala io lo gos (th ose str u ggle s eru pte d i n t h e l a st q u arte r o f t h e t h ir te en th c e n tu ry a n d b eg an w it h t h e B la ck S ea); b y t h e c iv il w ars o f th e 1 340s w hic h s a w th e a ris to cra cy c o nte n din g w it h r e b ellio ns b ase d o n a lo ose c o alit io n o f u rb an cla sse s th at in clu ded sa ilo rs an d lo ngsh ore m en ; b y th e aris to cra cy ’s d ecis iv e tu rn to co m merc ia l in vestm en t a s la n ded a sse ts w ere p ro gre ssiv ely lo st to th e O tto m an a d van ce fr o m th e m id dle o f th e fo urte en th c e n tu ry ; a n d f in ally , b y t h e o verw helm in g g rip t h at G en oa e v en m ore t h an V en ic e h ad n ow esta b lis h ed o ver m uch o f t h e t r u nca te d e m pir e ’s t r a d e. I n deed , t h e G en oese h ad c lo se r e la tio ns w it h t h e Turk s t h ro ughout t h e f o urte en th c e n tu ry , a n d a v ery s u bsta n tia l p art o f t h eir b u sin ess w as d one i n t h e Otto m an t e rrit o rie s. 36 The id ea th at a n cie n t a n d m ed ie v al w rit e rs w ere o bliv io us to th e p la y o f e co nom ic fo rc e s in th e his to ry o f th eir re sp ectiv e so cie tie s an d civ iliz a tio ns d oes n ot sta n d u p to sc ru tin y. T o B yza n tin e writ e rs lik e G eo rg e P ach ym ere s an d N ik ep h oro s G re g ora s it w as fa ir ly obv io us th at G en oa’s ex p lo it a tio n o f B yza n tin e m ark ets w as th e b asis o f h er p ro sp erit y . 37 P ach ym ere s h im se lf h as so m e re m ark ab le p assa g es o n t h e k in d o f d om in an ce t h e G en oese h ad e sta b lis h ed o ver t h e e m pir e a n d a b o ut th e fie rc e s tr u ggle s b etw een th em a n d th e V en etia n s fo r th e d om in atio n o f G re ek m ark ets . I n o ne o f th ese h e w rit e s, “ th e V en etia n s a n d th eir c o m munit y ( in C onsta n tin ople ) fo rm erly g re atly s u rp asse d th e G en oese i n w ealt h . . . b eca u se t h ey m ad e g re ate r u se o f t h e [ n arro w ] w ate rs ( th e A eg ean ) t h an d id th e G en oese a n d b eca u se th ey s a ile d a cro ss th e h ig h s e a ( th e M ed it e rra n ean m ore w id ely ) w it h lo ng sh ip s ( g alle y s), a n d th ey s u cce ed ed in g ain in g m ore p ro fit th an d id th e G en oese in tr a n sp o rtin g a n d ca rry in g w are s. B ut o nce th e G en oese b eca m e m aste rs o f th e B la ck S ea b y g ra n t o f th e e m pero r (M ic h ael III) a n d w it h a ll lib erty a n d fr a n ch is e , th ey b ra v ed th at [s e a], a n d sa ilin g in th e m id st o f win te r i n s h ip s o f r e d uce d l e n gth . . . t h ey n ot o nly b arre d t h e R om an s ( B yza n tin es) f r o m t h e l a n es a n d ware s o f t h e s e a bu t a ls o e clip se d t h e V en etia ns i n w ea lt h a nd m ate ria l [ g ood s] . B eca u se o f t h is t h ey c a m e to lo ok d ow n n ot o nly u po n th ose o f th eir o w n k in (o th er Ita lia n s) b u t als o u po n th e R om an s th em se lv es.” 38 H ere P ach ym ere s d esc rib es t w o b ro ad p erio ds in t h e c o m merc ia l h is to ry o f t h e e m pir e , in th e f ir st o f w hic h , a cco rd in g to h im , th e V en etia n s e sta b lis h ed th eir p rim acy th ro ugh a s tr a te g y o f ca b o ta g e o r c o asta l tr a d in g in th e p u re ly G re ek p arts o f th e e m pir e ( a B yza n tin e v ersio n o f w hat in In dia th e B rit is h w ould la te r c a ll th e “ co untr y tr a d e” ). T he G en oese la te r s u rp asse d th em b y m ak in g th e B la ck S ea th e re n ew ed fo cu s o f th eir c o m merc ia l o pera tio ns. T his str ik es m e a s a re m ark ab ly co here n t s u m mary o f o ver t w o c e n tu rie s o f B yza n tin e c o m merc ia l h is to ry . In b o th c it ie s, V en ic e a s w ell a s G en oa, th e a ris to cra cy it s e lf w as v ery s u bsta n tia lly in volv ed in th e tr a d e w it h “ R om an ia .” 39 T he in vestm en ts a t s ta k e w ere th ose o f th e le ad in g fa m ilie s in b o th c e n te rs. But c o m merc ia l c a p it a l w as s till w id ely d is p erse d a m ong th e alb erg hi . O n th e G en oese sid e, th e six le ad in g fa m ilie s acco unte d fo r 29 perc e n t of all in vestm en t, a deg re e of co nce n tr a tio n sc a rc e ly co m para b le w it h t h e m uch h ig her l e v els c h ara cte ris tic o f l a te r c e n tu rie s. 40 I n ca . 1170 t h e V en etia n s h ad vastly m ore c a p it a l tie d u p in B yza n tiu m th an a n y o f th eir c o m petit o rs. T hey h ad a s tr o nger h old o n th e i s la n ds, a n d t h is w as e x te n siv e b y t h e s e co nd q u arte r o f t h e t w elf th c e n tu ry . 41 When th e G en oese fir st so ught to e sta b lis h th em se lv es in C onsta n tin ople , th eir n ew ly e sta b lis h ed qu arte rs w ere re p eate d ly atta ck ed an d ev en d em olis h ed — in 1 162 b y a m ob co nsis tin g m ain ly o f Pis a n s, th en a g ain in 1 170 b y th e V en etia n s th em se lv es, a n d a th ir d tim e, in A pril 1 182, in a d re ad fu l lo ca l p o gro m a g ain st a ll Ita lia n s (e x ce p t th at th e V en etia n q u arte r la y v aca n t a t th is tim e). 42 O n a ll th ese v ario us o cca sio ns, c la im s fo r c o m pen sa tio n w ere s u bm it te d b y th e m ain a g grie v ed p artie s, a n d fr o m th ese o ne g ets a t le ast a c ru de im pre ssio n o f th e s c a le o f th eir r e sp ectiv e in vestm en ts . G en oese estim ate s o f t h e l o sse s t h ey s u sta in ed i n 1 162 a n d 1 182 r e sp ectiv ely s u ggest t h at i n t h e p re v io us d eca d e or s o th ere h ad b een v ery r a p id e n ric h m en t o f G en oese m erc h an ts tr a d in g to B yza n tin e m ark ets . 43 I t se em s e n tir e ly lik ely th at th e d is ru ptio n o f V en etia n b u sin ess fo llo w in g th e r e p ris a ls a g ain st th em in 1171 w ork ed s tr o ngly i n G en oa’s f a v or. That t h e L atin c o nqu est o f C onsta n tin ople w as l a rg ely a f u nctio n o f t h e e n dem ic r iv alr y b etw een t h e tw o m ain co m merc ia l po w ers is sh ow n by th e fa ct th at G en oa w as not offic ia lly re p re se n te d in Con sta ntin op le d urin g t h e o ccu patio n. 44 V en ic e ’s t e rrit o ry in t h e c it y e x p an ded s u bsta n tia lly s o on a fte r th e c o nqu est. 45 T he re sto ra tio n o f B yza n tin e ru le in 1 261 tu rn ed th e ta b le s d ra m atic a lly a s G en oa beca m e t h e d om in an t e co nom ic p o w er i n C onsta n tin ople a n d s e cu re d a cce ss t o t h e B la ck S ea, w here a co lo ny w as e sta b lis h ed a t C affa t h at w as t h riv in g b y t h e 1 280s. 46 T he w hole p erio d f r o m 1 270 t o 1 3 40 sa w s u bsta n tia l G en oese i n vestm en t. I n 1 348, a cco rd in g t o t h e c h ro nic le r G re g ora s, r e v en ues f r o m t h e cu sto m s c o lle cte d a t G en oa’s c o lo ny a t P era w ere a lm ost se v en tim es b ig ger th an th e c o lle ctio ns a t Consta n tin ople . 47 T hese f e ll s h arp ly in th e la te r f o urte en th c e n tu ry , w hic h s a w a p ro lo nged r e ce ssio n th at o nly lif te d in th e e arly p art o f th e fif te en th c e n tu ry . C om petit io n w as s h arp er th an e v er in th ese deca d es, s in ce t h ere w ere n o f e w er t h an t h re e “ co lo nia l w ars” b etw een V en ic e a n d G en oa f o r c o ntr o l of t h e A eg ean , t h e u psh ot o f w hic h w as a d iv is io n, a “ d e f a cto c a rv e-u p,” o f t h e s e a b etw een t h em . 48 Thus th e “ co lo niz a tio n” o f th e B yza n tin e e m pir e p ro bab ly c o unts a s th e m ost s tr ik in g e x am ple o f a “co lo nia l- sty le ” eco nom y befo re co lo nia lis m . The para lle l has been dra w n re p eate d ly , an d Oik onom id ès h im se lf w ould s p eak o f t h e “ eco nom ic im peria lis m o f w este rn m erc h an ts .” 49 A n a tte m pt in th e m id dle o f th e fo urte en th c e n tu ry to r e esta b lis h g re ate r p arit y in th e d utie s p aid b y G re ek a n d Ita lia n m erc h an ts le d to a v io le n t re actio n w hic h fo rc e d th e em pero r Jo hn V I K an ta k ouze n os to re v erse h is d ecis io n. 50 ( T he G en oese r e acte d b y b u rn in g B yza n tin e m erc h an t s h ip s a n d w are h ouse s!) The t r e aty o f 1 352 i n clu ded a c la u se “ se v ere ly l im it in g t h e a cce ss o f B yza n tin e m erc h an ts t o T an a a n d th e S ea o f A zo v.” 51 T he meso i w ho w ere a ctiv e in t h e r e b ellio ns o f t h e 1 340s in clu ded a la y er o f G re ek ca p it a l t h at b o th r e se n te d i t s s u bo rd in atio n t o m ore p o w erfu l c o m petit o rs and d ep en ded o n t h em f o r i t s ow n s u rv iv al. I n T hessa lo nik i, th e m ost r a d ic a l fa ctio n, th ose k now n a s th e Z ealo ts , e v en c o ntr o lle d th e c it y ’s g overn m en t f o r s o m e s e v en o r e ig ht y ears a n d w ere le d , in p art a t le ast, b y t h e c it y ’s h arb o r work ers. 52 A ngelik i L aio u a rg ued th at th e c iv il w ar w as “ an a b o rtiv e e ffo rt to c re ate a sta te q u it e dif fe re n t f r o m w hat h ad e x is te d in B yza n tiu m , o ne w here t h e i n te re sts o f t h e c o m merc ia l e le m en t w ou ld b e pa ra m ou nt .” 53 In a n y c a se , b y th e la tte r h alf o f th e c e n tu ry a m ore su bsta n tia l k in d o f in volv em en t em erg ed a s m em bers o f th e G re ek a ris to cra cy c o m pen sa te d fo r fa llin g in co m es fr o m th eir e sta te s b y tu rn in g t o l a rg e-sc a le t r a d e a n d b an kin g. A s O ik onom id ès s h ow ed , t h e h ig hest l e v els o f t h e a ris to cra cy were in volv ed in th is , 54 w it h th e n um ber o f a ris to cra ts in volv ed in tr a d e g ro w in g d ra m atic a lly . “ T he urb an u pper c la ss o f B yza n tiu m w as a t la st u nit e d in p u re ly c a p it a lis t a sp ir a tio ns,” h e w ro te , 55 a n d t h e pre v io us d is tin ctio n b etw een t h e meso i a n d t h e a ris to cra cy e v en tu ally d is a p peare d . A f in al w ord . N one o f t h e le ad in g I ta lia n t r a d e c e n te rs t h at t r a d ed w it h B yza n tiu m s im ply r e p lic a te d th e p atte rn o f th eir c o m petit o rs. I n th e e le v en th c e n tu ry , A m alf i ( w here , a g ain , th e a ris to cra cy w ere key d riv ers o f e x te rn al in vestm en t, u nlik e th e o th er so uth ern n obili t ie s) 56 h ad sp ecia liz e d in lu xu ry im po rts f r o m C onsta n tin ople f o r m ark ets in R om e a n d N ap le s, in te g ra tin g it s t r a d e w it h t h e s o uth ern Med it e rra n ean b y u sin g th e g old fr o m th e S ah ara a cq u ir e d in th e M ag hre b p o rts a n d in E gypt (in ex ch an ge fo r g ra in , tim ber, lin en clo th , an d so o n) to fin an ce p u rc h ase s fr o m th e B yza n tin es. In Consta n tin ople th e A m alf it a n s w ere b u yers, n ot se lle rs. 57 In th e e le v en th a n d tw elf th c e n tu rie s, th e Ven etia n s h ad tr a d ed in th e lo ca l p ro duce o f th e G re ek m ain la n d a n d G re ek is la n ds a n d o f s o uth ern Ita ly , in it e m s s u ch a s o liv e o il, c h eese , w in e, w heat, r a w s ilk , a n d r a w c o tto n. A bo ut s ix ty p erc e n t o f Ven ic e ’s tr a d e w it h th e e m pir e is s a id to h av e b een tr a n sa cte d in G re ece . 58 S outh ern C ala b ria w as a majo r p ro duce r o f r a w s ilk 59 a n d t h is m ust a ls o h av e r e ach ed m an ufa ctu rin g c e n te rs s u ch a s T heb es in Ven etia n s h ip s. O liv e o il c a m e f r o m t h e P elo po nnese . 60 A V en etia n b y t h e n am e o f V it a le V olt a n i, w ho se ttle d in G re ece in th e 1 160s, w as sa id to h av e “ d om in ate d th e o il m ark et in C orin th , S parta a n d Theb es.” 61 F or t h eir p art, t h e G en oese c o m bin ed t h e b u lk t r a d es o f t h e B la ck S ea r e g io n, P hokaia , a n d Chio s ( g ra in , a lu m , le ath er, c o tto n, e tc .) w it h th e im po rta tio n o f e x p en siv e fa b ric s, “ m an y d if fe re n t ty pes o f E uro pean c lo th ,” 62 t h e e x p o rt o f A nato lia n c a rp ets , 63 R ussia n f u rs, 64 a n d s o o n. VEN IC E T O P O R TU GAL Unlik e t h e r u le rs o f B yza n tiu m , i t w as M am lu k p o lic y n ot t o i n te rv en e i n t h e c o nflic ts b etw een V en ic e an d G en oa. I n 1 294 t h e c o m merc ia l b attle b etw een t h em h ad s p ille d o ver i n to t h e f a r e n d o f t h e e aste rn Med it e rra n ean . T he S yria n ch ro nic le r al- J a za ri n ote s th at in 1294 “w it n esse s re p o rte d th at la rg e num bers o f F ra n ks c a m e b y s e a to A yas fo r p u rp o se s o f tr a d e a n d th at th ey b elo nged to tw o n atio ns ( ta if a ). O ne l o t w ere c a lle d V en etia n s, t h e o th er G en oese .” A s a cts o f h ostilit y e sc a la te d b etw een t h em , th ey g ot i n to a b it te r f ig ht a n d “ o n o ne d ay a lo ne o ver 6 000 p eo ple w ere k ille d .” “ T he G en oese g ot t h e bette r o f t h e V en etia n s.” 65 A l- J a za ri w as d esc rib in g a c ru cia l p art o f t h e p re lu de t o t h e m ajo r w ar t h at dev elo ped tw o y ears la te r, w hic h b eg an a n d e n ded w it h th e V en etia n s se ttin g fir e to P era a n d th e Gen oese r e ta lia tin g b y m assa crin g l a rg e n um bers o f t h em i n t h eir q u arte r o f t h e c it y . In th e tw elf th a n d th ir te en c e n tu rie s, th e e x p an sio n o f Ita lia n b u sin ess in te re sts in th e L ev an t ra n pa ra lle l to a r a p id g ro w th o f M uslim tr a d e a n d s e ttle m en t o n th e M ala b ar c o ast. 66 T he L ev an t c o tto n tr a d e w as d om in ate d b y t h e I ta lia n s, s o t h at b y t h e l a te f if te en th a n d s ix te en th c e n tu rie s “ in p eak y ears th e to ta l v olu m e o f V en etia n c o tto n im po rts fr o m a ll s o urc e s c o uld e x ce ed 4 ,0 00 to ns.” 67 T hey h ad su bsta n tia l in te re sts in th e L ev an tin e s u gar in dustr y , fo r e x am ple , in th e v illa g es a ro und T yre w here th e m ost im po rta n t s u gar p la n ta tio ns o f t h e S yro -P ale stin ia n c o ast p asse d in to V en etia n h an ds in 1 123 (b etw een t h e f ir st a n d s e co nd C ru sa d es). 68 W it h t h e f a ll o f A cre in 1 291, V en etia n s u gar in te re sts w ere re lo ca te d to th e is la n ds. In C ypru s in th e la te r fo urte en th an d fif te en th ce n tu rie s, th e C orn ers, a po w erfu l V en etia n f a m ily , b u ilt a t h riv in g e n te rp ris e i n s u gar. 69 I n 1 183 t h e S pan is h t r a v ele r I b n J u bay r sa w in num era b le lo ad s o f p ep per b ein g s h ip ped t o t h e S udan ese p o rt o f A ydhab a n d t r a n sp o rte d f r o m th ere in n um ero us ca ra v an s. 70 B are ly se v en y ears la te r, th e v alu e o f g oods e x p o rte d b y C hris tia n merc h an ts t r a d in g t h ro ugh t h e N ile p o rts w as e stim ate d t o b e “ w ell o ver 1 00,0 00 d in ars,” a n d t h is a t a tim e o f c o nsid era b le p o lit ic a l te n sio ns (S ala d in h ad c a p tu re d Je ru sa le m in 1 187). 71 T he n um ber o f merc h an ts f r o m t h e w est t r a d in g i n A le x an dria i n 1 216 w as ( a s I n ote d e arlie r) p u t a t t h re e t h ousa n d b y th e h is to ria n a l- M aq riz i. 72 I n ca . 1260 V en etia n s o urc e s in dic a te “ la rg e c o tto n s h ip m en ts fr o m A cre .” 73 Can dia i n V en etia n -c o ntr o lle d C re te b eca m e a m ajo r s p ic e m ark et i n t h e e arly f o urte en th c e n tu ry . T he su gar a n d c o tto n e x p o rte d t h ere f r o m A le x an dria w ere r e ex p o rte d t o I ta ly i n V en etia n g alle y s. 74 B y t h e mid dle o f t h e c e n tu ry t h e p ap ers o f t h e V en etia n n ota ry B re sc ia n o r e fle ct massiv e i m po rts o f I ta lia n a n d Fle m is h te x tile s in to C an dia , s o m eth in g th at w as d oubtle ss tr u e o f o th er V en etia n c o lo nie s. 75 B y th e en d o f t h e c e n tu ry t h e v olu m e o f I ta lia n b u sin ess h ad i n cre ase d d ra m atic a lly . I n vestm en ts c o uld r u n a s hig h a s 4 50,0 00 d in ars w it h t h e V en etia n s in t h e 1 390s, a n d b etw een 2 00,0 00 a n d 3 00,0 00 d in ars e v ery year b etw een 1394 an d 1400 in G en oa’s ca se . (T he C ata la n s ca m e th ir d w it h an an nual av era g e ca . 200,0 00.) 76 A nd b y th e fif te en th c e n tu ry w hen , a s B ra u del sa y s, “ V en ic e w as u nqu estio nab ly th e vig oro us h eart o f th e M ed it e rra n ean ,” 77 th an ks la rg ely to it s tr a d e w it h th e L ev an t, m erc h an t g alle y s wit h g oods w orth o ne m illio n d uca ts p lu s 4 00,0 00 i n c a sh w ere s a ilin g f r o m V en ic e f o r A le x an dria a n d Beir u t. 78 The L ev an t t r a d e w as t h e m id dle s e g m en t o f a c ir c u it t h at e x te n ded t o t h e p o rts o f M ala b ar in S outh In dia a n d b ey ond th em in to S outh east A sia . H ere th e g re at c o unte rp art to th e c ru sa d in g p erio d’s “cre atio n o f n um ero us L atin tr a d in g co lo nie s in th e N ear E ast w it h th eir o w n co nsu ls , h oste ls , ware h ouse s, m ark etp la ce s, a n d c h urc h es” 79 w as t h e e x p an sio n o f I sla m , w hic h , s im ila rly , b eg in s in t h e tw elf th c e n tu ry a n d r e ach es it s c o m merc ia l z e n it h in t h e f if te en th . T he o ld est r e lia b ly d ata b le m osq u e on th e M ala b ar c o ast w as fo unded in 1 124, a t M ad ay i. 80 B y th e e n d o f th e th ir te en th c e n tu ry M uslim se ttle m en ts w ere w ell e sta b lis h ed b o th th ere a n d o n th e C oro m an del c o ast, 81 r e fle ctin g a n e x p an sio n acro ss th e e n tir e w este rn h alf o f th e I n dia n O ce an . E ven in th e e arly th ir te en th c e n tu ry , it h as b een cla im ed , th e E ast A fr ic a n c o ast w as la rg ely Isla m ic , 82 a n d c e rta in ly b y th e e n d o f th e c e n tu ry th e ev id en ce fr o m K ilw a im plie s a “ v ery la rg e M uslim re sid en t p o pu la tio n.” 83 B y ca . 1331 Ib n B attu ta desc rib es a “ v ast n etw ork o f M uslim s a ll a ro und th e p erip h ery o f th e I n dia n O ce an .” 84 T hese w ere esse n tia lly c o m merc ia l n etw ork s d ra w n f r o m m an y d if fe re n t p arts o f t h e N ear E ast. C alic u t’s M uslim s who te n dere d th eir a lle g ia n ce to th e R asu lid su lt a n a l- A sh ra f II in 1 393 re fle cte d a m ult ip lic it y o f geo gra p h ic o rig in s, 85 a n d th e s a m e is s u ggeste d in B arb o sa ’s r e p o rt th at b y th e s e co nd d eca d e o f th e six te en th c e n tu ry t h ese c o sm opo lit a n m erc h an ts “ d ep arte d t o t h eir o w n l a n ds a b an donin g I n dia a n d i t s tr a d e,” 86 fo llo w in g th e d ra m atic a n d v io le n t w ay in w hic h th e P ortu guese m ad e th eir e n tr y in to th e In dia n O ce an tr a d e w it h V asc o d a G am a in sis tin g o n th e e x p u ls io n o f th e M uslim s fr o m C alic u t a n d bo m bard in g t h e t o w n w hen i t s r u le r r e fu se d . 87 That t h e c ru sh in g o f t h e V en etia n s p ic e m onopo ly w as t h e p re m ed it a te d g oal o f P ortu gal’s m arit im e ex p an sio n in th e fif te en th c e n tu ry c a n , o f c o urse , b e ru le d o ut. T he str a te g y o f A tla n tic e x p an sio n ev olv ed o nly g ra d ually . 88 T here w as, a s L uís F ilip e T hom az h as a rg ued , n o co h ere n t im peria l p ro je ct till th e la st tw o d eca d es o f th e fif te en th c e n tu ry a n d w hat h e c a lls th e “ ca lc u la te d im peria lis m ” o f a model th at w as “ im peria l, g lo baliz in g, a n d s ta te -d riv en .” 89 F ro m th e r e ig n o f D om F erd in an d ( 1 367– 83), P ortu guese r o yal p o w er h ad f o und i t s s tr o ngest s u ppo rt i n t h e p o pu la tio n o f t h e p o rts , 90 w here t h e Portu guese m erc h an t c la ss g re w in s tr e n gth . 91 B ut in th e p artn ersh ip th at e v olv ed o ver th e fo llo w in g ce n tu ry b etw een th e m onarc h y a n d p riv ate c a p it a l, th e sta te c a n sc a rc e ly b e d esc rib ed a s a p assiv e ag en t o f th e la tte r. F in an cia lly , it d ep en ded o n th e re so urc e s o f b ig L is b o n m erc h an ts lik e F ern ão Gom es ca . 1469 a n d, la te r, o f p o w erfu l s y ndic a te s o f G erm an a n d I ta lia n b u sin essm en , b u t it w as th e cro w n t h at b o th d ro ve a n d m onit o re d t h e p ro ce ss, a n d ( ju st a s im po rta n t) t h ere w as n ev er a n y “ cle ar- cu t d em arc a tio n b etw een th e fin an ce s o f th e S ta te an d it s co m merc ia l ca p it a l.” 92 A ll co m merc ia l ca p it a lis m s o f th e six te en th to e ig hte en th c e n tu rie s w ould c o m e to b e in ex tr ic a bly b ou nd u p w it h th e sta te , b u t i n P ortu gal’s c a se t h e r e la tio nsh ip w as p o sit e d a s i m med ia te . I t w as t h e c ro w n t h at w ould a ct as a m erc h an t c o m pan y o n th e w est c o ast o f I n dia , “ se ttin g u p fe it o ria s (tr a d in g p o sts , fa cto rie s) in vario us k ey p o rts , b u yin g u p p ep per, s p ic e s a n d o th er p re cio us c o m modit ie s, w hic h t h ey w ould s h ip t o Euro pe a n d s e ll t h ere a t a h uge p ro fit .” 93 The P ortu guese , o f c o urse , w ere q u it e c le ar w ho th eir c o m petit o rs w ere . T ry in g to c o nvin ce th e mem bers o f h is c o uncil o f th e n eed to c a p tu re a n d re ta in M ala cca , A lb u qu erq u e w ro te , “ S in ce w e gain ed c o ntr o l o f t h e M ala b ar p ep per t r a d e, C air o h as n ot r e ce iv ed a n y e x ce p t w hat t h e M osle m s h av e been a b le t o t a k e f r o m t h is r e g io n ( th e S tr a it s ) . . . I a m v ery s u re t h at, i f t h is M ala cca t r a d e i s t a k en o ut of t h eir h an ds, C air o a n d M ecca w ill b e c o m ple te ly l o st a n d no s p ic e s w ill g o t o t h e V en etia ns e x ce p t t h ose th at th ey g o to P ortu gal to b u y .” 94 T he ta rg et h ere , in 1 511, w as th e e n tir e R ed S ea ro ute , a c ir c u it dom in ate d b y a so rt o f m assiv e jo in t v en tu re b etw een V en etia n c a p it a l, C air o m erc h an ts , a n d th e su pplie rs in C alic u t. B ut m ovin g b ack alo ng th e ch ain , th e m ajo rit y o f h is ca p ta in s ag re ed w it h Alb u qu erq u e, it w as e sse n tia l t o “ ta k e t h e c it y o f M ala cca , to e x pel t h e M osle m s , a n d t o b u ild a f o rtr e ss th ere .” 95 P ortu gal’s “ co m merc ia l a n d re lig io us w ar a g ain st Isla m ” 96 o ccu pie d th e g re ate r p art o f a ce n tu ry a n d w as n ev er c o m ple te ly s u cce ssfu l, b u t i n C alic u t t h e e ffe cts o f h er i n tr u sio n w ere f e lt a lm ost im med ia te ly . A lr e ad y b y 1 507 o ne tr a v ele r, th e I ta lia n L udovic o d i V arth em a, w as w rit in g, “ C alic u t was r u in ed b y t h e K in g o f P ortu gal, f o r t h e m erc h an ts w ho u se d t o c o m e t h ere w ere n ot t h ere , n eit h er did th ey c o m e.” 97 I t w as C och in th at b eca m e P ortu gal’s e co nom ic b ase in th e r e g io n a n d th e b u lk o f Portu guese p ep per fr o m M ala b ar w as e x p o rte d fr o m th ere . 98 B y 1 512 A lb u qu erq u e w as te llin g K in g Man uel th at th e net v alu e o f s h ip m en ts fr o m I n dia w as n ow “ w orth a m illio n cru za d os .” 99 I f s o , th ese le v els w ere nev er su bse q u en tly su sta in ed . T he m ajo rit y of actu al cu lt iv ato rs w ere St. T hom as Chris tia n s. 100 P ep per w as so ld to th e P ortu guese fa cto ry in C och in by m erc h an ts fr o m th eir co m munit y a n d b y C och in J e w s. 101 A ppare n tly , t h e k in g h ad a sk ed o ffic ia ls t o d eal w it h C hris tia n a n d Hin du tr a d ers (N air s w ere u se d as b ro kers) “ an d to keep th e M uslim m erc h ants aw ay fr o m tr a d e activ it ie s .” 102 D om M an uel’s “ro yal ca p it a lis m ” 103 w as a cu rio us m ix tu re of m erc a n tilis m an d messia n is m 104 w here h ard head ed b u sin ess d ecis io ns an d a M ed it e rra n ean -sty le eco nom ic w ar w ere clo ak ed i n r e lig io us z e al a n d a g re at d eal o f b o th i g nora n ce a n d b ig otr y . The habit u al u se o f f o rc e a s a n a cce p ta b le p art o f t h e c o m petit io n b etw een s u bsta n tia l blo cs o f c a p it a l was n ow , fo r th e fir st tim e in th e h is to ry o f eit h er se a, tr a n sp o se d fr o m a th eatr e w here it h ad flo uris h ed fo r c e n tu rie s (sin ce V en ic e ’s d ev asta tin g a tta ck o n C om acch io in 9 32, sa y ) to th e In dia n Oce an , w here it s m ajo r ta rg ets w ere th e p o w erfu l M uslim c o m merc ia l n etw ork s th at str a d dle d th e en tir e o ce an f r o m K ilw a a n d S ofa la in E ast A fr ic a t o S um atr a a n d t h e s o uth ern P hilip pin es. I n C och in it s e lf t h e p rin cip al m erc h an ts o f t h e p o rt ( M uslim c o nverts o f t h e M ara k kar f a m ily ) r e lo ca te d t o C alic u t by th e 1 520s, fo rc e d o ut b y w hat o ne h is to ria n c a lls a n “ atm osp h ere o f c o erc io n a n d v io le n ce .” 105 Ahm ad Z ay n a l- D in ’s la te s ix te en th -c e n tu ry h is to ry , Tuhfa t a l- m uja hid in , h as g ra p h ic d esc rip tio ns o f th e v io le n ce i n flic te d o n M ala b ar’s M uslim c o m munit ie s. H e w rit e s o f t h e b u rn in g o f t h e ja m i‘ m asji d i n Calic u t in 1 510, th e e arlie r d em olit io n o f th e C och in m osq u e, th e se iz u re o f sh ip s, d estr u ctio n o f pro perty , a n d s o o n. T here w as a ls o t h e r e p eate d p erso nal h um ilia tio n M uslim s w ere s u bje cte d t o , a n d of c o urse b lo odsh ed . Z ay n a l- D in h ad a n a cu te s e n se o f t h e h is to ry o f h is o w n lif e tim e, k now in g t h at th e a d ven t o f th e P ortu guese h ad b een r u in ous fo r th e p ro sp erit y o f M uslim c o m merc e in th e I n dia n Oce an . T he P ortu guese , h e w rit e s, h ad s o ught t o “ se cu re f o r t h em se lv es a mon op oly o f t h is t r a d e ” ( th e sp ic e t r a d e). 106 T hey h ad e sta b lis h ed t h em se lv es “ in t h e g re ate r p art o f t h e s e a p o rts o f t h is p art o f t h e world .” 107 T hey h ad ev en “ fo und th eir w ay to th e C hin ese em pir e , ca rry in g o n tr a d e in all th e in te rm ed ia te a n d o th er p o rts , in a ll o f w hic h th e c o m merc ia l in te re sts o f th e M uslim s h av e b een in co nse q u en ce c o nsig ned t o r u in .” T he P ortu guese “ re n dere d i t im possib le t h at a ny o th ers s h ou ld c o m pete wit h t h em ” i n t h e t r a d es t h ey s o ught t o d om in ate . 108 T he M uslim s o f M ala b ar h ad s e en t h e b u lk o f t h eir in te rn atio nal c o m merc e m assiv ely d is ru pte d a n d w ere le ft o nly w it h t h e c o astin g t r a d e o f I n dia . T hey had b eco m e “ im po veris h ed a n d w eak a n d p o w erle ss.” 109 There i s a f a sc in atin g r e fe re n ce i n t h ese p assa g es t o a s e lf – fin an cin g m odel t h at b eca m e c h ara cte ris tic not o nly o f P ortu gal’s tr a d e in A sia n w ate rs b u t, e v en m ore c ru cia lly , o f th e b ette r-o rg an iz e d D utc h ex p an sio n th at w ould la te r re p la ce it in th e se v en te en th ce n tu ry . T he P ortu guese m onarc h y w as ch ro nic a lly s h ort o f c a sh a n d s o ught t o s u sta in t h e E uro pean s id e o f it s m onopo ly o f t h e s p ic e m ark et by in volv in g th e b ig gest G erm an a n d I ta lia n c a p it a lis ts a s in vesto rs a n d e n co ura g in g g overn ors lik e Alb u qu erq u e to fin an ce th e ro yal sh are o f p u rc h ase s fr o m p ro fit s g en era te d b y P ortu guese tr a d in g wit h in A sia n m ark ets . 110 A t th e M ala b ar e n d, th ere w as n ev er a n y re al m onopo ly , sin ce e x p o rts to Lis b o n n ev er s e em to h av e e x ce ed ed a b o ut 4 0 p erc e n t o f th e to ta l o utp u t o f p ep per e v en in th e e arly six te en th c e n tu ry a n d fe ll d ra m atic a lly b y th e e n d o f th e c e n tu ry , w hen F ra n cis c o d a C osta r e lia b ly estim ate d th at o f a to ta l p ro ductio n o f 2 58,0 00 q u in ta ls , e x p o rts to P ortu gal w ere a m eag re tw en ty th ousa n d to th ir ty th ousa n d q u in ta ls . 111 I n 1 587 F erd in an d C ro n, C och in a g en t o f th e F uggers, w ro te th at a lt h ough ca . th re e h undre d t h ousa n d q u in ta ls o f p ep per w ere p ro duce d a n nually i n s o uth ern I n dia , only a v ery lit tle o f th is c a m e in to th e h an ds o f th e c o ntr a cto rs to b e ta k en to E uro pe. 112 T hom az h as arg ued th at “ P ortu guese c o m merc e in th e s ix te en th c e n tu ry d ev elo ped p re d om in an tly in th e I n dia n Oce an , ov er a n etw ork o f s h ort a nd m ed iu m r a ng e r o u te s w hic h a ctu ally e n co m passe d a lm ost e v ery c o ast of A sia . . . T he m ain r e aso n w hic h d ro ve t h e P ortu guese t o a p ply t h em se lv es t o t h e lo ca l t r a d e s e em s to b e th at th e C ap e ro ute to P ortu gal w as o fte n a lo se r.” 113 In sh ort, P ortu gal’s A sia n tr a d e c ro ss- su bsid iz e d t h e t r a d e t o L is b o n, s in ce o verh ead s w ere s o h ig h i n t h e l a tte r. Pep per w as g ro w n o n lit e ra lly th ousa n ds o f g ard en s in M ala b ar. 114 T he P ortu guese s im ply d id n ot hav e th e lo gis tic a l s e t- u p to d eal w it h p ro duce rs d ir e ctly a n d c e rta in ly h ad n o w ay o f c o ntr o llin g th e pro duce rs. 115 T here fo re , p ric e d om in atio n h ad to b e e n fo rc e d th ro ugh a g re em en ts w it h th e ru le r o f Coch in a n d o th er l o ca l r u le rs. A l o w f ix ed p ric e w as v it a l t o t h e w hole e n te rp ris e a s k in g D om M an uel had c o nce iv ed t h is in it ia lly . I n 1 503 t h e p ric e o f a bh ar o f p ep per ( th at is , o f a b atc h o f ca . 166 k g) w as fix ed a t le ss t h an h alf t h e m ark et p ric e p re v ailin g in C alic u t t h re e y ears e arlie r. 116 P ric e s w ould r e m ain fix ed fo r d eca d es. B ut M ala b ar p ep per w as a h ig hly c o m petit iv e m ark et w it h o ver a d oze n r e g io nal ce n te rs w here m erc h an ts b o ught th e p ro duce w hole sa le . C om petit io n w as fie rc e in th ose m ark ets . 117 This acco unts fo r th e p u re ly th eo re tic a l n atu re o f th e P ortu guese m onopo ly , sin ce , as C esa re d e Fed eric i n ote d , p ro bab ly in th e 1 570s, th e b u lk o f g ood-q u alit y p ep per w as b ein g s h ip ped to th e R ed Sea b eca u se m erc h an ts c o nnecte d w it h th at tr a d e pa id m ore a nd g ot a b ette r q u alit y o f p ro d uce , “ cle an e an d dry an d bette r co ndit io ned .” 118 T his is th e esse n tia l re aso n beh in d th e re silie n ce of th e Med it e rra n ean r o ute t h at B ra u del c o nsta n tly d re w a tte n tio n t o . 119 If th e “ ro yal ca p it a lis m ” o f th e early six te en th ce n tu ry w as ev en tu ally ab an doned fo r a “ m ore str a ig htf o rw ard s e m i- A bso lu tis t c o nce p tio n o f t h e s ta te ’s r e la tio nsh ip t o t r a d e,” 120 P ortu guese c o lo nia l en te rp ris e , o r th e A sia n th ala sso cra cy th at fo rm ed it s c o re , b eca m e e v en s tr o nger a s a m ag net fo r a n ag glo m era tio n o f ca p it a lis t in te re sts th at is p ro bab ly b est d esc rib ed in H en ry B ern ste in ’s id ea o f “cla sse s o f c a p it a l.” A t th e to p w ere th e b ig gest G erm an a n d I ta lia n c a p it a lis t h ouse s ( th e W els e rs, Fuggers, H öch ste tte rs, A ffa it a d i, B arto lo m eo M arc h io nni, G io van ni R ovela sc a ) w ho co m bin ed in po w erfu l s y ndic a te s to fin an ce th e a ctu al e x p ed it io ns to I n dia , s u ch a s th e o ne in 1 505 in w hic h th e Wels e rs h ad a v ery s u bsta n tia l in vestm en t o f tw en ty th ousa n d cru za d os , o r a g re ed to h an dle s a le s in Euro pe, w it h p le d ges to b u y a stip u la te d q u an tit y o f p ep per a t a n a g re ed p ric e . B oth a rra n gem en ts were f r a u ght w it h t e n sio ns b o und u p w it h t h e v ola tilit y o f t h is m ark et, w it h t h e c ro w n q u it e c a p ab le o f re n eg in g o n co ntr a cts . F lo re n tin e m erc h an ts w ere w ell- e n tr e n ch ed in L is b o n an d m an y o f th em “fin an ce d a n d j o in ed t h e P ortu guese o n t h e e arlie st v en tu re s t o t h e I n die s d urin g t h e f ir st q u arte r o f t h e six te en th c e n tu ry .” 121 T he S outh G erm an c o m merc ia l h ouse s h ad s tr o ng o rg an iz a tio nal s tr u ctu re s a n d work ed th ro ugh ca rte l arra n gem en ts w it h o ne an oth er. 122 T hey “am asse d ca p it a l fa r b ey ond th e ca p ab ilit y of an y F lo re n tin e m erc h an t- b an ker,” 123 so th at ev en at th is ra re fie d le v el th ere w ere in te re stin g d if fe re n ce s. C onsid era b ly b elo w th ese g ia n t c a p it a lis ts w ere th e r ic h er ca sa d os o f C och in , se ttle rs o f P ortu guese o rig in , w ho a t v ario us tim es a cte d a s fin an cie rs to th e Esta d o a n d d om in ate d Coch in ’s co asta l tr a d e. 124 B etw een 1 570 an d 1 600 th e ca sa d os , “ a p o w erfu l m erc a n tile g ro up w it h co nsid era b le c a p it a l r e so urc e s,” “ v ir tu ally t u rn ed C och in in to o ne o f t h e b ig gest e n tr e p ô ts o f A sia .” 125 Their in te re sts ex te n ded all o ver th e In dia n O ce an . 126 H ow ev er, fr o m th e se co nd d eca d e o f th e se v en te en th c e n tu ry , th ere w as a m ass e x o dus o f ca sa d o tr a d ers f r o m C och in to th e o ppo sit e c o ast, a s th e la tte r p art o f th e s ix te en th c e n tu ry s a w d w in dlin g s u pplie s o f p ep per th an ks to m ass d is a ffe ctio n am ong S t. T hom as C hris tia n s w ho h ad s e en t h eir b is h op a rre ste d t w ic e ( a n d d ie i n R om e i n 1 569) a n d “b eg un t o c o opera te w it h t h e t r a d ers o f t h e g hat r o ute ” in r e ta lia tio n. 127 F in ally , M ala b ar’s o w n n ativ e Muslim s, th e M ap pila s, w ere a m ong th e “ la rg est fin an cie rs o f P ortu gal’s im peria l p ro je ct in A sia ” 128 an d w ere d oubtle ss a ctiv e in m uch o f th e tr a d e th at e sc a p ed P ortu guese c o ntr o l, th e v ast a m ounts o f pep per t h at c ro sse d t h e g hats t o m ak e i t s w ay t o t h e e ast c o ast, f r o m w here i t w as w id ely e x p o rte d . In e co nom ic t e rm s, t h e f r a g ile b asis o n w hic h P ortu gal’s a rm ed t h ala sso cra cy r e ste d w as o bv io us t o mem bers o f it s é lit e . I n 1 563 th e O tto m an s o ffe re d th e P ortu guese a fr e e tr a d e a g re em en t, w it h th e la tte r b ein g g iv en th e r ig ht to “ esta b lis h tr a d in g h ouse s in B asra , C air o , a n d A le x an dria a n d to tr a d e fr e ely in a ll th e O tto m an -c o ntr o lle d p o rts o f b o th th e P ersia n G ulf a n d th e R ed S ea,” in r e tu rn fo r sim ila r fr e ed om s fo r O tto m an m erc h an ts to tr a d e th ro ughout th e In dia n O ce an , w it h th e rig ht to esta b lis h c o m merc ia l a g en cie s o f t h eir o w n “ in S in d, C am bay , D ab u l, C alic u t, a n d a n y o th er p o rt t h ey desir e d .” 129 A gain st th is q u it e re m ark ab le p ro po sa l o ne fid alg o is su ppo se d to h av e a rg ued , “ if th e Turk s w ere a llo w ed t o t r a v el f r e ely t o I n dia , a n d e sta b lis h f a cto rs, a n d t r a d e in m erc h an dis e w here v er th ey w is h ed , n ot o nly w ould Y our M aje sty ’s o w n p ro fit s s u ffe r g re atly , b u t t h e r e st o f u s w ould b e l e ft co m ple te ly e m pty h an ded , b eca u se all o f t h e b u sin ess [ h and le d b y t h e P ortu guese ] w ou ld i m med ia te ly f a ll to t h e T urk s .” T here w as a c le ar r e fe re n ce h ere to P ortu guese priv a te c a p it a l. H e w en t o n to s a y , “ A s fo r [th e sta te m onopo ly in ] p ep per an d o th er co ntr o lle d sp ic e s, th is w ould als o b e th re ate n ed b y allo w in g th e T urk s to e sta b lis h fa cto rs in I n dia . Even n ow , w hen th ey h ave n ot b een a llo w ed to o p en ly co m pete a g ain st th e P ortu guese , it is k now n th at th ey co nduct a tr a d e in se cre t, ca rry in g sp ic e s to Horm uz, t o B asra , a n d t o B en gal, P eg u, C hin a, a n d o th er la n ds, a n d e sp ecia lly t o t h eir o w n m ark ets , desp it e th e g re at ris k s in volv ed . T hus, [if a llo w ed to o pera te fr e ely , th eir tie s w it h ] lo ca l M uslim s would le a ve th em e v en b ette r in fo rm ed a nd b ette r o rg aniz e d , su ch th at b y m ean s o f th e [R ed S ea a n d Persia n G ulf ] t h ey c o uld s e n d a s m uch [ p ep per] a s t h ey w an te d , and b eco m e m aste rs o f t h e l io n ’s s h are o f th e t r a d e in s p ic e s .” 130 H ere it w as a n e n tr e n ch ed n etw ork o f tr a d in g c o m munit ie s th at w as s e en a s th e big gest p o te n tia l “ co m petit iv e a d van ta g e” t h e O tto m an s w ould h av e i f c o m merc e w as c o m ple te ly f r e e, th at i s , n ot d ete rre d b y t h e p erm an en t t h re at a n d a ctu al u se o f v io le n ce f r o m t h e P ortu guese s id e. 131 In h is g re at His to ry o f I ta ly , F ra n ce sc o G uic cia rd in i s a w P ortu gal’s b re ak in g o f th e V en etia n s p ic e monopo ly a s “ th e m ost m em ora b le t h in g t h at h as h ap pen ed in t h e w orld f o r m an y c e n tu rie s.” 132 T his was w rit te n la te in t h e 1 530s a n d w as a r e m ark ab ly a ccu ra te a sse ssm en t, n ot o nly b eca u se c o m merc ia l po sit io ns th at V en ic e h ad b u ilt u p o ver ce n tu rie s w ere (m om en ta rily ) p lu nged in to d ep re ssio n a n d dra stic a lly a ffe cte d b y t h e n ew t r a d e r e g im e, 133 b u t m ore o bv io usly b eca u se P ortu gal’s o pen in g o f th e Atla n tic r e co nfig ure d t h e w hole s h ap e o f c o m merc ia l c a p it a lis m a s t h e w orld h ad k now n it t ill t h en . I t open ed th e w ay f o r a n ew c a p it a lis m w hic h w ould s o on b e r e fle cte d in th e c o m merc ia l d om in an ce o f th e D utc h in t h e s e v en te en th c e n tu ry a s w ell a s E ngla n d’s e x p an sio n in t h e s a m e c e n tu ry . I n 1 519 t h e Ven etia n s w ere p erfe ctly a w are o f P ortu gal’s d ev asta tin g im pact o n th e L ev an t p ep per tr a d e, a n d f o r th e n ex t te n y ears th ey w ere to ta lly a t th e m erc y o f th e P ortu guese a s g lo bal s u pplie s o f p ep per w ere co rn ere d b y th e la tte r. 134 B ut B ra u del rig htly in sis te d th at V en ic e re m ain ed a fo rm id ab le e co nom ic fo rc e th ro ughout th e s ix te en th c e n tu ry . A s la te a s 1 585 th ere w ere s till s o m e fo ur th ousa n d V en etia n fa m ilie s “ sc a tte re d th ro ughout th e c it ie s a n d la n ds o f I sla m ” a s fa r a w ay a s H orm uz. 135 N or w as th e Red S ea r o ute e v er c o m ple te ly s tif le d . I n 1 560 th e P ortu guese a m bassa d or a t R om e r e ce iv ed r e p o rts th at e n orm ous q u an tit ie s o f p ep per a n d s p ic e w ere a rriv in g a t A le x an dria . 136 I n 1 593 t h e F uggers w ere sim ila rly to ld th at A le x an dria w as su pply in g V en ic e w it h as m uch p ep per as L is b o n re ce iv ed . 137 How ev er, b y t h e s e co nd d eca d e o f t h e s e v en te en th c e n tu ry V en ic e ’s p rim acy i n t h e M ed it e rra n ean w as fin ally o ver. 138 T he Ita lia n cris is o f th e se v en te en th ce n tu ry h as b een ch ara cte riz e d as a “ g ra d ual in tr o versio n o f t h e n orth ern I ta lia n b o urg eo is ie ,” a “ p ro gre ssiv e c lo su re t o t h e w orld b ey ond I ta ly .” 139 If s o , G uic cia rd in i’s j u dgem en t w as e v en m ore p ro ph etic . DUTC H P R IM ACY The f a ll o f A ntw erp i n A ugust 1 585 t r ig gere d a v ast e x o dus o f r e fu gees f r o m t h e s o uth ern p ro vin ce s o f th e N eth erla n ds to th e N orth , w it h m ajo r co nse q u en ce s fo r A m ste rd am an d D utc h co m merc e . Am ste rd am ’s p ro sp erit y a fte r 1 600 w as b u ilt b y ém ig ré s fr o m A ntw erp . 140 O ver h alf th e D utc h E ast In dia C om pan y/ V ere en ig de O ostin dis c h e C om pag nie or V O C’s sta rtin g ca p it a l of 6.4 2 m illio n guild ers w as su bsc rib ed in A m ste rd am , bu t am ong A m ste rd am in vesto rs th e big gest in div id ual in vestm en ts w ere m ad e by m en lik e Isa ac le M air e an d B alt h asa r C oym an s, all ém ig ré s fr o m Antw erp . 141 T hey w ere W allo on o r F le m is h e x ile s a n d p ro vid ed c lo se t o 4 0 p erc e n t o f t h e C om pan y’s to ta l c a p it a l. 142 I t w as t h eir “ v ast w ealt h a n d in te rn atio nal c o nnectio ns” 143 t h at e n ab le d H olla n d’s r a p id bre ak th ro ugh i n to t h e r ic h t r a d es o f t h e M ed it e rra n ean a n d A sia . The s e v en te en th c e n tu ry w as d om in ate d b y t h e c o m petit io n b etw een E nglis h a n d D utc h c a p it a l. T he tr a je cto ry o f D utc h c a p it a lis m ru ns fr o m it s ra p id e x p an sio n in th e e arly se v en te en th c e n tu ry to it s declin e in th e s e co nd q u arte r o f th e e ig hte en th c e n tu ry , w it h a p eak in th e d eca d es a ro und 1 647– 72, desc rib ed b y J o nath an I sra el a s t h e z e n it h o f t h e R ep u blic ’s “ w orld -tr a d e p rim acy .” 144 D utc h t r a d e w it h Asia h ad f a r o uts tr ip ped t h at o f t h e P ortu guese p o ssib ly a s e arly a s 1 601. 145 T he c la sh w it h E ngla n d f o r maste ry of th e M ed it e rra n ean tr a d e ex p lo ded in th e la te 1640s, pro m ptin g th e fir st of se v era l “N av ig atio n A cts ” b y w hic h E nglis h ca p it a l so ught to cu rb D utc h d om in an ce . In 1661 C olb ert assu m ed t h e d ir e ctio n o f c o m merc ia l a ffa ir s in F ra n ce , a n d b y t h e la te s e v en te en th c e n tu ry t h e F re n ch had e m erg ed a s a m ajo r c o m merc ia l p o w er, 146 w it h th e la st q u arte r o f th e c e n tu ry d om in ate d b y a co nfr o nta tio n b etw een t h em a n d t h e D utc h . 147 T he 1 680s w as a ls o w hen t h e V O C w as a t t h e p eak o f i t s su cce ss a s a n A sia n p o w er. 148 The c ru sh in g I ta lia n s u pre m acy o f t h e t w elf th t o f if te en th c e n tu rie s h ad e n ca p su la te d a c a p it a lis m o f netw ork s , t h e o nly k in d in dig en ous t o t h e M ed it e rra n ean c o untr ie s a n d t h e w id er w orld o f I sla m . T he new ca p it a lis m o f th e se v en te en th ce n tu ry w as d riv en , in co ntr a st, by jo in t- sto ck co m pa nie s th at em erg ed f r o m t h e m arit im e f r in ge o f n orth w este rn E uro pe a n d e n jo yed t h e s tr o ng b ack in g o f t h e s ta te (a s, in deed , V en etia n ca p it a l h ad ). T hey w ere ca p it a lis t en te rp ris e s o f a h ig her po w er th an th e im perfe ct “ ro yal c a p it a lis m s” o f I b eria , b u t lik e th em th ey r e ta in ed a p u blic o r se m i- p u blic c h ara cte r th at e m bo die d a q u asi- fo rm al d ele g atio n o f s o vere ig nty t h at m ad e t h em f o rm id ab le c o m petit o rs. 149 T he main E ast I n dia C om pan ie s ( E nglis h , D utc h , a n d F re n ch ) w ere th e m ost p o w erfu l o f th e jo in t- sto ck co m pan ie s in th e s e v en te en th a n d e ig hte en th c e n tu rie s, a n d th e c o m petit io n b etw een th em w as s u ch th at D av id H um e, in a n e ssa y p u blis h ed in 1 742, c o uld f a m ously s a y , “ T ra d e w as n ev er e ste em ed a n affa ir o f s ta te t ill t h e la st c e n tu ry .” 150 T he h ead -o n c la sh b etw een t h e E nglis h a n d t h e D utc h g en era te d th e d octr in e th at c a m e to b e c a lle d “ je alo usy o f tr a d e.” 151 T ow ard th e e n d o f th e e ig hte en th c e n tu ry Adam S m it h a g re ed w it h H um e t h at t r a d e h ad c h an ged E uro pean p o lit ic s in t h e s e v en te en th c e n tu ry . In Wea lt h o f N atio n s h e r e fe rs to “ m erc a n tile je alo usy ” w hic h “ in fla m es, a n d is it s e lf in fla m ed b y th e vio le n ce o f n atio n al a nim osit y .” 152 S ta te a n d c a p it a l n ow h ad a u nif y in g “ n atio nal” i n te re st i n s e cu rin g o r re ta in in g c o m merc ia l d om in an ce . I n “ O f t h e J e alo usy o f T ra d e” ( 1 752) H um e w ro te “ N oth in g i s m ore usu al, a m ong s ta te s w hic h h av e m ad e s o m e a d van ce s i n c o m merc e , th an . . . t o c o n sid er a ll t r a d in g s ta te s as t h eir r iv a ls .” 153 I n t h e la te n in ete en th c e n tu ry G usta v v on S ch m olle r e x p re sse d t h is m ore f o rc e fu lly . “C om merc ia l c o m petit io n, e v en in tim es n om in ally o f p eace , d eg en era te d in to a s ta te o f u ndecla re d hostilit y : it p lu nged n atio ns in to o ne w ar a fte r a n oth er, a n d g av e a ll w ars a tu rn in th e d ir e ctio n o f tr a d e, i n dustr y , a n d c o lo nia l g ain . . . . ” 154 To J o sia h C hild w ho b eca m e g overn or o f th e E nglis h E ast In dia C om pan y in 1 681, th e e sse n tia l ch ara cte ris tic o f t h e D utc h m odel w as i t s p ecu lia r i n te g ra tio n o f s ta te a n d c a p it a l. A t t h e t o p o f C hild ’s lis t o f r e aso ns f o r D utc h e co nom ic s u cce ss “ w as t h e f a ct t h at D utc h C ouncils o f S ta te , t h e l a w -m ak in g bo die s, w ere c o m po se d o f tr a d in g m erc h an ts w ho h ad liv ed a b ro ad m ost o f th eir liv es a n d w ho h ad gre at p ra ctic a l a n d th eo re tic a l k now le d ge o f c o m merc ia l m atte rs.” 155 I n Obse rv a tio n s u pon th e U nit e d Pro v in ce s o f th e N eth erla nd s ( 1 673), S ir W illia m T em ple w ould lik ew is e n ote th is p artic u la r f e atu re o f th e D utc h R ep u blic ; a m ong i t s s tr e n gth s, h e c la im s, w as “ [a ] G overn m en t m an ag ’d e it h er b y m en t h at tr a d e, o r w hose F am ilie s h av e r is e n b y it , o r w ho h av e t h em se lv es s o m e I n te re st g oin g in o th er m en ’s Tra ffiq u e, o r w ho a re b o rn a n d b re d in T ow ns, T he so ul a n d b eein g w here o f c o nsis ts w holly in tr a d e.” 156 In oth er w ord s, th e V O C an d it s pre d ece sso r co m pan ie s “ty pif ie d th e hig h deg re e of in te ra ctio n o f ru lin g o lig arc h y w it h p riv a te e n te rp ris e w hic h c h ara cte riz e d m uch , if n ot m ost, o f D utc h overse as c o m merc e .” 157 T he V O C w as “ th e c re atio n o f th e D utc h s ta te a s m uch a s o f th e m erc h an ts who h ad a ctu ally o pen ed u p t h e E ast I n dia t r a ffic ,” 158 a n d, l ik e i t s l a te r, A tla n tic , c o unte rp art, t h e W est In dia C om pan y, “ in tim ate ly e n tw in ed ” w it h th e c o untr y ’s “ re g en t o lig arc h y.” 159 I n s h ort, th e n ex u s betw een s ta te a n d c o m merc ia l c a p it a l w as a lt o geth er m ore d ir e ct h ere th an a n yth in g r e fle cte d in th e “str o ng s o cia l a n d c o m merc ia l t ie s b etw een t h e m erc h an ts a n d f in an cie rs o f t h e C it y o f L ondon a n d t h e Brit is h s ta te a n d a ris to cra cy ” 160 t h at w ere c o ev al w it h i t . The sh eer effic ie n cy of D utc h ca p it a l ste m med fr o m th e re m ark ab le effic ie n cy of it s sh ip pin g in dustr y , t h e m assiv e c o nce n tr a tio n o f c a p it a l i n A m ste rd am ’s e x ch an ge-b an k, e sta b lis h ed i n 1 609 ( o ne early e ig hte en th -c e n tu ry e stim ate p u t t h e b an k’s h old in gs a t a ro und t h re e h undre d m illio n g uild ers), 161 th e t e ch nic a l s o ph is tic a tio n a n d f le x ib ilit y o f t h e D utc h f in e-c lo th i n dustr y , 162 a n d t h e “ so ph is tic a tio n o f Dutc h m eth ods an d te ch nolo gy” 163 m ore g en era lly . B ut b ey ond th ese fa cto rs, all esse n tia l, w as a co m merc ia l s tr a te g y d efin ed b y it s s in gle -m in ded c o nce n tr a tio n o n t h e r ic h t r a d es o f E uro pe a n d A sia , by f a r-re ach in g v ertic a l in te g ra tio n in to s o urc e -m ark ets a n d, m ost s tr ik in gly , b y th e s h eer s c a le o f it s Asia n tr a d e n etw ork 164 ( u nm atc h ed b y th e E nglis h ) 165 a n d th e w ay th e V O C w as a b le to in te g ra te it s lo ca l, in te r-A sia n t r a d e in to a la rg ely s e lf – c o nta in ed if e x p an din g c ir c u la tio n o f c a p it a l t h at m in im iz e d th e n eed f o r p ay m en ts i n s ilv er. 166 I n m ost w ay s, it w as t h e A sia n p art o f t h is s tr a te g y t h at s h ow ed ju st how m uch t h e D utc h e n tr e p ô t w as h arn esse d t o t h e a ctu al m ach in ery o f t h e D utc h s ta te , 167 s in ce D utc h co m merc e in A sia w as “ h eav ily a rm ed ” f r o m t h e o uts e t. 168 B y 1 623, t h e D utc h h ad n in ety s h ip s in t h e East I n die s a n d t w o t h ousa n d r e g ula r t r o ops p o ste d i n t w en ty f o rts ! 169 Ralp h D av is ex p la in ed w hy D utc h sh ip pin g w as m ore effic ie n t. B efo re th e se v en te en th ce n tu ry Dutc h s h ip bu ild ers d id n ot h av e to lo ok o ut fo r th e d efe n sib ilit y o f th eir s h ip s b u t s im ply c a rry in g ca p acit y a n d c o st o f o pera tio n. “ T hey e v olv ed h ull fo rm s th at m ax im is e d c a rg o s p ace in r e la tio n to overa ll d im en sio ns.” B eca u se th ey w ere fla t- b o tto m ed , “ th ey d ra w e n ot s o e m uch w ate r a s o ur s h ip s do,” w ro te t h e E nglis h e x p lo re r G eo rg e W ay m outh i n 1 609, “ . . . a n d t h ere fo re m ust h av e le ss M asts , Say le s, T ack lin g a n d A nch ors, t h an o urs h av e; and a re th ere fo re a ble to s a yle w it h o n e th ir d p a rt o f m en le ss th an o u rs , o r th er a bou ts .” “ T hus, b y th e a d van ta g e th ey g ay n o f u s in b u rd en , a n d b y th e c h arg e th ey sa v e in m arrin ers w ag es, an d v ic tu als , th ey are ab le to ca rry th eir fr a ig ht b ette r ch eap th an wee.” 170 Wit h in E uro pe a n d l a rg e p arts o f t h e M ed it e rra n ean , b arte r w as w id ely u se d a s a m erc a n tile s tr a te g y beca u se it w as alw ays “ m ore p ro fit a b le t o t r a d ers t o e x p o rt g oods r a th er t h an m oney .” 171 H ow ev er, in Asia th e c ru cia l c o nstr a in t o n E uro pean tr a d e, a s th e P ortu guese ra p id ly d is c o vere d , w as E uro pe’s “in ab ilit y t o s u pply w este rn p ro ducts a t p ric e s t h at w ould g en era te a l a rg e e n ough d em an d” t o p ro vid e th e n ece ssa ry r e v en ue fo r th e p u rc h ase o f A sia n g oods. “ T he o nly m ajo r it e m th at E uro pe w as in a po sit io n to p ro vid e A sia [w it h ] w as p re cio us m eta ls .” 172 (E ven d ow n to th e e n d o f th e se v en te en th ce n tu ry , “tr e asu re ” acco unte d fo r 70 to 90 perc e n t of th e E nglis h E ast In dia C om pan y’s to ta l ex p o rts .) 173 T he re su rg en ce o f eco nom ic co nflic t b etw een S pain an d th e D utc h in 1621 an d th e em barg o o n D utc h sh ip pin g in Ib eria n p o rts 174 w ere th ere fo re p o te n tia lly d is a str o us to co ntin ued Dutc h ex p an sio n in A sia , b eca u se th ey ch oked th e tr a n sfe r o f S pan is h A m eric a n b u llio n to th e Neth erla n ds a n d c re ate d a n e n dem ic sh orta g e o f sp ecie th ere ; th e V O C in p artic u la r re q u ir e d “ an im men se re g ula r in pu t o f b u llio n to se ttle it s b ala n ce s in th e E ast In die s.” 175 In ste ad o f se ek in g in fu sio ns o f c a p it a l f r o m A m ste rd am , t h e V O C’s g overn or-g en era l a t B ata v ia , J a n P ie te rsz o on C oen , ev olv ed a c o m merc ia l s tr a te g y o r “ m aste r p la n ” t h at e n co ura g ed t h e D utc h t o p artic ip ate ex te n siv ely i n th e t r a d e o f t h e I n dia n O ce an . 176 N o o th er E uro pean c o m merc ia l p o w er d id t h is o n q u it e t h e s a m e s c a le or w it h th e so ph is tic a tio n an d ru th le ssn ess dem onstr a te d by th e D utc h th ro ugh m ost of th e se v en te en th c e n tu ry . W it h th eir p re co cio us b ase in T aiw an , th ey c o m man ded a m ajo r sh are o f th e Nag asa k i tr a d e ( b asic a lly , a n e x ch an ge o f C hin ese s ilk y arn fo r J a p an ese s ilv er), w hic h m ean t th at a la rg e p art o f th eir A sia n o pera tio ns c o uld b e fin an ce d w it h J a p an ese silv er a n d, to a le sse r d eg re e, Chin ese g old . “ In 1 652, f o r e x am ple , t h e V O C e x p o rte d f r o m N ag asa k i 1 ,5 55,8 50 g uild ers ( e q u iv ale n t to 1 7,0 22 k gs.) o f J a p an ese s ilv er” o f w hic h l e ss t h an 9 p erc e n t a rriv ed a t t h e C om pan y’s h ead qu arte rs in B ata v ia , t h e r e m ain der e n din g u p i n C hin a. 177 Yet b u llio n s to ck s w ere n ev er e n ough t o r e so lv e t h e p ro ble m o f f in an cin g c o m merc ia l a ccu m ula tio n in A sia n m ark ets , a n d th e V O C w ould e v en tu ally c re ate a v ast c o ntin en ta l s y ste m o f b arte r w hic h , re d uce d to it s s im ple st e le m en ts , e m bo die d a n e x ch an ge o f I n donesia n s p ic e s f o r I n dia n te x tile s. T his is th e s e n se i n w hic h “ th e s a le s o f s p ic e s f o rm ed t h e b asis o f C om pan y e x p an sio n i n o th er s p h ere s o f t r a d e in A sia ” 178 a n d t h e r e aso n w hy t h e d ir e cto rs c o uld s ta te i n 1 648, “ T he c o untr y t r a d e a n d t h e p ro fit f r o m it are th e s o u l o f th e C om pa ny w hic h m ust b e lo ok ed a fte r c a re fu lly .” 179 T he C om pan y b eca m e a n A sia n tr a d er o n a l a rg e s c a le , 180 w it h m ajo r p o sit io ns a t o ne t im e o r a n oth er i n e v ery th in g f r o m C hin ese s u gar an d J a p an ese s ilv er t o J a p an ese c o pper, s p ic e s f r o m t h e A rc h ip ela g o, i n dig o f r o m B ay an a a n d G uja ra t, co tto n c lo th fr o m th e C oro m an del, p ep per fr o m M ala b ar, c in nam on fr o m C ey lo n, ra w silk , D acca muslin s a n d o piu m f r o m B en gal, s ilk f r o m P ersia , c o ffe e f r o m M och a, a n d s o o n. I n 1 619 w hen C oen se n t h is b lu ep rin t o f th e A sia n tr a d e to th e d ir e cto rs in A m ste rd am , th e C om pan y alr e ad y h ad a “p erm an en tly c ir c u la tin g c a p it a l” o f b etw een ƒ 2.5 a n d ƒ 3.5 m illio n i n t h e E ast I n die s a n d C oen w an te d more . 181 A fte r 1 647 th e r e su m ed f lo w o f S pan is h s ilv er to A m ste rd am r e v erse d th e d eclin e o f b u llio n re m it ta n ce s t o t h e e ast, 182 a n d b y t h e m id dle o f t h e c e n tu ry t h e E ast I n dia f le et w as r e tu rn in g h om e w it h ca rg oes w orth b etw een f if te en a n d t w en ty m illio n g uild ers, r o ughly e q u iv ale n t t o t h e c o m bin ed v alu e of th e C ad iz a n d S m yrn a fle ets ! 183 B y 1 673 S ir W illia m T em ple w ould r e fe r to th e “ v astn ess o f th e Sto ck tu rn ’d w holly to th at T ra d e” a n d to th e V O C “ en gro ssin g th e w hole C om merc e o f th e E ast- In die s.” 184 Ren ew ed a cce ss t o S pan is h s ilv er in t h e la te 1 640s a n d a b o om in L eid en ’s t e x tile in dustr y t r ig gere d by c o nversio n t o t h e e x p en siv e f a b ric s k now n a s c a m le ts a n d la ken m ean t r a p id D utc h d om in atio n o f Med it e rra n ean m ark ets , 185 w it h T urk ey n ow a b so rb in g a t h ir d o f L eid en ’s o utp u t. F or t h e E nglis h t h is sp elle d a s u dden c ris is a s “ m assiv e q u an tit ie s o f f in e g oods b eg an t o b e lo ad ed o n t o D utc h v esse ls a t Liv orn o f o r th e E nglis h a s w ell a s f o r th e D utc h m ark et.” 186 I t w as th is “ su dden m arit im e c ris is ” th at fo rm ed th e “ b ack gro und o f th e f ir st th oro ughly w ork ed o ut p ie ce o f E nglis h p ro te ctiv e le g is la tio n— th e N av ig atio n A ct o f 1 651— an d o f t h e F ir st A nglo -D utc h W ar.” 187 T he o rd in an ce o f 1 651 e sta b lis h ed a m odel fo r th e tig hte r N av ig atio n A ct o f 1 660, w hic h “ re m ain ed a t th e h eart o f E nglis h m arit im e po lic y f o r n early t w o c e n tu rie s,” p ro vid in g t h at “ all g oods im po rte d t o E ngla n d s h ould c o m e d ir e ctly fr o m t h eir p la ce o f p ro ductio n ( th us e lim in atin g t h e D utc h e n tr e p o t) ” a n d t h at “ n o f o re ig n ( i.e . D utc h ) sh ip s s h ould t r a d e w it h E nglis h c o lo nie s.” 188 T he y ears f r o m 1 651 t o 1 672 h av e b een d esc rib ed a s “ th e peak o f A nglo -D utc h c o m merc ia l riv alr y .” 189 H ow ev er, fr o m th e m id -1 660s C olb ert’s m erc a n tilis m beca m e th e p iv ot o f a n ew str u ggle fo r M ed it e rra n ean d om in an ce , th is tim e b etw een F ra n ce an d Holla n d, w it h th e F re n ch ta rif fs o f 1667 u nle ash in g a co m merc ia l w ar in w hic h C olb ert’s “ cle ar obje ctiv e w as t o c a p tu re t h e r ic h t r a d es,” w re stin g c o ntr o l f r o m t h e D utc h . 190 B y t h e 1 690s t h e F re n ch co uld m ak e r a p id in ro ad s in to th e O tto m an m ark et, a n d b y 1 701 w ere s e llin g m ore fin e c lo th th ere th an t h e D utc h . 191 T he D utc h h ad d om in ate d S m yrn a f o r m ost o f t h e s e v en te en th c e n tu ry . 192 A s la te a s 1680 s ilv er r e m it ta n ce s t o t h e L ev an t w ere r u nnin g a t w ell o ver t w o m illio n g uild ers a y ear. 193 I n 1 675 th e m ajo rit y o f E uro pean s in S m yrn a w ere r e p o rte d t o b e D utc h . 194 H ow ev er, b etw een 1 688 a n d 1 719 th e n um ber o f D utc h m erc h an t h ouse s t h ere f e ll d ra stic a lly f r o m ca . tw en ty -fiv e t o o nly s ix , 195 c le arin g th e w ay f o r t h e o verw helm in g F re n ch d om in atio n t h at c h ara cte riz e d t h e L ev an t f o r t h e g re ate r p art o f th e eig hte en th ce n tu ry . R ic h elie u an d C olb ert re fle cte d id eas th at o vertly alig ned th e in te re sts o f co m merc ia l ca p it a l to th ose o f th e sta te . In th e w ord s o f th e F re n ch d ip lo m at N ic o la s M esn ag er, Ric h elie u “ d id n ot f in d a n y m ean s m ore e ffe ctiv e t o in cre ase t h e p o w er o f t h e k in g a n d t h e w ealt h o f th e s ta te t h an t o i n cre ase n av ig atio n a n d c o m merc e .” 196 Much of th e pré cis ab o ve is base d on Jo nath an Isra el’s tig htly -a rg ued his to ry of th e D utc h co m merc ia l s y ste m , w hic h e n ds b y s u ggestin g th at “ th e b asic r e aso n fo r th e d ecis iv e d eclin e o f th e Dutc h w orld -tr a d in g s y ste m in t h e 1 720s a n d 1 730s w as t h e w av e o f n ew -sty le in dustr ia l m erc a n tilis m whic h s w ep t p ra ctic a lly t h e e n tir e c o ntin en t f r o m a ro und 1 720.” 197 A “ co m pre h en siv e i n te rv en tio nis m ” to ok h old o f n orth ern E uro pe, w it h fa ta l c o nse q u en ce s fo r D utc h e x p o rt m ark ets a n d in dustr ie s. 198 Wit h in E uro pe, th e D utc h ric h tr a d es w ere “ d ev asta te d ” d urin g th ose d eca d es, an d in In dia th e Englis h E ast I n dia C om pan y “ h ad d ecis iv ely o verta k en t h e D utc h ” i n m ost p arts o f t h e c o untr y w here th ey w ere p re se n t b y 1 740. 199 T he esse n tia l v it a lit y o f th e se v en te en th -c e n tu ry en tr e p ô t h ad b een la rg ely d estr o yed b y t h e m id dle o f t h e e ig hte en th c e n tu ry . 200 EN GLA N D’S R IS E T O D OM IN AN CE In E ngla n d th e “ co nsc io us u se o f sta te p o w er fo r c o m merc ia l e n ds” 201 fir st c a m e to th e fo re in th e re v olu tio nary d eca d es in th e m id dle o f th e se v en te en th c e n tu ry , ro ughly a w hole c e n tu ry afte r th e Eliz a b eth an c o m merc ia l e x p an sio n b eg an . T hat e x p an sio n, a s B re n ner s h ow ed , w as d riv en b y t h e r a p id gro w th o f th e im po rt tr a d es a n d h ad n oth in g to d o w it h E nglis h c lo th m erc h an ts lo okin g fo r n ew mark ets . 202 T he re m ark ab le fe atu re of th e im po rt tr a d es of th e la te six te en th ce n tu ry is th eir in te rlo ck in g str u ctu re , w it h th e sa m e g ro ups o f en tr e p re n eu rs d om in atin g th e v ario us co m pan ie s flo ate d b etw een 1 573 a n d 1 592. 203 E nglis h o verse as c o m merc e w as th us h ig hly c o nce n tr a te d a n d o f co urse re m ain ed so a s lo ng a s it w as o rg an iz e d a s a c lu ste r o f c o m merc ia l m onopo lie s ru le d b y a han dfu l of big L ondon m erc h an ts . A “clo se -k nit gro up of V en ic e C om pan y m erc h an ts w it h wid esp re ad o pera tio ns” h elp ed o rg an iz e t h e L ev an t C om pan y i n 1 592, a n d t h e E ast I n dia C om pan y i n tu rn , w hen i t w as f o unded i n 1 599, “ w as d om in ate d b y t h e L ev an t C om pan y m erc h an ts .” S ev en o f t h e orig in al fif te en d ir e cto rs w ere L ev an t C om pan y m erc h an ts . 204 “ L ev an t C om pan y m em bers p ro vid ed betw een o ne-fo urth a n d o ne-th ir d o f t h e t o ta l f u nd in veste d in t h e f ir st, t h ir d , a n d f o urth jo in t s to ck s” of t h e E ast I n dia C om pan y. 205 B y 1 630 t h e t o ta l c o m bin ed v alu e o f I ta lia n , L ev an tin e, a n d E ast I n dia n im po rts w as £ 527,0 00, in 1 634 £ 689,0 00, a n d in 1 669 £ 1,2 08,0 00, sh ow in g w here th e d ynam is m o f Engla n d’s tr a d e la y fo r m uch o f th e fir st h alf o f th e s e v en te en th c e n tu ry in to th e e arly y ears o f th e Resto ra tio n. N oth in g b ette r d em onstr a te s t h e d om in an ce o f t h e i m po rt t r a d es ( in b o th E ngla n d a n d t h e Neth erla n ds) t h ro ughout t h e s e v en te en th c e n tu ry t h an t h e f a ct t h at ex ports w ere v ery l a rg ely a f u nctio n of th e n eed to fin an ce th ese s u bsta n tia l a n d r is in g le v els o f im po rts ; fo r e x am ple , E nglis h m erc h an t im po rte rs “ in cre ase d t h eir c lo th e x p o rts in o rd er t o p a y f o r in cre a se d im ports , a n d t h ey g en era lly f e ll f a r beh in d.” 206 I t w as t h is t h at c a u se d m ajo r c o nce rn a b o ut t h e b ala n ce o f t r a d e i n E ngla n d. The im po rt b o om o f th e se co nd q u arte r o f th e se v en te en th c e n tu ry 207 fu ele d a ste ad y in cre ase in re ex ports f r o m t h e 1 630s o nw ard s. 208 I n f a ct, t h e g ro w th o f a r e ex p o rt t r a d e w as t h e c h ie f in novatio n o f th e l a te r S tu art p erio d 209 a n d b o und u p b o th w it h t h e m onopo ly c re ate d b y t h e N av ig atio n A cts a s w ell as th e n ew m ass p ro ductio n in dustr ie s lin ked to th e c o lo nia l tr a d es in p la n ta tio n p ro duce . 210 B etw een th em i m po rts a n d r e ex p o rts s u sta in ed a n ew , g ig an tic w av e o f e x p an sio n o f E nglis h m erc h an t s h ip pin g, esp ecia lly i n t h e y ears 1 660– 89. 211 N ot o nly d id t h e L ev an t t r a d e r a n k h ig h i n t h e o verse as c o m merc e o f Resto ra tio n L ondon, 212 b u t th e s a m e y ears s a w a n ear-d oublin g o f E ngla n d’s p la n ta tio n to nnag e ( th e dead w eig ht to nnag e o f th is sh ip pin g se cto r). 213 T obacco im po rts h ad re g is te re d a fiv efo ld in cre ase betw een 1 620 a n d 1 640, l e ad in g t h e w ay t o s u gar. 214 L ondon’s s u gar i m po rts t r e b le d b etw een t h e 1 660s an d 1 680s, w it h s ix h undre d im po rte rs a ctiv e in t h e t r a d e in 1 686. 215 I n t h e s a m e y ear t h ere w ere 1 ,2 83 merc h an ts tr a d in g to th e W est In die s, o f w hom tw en ty -e ig ht, w it h tu rn over ex ce ed in g £ 10,0 00, acco unte d f o r ju st o ver 5 0 p erc e n t o f t o ta l im po rts b y v alu e. 216 T hey w ere am on g th e b ig gest c o lo nia l merc h an ts a n d c o uld “ accu m ula te s u ffic ie n t c a p it a l t o d iv ersif y in vestm en t a ro und t h eir c o re b u sin ess in to sh ip -o w nin g, jo in t- sto ck s, in su ra n ce , w harf- le ase s, a n d in dustr y .” 217 L ondon a cco unte d fo r 8 0 perc e n t o f c o lo nia l im po rts a n d 8 5 p erc e n t o f a ll re ex p o rts ca . 1700, a n d in th e la st d eca d es o f th e se v en te en th c e n tu ry “ E ngla n d e sta b lis h ed a la rg er sta k e in th e A tla n tic th an a n y o th er c o untr y in North ern E uro pe.” 218 T obacco , su gar, an d In dia n ca lic o es acco unte d fo r th e bu lk of E ngla n d’s re ex p o rts a n d p re fig ure d t h e m ass m ark ets o f t h e e ig hte en th c e n tu ry . 219 B y 1 700 t h e E nglis h p la n te rs i n Barb ad os, J a m aic a , a n d th e L eew ard s w ere su pply in g c lo se to h alf th e su gar c o nsu m ed in W este rn Euro pe. 220 Of t h e 1 70 L ondon m erc h an ts c la ssif ie d b y Z ah ed ie h a s “ b ig c o lo nia l m erc h an ts ,” t w o-th ir d s a re s a id to h av e h ad a “ su bsta n tia l tr a d e in th e C arib bean .” 221 T hat w ould m ak e a ro und 1 10 m erc h an ts w it h su bsta n tia l s ta k es, w hic h m ak es t h e A tla n tic t r a d es v astly m ore a cce ssib le t h an a n y o f t h e t r a d es t o t h e east, L ev an tin e, o r E ast I n dia n . B y it s c h arte r o f 1 592, th e L ev an t C om pan y w as r e str ic te d to fif ty – th re e p erso ns, a n d r e cru it m en t t o t h e L ev an tin e t r a d e r e q u ir e d b o th w ealt h a n d f a m ily c o nnectio ns. 222 The ric h est an d m ost activ e tr a d ers w ere , in B re n ner’s w ord s, “ jo in ed in a ra m if ie d n etw ork o f in te rlo ck in g fa m ily r e la tio nsh ip s, th e m em bers o f w hic h c o ntr o lle d a m ajo r s h are o f th e tr a d e.” 223 I n th e E ast I n dia C om pan y, th e la rg est o f th e jo in t- sto ck v en tu re s, tw en ty -fo ur d ir e cto rs “ cla im ed th at th ey h eld m ore sto ck th an fo ur h undre d o f th e g en era lit y .” 224 A gain , it is u se fu l to co nce p tu aliz e London’s c o m merc ia l c a p it a l in te rm s o f “ cla sse s o f c a p it a l,” w it h th e e astw ard -tr a d in g c o m bin e th at fo rm ed t h e h eart o f L ondon’s c o m merc ia l e sta b lis h m en t 225 f o rm in g a s u bsta n tia lly m ore p o w erfu l l a y er th an th e “ m id dlin g s tr a tu m ” fr o m w hic h th e v ast m ajo rit y o f c o lo nia l m erc h an ts d eriv ed . 226 O n th e oth er h an d, in te rm s o f c o m merc ia l c o nce n tr a tio n, th e tw o tr a d e se cto rs w ere n ot v astly d if fe re n t. Durin g 1 627– 1635, w hen th e tr a d e to th e L ev an t ra n b etw een £ 200,0 00 a n d £ 300,0 00 a y ear, so m e tw en ty -fo ur Lev an t C om pan y m erc h an ts co ntr o lle d 54 perc e n t of th e tr a d e, 227 w hic h is not dra m atic a lly h ig her t h an t h e 5 0 p erc e n t s h are c o ntr o lle d b y t h e b ig gest t w en ty -e ig ht m erc h an ts t r a d in g to th e W est I n die s w ho w ere m en tio ned p re v io usly . R eg ard le ss o f w heth er tr a d es w ere r e se rv ed o r open , e co nom ic c o nce n tr a tio n w ork ed i n t h e s a m e w ay . In t h e M ed it e rra n ean in t h e e arly p art o f t h e s e v en te en th c e n tu ry E ngla n d’s m ain c o m merc ia l r iv als , th e V en etia n s a n d t h e F re n ch , b o th l o st g ro und r a p id ly . T he V en etia n s w ere “ u nderso ld a n d d riv en o ff th e s ta g e,” th eir a g en ts c o m pla in in g o f th e lo w p ric e o f th e c lo th s e n t o ut b y th e E nglis h . 228 B y th e 1620s L iv orn o h ad e m erg ed a s t h e p rim e c o m merc ia l b ase f o r E ngla n d’s t r a d e w it h s o uth ern I ta ly a n d th e L ev an t. “ In 1 629,” W ood re p o rts , “ th ere w as sa id to b e fo ur m illio n c ro w ns w orth o f E nglis h goods l y in g o n t h e q u ay s o f L eg horn ( L iv orn o).” 229 I n The T re a su re o f T ra ffic k e ( 1 641) L ew is R oberts note d th at a m illio n d uca ts in c a sh w ere e x p o rte d fr o m L iv orn o a n nu ally . 230 T he “ m ost m odern a n d fu lly e q u ip ped p o rt i n t h e M ed it e rra n ean ,” 231 i t p la y ed a c ru cia lly im po rta n t p art in t h e L ev an t t r a d e a s a c e n te r w here E nglis h e x p o rts a n d re ex p o rts c o uld b e c o nverte d in to c u rre n cy . 232 T hat th e L ev an t Com pan y c o uld r e p eate d ly a tta ck th e E ast I n dia C om pan y fo r it s e x p o rt o f b u llio n to I n dia s u ggests th at th e L ev an t tr a d e it s e lf w as la rg ely a b arte r tr a d e, th at is , o ne w here th e b u lk o f im po rts w as fin an ce d b y t h e e x p o rt o f c lo th , t in , s p ic e s, a n d s o o n. T hom as M un c la im ed , “ O f a ll E uro pe t h is n atio n dro ve th e m ost p ro fit a b le tr a d e to T urk ey b y r e aso n o f th e v ast q u an tit ie s o f b ro ad c lo th , tin , & c., whic h w e e x p o rte d th it h er; en ou gh to p u rc h ase a ll th e w are s w e w ante d in T urk ey — where a s a b a la nce in mon ey is p a id b y th e o th er n atio n s tr a d in g th it h er .” 233 O n t h e o th er h an d, in t h e “ cu rra n t is la n ds” w here th e E nglis h p u rc h ase d a b o ut t w o-th ir d s o f t h e c ro p, t h ere w as “ p ra ctic a lly n o m ark et f o r E nglis h g oods an d p ay m en t h ad to b e m ad e in r e ad y m oney .” 234 I n 1 629 th e V en etia n a m bassa d or r e p o rte d th at th e Lev an t C om pan y, “ h av in g a c o nsid era b le c a p it a l, bu y u p b efo re h and th e p ro duce o f th e p o ore st o f th e in hab it a n ts o f th ese is la n ds . . . so th at fo r th em th e p ric e s a re a lm ost a lw ays th e sa m e .” 235 A dvan ce pay m en ts w ere u se d t o e n su re l o w s ta b le p ric e s. I n I ta ly , E nglis h m erc h an ts r a n a d efic it o n t h e t r a d e i n goods w it h a ll I ta lia n s ta te s th ro ugh m ost o f th e s e v en te en th c e n tu ry , w hic h th ey c o uld s u cce ssfu lly tr a n sfo rm in to a tr a d e su rp lu s th an ks to th e su rp lu s on “in vis ib le s,” th at is , net earn in gs fr o m sh ip pin g, 236 in su ra n ce , a n d th e c o m mis sio ns c h arg ed o n E nglis h e x p o rts . 237 It w as th is co m merc ia l str a te g y t h at w ould l a te r f o rm t h e h eart o f t h e C it y ’s e co nom ic d om in an ce i n t h e n in ete en th c e n tu ry . The L ev an t C om pan y w as n ot a j o in t- sto ck , m em bers t r a d ed i n dep en den tly o n a “ re g ula te d ” b asis . 238 Facto rs w ere r e cru it e d a s a p pre n tic e s o n s e v en -y ear t e rm s, a fte r w hic h t h ey w ere p aid a c o m mis sio n o n all g oods th ey h an dle d th at v arie d fr o m 2 to 4 p erc e n t. O f c o urse , a s w it h th e E ast I n dia C om pan y’s se rv an ts in In dia , “ fa cto rs m ad e a g ood d eal o f p ro fit fr o m th eir o w n p erso nal tr a d in g.” 239 W ood’s His to ry o f t h e L ev a nt C om pa ny s u ggests t h at t h e t h re e f a cto rie s a t C onsta n tin ople , S m yrn a, a n d A le p po “re ach ed th eir g re ate st p ro sp erit y a n d s iz e in th e la tte r h alf o f th e s e v en te en th c e n tu ry .” 240 H ow ev er, th e b u lk o f t h e c o m merc e w as c o nce n tr a te d o nly in t h ose f a cto rie s a n d t h ere w as a s tr o ng t e n den cy t o dis c o ura g e e x p an sio n a t o th er tr a d in g s ta tio ns. 241 B y th e 1 680s b o th th e E ast I n dia C om pan y a n d th e Fre n ch h ad b eco m e m ajo r so urc e s o f c o m petit io n. T he L ev an t m erc h an ts w ould c o m pla in b it te rly ab o ut t h e im po rt o f I n dia n r a w s ilk a n d s ilk g oods b y t h e f o rm er, b u t “ th e c ro w n c o nsis te n tly b ack ed th e E ast I n dia C om pan y a g ain st it s c rit ic s.” 242 M ean w hile , C olb ert’s r e v iv al o f th e L an gued oc c lo th in dustr y m ad e t h e F re n ch e v en m ore f o rm id ab le r iv als , a s t h ey p ro ved t o b e f o r t h e D utc h a s w ell. B y th e e n d o f t h e c e n tu ry , F re n ch i m po rts f r o m t h e L ev an t w ere s o arin g, a n d b y t h e 1 720s s ig ns o f a r a p id declin e b eca m e v is ib le i n t h e f o rtu nes o f t h e E nglis h c o m pan y. 243 The eig hte en th ce n tu ry sa w th e decim atio n o f E nglis h tr a d e in th e L ev an t, 244 th e re su lt b o th o f Fra n ce ’s d om in atio n o f t h e t e x tile m ark et a n d o f t h e C om pan y’s o w n f a ta l p o lic y “ to c u rb a tte m pts a t ex p an sio n a n d t o d is c o ura g e t h e o pen in g o f n ew m ark ets .” 245 I t w as le ft t o t h e E ast I n dia C om pan y t o note , in 1 696, “ it h as a lw ay s b een o bse rv ed t h at t h e p artic u la r t r a d ers in a r e g ula te d c o m pan y c o nte n t th em se lv es t o g o t o a c e rta in k now n p la ce i n t r a d e, e v er t a k in g a m easu re o f t h eir p ro fit a n d l o ss b efo re th ey g o o ut . . . .” 246 I n a d dit io n t o w hic h , t h ro ughout t h e la te e ig hte en th c e n tu ry t r a d e w as h am pere d by a C om pan y r e g ula tio n f o rc in g m erc h an ts t o m ak e a ll p u rc h ase s i n t h e L ev an t b y t h e b arte r o f g oods ex p o rte d fr o m E ngla n d a n d fo rb id din g th e e x p o rt o f c o in o r b u llio n to T urk ey , w here as F re n ch a n d Dutc h m erc h an ts “ca rrie d la rg e q u an tit ie s o f co in to th e L ev an t,” w here lo ca l tr a d ers p re fe rre d outr ig ht s a le s t o b arte r. 247 B y t h e 1 730s o nly s o m e f if ty o r s ix ty L ev an t C om pan y m erc h an ts r e m ain ed activ e t r a d ers, “ an d i t w as w id ely b elie v ed t h is h an dfu l o f m onopo lis ts d elib era te ly c u rb ed a ll i n it ia tiv e, en te rp ris e , a n d e x p an sio n in p u rsu it o f h ig h p ro fit s o n a lim it e d b u sin ess.” 248 A gain , th e C om pan y’s fa cto rs w ere c ru cia lly d ep en den t o n J e w is h b ro kers in th e O tto m an m ark ets , b u t th e f e ar o f p o te n tia l co m petit io n fr o m th em s u sta in ed s tr o ng r e sis ta n ce to th e a d m is sio n o f J e w s to th e C om pan y. W hen th ey fin ally w ere ad m it te d (in th e 1750s) Je w is h m em bers o f th e C om pan y w ere ban ned fr o m em plo yin g f e llo w J e w s a s f a cto rs i n t h e L ev an t! 249 In th e e ig hte en th c e n tu ry w ell o ver h alf th e se ab o rn e tr a d e b etw een E uro pe a n d th e M id dle E ast ca m e to b e c o ntr o lle d b y th e F re n ch m erc h an ts o f M arse ille s, 250 a n d F re n ch c o m petit io n w as w id ely ack now le d ged t o b e t h e m ain c a u se b eh in d t h e c o lla p se o f t h e L ev an t C om pan y. I f t h e M ed it e rra n ean had b een t h e s e m in al g ro und o f E ngla n d’s c o m merc ia l e x p an sio n i n t h e l a tte r p art o f E liz a b eth ’s r e ig n, by t h e e ig hte en th c e n tu ry t h e d ecis iv e c e n te rs o f g ra v it y h ad f ir m ly s h if te d t o t h e A tla n tic a n d t h e E ast In die s. B y 1 750 a lm ost h alf o f E ngla n d’s m erc h an t f le et w as e n gag ed i n t h e t r a n sa tla n tic t r a d e. 251 F ro m th e 1 730s th ere w as a h uge in cre ase in th e v olu m e o f c a p it a l a d van ce d to th e c o lo nie s b y sp ecia lis t gro ups o f c o m mis sio n a g en ts . 252 J a m aic a n e sta te s tr ip le d in v alu e a n d p la n te rs lik e P ete r B eck fo rd co uld d ie le av in g fo rtu nes w orth £ 300,0 00. 253 S ugar b eg an to b e fin an ce d b y lo nger-te rm le n din g o n mortg ag e, a n d w hen H en ry L asc e lle s d ie d i n 1 753, h e h ad ca . £194,0 00 ( ste rlin g) o ut o n lo an t o c lie n ts in B arb ad os a n d Ja m aic a . 254 L asc e lle s h ad fin an ce d h is lo an s b y b o rro w in g fr o m L ondon b an k ers, whic h s h ow s u s th at N ew W orld s la v ery w as tig htly in te g ra te d in to fin an cia l a n d c o m merc ia l w eb s ce n te re d in L ondon. 255 B y a ro und 1 770 th e to ta l su m o w in g to L ondon m erc h an ts b y W est In dia n su gar p la n te rs w as i n t h e r e g io n o f s e v era l m illio n p o unds. 256 D oubtle ss t h e s a m e w as t r u e o f A m eric a n pla n te rs. I n 1 784 T hom as J e ffe rso n d esc rib ed t h em a s “ a sp ecie s o f p ro p erty a nnex ed t o c e rta in m erc a ntile hou se s in L on d on ”! 257 B y th e 1 770s th e A m eric a n c o lo nie s p ro vid ed 4 0 p erc e n t o f B rit is h im po rts a n d to ok o ver 4 0 p erc e n t o f B rit a in ’s d om estic e x p o rts . 258 The tr a n sfo rm atio n o f th e E ast In dia C om pan y fr o m a p u re ly co m merc ia l o rg an iz a tio n in to a “p o lit ic a l p o w er” 259 w as o f c o urse it s m ost d is tin ctiv e fe atu re h is to ric a lly . H ow ev er, a n in ord in ate str e ss o n w hat J o hn B re w er h as c a lle d t h e “ p riv atiz e d i m peria lis m o f t h e E ast I n dia C om pan y” 260 r u ns a double r is k , b o th o f d is tr a ctin g a tte n tio n f r o m t h e f a ct t h at t h e C om pan y w as a lw ay s r u n “ b y a g ro up of e x tr e m ely r ic h c a p it a lis ts ” 261 and o f fa ilin g to s e e, o r n ot s e ein g s u ffic ie n tly , th at it s tr a n sfo rm atio n fr o m a p u re ly c o m merc ia l e n tit y in to a n im peria lis t o ne r e d efin ed th e fr a m ew ork w it h in w hic h n ew fo rm s o f c o m merc ia l c a p it a l p ro lif e ra te d f r o m t h e e n d o f t h e e ig hte en th c e n tu ry t o s p aw n t h e p o w erfu l co m merc ia l lo bbie s o f th e n in ete en th , s u ch a s th ose w hic h la y b eh in d th e O piu m W ars. I n th e p ag es th at f o llo w t h e f o cu s i s t h us o n t h e p u re ly c o m merc ia l o r c a p it a lis t a sp ects o f t h e C om pan y’s o pera tio ns sim ila r t o t h ose t h at K . N . C hau dh uri f o re g ro unded in h is s u bsta n tia l m onogra p h The T ra d in g W orld of A sia a nd t h e E ng lis h E ast I n d ia C om pa ny . The E nglis h E ast In dia C om pan y w as a tig htly ce n tr a liz e d bu sin ess org an iz a tio n w here th e in vestm en t d ecis io ns w ere m ad e b y th e C ourt o f D ir e cto rs w ork in g th ro ugh th e c e n tr a l m an ag eria l co m mit te es in L ondon. C ap it a l su m s w ere assig ned to in div id ual “ fa cto rie s” fr o m L on d on . 262 T he bu sin ess m odel w as o f c o urse im po rt- d riv en , w hic h in tu rn im plie d ( a ) a m assiv e e x p o rt o f c a p it a l to fin an ce im po rts a n d ( b ) th e v it a l p art p la y ed b y th e r e -e x p o rt tr a d es “ in c lo sin g th e g ap th at w ould oth erw is e h av e o pen ed u p in B rit a in ’s v is ib le t r a d e b ala n ce .” 263 I n t h e E IC ’s c a se , c a p it a l e x p o rts t o ok th e fo rm , o verw helm in gly , o f p re cio us m eta ls , w hic h w ere p u rc h ase d in it ia lly in L ondon fr o m th e gold sm it h -b an kers an d la te r, fr o m th e eig hte en th ce n tu ry , on th e co ntin en t (in C ad iz an d Am ste rd am ). 264 T he C om pan y’s A sia n im po rt p o rtf o lio w as “ so f in ely d if fe re n tia te d t h at it t o ok m ore th an t w o h undre d p ag es i n t h e L ed ger B ooks t o l is t t h em ,” 265 b u t b y a n d l a rg e i m po rts w ere d om in ate d by a fe w k ey c o m modit ie s su ch a s c o tto n a n d silk p ie ce g oods, ra w silk , p ep per, te a, a n d so o n. Dis tr ib u tio n a t t h e L ondon e n d t o ok t h e f o rm o f q u arte rly s a le s a tte n ded b y i n div id ual m em bers o f t h e Com pan y w ho w ere th em se lv es s u bsta n tia l e x p o rte rs a s w ell a s b y w hole sa le d eale rs fr o m H olla n d, Germ an y, a n d e ls e w here , 266 w it h o rd ers fo r fu tu re s u pplie s b ein g a d ju ste d o n th e b asis o f th e a ctu al pric e s r e ce iv ed a t t h ose a u ctio ns. At th e In dia n e n d, th e a d van ce c o ntr a cts h ad to b e m ad e in a n tic ip atio n o f th e e x act o rd ers a n d fin an cia l r e so urc e s t h at w ere t o c o m e f r o m E ngla n d. T he p o st- R esto ra tio n p erio d s a w c a lic o es r a p id ly gain in g in p o pu la rit y , a n d b y th e 1 680s th e C om pan y w as im po rtin g m ore th an a m illio n a n d a h alf pie ce s, w it h th e te x tile sh are o f to ta l im po rts e x ce ed in g 8 0 p erc e n t b y v alu e. 267 T o se cu re th is v ast su pply t h e C om pan y r e lie d o n s u bsta n tia l lo ca l m erc h an ts a ctin g a s b ro kers w it h t h e p o w er t o e n su re th at o rd ers w ould b e f u lf ille d o n t im e. “ [T ]h e C om pan y’s s e rv an ts a d voca te d t h e u se o f m id dle m en o n th e g ro und th at if th ey d ealt d ir e ctly w it h th e w eav ers, ‘a tt th e y eare s e n d, w hen w e e x p ecte d to b e in veste d o f o ur g oods, w e s h ould u ndoubte d ly c o m e s h orte o f h alf o ur q u an tit y e.’” 268 I n o th er w ord s, th e r is k o f d efa u lt b y t h e w eav ers w as s h if te d t o t h e s h ould ers o f t h e m erc h an ts . C hau dhuri n ote s, “ A ll co m merc ia l ris k s w ere to b e b o rn e b y th e In dia n m erc h an ts , a n d if th e la tte r m ad e a lo ss o n th e Com pan y’s b u sin ess t h ey w ere s till e x p ecte d t o c a rry o n c o ntr a ctin g f o r g oods a s b efo re .” 269 W eav ers, of co urse , re fu se d to w ork w it h out su bsta n tia l ad van ce s w hic h C hau dhuri co nfu sin gly ca lls th eir “w ork in g c a p it a l,” 270 w hen t h e a d van ce s, t h e ca pit a l l a id o ut o n l a b o r a n d o n r a w m ate ria ls , c a m e f r o m th e C om pan y. T he “ w ork in g c a p it a l” w as s tr ic tly th at o f th e C om pan y, s in ce th e d is b u rse m en ts o f ca sh m ad e th ro ugh th eir b ro kers (a n d la te r, m ore d ir e ctly th ro ugh th e ag en ts ca lle d gum ash ta s ) in volv ed a c ir c u la tio n o f t h at p art o f t h e C om pan y’s c a p it a l w hic h w en t i n to e n ab lin g t h e l a b o r p ro ce ss, in clu din g r e p ro ductio n o f w eav ers’ l a b o r p o w er. In th e 1 720s A le x an der H um e n ote d , “ T he E nglis h a n d D utc h , w ho a re th e g re ate st T ra d ers in th is co untr y (B en gal) , d o th eir b u sin ess w holly b y th eir B ro kers, w ho a re th eir p rin cip al M erc h an ts .” 271 Forw ard co ntr a cts w it h la rg e w hole sa le m erc h an ts w ere th e ru le b o th in th e C oro m an del an d in Ben gal, 272 w it h m erc h an ts w ho c o ntr a cte d fo r th e in vestm en t fr e q u en tly b o rro w in g “ la rg e su m s o f money to c a rry it o n” a n d w ealt h y b an kers a ctin g a s th eir g uara n to rs. 273 T he C om pan y w ould n’t alw ay s se cu re su ch g uara n te es. “ T he w ealt h y m erc h an ts liv in g in H ugli o r K asim baza r h ab it u ally re fu se d th e C om pan y’s dem an d fo r fin an cia l se cu rit y as th eir cre d it an d bu sin ess sta tu s w ere unim peach ab le .” 274 H um e s ta te s in t h e s a m e m em oir t h at t h e g re ate r t h e a d van ce t h e m ore c e rta in t h e Com pan y w as o f r e ce iv in g th e g oods o n tim e, w hic h is p ro bab ly w hy in B en gal th e g ro up k now n a s dad ni o r dad an m erc h an ts w ere u su ally p aid a s m uch a s 5 0 to 7 5 p erc e n t o f th e c o ntr a ct v alu e in ad van ce . 275 F ro m t h e 1 750s, w it h l a rg e p arts o f I n dia r e elin g u nder t h e i m pact o f t h e M ara th a i n cu rsio ns an d t h e d am ag e i n flic te d o n m erc a n tile f o rtu nes, t h e s u bsta n tia l m erc h an ts w ho a cte d a s b ro kers f o r t h e Com pan y f o und it le ss a n d le ss p o ssib le t o g uara n te e d eliv ery a n d t h e s y ste m b ro ke d ow n. T he dad an merc h an ts w it h dre w fr o m th e C om pan y’s tr a d e, th us fo rc in g it to e sta b lis h m ore d ir e ct c o ntr o l o ver pro duce rs, a d riv e th at c u lm in ate d in a s e rie s o f r e g ula tio ns ( b etw een 1 773 a n d 1 793) th at s o ught to re d uce w eav ers to th e sta tu s o f C om pan y em plo yees, w it h re str ic tio ns o n th eir m obilit y , tig hte r su perv is io n o f l o om s, a n d a m ore o vertly c o erc iv e u se o f d eb t. 276 I n deb te d ness b eca m e a n “ in te g ra l p art of p ro ductio n fo r th e C om pan y” in th e fin al d eca d es o f th e eig hte en th ce n tu ry , an d ab sc o ndin g work ers w ere p u rsu ed r e m orse le ssly . 277 Dutc h e x p o rts fr o m th e C oro m an del r a n a t a lm ost tw o m illio n g uild ers b y th e la te 1 660s, 278 w hile to ta l E IC e x p o rts w ere o fte n i n e x ce ss o f £ 1 m illio n a y ear a c e n tu ry l a te r. 279 V olu m e p ro ductio n m ean t th at th e E uro pean c o m pan ie s d ealt w it h w hole c lu ste rs o f w eav in g v illa g es, e it h er o n th eir o w n o r more u su ally t h ro ugh t h eir b ro kers ( “ p rin cip al m erc h an ts ” ), o n a m odel b ro ad ly s im ila r t o t h e w id ely dis p erse d Verla g n etw ork s th at S outh G erm an co m merc ia l fir m s lik e th e F uggers h ad b u ilt th eir pro sp erit y o n in th e th ir te en th to s ix te en th c e n tu rie s. 280 F or m ost o f th e s e v en te en th a n d e ig hte en th ce n tu rie s th e C om pan ie s w ere cru cia lly dep en den t on lo ca l m erc h an t ca p it a lis ts 281 w ho had th e re so urc e s to ru n th eir o w n co m merc ia l n etw ork s an d ev en fin an ce p ro ductio n o n b eh alf o f th e Com pan y. B oth t h e E nglis h a n d t h e D utc h u se d t h e b ig m erc h an ts o f K asim baza r f o r t h eir s ilk b u yin g in N orth B en gal. 282 B en gal silk , C oro m an del c a lic o es, A gra a n d B ay an a in dig o, e tc . w ere a ll, lik e Mala b ar p ep per, h ig hly c o m petit iv e m ark ets ; f o r e x am ple , “ th e c o ntr a ct p ric e f o r s ilk w as a n o bje ct o f in te n se barg ain in g betw een th e (B en gal) m erc h an ts an d th e Euro pean tr a d in g co m pan ie s.” 283 How ev er, b y th e e ig hte en th c e n tu ry th e c o m petit io n o f priv a te , m ostly E nglis h , m erc h an ts in je cte d a new d im en sio n in to th e c o m merc ia l d ynam ic s o f th e E ast I n dia C om pan y. B rit is h p riv ate c a p it a l a n d it s in volv em en t in th e c o m merc e o f I n dia s a w a s te ad y e x p an sio n in th e e arly p art o f th e e ig hte en th ce n tu ry an d th en a b ig ger an d m ore ra p id ex p an sio n in th e la te r eig hte en th ce n tu ry , fo llo w in g dev elo pm en ts th at qu ic k ly open ed th e in la n d tr a d e of B en gal to priv ate ca p it a l an d sa w th e co nte m po ra n eo us c a p tu re o f S ura t i n 1 759. Alr e ad y b y t h e l a te r s e v en te en th c e n tu ry ( th e 1 660s, i n f a ct) t h e C om pan y e x te n ded a “ w id e m easu re of o ffic ia l to le ra tio n” to th e p riv ate sh ip pin g th at e m erg ed in In dia n p o rts w it h siz e ab le E uro pean tr a d in g co m munit ie s over w hic h th e B rit is h had so m e co ntr o l. 284 M asu lip atn am (n ot a B rit is h se ttle m en t b u t a c o sm opo lit a n p o rt) , 285 M ad ra s a n d C alc u tta b eca m e, in tu rn , th e m ajo r h ubs o f a bu rg eo nin g “ co untr y tr a d e” th at w as p ro gre ssiv ely d om in ate d b y p riv ate c a p it a l. In th e c o nte x t o f Com pan y d om in an ce , t h e t e rm “ p riv ate c a p it a l” is o f c o urse a m biv ale n t, s in ce it w ould h av e t o c o ver th e p riv ate tr a d in g a ctiv it ie s o f o ffic ia ls lik e th e G overn ors o f M ad ra s w ho w ere b ig -tim e p riv ate tr a d ers a t th e s ta rt o f th e e ig hte en th c e n tu ry , o th er C om pan y s e rv an ts w it h c o m merc ia l in te re sts o f th eir o w n, as w ell as th e g re ate r m ass o f so -c a lle d fr e e m erc h an ts w ho w ere en tir e ly o uts id e th e Com pan y. I n 1 681 c a m e th e C om pan y’s “ d ra m atic a n d s u dden d ecis io n to w it h dra w fr o m th e lo ca l tr a d e o f th e In dia n O ce an ,” 286 an d a p o te n tia lly v ast fie ld o pen ed u p fo r th e ex p an sio n o f n on- Com pan y c o m merc ia l c a p it a l, w here t h e m ain c o m petit io n s te m med n ot f r o m t h e C om pan y it s e lf b u t fr o m in dig en ous A sia n c a p it a ls t r a d in g t o t h e R ed S ea a n d t o m ark ets lik e A ch eh a n d t r a d in g b etw een th e m ain c o asta l re g io ns o f In dia . In th e tr a d e b etw een S ura t a n d B en gal, th e fr e e m erc h an ts w ho ev en tu ally gain ed co ntr o l of C alc u tta ’s sh ip pin g fa ce d “fo rm id ab le co m petit io n fr o m A sia n sh ip o w ners.” 287 Y et B rit is h d om in an ce o f In dia ’s c a rry in g tr a d e w as sw if t, a n d b y th e 1 730s A sia n – ow ned s h ip s h ad la rg ely c e ase d to tr a d e b etw een B en gal a n d S ura t. 288 B y th e 1 780s fr e e m erc h an ts were g ro w in g r a p id ly i n n um bers a n d w ealt h , 289 b eg an t o s u pply a l a rg e p art o f t h e C om pan y’s e x p o rts of t e x tile s ( in t h e D hak a ara ng s v astly m ore t h an e it h er t h e C om pan y o r it s C om merc ia l R esid en t) , 290 an d t o ok t h e le ad in o pen in g u p n ew a re as f o r t r a d e. 291 O ne u psh ot o f t h is s u rg e o f p riv ate c o m merc e was th at a s m uch a s ca . £15 m illio n c o uld b e s e n t h om e in r e m it ta n ce s o ver th e tw en ty -se v en y ears betw een 1 757 a n d 1 784. 292 B y t h e 1 790s t h e m assiv e e x p an sio n o f B en gal in dig o, m uch o f w hic h c a m e fr o m A wad h a n d f u rth er a fie ld , w as d om in ate d b y p riv ate m erc h an ts . 293 T heir c h ie f c o ntr ib u tio n t o t h e co m merc ia l h is to ry o f b o th B rit a in a n d I n dia w ere th e “ h ouse s o f a g en cy ” w hic h C alc u tta -b ase d f r e e merc h an ts w ere la rg ely r e sp o nsib le f o r e sta b lis h in g. I t w as th is la y er o f c a p it a l th at h elp ed to d estr o y th e m onopo ly o f t h e E ast I n dia C om pan y e arly i n t h e n in ete en th c e n tu ry . 294 The tr a n sa tla n tic tr a d es w ere ro ughly a ce n tu ry ah ead o f B rit is h p riv ate en te rp ris e in A sia in in novatin g t h e c o m mis sio n s y ste m a s t h e c h ie f m eth od o f t r a d in g t y pic a l o f c o m merc ia l c a p it a ls i n t h at se cto r. T he r e aso n s h ould b e o bv io us: p riv ate c a p it a l w as d om in an t in t h e c o lo nia l t r a d es b y t h e m ain part o f t h e s e v en te en th c e n tu ry , in deed it n ev er f a ce d t h e c h alle n ge o f t h e b ig “ C om pan y m erc h an ts ” ex ce p t fo r th e R oyal A fr ic a n C om pan y’s sh ort- liv ed m onopo ly o f th e sla v e tr a d e. T his p re co cio us dev elo pm en t o f n on-m onopo ly , p riv ate e n te rp ris e w as sig nif ic a n t b eca u se a lr e ad y b y th e 1 660s th e co lo nia l tr a d es w ere “ am ong th e g re ate st o f E nglis h tr a d es.” 295 In In dia , H ouse s o f A gen cy o nly ev olv ed f r o m t h e 1 770s a n d t h en m ore r a p id ly f r o m t h e 1 790s, f o llo w in g C orn w allis ’s b an o n s e rv an ts of th e E ast In dia C om pan y e n gag in g in p riv ate c o m merc ia l e n te rp ris e . 296 B ut th e C alc u tta a g en cy house s a re th e m ost p alp ab le lin k b etw een th e tw o m ain p erio ds o r “ ep o ch s” o f B rit is h c o m merc ia l ca p it a lis m , w hose d iv id in g lin e lie s a t th e s ta rt o f th e “ lo ng n in ete en th c e n tu ry ” ( 1 784– 1914), in th e years afte r 1784 w hic h sa w th e en din g o f th e A m eric a n W ar o f In dep en den ce , a b o om in n ew co m mis sio n h ouse s, 297 a n d a r a d ic a lly n ew e co nom ic c o nju nctu re t h at s a w b an kin g r e v olu tio ns o n b o th sid es of th e A tla n tic , a dra m atic ex p an sio n of th e co tto n in dustr y in B rit a in , an d a su rg e in man ufa ctu re d ex p o rts to th e U S an d o th er in te rn atio nal m ark ets . M ean w hile , th e E IC ’s tr a d in g monopo ly w as f o rm ally t e rm in ate d i n 1 813, t h at o f t h e L ev an t C om pan y i n 1 825.
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3 Eduardo Galeano OPEN VEINS of LATIN AMERICA FIVE CENTURIES OF THE PILLAGE 0F A CONTINENTTranslated by Cedric Belfrage 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION FOREWARD by Isabel Allende LATIN AMERICA BUREAU London 4 Copyright © 1973,1997 by Monthly Review Press All Rights Reserved Originally published as Las venas abiertas de America Latina by Siglo XXI Editores, Mexico, copyright © 1971 by Siglo XXI Editores Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publishing Data Galeano, Eduardo H., 1940- [Venas abiertas de America Latina, English] Open veins of Latin America : five centuries or the pillage of a continent / Eduardo Galeano ; translated by Cedric Belfrage. — 25th anniversary ed. / foreword by Isabel Allende. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-85345-991-6 (pbk.:alk.paper).— ISBN 0-85345-990-8 (cloth) 1. Latin America— Economic conditions. 1. Title. HC125.G25313 1997 330.98— dc21 97-44750 CIP Monthly Review Press 122 West 27th Street New York, NY 10001 Manufactured in the United States of America 5 “We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity”. –From the Revolutionary Proclamation of the Junta Tuitiva, La Paz, July 16, 1809 6 Contents FOREWORD BY ISABEL ALLENDE ………………………………………………….IX FROM IN DEFENSE OF THE WORD ………………………………………………..XIV ACKNOWLEDGEMENT… … ………………………………………………………………..X INTRODUCTION: 120 MILLION CHILDRENIN THE EYE OF THE HURRICANE ……………………………………………..… ………..1 PART I :MANKIND’S POVERTY AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE WEALTH OF THE LAND 1. LUST FOR GOLD, LUST FOR SILVER … … … … … … … … … … … … … 2 2. KING SUGAR AND OTHER AGRICULTURAL MONARCHS … … … ..59 3. THE INVISIBLE SOURCES OF POWER … … … … … … ..… .… … … … .134 PART II :DEVELOPMENT IS A VOYAGE WITH MORE SHIPWRECKS THAN NAVIGATORS 4. TALES OF PREMATURE DEATH … … … … … … … … … … … .… … … .173 5. THE CONTEMPORARY STRUCTURE OF PLUNDER… … …… … … ..205 PART III: SEVEN YEARS AFTER ………………………… … … … ……………….263 REFERENCES … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …… … … … … … … 287 INDEX… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … .307 11 1.Lust for Gold, Lust for Silver ~ THE SIGN OF THE CROSS ON THE HILT OF THE SWORD When Christopher Columbus headed across the great emptiness west of Christendom, he had accepted the challenge of legend. Terrible storms would play with his ships as if they were nutshells and hurl them into the jaws of monsters; the sea serpent, hungry for human flesh, would be lying in wait in the murky depths. According to fifteenth-century man, only 1,000 years remained before the purifying flames of the Last Judgment would destroy the world, and the world was then the Mediterranean Sea with its uncertain horizons: Europe, Africa, Asia. Portuguese navigators spoke of strange corpses and curiously carved pieces of wood that floated in on the west wind, but no one suspected that the world was about to be startlingly extended by a great new land. America not only lacked a name. The Norwegians did not know they had discovered it long ago, and Columbus himself died convinced that he had reached Asia by the western route. In 1492, when Spanish boats first trod the beaches of the Bahamas, the Admiral thought these islands were an outpost of the fabulous isle of Zipango— Japan. Columbus took along a copy of Marco Polo’s book, and covered its margins with notes. The inhabitants of Zipango, said Marco Polo, “have gold in the greatest abundance, its sources being inexhaustible. . . In this island there are pearls also, in large quantities, of a red color, round in shape, and of 12 great size, equal in value to, or even exceeding that of white pearls.” The wealth of Zipango had become known to the Great Kubla Khan, stirring a desire to conquer it, but he had failed. Out of Marco Polo’s sparkling pages leaped all the good things of creation: there were nearly 13,000 islands in the Indian seas, with mountains of gold and pearls and twelve kinds of spices in enormous quantities, in addition to an abundance of white and black pepper. Pepper, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon were as prized as salt in preserving meat against putrefaction and loss of flavor in winter. Spain’s Catholic rulers decided to finance the adventure to get direct access to the sources and to free themselves from the burdensome chain of intermediaries and speculators who monopolized the trade in spices and tropical plants, muslins and sidearms, from the mysterious East. The desire for precious metals, the medium of payment in commercial dealings, also sparked the crossing of the sinister seas. All of Europe needed silver; the seams in Bohemia, Saxony, and the Tyrol were almost exhausted. For Spain it was an era of reconquest: 1492 was not only the year of the discovery of America, the new world born of that error which had such momentous consequences, but also of the recovery of Granada. Early that year Ferdinand of Aragón and Isabella of Castile, whose marriage had linked their dominions, stormed the last Arab redoubt on Spanish soil. It had taken nearly eight centuries to win back what was lost in seven years, and the war of reconquest had drained the royal treasury. But this was a holy war, a Christian war against Islam; and it was no accident that, in that same year of 1492, 150,000 Jews were expelled from the country. Spain achieved unity and reality as a nation wielding swords with the Sign of the Cross on their hilts. Queen Isabella became the patroness of the Holy Inquisition. The feat of discovering America can only be understood in the context of the tradition of crusading wars that prevailed in medieval Castile; the Church needed no prompting to provide a halo for the conquest of unknown lands across the ocean. Pope Alexander VI, who was Spanish, ordained Queen Isabella as proprietor and master of the New World. The expansion of the kingdom of Castile extended God’s reign over the earth. Three years after the discovery Columbus personally directed the military campaign against the natives of Haiti, which he called Española. 13 A handful of cavalry, 200 foot soldiers, and a few specially trained dogs decimated the Indians. More than 500, shipped to Spain, were sold as slaves in Seville and died miserably. Some theologians protested and the enslavement of Indians was formally banned at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Actually it was not banned but blessed: before each military action the captains of the conquest were required to read to the Indians, without an interpreter but before a notary public, a long and rhetorical Requerimiento exhorting them to adopt the holy Catholic faith: f you do not, or if you maliciously delay in so doing, I certify that with God’s help I will advance powerfully against you and make war on you wherever and however I am able, and will subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their majesties and take your women and children to be slaves, and as such I will sell and dispose of them as their majesties may order, and I will take your possessions and do you all the harm and damage that I can. 2 America was the vast kingdom of the Devil, its redemption impossible or doubtful; but the fanatical mission against the natives’ heresy was mixed with the fever that New World treasures stirred in the conquering hosts. Bernal Diaz del Castillo, faithful comrade of Hernán Cortes in the conquest of Mexico, wrote that they had arrived in America “to serve God and His Majesty and also to get riches.” At his first landing on San Salvador atoll, Columbus was dazzled by the transparent hues of the Caribbean, the green landscape, the soft clean air, the magnificent birds, and the youths “with size and with good faces and well made” who lived there. He gave the natives “some red caps and strings of beads, and many other trifles of small value, which gave them great pleasure. Wherewith they were much delighted, and this made them so much our friends that it was a marvel to see.” They knew nothing of swords, and when these were shown to them they grasped the sharp edges and cut themselves. Meanwhile, as the Admiral relates in his logbook, “1 was very attentive to them, and strove to learn if they had any gold. Seeing some of them with little bits of metal hanging at their noses, I gathered from them by signs, that by going southward or steering round the island in that direction, there would be found a king who possessed great cups full of gold, and in large quantities.” 3 For “of gold is treasure made, and with it he who has it does as he wills in the world and it even sends souls to Paradise.” 14 On his third voyage, Columbus still believed he was in the China Sea when he was off the coast of Venezuela. This did not prevent him from reporting that an endless land which was earthly paradise extended from there. Later Amerigo Vespucci, an early sixteenth-century explorer of the Brazilian coast, reported to Lorenzo de Mëdicis: “The trees are of such beauty and sweetness that we felt we were in earthly Paradise.” 4(The lawyer Antonio de Leon Pinelo devoted two entire volumes to demonstrating that the Garden of Eden was in America. In El Paraiso en el Nuevo Mundo (1656) he had a map of South America showing, in the center, the Garden of Eden watered by the Amazon, the Rio de la Plata, the and the Magdalena. The forbidden fruit was the banana. The map showed the exact spot from which Noah’s Ark took off at the time of the Flood.) In 1503 Columbus wrote to his monarchs from Jamaica: “When I discovered the Indies, I said they were the greatest rich domain in the world. I spoke of the gold, pearls, precious stones, spices In the Middle Ages a small bag of pepper was worth more than a man’s life, but gold and silver were the keys used by the Renaissance to open the doors of paradise in heaven and of capitalist mercantilism on earth. The epic of the Spaniards and Portuguese in America combined propagation of the Christian faith with usurpation and plunder of native wealth. European power stretched out to embrace the world. The virgin lands, bristling with jungles and dangers, fanned the flames of avarice among the captains, the hidalgos on horseback, and the ragged soldiers who went out after the spectacular booty of war: they believed in glory, in “the sun of the dead,” and in the key to achieving it, which Cortés defined thus: “Fortune favors the daring.” Cortés himself had mortgaged everything he owned to equip his Mexican expedition. With a few exceptions— Columbus, Pedrarias Dávila, Magellan— the expeditions of conquest were not financed by the state but by the conquistadors themselves, or by businessmen who put up money for their ventures The myth of El Dorado, the golden king, was born: golden were the streets and houses of his kingdom’s cities. In search of El Dorado a century after Columbus, Sir Walter Raleigh sailed up the Orinoco and was defeated by its cataracts. The will-o’-the-wisp of the “mountain that gushed silver” became a reality in 1545 with the discovery of Potosi, but before this many adventurers who sailed up the Rio Paraná in a vain 15 search for the silver spring had died of hunger or disease or pierced by native arrows. There was indeed gold and silver in large quantities, accumulated in the Mexican plateau and the Andean altiplano. In 1519 Cortés told Spain of the fabulous magnitude of Montezuma’s Aztec treasure, and fifteen years later there arrived in Seville the gigantic ransom— a roomful of gold and two of silver— which Francisco Pizarro had made the Inca Atahualpa pay before strangling him. Years earlier the Crown had paid the sailors on Columbus’s first voyage with gold carried off from the Antilles. The Caribbean island populations finally stopped paying tribute because they had disappeared: they were totally exterminated in the gold mines, in the deadly task of sifting auriferous sands with their bodies half submerged in water, or in breaking up the ground beyond the point of exhaustion, doubled up over the heavy cultivating tools brought from Spain. Many natives of Haiti anticipated the fate imposed by their white oppressors: they killed their children and committed mass suicide. The mid-sixteenth-century historian Fernández de Oviedo interpreted the Antillean holocaust thus: “Many of them, by way of diversion, took poison rather than work, and others hanged themselves with their own hands.” 5(His interpretation founded a school I am amazed to read, in the latest (1970) book by the French technician René Dumont, Cuba : Is It Socia1ist? “The Indians were not totally exterminated. Their genes subsist in Cuban chromosomes. They felt such an aversion for the tension which continuous work demands that some killed themselves rather than accept forced labor..”) THE GODS RETURN WITH SECRET WEAPONS While passing Tenerife on his first voyage, Columbus had witnessed a great volcanic eruption. It seemed an omen of all that would come later in the immense new lands which, surprisingly, stood athwart the western route to Asia. America was there— at first the subject of conjecture from its endless coasts, then conquered in successive waves like a furious tide beating in. Admirals gave place to governors, ships’ crews were converted into invading hosts. Papal bulls had apostolically granted Africa to the Portuguese Crown, and the lands “unknown like those already discovered by your envoys and those to be discovered in the 16 future” to the Crown of Castile America had been given to Queen Isabella In 1508 another bull granted the Spanish Crown, in perpetuity, all tithes collected in America. The coveted patronage of the New World Church included a royal prerogative over all ecclesiastical benefices. The Treaty of Tordesillas, signed in 1494, allowed Portugal to occupy Latin America territories below a dividing line traced by the Pope, and in 1530 Martim Affonso de Sousa founded the first Portuguese communities in Brazil, expelling French intruders By then the Spaniards, crossing an infinity of hellish jungles and hostile deserts, had advanced far in the process of exploration and conquest In 1513 the South Pacific glittered before the eyes of Vasco Nunez de Balboa In the fall of 1522 the eighteen survivors of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition returned to Spain: they had for the first time united both oceans and confirmed that the world was round by circling it. Three years earlier Hernan Corres’s ten ships had sailed from Cuba toward Mexico, and in 1523 Pedro de Alvarado launched the conquest of Central America Francisco Pizarro, an illiterate pig-breeder, triumphantly entered Cuzco in 1533 and seized the heart of Inca empire In 1540 Pedro de Valdivia crossed the Atacama desert and founded Santiago de Chile The conquistadors penetrated the Chaco and laid bare the New World from Peru to the mouth of the mightiest river on our planet. There was something of everything among the natives of Latin America: astronomers and cannibals, engineers and Stone Age savages But none of the native cultures knew iron or the plow, or glass or gun powder, or used the wheel except on their votive carts The civilization from across the ocean that descended upon these lands was undergoing the creative explosion of the Renaissance; Latin America seemed like another invention to be incorporated, along with gun powder, printing, paper, and the compass, in the bubbling birth of the Modern Age The unequal development of the two world explains the relative ease with which native civilizations succumbed Cortes landed at Veracruz with no more than 100 sailors and 508 soldiers; he had 16 horses, 32 crossbows, 10 bronze cannon, and a few harquebuses, muskets, and pistols Pizarro entered Cajamarca with 180 soldiers and 37 horses That was enough Yet the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, was then five times larger that Madrid and had double the population of Seville, Spain’s largest city, and in Peru Pizarro met an army of 100,000 Indians 17 The Indians were also defeated by terror. The emperor Montezuma received the first news in his palace: a large hill was moving over the sea. More messengers arrived: “He was very alarmed by the report of how the cannon exploded, how its thunder reverberated, and how it filled one with awe and stunned one’s ears. And when it went off, a sort of stone hail came from its entrails and it rained fire.” The strangers sat on “deer as high as the rooftops.” Their bodies were completely covered, “only their faces can be seen. They are white, as if made of lime. They have yellow hair, although some have black. Long are their beards.” 6Montezuma thought it was the god Quetzalcoatl returning: there had been eight prophesies of this not long before. Hunters had brought him a bird with a round mirror-like crest on its head in which the sunset was reflected; in this mirror Montezuma saw squadrons of warriors marching on Mexico, Quetzalcoatl had come from the east and gone to the east: he was white and bearded. Also white and bearded was Viracocha, the bisexual god of the Incas. And the east was the cradle of the Mayas’ hero- ancestors.( These remarkable coincidences have given rise to the hypothesis that the gods of the native religions were really Europeans our shores long before Columbus. 7) The avenging gods who were now returning to settle accounts with their peoples had armor and coats of mail, lustrous caparisons that deflected arrows and stones; their weapons emitted deadly rays and darkened the air with suffocating smoke. The conquistadors also practiced the arts of treachery and intrigue with refined expertise. They sagely allied themselves with the Tlaxcalans against Montezuma and effectively exploited the split in the Inca empire between the brothers Huáscar and Atahualpa. They knew how to win accomplices for their crimes among the intermediate ruling classes, priests, officials, and defeated soldiers and high Indian chiefs. But they also used other weapons— or, if you prefer, other factors operated objectively for the victory of the invaders. Horses and bacteria, for example. Horses, like camels, had once been indigenous to Latin America but had become extinct. In Europe, where they were introduced by Arab horsemen, they had proved to be of enormous military and economic value. When they reappeared in Latin America during the conquest, they lent magic powers to the invaders in the natives’ astonished eyes. 18 Atahualpa saw the first Spanish soldiers arriving on spirited steeds adorned with plumes and little bells, making thunder and clouds of dust with their swift hooves: panic-stricken, the Inca fell down on his back. The chief Tecum, leading the descendants of the Mayas, beheaded the horse of Pedro de Alvarado with his lance, convinced that it was part of the conquistador: Alvarado stood up and killed him. A few horses in medieval war trappings scattered the mass of Indians, sowing terror and death. During the colonizing process, priests and missionaries spread for the superstitious Indians’ benefit the tale that horses were of sacred origin, for Santiago, Spain’s patron saint, rode a white horse which had won valiant victories against the Moors and the Jews with the aid of Divine Providence. Bacteria and viruses were the most effective allies, The Europeans brought with them, like biblical plagues, smallpox and tetanus, various lung, intestinal, and venereal diseases, trachoma, typhus, leprosy, yellow fever, and teeth- rotting caries. Smallpox was the first to appear. Must not this unknown and horrible epidemic, which produced burning fever and decomposed the flesh, be a chastisement from the gods? The invaders “moved into Tlaxcala,” one native eyewitness reported, “and then the epidemic spread: cough, burning hot pustules.” Reported another: “The contagious, oppressive, cruel pustule sickness brought death to many.” 8The Indians died like flies; their organisms had no defense against the new diseases. Those who survived were feeble and useless. The Brazilian anthropologist Darcy Ribeiro estimates that more than half the aboriginal population of America, Australia, and Oceania died from the contamination of first contact with white men. “THEY CRAVE GOLD LIKE HUNGRY SWINE” Firing their harquebuses, hacking with their swords, and breathing pestilence, the little band of implacable conquistadors advanced into America. The conquered tell us what it was like. After the Cholula massacre Montezuma sent new envoys to Cortës, who was advancing on the Valley of Mexico. They brought gifts of golden collars and quetzal-bird feather banners. The Spaniards “were in seventh heaven,” says the Nahuati text preserved in the Florentine Codex. “They lifted 19 up the gold as if they were monkeys, with expressions of joy, as if it put new life into them and lit up their hearts. As if it were certainly something for which they yearn with a great thirst. Their bodies fatten on it and they hunger violently for it. They crave gold like hungry swine.” Later, when Cortés reached Tenochtitlán, the resplendent Aztec capital with 300,000 inhabitants, the Spaniards entered the treasure house, “and then they made a great ball of the gold and set a fire, putting to the flames all that remained no matter how valuable, so that everything burned. As for the gold, the Spaniards reduced it and made bars.” War followed. Finally Cortés, who had lost Tenochtitlán, reconquered it in 1521: “And by then we had no shields left, no clubs, and nothing to eat, we weren’t eating anymore.” Montezuma, harried by the priests who accused him of treason, had killed himself. Devastated, burned, and littered with corpses, the city fell: “Shields were its defense, but they were not enough Cones had expressed horror at the sacrifices of the Veracruz Indians, who burned children’s entrails for a smoke offering to the gods, but there were no limits to his own cruelty in the reconquered city: “And all night long it rained on us.” The gallows and torture were not enough, however: the captured treasure never measured up to the Spaniards’ imagination, and for years they dug in the lake bottom searching for gold and precious objects presumably hidden by the Indians. Pedro de Alvarado and his men fell upon Guatemala and “killed so many Indians that it made a river of blood which is called the Olimtepeque,” and “the day became red because of all the blood there was on that day.” Before the decisive battle, “and seeing Indians tortured, they told the Spaniards not to torture them anymore, that the captains Nehaib and IxquIn— Nehaib in the guise of an eagle and of a lion— had much gold, silver, diamonds, and emeralds for them. Then they gave them to the Spaniards and the Spaniards kept them.” 9 Before Pizarro strangled and decapitated Atahualpa, he got from him a ransom of “gold and silver weighing more than 20,000 marks in fine silver and 1,326,000 escudos in the finest gold.” Then Pizarro advanced on Cuzco. His soldiers thought they were entering the city of the Caesars, so dazzling was the capital of the empire, but they proceeded without delay to sack the Temple of the Sun. “Struggling and fighting among each other, each trying to get his hands on the lion’s share, the 20 soldiers in their coats of mail trampled on jewels and images and pounded the gold utensils with hammers to reduce them to a more portable size. . . They tossed all the temple’s gold into a melting pot to turn it into bars: the laminae that covered the walls, the marvelous representations of trees, birds, and other objects in the garden.” 10 Today in the enormous bare plaza at the center of Mexico City the Catholic cathedral rises on the ruins of Tenochtitlán’s greatest temple and the government palace occupies the site where Cuauhtémoc, the Aztec chief martyred by Cortés, had his residence. Tenochtitlán was razed. In Peru, Cuzco suffered the same fate, but the conquistadors could not completely destroy its massive walls and this testimony in stone to the Inca’s colossal architecture can still be seen in the bases of the colonial buildings. THE SILVER CYCLE: THE SPLENDORS OF POTOSI They say that even the horses were shod with silver in the great days of the city of Potosi, The church altars and the wings of cherubim in processions for the Corpus Christi celebration in 1658, were made of silver: the streets from the cathedral to the church of Recoletos were completely resurfaced with silver bars. In Potosi, silver built temples and palaces, monasteries and gambling dens; it prompted tragedies and fiestas, led to the spilling of blood and wine, fired avarice, and unleashed extravagance and adventure. The sword and the cross marched together in the conquest and plunder of Latin America, and captains and ascetics, knights and evangelists, soldiers and monks came together in Potosi to help themselves to its silver. Molded into cones and ingots, the viscera of the Cerro Rico— the rich hill— substantially fed the development of Europe. “Worth a Peru” was the highest possible praise of a person or a thing after Pizarro took Cuzco, but once the Cerro had been discovered Don Quixote de la Mancha changed the words: “Worth a Potosi,” he says to Sancho. This jugular vein of the viceroyalty, America’s fountain of silver, had 120,000 inhabitants by the census of 1573. Only twenty-eight years had passed since the city sprouted out of the Andean wilderness and already, as if by magic, it had the same population as London and more than Seville, Madrid, Rome, or Paris. A new census 21 in 1650 gave Potosi a population of 160,000. It was one of the world’s biggest and richest cities, ten times bigger than Boston— at a time when New York had not even begun to call itself by that name. Potosi’s history did not begin with the Spaniards. Before the conquest the Inca Huayna Cápaj had heard his vassals talk of the Sumaj Orko, the beautiful hill, and he was finally able to see it when, having fallen ill, he had himself taken to the thermal springs of Tarapaya. From the straw-hut village of Cantumarca the Inca’s eyes contemplated for the first time that perfect cone which rises proud1y between the mountain peaks. He was awestruck by its reddish hues, slender form, and giant size, as people have continued to be through ensuing centuries. But the Inca suspected that it must conceal precious stones and rich metals in its bowels, and he wanted to add new decorations to the Temple of the Sun in Cuzco. The gold and silver that the Incas took from the mines of Colque Porco and Andacaba did not leave the kingdom: they were not used commercially but for the adoration of the gods. Indian miners had hardly dug their flints into the beautiful Cerro’s veins of silver when a deep, hollow voice struck them to the ground. Emerging as loud as thunder from the depths of the wilderness, the voice said in Quechua: “This is not for you; God is keeping these riches for those who come from afar.” The Indians fled in terror and the Inca, before departing from the Cerro, changed its name. It became “Potojsi,” which means to thunder, burst, explode. “Those who come from afar” took little time in coming, although Huayna Cápaj was dead by the time the captains of the conquest made their way in. In 1545 the Indian Huallpa, running in pursuit of an escaped llama, had to pass the night on the Cerro, It was intensely cold and he lit a fire. By its light he saw a white and shining vein— pure silver. The Spanish avalanche was unleashed. Wealth flowed like water. The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, showed his gratitude by bestowing on Potosi the title of Imperial City and a shield with the inscription: “I am rich Potosi, treasure of the world, king of the mountains, envy of kings.” Only eleven years after Hualipa’s discovery the new-born Imperial City celebrated the coronation of Philip II with twenty-four days of festivities costing 8 million pesos duros. The Cerro was the most potent of magnets. Hard as life was at its base, at an altitude of nearly 14,000 feet the place was flooded with treasure 22 hunters who took the bitter cold as if it were a tax on living there. Suddenly a rich and disorderly society burst forth beside the silver, and Potosi became “the nerve center of the kingdom,” in the words of Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza. By the beginning of the seventeenth century it had thirty-six magnificently decorated churches, thirty-six gambling houses, and fourteen dance academies. Salons, theaters, and fiesta stage-settings had the finest tapestries, curtains, heraldic emblazonry, and wrought gold and silver; multicolored damasks and cloths of gold and silver hung from the balconies of houses. Silks and fabrics came from Granada, Flanders, and Calabria; hats from Paris and London; diamonds from Ceylon; precious stones from India; pearls from Panama; stockings from Naples; crystal from Venice; carpets from Persia; perfumes from Arabia; porcelain from China. The ladies sparkled with diamonds, rubies, and pearls; the gentlemen sported the finest embroidered fabrics from Holland. Bullfights were followed by tilting contests, and love and pride inspired frequent medieval-style duels with emerald-studded, gaudily plumed helmets, gold filigree saddles and stirrups, Toledo swords, and richly caparisoned Chilean ponies. In 1579 the royal judge Matienzo complained: “There is never a shortage of novelty, scandal, and wantonness.” Potosi had at the time 800 professional gamblers and 120 famous prostitutes, whose resplendent salons were thronged with wealthy miners. In 1608 Potosi celebrated the feast of the Holy Sacrament with six days of plays and six nights of masked balls, eight days of bullfights and three of fiestas, two of tournaments and other dissipations. SPAIN OWNED THE COW, OTHERS DRANK THE MILK Between 1545 and 1558 the prolific silver mines of Potosi, in what is now Bolivia, and of Zacatecas and Guanajuato in Mexico, were discovered, and the mercury amalgam process, which made possible the exploitation of the lowest- grade silver, began to be used. The “silver rush” quickly eclipsed gold mining. In the mid-seventeenth century silver constituted more than 99 percent of mineral exports from Spanish America. Latin America was a huge mine, with Potosi as its chief center. Some excessively enthusiastic Bolivian writers insist that in three 23 centuries Spain got enough metal from Potosi to make a silver bridge from the tip of the Cerro to the door of the royal palace across the ocean. This is certainly fanciful, but even the reality stretches one’s imagination to the limit: the flow of silver achieved gigantic dimensions. The large-scale clandestine export of Latin American silver as contraband to the Philippines, to China, and to Spain itself is not taken into account by Earl Hamilton, who nevertheless cites, in his well-known work on the subject, astounding figures based on data from the Casa de Contratacion in Seville. 11 Between 1503 and 1660, 185,000 kilograms of gold and 16,000,000 of silver arrived at the Spanish port of Sanlukar de Barrameda, Silver shipped to Spain in little more than a century and a half exceeded three times the total European reserves— and it must be remembered that these official figures are not complete. The metals taken from the new colonial dominions not only stimulated Europe’s economic development; one may say that they made it possible. Even the effect of the Persian treasure seized and poured into the Hellenic world by Alexander the Great cannot be compared with Latin America’s formidable contribution to the progress of other regions. Not, however, to that of Spain, although Spain owned the sources of Latin American silver. As it used to be said in the seventeenth century, “Spain is like a mouth that receives the food, chews it, and passes it on to the other organs, retaining no more than a fleeting taste of the particles that happen to stick in its teeth.” 12 The Spaniards owned the cow, but others drank the milk. The kingdom’s creditors, mostly foreigners, systematically emptied the “Green Strongroom” of Seville’s Casa de Contratación, which was supposed to guard, under three keys in three different hands, the treasure flowing from Latin America. The Crown was mortgaged. It owed nearly all of the silver shipments, before they arrived, to German, Genoese, Flemish, and Spanish bankers. The same fate befell most of the duty collected in Spain itself: in 1543, 65 percent of all the royal revenues went to paying annuities on debts. Only in a minimal way did Latin American silver enter the Spanish economy; although formally registered in Seville, it ended in the hands of the Fuggers, the powerful bankers who had advanced to the Pope the funds needed to finish St. Peter’s, and of other big moneylenders of the period, such as the Welsers, the Shetzes, and the Grimaldis. The silver 24 also went to paying for the export of non-Spanish merchandise to the New World. The rich empire had a poor metropolis, although the illusion of prosperity blew increasingly large bubbles into the air. The Crown kept opening up new war fronts, while on Spanish soil the aristocracy devoted itself to extravagance, and priests and warriors, nobles and beggars, multiplied as dizzily as living costs and interest rates. Industry died with the birth of great sterile latifundia, and Spain’s sick economy could not stand up to the impact of the rising demand for food and merchandise that was the inevitable result of colonial expansion. The big rise in public expenditures and the choking pressure of the overseas possessions’ consumer needs accelerated trade deficits and set off galloping inflation. Jean-Baptiste Colbert, French minister of marine under Louis XIV, wrote, “The more business a state does with the Spaniards, the more silver it has.” There was a sharp European struggle for the Spanish trade, which brought with it the market and the silver of Latin America. A late- seventeenth-century French document tells us that Spain controlled only 5 percent of the trade with “its” overseas colonial possessions, despite the juridical mirage of its monopoly: almost a third of the total was in Dutch and Flemish hands, a quarter belonged to the French, the Genoese controlled over one-fifth, the English one-tenth, and the Germans somewhat less. Latin America was a European business. Charles V, heir to the Holy Roman emperors by purchased election, man of jutting chin and idiot gaze, spent only sixteen of his reign’s forty years in Spain. Having áccupied the throne without knowing a word of Spanish, he governed with a retinue of rapacious Flemings whom he authorized to take out of Spain muletrain-loads of gold and jewels, and whom he showered with bishoprics, bureaucratic titles, and even the first license to ship slaves to the Latin American colonies. Intent on hounding Satan all across Europe, he drained Latin America of its treasure for his religious wars. The Hapsburg dynasty did not collapse with his death; Spain had to suffer them for nearly two centuries. The great leader of the Counter-Reformation was his son, Philip II. From his huge palace-monastery, Escorial, on the slopes of the Sierra de Guadarrama, Philip spread the grim operations of the Inquisition across the world and launched his armies against the centers of heresy. Calvinism had taken hold in Holland, England, and France, and the Turks 25 embodied the peril of a return to the faith of Allah. Spreading the true faith was a costly business: the few gold and silver objects, marvels of Latin American art, that arrived unmelted-down from Mexico and Peru were quickly taken from the Casa de Contratación in Seville and thrown into the crucibles. At the same time heretics, or those suspected of heresy, were roasted in the Inquisition’s purifying flames, Torquemada burned books, and the Devil’s tail peeped out from every crevice. The war against Protestantism was also the war against ascendant capitalism in Europe. The “perpetuation of the Crusades,” writes J.H. Elliott, “meant the perpetuation of the archaic social organization of a nation of Crusaders.” The metals of Latin America— the delirium and downfall of Spain— provided a means to fight against the nascent forces of the modern economy. Charles V had already defeated the Castilian bourgeoisie in the uprisings of the Comuneros, which had become a social revolution against the nobility, its property and privileges. The uprisings were crushed following the betrayal of the city of Burgos, which would be Francisco Franco’s capital four centuries later. With the last rebel fires extinguished, Charles returned to Spain accompanied by 4,000 German soldiers. At the same time, the highly radical insurrection of weavers, spinners, and artisans, who had taken power in the city of Valencia and had extended it through the whole district, was drowned in blood. Defense of the Catholic faith turned out to be a mask for the struggle against history. The expulsion of the Jews in the time of Ferdinand and Isabella had deprived Spain of many able artisans and of indispensable capital. The expulsion of the Arabs in 1609 is considered less important, although no fewer than 275,000 Moors were put over the border, disastrously effecting the economy of Valencia and ruining the fertile Aragonese lands south of the Ebro. Previously, Philip II had thrown out thousands of Flemish artisans guilty or suspected of Protestantism. England welcomed them and they made a solid contribution to that country’s manufactures. It is clear that the enormous distances and the difficulty of communication .were not the main obstacles to Spain’s industrial progress. Spanish capitalists became no more than rentiers through the purchase of titles to Crown debts, and did not invest their capital in industrial development. The economic surplus went into unproductive channels: 26 the old wealthy class, the señores of gallows and knife, the owners of land and titles of nobility, built palaces and accumulated jewels; the new rich, speculators and merchants, bought land and titles. Neither the one nor the other paid taxes worth mentioning, nor could they be imprisoned for debt. Anyone devoting himself to industrial activity automatically lost his membership in the gentleman’s club. Successive commercial treaties, signed after Spain’s military defeats in Europe, gave concessions that stimulated maritime trade between the port of Cádiz, where Latin America’s metals were landed, and French, English, Dutch, and Hanseatic ports. Every year from 800 to 1,000 ships unloaded in Spain the products of other countries’ industries. They reloaded with Latin American silver and Spanish wool that went to foreign looms, whence it would be returned already woven by the expanding European industry. The Cádiz monopolists merely forwarded foreign industrial products, which were then shipped to the New World: if Spanish manufactures could not even supply the home market, how could they satisfy the needs of the colonies? The laces of Lille and Arras, Dutch fabrics, Brussels tapestries, Florentine brocades, Venetian crystal, Milanese arms, and French wines and cloths swamped the Spanish market, at the expense of local production, to satisfy the ostentation and consumer demands of ever more numerous and powerful parasites in ever poorer countries. Industry died in the egg, and the Hapsburgs did their best to speed its demise. The process reached its height in the mid- sixteenth century when importation of foreign textiles was authorized and all export of Castilian fabrics was banned except to Latin America. In contrast, as Jorge Abelardo Ramos has noted, were the policies of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I in England, when in that ascendant nation they banned the export of gold and silver, monopolized letters of credit, stopped wool exports, and ousted the North Sea merchants of the Hanseatic League from British ports. Meanwhile, the Italian republics were protecting their industry and external commerce through tariffs, privileges, and rigorous prohibitions: craftsmen could not leave the country under pain of death. Everything went to rack and ruin, Of 16,000 looms in Seville on Charles V’s death in 1558, only 400 remained when Philip II died forty years later. The 7 million sheep in Andalusian flocks were reduced to 2 million. In Don Quixote de Ia Mancha— which was banned for a long 27 time in Latin America— Cervantes drew a portrait of the society of his time. A mid-sixteenth-century decree stopped the importation of foreign books and barred students from taking courses outside Spain; the Salamanca student body was reduced by half in a few decades; there were 9,000 convents and the clergy multiplied almost as fast as the cloak-and-sword nobility; 160,000 foreigners monopolized foreign trade; and the squanderings of the aristocracy condemned Spain to economic impotence. Around 1630, 150-odd dukes, marquises, counts, and viscounts garnered 5 million ducats in annual rents, adding ever more frills to their fancy titles. The Duke of Medinaceli had 700 servants and the Duke of Osuna, to score off the Tsar of Russia, dressed his 300 in leather cloaks.( The species is not yet extinct, I opened a Madrid magazine at the end of 1969 and read of the death of Doña Teresa Beltrán de Lis y Pidal Gorouaki y Chico, Duchess of Albuquerque and Marchionesa of the Atcañices and Balbases. She is mourned by the widower Duke of de Guzmán Albuquerque, Don Beltrán Alonso Osorio y Diez de Rivera Martos y Figueroa, Marquis of the Alcañices, of the Balbases, of Cadreita, of Cuéllar, of Cullera, of Montaos, Count of Fuensaldana, of Grajal, of Huelma, of Ledesma, of La Torre, of Villanueva de Canedo, of Villahumbrosa, thrice Grandee of Spain.) The seventeenth century was the time of the picaro, the rogue, and of hunger and epidemics. Spain had countless beggars, but this did not discourage an influx of foreign beggars from every corner of Europe. By 1700 there were 625,000 hidalgos, knights of the battlefield, although the country was emptying: its population had dwindled by half in somewhat more than two centuries, and was equal to that of England, which had doubled in the same period. The Hapsburg regime finally ended in 1700 amid total bankruptcy. Chronic unemployment, idle latifundios, chaotic currency, ruined industry, lost war, empty coffers, central authority ignored in the provinces: the Spain that Philip V faced was “hardly less defunct than its dead master.” 13 The Bourbons gave Spain a more modern look, but at the end of the eighteenth century there were 200,000 clergymen and the unproductive population continued to proliferate at the expense of the country’s underdevelopment. More than 10,000 towns and cities were still subject to the seignorial jurisdiction of the nobility and thus outside the king’s direct control. The latifundia and the institution of entailed estates remained intact, along with obscurantism and fatalism. Nothing had improved since the era of Philip IV when a group of theologians, 28 examining a project for a canal between the Manzanares and the Tagus, had ended their deliberations by declaring that if God had wanted the rivers to be navigable, He himself would have so arranged it. THE DISTRIBUTION OF FUNCTIONS BETWEEN HORSEMAN AND HORSE Marx wrote in Chapter 3 of the first volume of Capital. “The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation. Plunder, internal and external, was the most important means of primitive accumulation of capital, an accumulation which, after the Middle Ages, made possible a new historical stage in world economic evolution. As the money economy extended, more and more social strata and regions of the world became involved in unequal exchange. Ernest Mandel has added up the value of the gold and silver torn from Latin America up to 1660, the booty extracted from Indonesia by the Dutch East India Company from 1650 to 1780, the harvest reaped by French capital in the eighteenth-century slave trade, the profits from slave labor in the British Antilles and from a half-century of British looting in India. The total exceeds the capital invested in all European industrial enterprises operated by steam in about 1800. 14 This enormous mass of capital, Mandel notes, created a favorable climate for investment in Europe, stimulated the “spirit of enterprise,” and directly financed the establishment of manufactures, which in turn gave a strong thrust to the Industrial Revolution. But at the same time the formidable international concentration of wealth for Europe’s benefit prevented the jump into the accumulation of industrial capital in the plundered areas: “The double tragedy of the developing countries consists in the fact that they were not only victims of that process of international concentration, but that subsequently they have had to try and compensate for their industrial backwardness— that is, realize the primitive accumulation of 29 industrial capital— in a world flooded with articles manufactured by an already mature industry, that of the West.” 15 The Latin American colonies were discovered, conquered, and colonized within the process of the expansion of commercial capital. Europe stretched out its arms to clasp the whole world. Neither Spain nor Portugal received the benefits of the sweeping advance of capitalist mercantilism, although it was their colonies that substantially supplied the gold and silver feeding this expansion. As we have seen, while Latin America’s precious metals made deceptive fortunes for a Spanish nobility living in a belated and contra- historical Middle Age, they simultaneously sealed the ruin of Spain in centuries to come. It was in other parts of Europe that modern capitalism could be incubated, taking decisive advantage of the expropriation of primitive American peoples. The rape of accumulated treasure was followed by the systematic exploitation of the forced labor of Indians and abducted Africans in the mines. Europe needed gold and silver. The money in circulation kept multiplying and it was necessary to stimulate the movement of capitalism in the hour of birth: the bourgeoisie took control of the cities and founded banks, produced and exchanged merchandise, conquered new markets. Gold, silver, sugar: the colonial economy, supplying rather than consuming, was built in terms of— and at the service of— the European market. During long periods of the sixteenth century the value of Latin American precious metal exports was four times greater than the value of the slaves, salt, and luxury goods it imported. The resources flowed out so that emergent European nations across the ocean could accumulate them. This was the basic mission of the pioneers, although they applied the Bible almost as often as the whip to the dying Indians. The Spanish colonies’ economic structure was born subordinated to the external market and was thus centralized around the export sector, where profit and power were concentrated. During the process, from the metals stage to that of supplying foodstuffs, each region became identified with what it produced, and each produced what Europe wanted of it: each product, loaded in the holds of galleons plowing the ocean, became a vocation and a destiny. The international division of labor, as it emerged along with capitalism, resembled the distribution of function between a horseman and a horse, 30 as Paul Baran put it. The markets of the colonial world grew as mere appendices to the internal market of invading capitalism. Celso Furtado notes that while most of Europe’s feudal seigneurs obtained an economic surplus from the people they dominated and used it in one way or another in the same areas, the chief aim of those Spaniards who received Latin American mines, lands, and Indians from the king was to extract a surplus to send to Europe 16 This observation helps explain the ultimate goal of the Latin American colonial economy from its inception: although it showed some feudal characteristics, it functioned at the service of capitalism developing elsewhere. Nor, indeed, can the existence of wealthy capitalist centers in our own time be explained without the existence of poor and subjected outskirts: the one and the other make up the same system. But not all of the surplus went to Europe. The colonial economy was run by merchants, by owners of mines and of big estates, who divided up the usufruct of Indian and black labor under the jealous and omnipotent eye of the Crown and its chief associate, the Church. Power was concentrated in the hands of a few, who sent metals and foodstuffs to Europe and received back the luxury goods to the enjoyment of which they dedicated their mushrooming fortunes. The dominant classes took no interest whatever in diversifying the internal economies or in raising technical and cultural levels in the population: they had a different function within the international complex they were acting for, and the grinding poverty of the people— so profitable from the standpoint of the reigning interests— prevented the development of an internal consumer market. One French economist argues that Latin America’s worst colonial legacy, which explains its backwardness today, is lack of capital. 17 But all the historical evidence shows that the colonial economy produced bountiful wealth for the classes connected internally with the colonial system of domination. The labor that was abundantly available for nothing or practically nothing, and the great European demand for Latin American products, made possible “a precocious and abundant accumulation of capital in the Iberian colonies. The hard core of beneficiaries, far from growing, became smaller in proportion to the mass of the population, as may be seen from the well-known fact that unemployed Europeans and Creoles constantly increased.” 18The capital that stayed 31 in Latin America, after the lion’s share went into the primitive accumulation process of European capitalism, did not generate a process similar to that which took place in Europe, where the foundations of industrial development were laid. It was diverted instead into the construction of great palaces and showy churches, into the purchase of jewels and luxurious clothing and furniture, into the maintenance of flocks of servants, and into the extravagance of fiestas. To an important extent this surplus was also immobilized in the purchase of new lands, or continued to revolve around speculative commercial activities. In the twilight of the colonial era Alexander von Humboldt found in Mexico an enormous amount of capital in the hands of mine owners and merchants, while no less than half of Mexican real estate and capital belonged to the Church, which also controlled much of the remaining land through mortgages. 19 Mexican mine operators invested their surpluses in the purchase of great latifundia and in mortgage loans, as did the big exporters of Veracruz and Acapulco; the Church hierarchy multiplied its possessions in similar fashion. Palatial residences sprang up in the capital, and sumptuous churches appeared like mushrooms after rain; Indian servants catered to the golden luxuries of the powerful. In mid-seventeenth-century Peru, capital amassed by encomenderos,( An encomienda was an estate granted by the Crown to the Spanish conquistadors and colonists for their services to Spain. It included the services of the Indians living on it. The encomendero was thus the owner. (Trans.) ) mine operators, inquisitors, and officials of the imperial government was poured into commercial projects. The fortunes made in Venezuela from growing cacao— begun at the end of the sixteenth century and produced by applying whips to the backs of black slaves— were invested in new plantations, other commercial crops, in mines, urban real estate, slaves, and herds of cattle. THE SILVER CYCLE: THE RUIN OF POTOSI Andre Gunder Frank, in analyzing “metropolis-satellite” relations through Latin American history as a chain of successive subjections, has highlighted the fact that the regions now most underdeveloped and 32 poverty-stricken are those which in the past had had the closest links with the metropolis and had enjoyed periods of boom .20 Having once been the biggest producers of goods exported to Europe, or later to the United States, and the richest sources of capital, they were abandoned by the metropolis when for this or that reason business sagged. Potosi is the outstanding example of this descent into the vacuum. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Cerro Rico of Potosi (Mexico’s Guanajuato and Zacatecas silver mines had their boom much later) was the hub of Latin American colonial life: around it, in one way or another, revolved the Chilean economy, which sent it wheat, dried meat, hides, and wines; the cattle-raising and crafts of Córdoba and Tucumán in Argentina, which supplied it with draft animals and textiles; the mercury mines of Huancavélica; and the Arica region whence the silver was shipped to Lima, chief administrative center of the period. In the independence period the area, now a part of Bolivia, still had a larger population than what is now Argentina. A century and a half later Bolivia’s population is almost six times smaller than Argentina’s. Potosian society, sick with ostentation and extravagance, left Bolivia with only a vague memory of its splendors, of the ruins of its churches and palaces, and of 8 million Indian corpses. Any one of the diamonds encrusted in a rich caballero’s shield was worth more than what an Indian could earn in his whole life under the mitayo,( A mitayo is an Indian who pays a mita. or tribute, usually in the form of forced labor in public works, especially the mines, (Trans.) ) but the caballero took off with the diamonds. If it were not a futile exercise, Bolivia— now one of the world’s most poverty-stricken countries— could boast of having nourished the wealth of the wealthiest. In our time Potosi is a poor city in a poor Bolivia: “The city which has given most to the world and has the least,” as an old Potosian lady, enveloped in a mile of alpaca shawl, told me when we talked on the Andalusian patio of her two-century-old house. Condemned to nostalgia, tortured by poverty and cold, Potosi remains an open wound of the colonial system in America: a still audible “J’accuse.” The people live off the refuse. In 1640 the priest Alvaro Alonso-Barba published in Madrid’s royal printshop his excellent work on the art of 33 metals. 21 Tin, he wrote, “is poison.” He mentioned the Cerro, where “there is much tin, although few recognize it, and people throw it aside looking for the silver everyone seeks.” Today the tin the Spaniards discarded like garbage is exploited in Potosi. Walls of ancient houses are sold as high-grade tin. Through the centuries the wealth has been drained from the 5,000 tunnels the Spaniards bored into the Cerro Rico. As dynamite charges have hollowed it out, its color has changed and the height of its summit has been lowered. The mountains of rock heaped around the many tunnel openings are of all colors: pink, lilac, purple, ochre, gray, gold, brown. A crazy quilt of garbage. Llamperos break the rocks and Indian palliris in search of tin pick like birds, with hands skilled in weighing and separating, at the mineral debris. Miners still enter old mines that are not flooded, carbide lamps in hind, bodies crouching, to bring out whatever there is. Of silver there is none. Not a glint of it: the Spaniards even swept out the seams with brooms. The pallacos use pick and shovel to dig any metal out of the leavings. “The Cerro is still rich,” I was blandly told by an unemployed man who was scratching through the dirt with his hands. “There must be a God, you know: the metal grows just like a plant.” Opposite the Cerro Rico rises a witness to the devastation: a mountain called Huakajchi, meaning in Quechua “the cerro that has wept.” From its sides gush many springs of pure water, the “water eyes” that quench the miners’ thirst. In its mid-seventeenth-century days of glory the city attracted many painters and artisans, Spanish and Indian, European and Creole masters and Indian image-carvers who left their mark on Latin American colonial art. Melchor Perez de Holguin, Latin America’s El Greco, left an enormous religious work which betrays both its creator’s talent and the pagan breath of these lands: his splendid Virgin, arms open, gives one breast to the infant Jesus and the other to Saint Joseph; she is hauntingly memorable. Goldsmiths, silversmiths, and engravers, cabinetmakers and masters of repoussé, craftsmen in metals, fine woods, plaster, and noble ivory adorned Potosi’s many churches and monasteries with works of the imaginative colonial school, altars sparkling with silver filigree, and priceless pulpits and reredoses. The baroque church façades carved in stone have resisted the ravages of time, but not so the paintings, many of them irreparably damaged by damp, or the smaller figures and objects. Tourists and parishioners have emptied the churches 34 of whatever they could carry, from chalices and bells to carvings in beech and ash of Saint Francis and Christ. These untended churches, now mostly closed, are collapsing under the weight of years. It is a pity, for pillaged as they have been they are still formidable treasures of a colonial art that fuses all styles and glows with heretical imagination: the escalonado emblem of the ancient civilization of Tiahuanacu instead of the cross of Christ, the cross joined with the sacred sun and moon, virgins and saints with “natural” hair, grapes and ears of corn twining to the tops of columns along with the kantuta, the imperial flower of the Incas; sirens, Bacchus, and the festival of life alternating with romantic asceticism, the dark faces of some divinities, caryatids with Indian features. Some churches have been renovated to perform other services now that they lack congregations. San Ambrosio is the Cine Omiste; in February 1970 the forthcoming attraction was advertised across the baroque bas-reliefs of the façade: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The Jesuit church became a movie house, then a Grace Company warehouse, and finally a storehouse for public charity food. A few other churches still function as best they can: it is at least a century and a half since Potosians had the money to burn candles. It is said of the San Francisco church, for example, that its cross grows several centimeters every year, as does the beard of the Señor de Ia Vera Cruz, an imposing silver-and- silk Christ who appeared in Potosi, brought by nobody, four centuries ago. The priests do not deny that they shave him every so often, and they attribute to him— even in writing— every kind of miracle: incantations, down the centuries, against droughts, plagues, and wars in defense of the beleaguered city. The Señor de la Vera Cruz was powerless to stop the decline of Potosi, The depletion of the silver was interpreted as divine judgment on the miners’ wickedness and sin. Spectacular masses became a thing of the past: like the banquets, bullfights, balls, and fireworks, luxury religion had, after all, been a subproduct of Indian slave labor. In the era of splendor the miners made princely donations to churches and monasteries and sponsored sumptuous funerals, all solid silver keys to the gates of heaven. In 1559 the merchant Alvaro Bejarano directed in his will that “all the priests in Potosi” accompany his corpse. Quack medicine and witchcraft were mixed with authorized religion in the delirious 35 fervors and panics of colonial society. Extreme unction with bell and canopy could, like Communion, succor the dying; but a juicy will that provided for building a church or for a silver altar could prove much more effective. Fevers were combated with the gospels. In certain convents prayers cooled the body, in others they warmed it: “The Credo was cool as tamarind or sweet spirit of nitre, the Salve warm as orange blossoms or cornsilk.” 22 In the Calle Chuquisaca one can admire the time-corroded façade of the palace of the counts of Carma y Cayara, but it is now a dentist’s office; the coat-of-arms of Maestro de Campo Don Antonio Lopez de Quiroga, in the Calle Lanza, now adorns a little school; that of the Marques de Otavi, with its rampant lions, tops the doorway of the Banco Nacional. “Where can they be living now? They must have gone far. The Potosian old lady, attached to her city, tells me that the rich left first and then the poor: in four centuries the population has decreased threefold. I gaze at the Cerro from a roof in the Calle Uyuni, a narrow, twisting colonial lane with wooden-balconied houses so close together that residents can kiss or hit each other without having to go down to the street. Here, as in all of the city, survive the old street lamps under whose feeble light, as Jaime Molins relates, “lovers’ quarrels were resolved, and muffled caballeros, elegant ladies, and gamblers flitted by like ghosts.” The city now has electric light but one barely notices it . In the dim plazas raffle parties are conducted at night under the ancient lamps: I saw a piece of cake being raffled in the middle of a crowd. Sucre decayed along with Potosi. This valley city of pleasant climate, successively known as Charcas, La Plata, and Chuquisaca, enjoyed a good share of the wealth flowing from Potosi’s Cerro Rico. Here Francisco Pizarro’s brother Gonzalo installed his court, as sumptuous as any king’s; churches and spacious residences, parks and recreation centers sprouted continuously, together with the lawyers, mystics, and pretentious poets who put their stamp on the city from century to century. “Silence, that is Sucre— just silence. But before… ” Before, this was the cultural capital of two viceroyalties, seat of Latin America’s chief archdiocese and of the colony’s highest court of justice— the most magnificent and cultured city in South America. Doña Cecilia Contreras de Torres and Doña Maria de las Mercedes Torralba de Gramajo, senoras of Ubina and Colquechaca, gave Lucullan banquets in a contest 36 to squander the income from their Potosi mines. When their lavish fiestas ended they threw the silver service and even golden vessels from their balconies to be picked up by lucky passersby. Sucre still has an Eiffel Tower and its own Arcs de Triomphe, and they say that the jewels of its Virgin would pay off the whole of Bolivia’s huge external debt. But the famous church bells, which in 1809 rang out joyfully for Latin America’s emancipation, play a funereal tune today. The harsh chimes of San Francisco, which so often announced uprisings and rebellions, toll a death knell over torpid Sucre. It matters little that Sucre is Bolivia’s legal capital, still the seat of its highest court. Through its streets pass countless pettifogging lawyers, shriveled and yellow of skin, surviving testimonies to its decadence: learned doctors of the type who wear pince-nez complete with black ribbon. From the great empty palaces Sucre’s illustrious patriarchs send out their servants to sell baked tidbits down at the railroad station. In happier times there were people here who could buy anything up to the title of prince. Only ghosts of the old wealth haunt Potosi and Sucre. In Huanchaca, another Bolivian tragedy, Anglo-Chilean capitalists in the past century stripped veins of highest-grade silver more than two yards wide; all that remains is dusty ruin. Huanchaca is still on the map as if it continued to exist— identified by crossed pick and shovel as a live mining center. Did the Mexican mines of Guanajuato and Zacatecas enjoy a better fate On the basis of Alexander von Humboldt’s figures in his already cited Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain, the economic surplus drained from Mexico between 1760 and 1809— barely half a century— through silver and gold exports has been estimated at some 5 billion present-day dollars. 23 In Humboldt’s time there were no more important mines in Latin America. The great German scholar compared Guanajuato’s Valenciana mine with the Himmelsfurst in Saxony, then the richest in Europe; the Valenciana was producing thirty-six times more silver at the turn of the century and its profits were thirty-three times as great for its investors. Count Santiago de la Laguna trembled with emotion in describing, in 1732, the Zacatecas mining district and “the precious treasures concealed in its deep womb,” in mountains “graced with more than 4,000 shafts, the better to serve both of Their Majesties,” God and the King, “with the fruit of its entrails,” and that “all might come to drink and participate of the great, the rich, the 37 learned, the urban and the noble” because it was a “fount of wisdom, order, arms, and nobility.” 24 The priest Marmolejo would later describe the city of Guanajuato, crisscrossed by rivers and bridges, with its gardens recalling those of Semiramis in Babylon and its ornate churches, theater, bullring, cockfight arenas, and towers and cupolas rising against the green mountainsides. But this was “the country of inequality,” about which Humboldt could write: “Perhaps nowhere is inequality more shocking. . . . The architecture of public and private buildings, the women’s elegant wardrobes, the high-society atmosphere: all testify to an extreme social polish which is in extraordinary contrast to the nakedness, ignorance, and coarseness of the populace.” The new veins of silver gobbled up men and mules in the cordillera foothills; the Indians, who “lived from day to day,” suffered chronic hunger and epidemics killed them off like flies. In only one year, 1784, more than 8,000 died in Guanajuato when a lack of food, the result of a bad cold spell, set off a wave of disease. Capital, far from accumulating, was squandered. There was a saying: “Father a merchant, son a gentleman, grandson a beggar.” In a plea to the government in 1843 Mexican politician Lucas Alamán gave a somber warning and insisted on the need to defend national industry by banning or imposing heavy duties on foreign imports. “We must proceed to develop industry as the only source of general prosperity,” he wrote. “The riches of Zacatecas would bring no benefits to Puebla but for the former’s consumption of the latter’s manufactures, and if these decline again, as has happened before, that presently flourishing area will be ruined and the riches of the mines will not be able to save it from poverty.” The prophesy proved true. In our time Zacatecas and Guanajuato are not even the most important cities in their own regions. Both languish amid the skeletons of the camps of the mining boom. Zacatecas, high and arid, lives from agriculture and exports labor to other states; its gold and silver are low in quality compared to former days. Of the fifty mines once exploited in the Guanajuato district, only two remain today. The population of the beautiful city does not grow, but tourists flock there to view the exuberant splendor of olden times. San Diego, La Valenciana, La Compania, the cemetery in whose catacombs more than a hundred mummies, preserved intact by the salinity of the soil, are on show. Half the families in Guanajuato state average more than five members and live today in one-room hovels. 38 A FLOOD OF TEARS AND BLOOD: AND YET THE POPE SAID INDIANS HAD SOULS In 1581 Philip II told the audiencia( An audiencia was a judicial district as well as a judicial, administrative, and advisory body. In Mexico, it was the supreme court of administration and judgment. (Trans.) ) of Guadalajara that a third of Latin America’s Indians had already been wiped out, and that those who survived were compelled to pay the tributes for the dead. The monarch added that Indians were bought and sold; that they slept in the open air; and that mothers killed their children to save them from the torture of the mines. 25 Yet the Crown’s hypocrisy had smaller limits than the empire: it received a fifth of the value of the metals extracted by its subjects in all of the Spanish New World, as well as other taxes, and the Portuguese Crown was to have the same arrangement in eighteenth- century Brazil. Latin American silver and gold— as Engels put it— .penetrated like a corrosive acid through all the pores of Europe’s moribund feudal society, and, for the benefit of nascent mercantilist capitalism, the mining entrepreneurs turned Indians and black slaves into a teeming “external proletariat” of the European economy. Greco-Roman slavery was revived in a different world; to the plight of the Indians of the exterminated Latin American civilizations was added the ghastly fate of the blacks seized from African villages to toil in Brazil and the Antilles. The colonial Latin American economy enjoyed the most highly concentrated labor fore known until that time, making possible the greatest concentration of wealth ever enjoyed by any civilization in world history. The price of the tide of avarice, terror, and ferocity bearing down on these regions was Indian genocide: the best recent investigations credit pre- Columbian Mexico with a population between 30 and 37.5 million, and the Andean region is estimated to have possessed a similar number; Central America had between 10 and 13 million. The Indians of the Americas totaled no less than 70 million when the foreign conquerors appeared on the horizon; a century and a half later they had been reduced to 3.5 million. In 1685 only 4,000 Indian families remained of the more than 2 million that had once lived between Lima and Paita, according to the Marquis of Barinas. Archbishop Liñán y Cisneros 39 denied that the Indians had been annihilated: “The truth is that they are hiding out,” he said, “to avoid paying tribute, abusing the liberty which they enjoy and which they never had under the Incas.” 26 While metals flowed unceasingly from Latin American mines, equally unceasing were the orders from the Spanish Court granting paper protection and dignity to the Indians whose killing labor sustained the kingdom. The fiction of legality protected the Indian; the reality of exploitation drained the blood from his body. From slavery to the encomienda of service, and from this to the encomienda of tribute and the regime of wages, variants in the Indian labor force’s juridical condition made only superficial changes in the real situation. The Crown regarded the inhuman exploitation of Indian labor as so necessary that in 1601 Philip III, banning forced labor in the mines by decree, at the same time sent secret instructions ordering its continuation “in case that measure should reduce production.” 27 Similarly, between 1616 and 1619, Governor Juan de Solórzano carried out a survey of work conditions in the Huancavelica mercury mines (directly exploited by the Crown, in distinction to the silver mines, which were in private hands): “The poison penetrated to the very marrow, debilitating all the members and causing a constant shaking, and the workers usually died within four years,” he reported to the Council of the Indies and to the king. But in 1631 Philip IV ordered that the same system be continued, and his successor Charles II later reaffirmed the decree. In three centuries Potosi’s Cerro Rico consumed 8 million lives. The Indians, including women and children, were torn from their agricultural communities and driven to the Cerro. Of every ten who went up into the freezing wilderness, seven never returned. Luis Capoche, an owner of mines and mills, wrote that “the roads were so covered with people that the whole kingdom seemed on the move.” In their communities the Indians saw “many afflicted women returning without husbands and with many orphaned children” and they knew that “a thousand deaths and disasters” awaited them in the mines. The Spaniards scoured the countryside for hundreds of miles for labor. Many died on the way, before reaching Potosi, but it was the terrible work conditions in the mine that killed the most people. Soon after the mine began operating, in 1550, the Dominican monk Domingo de Santo Tomás told the Council of the Indies that Potosi was a “mouth of hell” which 40 swallowed Indians by the thousands every year, and that rapacious mine owners treated them “like stray animals.” Later Fray Rodrigo de Loaysa said: “These poor Indians are like sardines in the sea. Just as other fish pursue the sardines to seize and devour them, so everyone in these lands pursues the wretched Indians.” Chiefs of Indian communities had to replace the constantly dying mitayos with new men between eighteen and fifty years old. The huge stone-walled corral where Indians were assigned to mine and mill owners is now used by workers as a football ground. The mitayos’jail— a shapeless mass of ruins— can still be seen at the entrance to Potosi. The Compilation of the Laws of the Indies abounds with decrees establishing the equal right of Indians and Spaniards to exploit the mines, and expressly forbidding any infringement of Indian rights. Thus formal history— the dead letter of today which perpetuates the dead letter of the past— has nothing to complain about, but while Indian labor legislation was debated in endless documents and Spanish jurists displayed their talents in an explosion of ink, in Latin America the law “was respected but not carried out.” In practice “the poor Indian is a coin with which one can get whatever one needs, as with gold and silver, and get it better,” as Luis Capoche put it. Many people claimed mestizo status before the courts to avoid being sent to the mines and sold and resold in the market. At the end of the eighteenth century, Concolorcorvo, who had Indian blood, denied his own people: “We do not dispute that the mines consume a considerable number of Indians, but this is not due to the work they do in the silver and mercury mines but to their dissolute way of life.” The testimony of Capoche, who had many Indians in his service, is more enlightening. Freezing outdoor temperatures alternated with the infernal heat inside the Cerro. The Indians went into the depths “and it is common to bring them out dead or with broken heads and legs, and in the mills they are injured every day.” The mitayos hacked out the metal with picks and then carried it up on their shoulders by the light of a candle. Outside the mine they propelled the heavy wooden shafts in the mill or melted the silver on a fire after grinding and washing it. The mita labor system was a machine for crushing Indians. The process of using mercury to extract silver poisoned as many or more than 41 did the toxic gases in the bowels of the earth. It made hair and teeth fall out and brought on uncontrollable trembling. The victims ended up dragging themselves through the streets pleading for alms. At night 6,000 fires burned on the slopes of the Cerro and in these the silver was worked, taking advantage of the wind that the “glorious Saint Augustine” sent from the sky. Because of the smoke from the ovens there were no pastures or crops for a radius of twenty miles around Potosi and the fumes attacked men’s bodies no less relentlessly. Ideological justifications were never in short supply. The bleeding of the New World became an act of charity, an argument for the faith. With the guilt, a whole system of rationalizations for guilty consciences was devised. The Indians were used as beasts of burden because they could carry a greater weight than the delicate Ilama, and this proved that they were in fact beasts of burden. The viceroy of Mexico felt that there was no better remedy for their “natural wickedness” than work in the mines. Juan Ginés de Sepülveda, a renowned Spanish theologian, argued that they deserved the treatment they got because their sins and idolatries were an offense to God. The Count de Buffon, a French naturalist, noted that Indians were cold and weak creatures in whom “no activity of the soul” could be observed. The Abbé De Paw invented a Latin Arnerica where degenerate Indians lived side by side with dogs that couldn’t bark, cows that couldn’t be eaten, and impotent camels. Voltaire’s Latin America was inhabited by Indians who were lazy and stupid, pigs with navels on their backs, and bald and cowardly lions. Bacon, De Maistre, Montesquieu, Hume, and Bodin declined to recognize the “degraded men” of the New World as fellow humans. Hegel spoke of Latin America’s physical and spiritual impotence and said the Indians died when Europe merely breathed on them. In the seventeenth century Father Gregorio Garcia detected Semitic blood in the Indians because, like the Jews, “they are lazy, they do not believe in the miracles of Jesus Christ, and they are ungrateful to the Spaniards for all the good they have done them.” At least this holy man did not deny that the Indians were descended from Adam and Eve: many theologians and thinkers had never been convinced by Pope Paul III’s bull of 1537 declaring the Indians to be “true men.” When Bartolomé de las Casas upset the Spanish Court with his heated denunciations of the conquistadors’ cruelty in 1557, a member of the Royal 42 Council replied that Indians were too low in the human scale to be capable of receiving the faith. Las Casas dedicated his zealous life to defending the Indians against the excesses of the mine owners and encomenderos. He once remarked that the Indians preferred to go to hell to avoid meeting Christians. Indians were assigned or given in encomienda to conquistadors and colonizers so that they could teach them the gospel. But since the Indians owed personal services and economic tribute to the encomenderos, there was little time for setting them on the Christian path to salvation. Indians were divided up along with lands given as royal grants, or were obtained by direct plunder: in reward for his services, Cortés received 23,000 vassals. After 1536 Indians were given in encomienda along with their descendants for the span of two lifetimes, those of the encomendero and of his immediate heir; after 1629 this was extended to three lifetimes and, after 1704, to four. In the eighteenth century the surviving Indians still assured many generations to come of a cozy life. Since their defeated gods persisted in Spanish memory, there were saintly rationalizations aplenty for the victors’ profits from their toil; the Indians were pagans and deserved nothing better. The past? Four hundred years after the papal bull, in September 1957, the highest court in Paraguay published a notice informing all the judges of the country that “the Indians, like other inhabitants of the republic, are human beings.” And the Center for Anthropological Studies of the Catholic University of Asunción later carried out a revealing survey, both in the capital and in the countryside: eight out of ten Paraguayans think that “Indians are animals.” In Caaguazü, Alta Paraná, and the Chaco, Indians are hunted down like wild beasts, sold at bargain prices, and exploited by a system of virtual slavery— yet almost all Paraguayans have Indian blood, and Paraguayans tirelessly compose poems, songs, and speeches in homage to the “Guarani soul.” THE MILITAQNAT MEMORY OF TUPAC AMARU When the Spaniards invaded Latin America, the theocratic Inca empire was at its height, spreading over what we now call Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, taking in part of Colombia and Chile, and reaching 43 northern Argentina and the Brazilian jungle. The Aztec confederation had achieved a high level of efficiency in the Valley of Mexico, and in Yucatan and Central America the remarkable civilization of the Mayas, organized for work and war, persisted among the peoples who succeeded them. These societies have left many testimonies to their greatness despite the long period of devastation: religious monuments built with more skill than the Egyptian pyramids, technically efficient constructions for the battle against nature, art works showing indomitable talent. In the Lima museum there are hundreds of skulls which have undergone trepanning and the insertion of gold and silver plates by Inca surgeons. The Mayas were great astronomers, measuring time and space with. astonishing precision, and discovered the value of the figure zero before any other people in history. The Aztecs’ irrigation works and artificial islands dazzled Cortes— even though they were not made of gold. The conquest shattered the foundations of these civilizations. The installation of a mining economy had direr consequences than the fire and sword of war. The mines required a great displacement of people and dislocated agricultural communities; they not only took countless lives through forced labor, but also indirectly destroyed the collective farming system. The Indians were taken to the mines, were forced to submit to the service of the encomenderos, and were made to surrender for nothing the lands which they had to leave or neglect. On the Pacific coast the Spaniards destroyed or let die out the enormous plantations of corn, yucca, kidney and white beans, peanuts, and sweet potato; the desert quickly devoured great tracts of land which the Inca irrigation network had made abundant. Four and a half centuries after the Conquest only rocks and briars remain where roads had once united an empire. Although the Incas’ great public works were for the most part destroyed by time or the usurper’s hand, one may still see across the Andean cordillera traces of the endless terraces which permitted, and still permit, cultivation of the mountainsides. A U.S. technician estimated in 1936 that if the Inca terraces had been built by modern methods at 1936 wage rates they would have cost some $30,000 per acre. 28 In that empire which did not know the wheel, the horse, or iron, the terraces and aqueducts were made possible by prodigious organization and technical perfection achieved through wise distribution of 44 labor, as well as by the religious force that ruled man’s relation with the soil— which was sacred and thus always alive. The Aztecs also responded in a remarkable way to nature’s challenges. The surviving islands in the dried-up lake where Mexico City now rises on native ruins are known to tourists today as “floating gardens.” The Aztecs created these because of the shortage of land in the place chosen for establishing Tenochtitlán. They moved large quantities of mud from the banks and shored up the new mud-islands between narrow walls of reeds until tree roots gave them firmness. Between these exceptionally fertile islands flowed the canals, and on them arose the great Aztec capital, with its broad avenues, its austerely beautiful palaces, and its stepped pyramids: rising magically out of the lake, it was condemned to disappear under the assaults of foreign conquest. Mexico took four centuries to regain the population of those times. As Darcy Ribeiro puts it, the Indians were the fuel of the colonial productive system. “It is almost certain,” writes Sergio Bagü, “that hundreds of Indian sculptors, architects, engineers, and astronomers were sent into the mines along with the mass of slaves for the killing task of getting out the ore. The technical ability of these people was of no interest to the colonial economy. They were treated as so many skilled workers.” Yet all traces of those broken cultures were not lost: hope of the rebirth of a lost dignity sparked many Indian risings. In 1781 Tupac Amaru laid siege to Cuzco. This mestizo chief, a direct descendant of the Inca emperors, headed the broadest of messianic revolutionary movements. The rebellion broke out in Tinta province, which had been almost depopulated by enforced service in the Cerro Rico mines. Mounted on his white horse, Tupac Amaru entered the plaza of Tungasuca and announced to the sound of drums and pututus that he had condemned the royal Corregidor Antonio Juan de Arriaga to the gallows and put an end to the Potosi mita. A few days later Tupac issued a decree liberating the slaves. He abolished all taxes and forced labor in all forms. The Indians rallied by the thousands to the forces of the “father of all the poor and all the wretched and helpless.” He moved against Cuzco at the head of his guerilleros, promising them that all who died while under his orders in this war would return to life to enjoy the happiness and wealth the invaders had wrested from them. Victories and defeats followed; in the end, betrayed and captured by one of his 45 own chiefs, Tupac was handed over in chains to the royalists. The Examiner Areche entered his cell to demand, in exchange for promises, the names of his rebel accomplices. Tupac Amaru replied scornfully, “There are no accomplices here other than you and I. You as oppressor, I as liberator’deserve to die.” 29 Tupac was tortured, along with his wife, his children, and his chief aides, in Cuzco’s Plaza del Wacaypata. His tongue was cut out; his arms and legs were tied to four horses with the intention of quartering him, but his body would not break; he was finally beheaded at the foot of the gallows. His head was sent to Tinta, one arm to Tungasuca and the other to Carabaya, one leg to Santa Rosa and the other to Livitaca. The torso was burned and the ashes thrown in the Rio Watanay. It was proposed that all his descendants be obliterated up to the fourth generation. In 1802 a chief named Astorpilco, also a descendant of the Incas, was visited by Humboldt in Cajamarca, on the exact spot where his ancestor Atahualpa had first seen the conquistador Pizarro. The chief’s son took the German scholar on a tour of the ruins of the town and the rubble of the old Inca palace, and spoke as they walked of the fabulous treasures hidden beneath the dust and ashes. “Don’t you sometimes feel like digging for the treasure to satisfy your needs?” Humboldt asked him. The youth replied: “No, we never feel like doing that. My father says it would be sinful. If we were to find the golden branches and fruits, the white people would hate us and do us harm.” 3° The chief himself raised wheat in a small field, but that was not enough to save him from white covetousness. The usurpers, hungry for gold and silver and for slaves to work the mines, never hesitated to seize lands when their crops offered a tempting profit. The plunder continued down the years and in 1969, when agrarian reform was announced in Peru, reports still appeared in the press of Indians from the broken mountain communities coming with flags unfurled to invade lands that had been robbed from them or their ancestors, and of the army driving them away with bullets. Nearly two centuries had to pass after Tupac Amaru’s death before the nationalist general Juan Velasco Alvarado would take up and apply Tupac’s resounding, never forgotten words: “ Campesino! Your poverty shall no longer feed the master!” 46 Other heroes whose defeat was reversed by time were the Mexicans Miguel Hidalgo and José Maria Morelos. Hidalgo, who till the age of fifty was a peaceable rural priest, pealed the bells of the church of Dolores one fine day to summon the Indians to fight for their freedom: “Will you stir yourselves to the task of recovering from the hated Spaniards the lands robbed from your ancestors 300 years ago?” He raised the standard of the Indian Virgin of Guadalupe and before six weeks were out 80,000 men were following him, armed with machetes, pikes, slings, and bows and arrows. The revolutionary priest put an end to tribute and divided up the lands of Guadalajara; he decreed freedom for the slaves and led his forces toward Mexico City. He was finally executed after a military defeat and is said to have left a testament of passionate repentance. The revolution soon found another leader, however, the priest José Maria Morelos: “You must regard as enemies all the rich, the nobles, and high-ranking officials . . .“ His movement— combining Indian insurgency and social revolution— came to control a large part of Mexico before he too was defeated and shot. As one U.S. senator wrote, the independence of Mexico, six years later, “turned out to be a typically Hispanic family affair between European and American-born members… a political fight within the dominating social class.” 31 The encomienda serf became a peon and the encomendero a hacienda owner. FOR THE INDIANS, NO RESURRECTION AT THE END OF HOLY WEEK Masters of Indian pongos— domestic servants— were still offering them for hire in La Paz newspapers at the beginning of our century. Until the revolution of 1952 restored the forgotten right of dignity to Bolivian Indians, the pongo slept beside the dog, ate the leftovers of his dinner, and knelt when speaking to anyone with a white skin. Fourlegged beasts of burden were scarce in the conquistadors’ time and they used Indian backs to transport their baggage; even to this day Aymara and Quechua porters can be seen all over the Andean altiplano carrying loads for a crust of bread. Pneumoconiosis was Latin America’s first occupational disease, and the lungs of today’s Polivian miner refuse to continue functioning at the age of thirty-five: the implacable silica dust 47 impregnates his skin, cracks his face and hands, destroys his sense of smell and taste, hardens and kills his lungs. Tourists love to photograph altiplano natives in their native costumes, unaware that these were imposed by Charles III at the end of the eighteenth century. The dresses that the Spaniards made Indian females wear were copied from the regional costumes of Estremaduran, Andalusian, and Basque peasant women, and the center-part hair style was imposed by Viceroy Toledo. The same was not true of the consumption of coca, which already existed in Inca times. But coca was then distributed in moderation; the Inca government had a monopoly on it and only permitted its use for ritual purposes or for those who worked in the mines. The Spaniards energetically stimulated its consumption. It was good business. In Potosi in the sixteenth century as much was spent on European clothes for the oppressors as on coca for the oppressed. In Cuzco 400 Spanish merchants lived off the coca traffic; every year 100,000 baskets with a million kilos of coca-leaf entered the Potosi silver mines. The Church took a tax from the drug. The Inca historian Garcilaso de la Vega tells us in his Comentarios Reales Que Tratan del Origen de los Incas that the bishop, canons, and other Cuzco church dignitaries got most of their income from tithes on coca, and that the transport and sale of the product enriched many Spaniards. For the few coins they received for their work the Indians bought coca-leaf instead of food: chewing it , they could— at the price of shortening their lives— better endure the deadly tasks imposed on them. In addition to coca the Indians drank potent aguardiente, and their owners complained of the propagation of “maleficent vices.” In twentieth-century Potosi the Indians still chew coca to kill hunger and themselves, and still burn their guts with pure alcohol— sterile forms of revenge for the condemned. Bolivian miners still call their wages mita as in olden days. Exiled in their own land, condemned to an eternal exodus, Latin America’s native peoples were pushed into the poorest areas— arid mountains, the middle of deserts— as the dominant civilization extended its frontiers. The Indians have suffered, and continue to suffer, the curse of their own wealth, that is the drama of all Latin America. When placer gold was discovered in Nicaragua’s Rio Bluefields, the Carca Indians were quickly expelled far from their riparian lands, and the same happened with the Indians in all the fertile valleys and rich-subsoil lands 48 south of the Rio Grande. The massacres of Indians that began with Columbus never stopped. In Uruguay and Argentine Patagonia they were exterminated during the last century by troops that hunted them down and penned them in forests or in the desert so that they might not disturb the organized advance of cattle latifundia. (The last of the Charruas, who lived by raising bulls in the wild pampas of northern Uruguay, were betrayed in 1832 by President José Fructuoso Rivera. Removed from the bush that gave them protection, deprived of horses and arms by false promises of friendship, they were overwhelmed at a place called Boca del Tigre. “The bugles sounded the attack,” wrote Eduardo Acevedo Diaz in La Epoca (August 19, 1890). “The horde churned about desperately, one after the other of its young braves falling like bulls pierced in the neck.” Many chiefs were killed. The few Indians who could break through the circle of fire took vengeance soon afterward. Pursued by Rivera’s brother, they laid an ambush and riddled him and his soldiers with spears. The chief Sepe “had the tip of his spear adorned with some tendons from the corpse.” In Argentine Patagonia soldiers drew pay for each pair of testicles they brought in. David Vinas’s novel Los dueños de la tierra (1959) opens with an Indian hunt: “For killing was like raping someone. Something good And it gave a man pleasure: you had to move fast, you could yell, you sweated and afterward you felt hungry… The intervals got longer between shots. Undoubtedly some straddled body remained in one of these coverts— — an Indian body on its back with a blackish stain between its thighs… ”) The Yaqui Indians of the Mexican state of Sonora were drowned in blood so that their lands, fertile and rich in minerals, could be sold without any unpleasantness to various U.S. capitalists. Survivors were deported to plantations in Yucatan, and the Yucatan peninsula became not only the cemetery of the Mayas who had been its owners, but also of the Yaquis who came from afar: at the beginning of our century the fifty kings of henequen had more than 100,000 Indian slaves on their plantations. Despite the exceptional physical endurance of the strapping, handsome Yaquis, two-thirds of them died during the first year of slave labor. In our day henequen can compete with synthetic fiber substitutes only because of the workers’ abysmally low standard of living. Things have certainly changed, but not as much— at least for the natives of Yucatán— as some believe: “The living conditions of these workers are much like slave labor,” says one contemporary authority. 32On the Andean slopes near Bogota the Indian peon still must give a day’s work without pay to get the hacendado’s permission to farm his own plot on moonlit nights. As René Dumont says, “This Indian’s ancestor