AW: Nikolai Rozov's posting

Mon, 24 Feb 1997 21:59:34 +-100
barendse (

On 24 february Nikolai i Rozov enumerates a number of causes for =
European expansion:

2) expansionist initiative, competition in first discovery (between=20
Spain,Portugal, then Nederlands, England,France) in constellation with=20
caravels supplied by guns - most powerful maritime military and=20
transportation instruments in that period

3) fortunate union between states (monarchies), bankers, traders and=20
masses of conquestadors-colonists

4) missionary features of Christianity in combination with geopolitical =
of that time that all non-Christian countries can and must be captured =
Christian ones

5) demographic pressure in Europe (since 16 century?)

6) existance of some restriction (not absolute of course) for large=20
territorial expansion within self-Europe after 1648 Westfal consensus -
a transfer of military-geopolitical activities outside Europe (compare =
with 2-

7) Tremendous positive economic reinforcement of expansion-long-
trade-and-colonization policies that urged various elites and social =
to reinvest in activities given above

Maybe, but why restrict expansion in the period 1500-1800 to WEST =
Europeans ?
Wat about Russian expansion, =20
finally, as to the amount of territory added, the Russian expansion from =
its Moscow core into Siberia, the Ukraine and the Eurasian steppes is =
the largest wave of expansion of the early modern period. Actually =
Russian expansion seems to approximate these conditions much more =
closely than Spanish, Portuguese, let alone Dutch expansion. (The Dutch =
didn't care a bit about Christianity for example))
To very briefly deal with these conditions:

2.)Except in the very early phase - the Tartars were nearly as well =
provided with guns as the Russians were, though not with artillery- the =
people of Siberia were not provided with guns.
3.)That's a fascinating element in the Russian expansion in Siberia the =
whole thing being driven forward initially by merchant houses like the =
Stroganov firm, tied (this is often overlooked) to Nuernberg/Augsburg =
bankers from 1600 onward, with the Dutch stepping in after 1640 and the =
Russian state participating late r by giving out concessions for =
merchants to collect furs and foodstuffs.
4.)Obviously a major element in Russian political theory in 1600 (e.g. =
the famous letters of Ivan Grozny) but as far as I see the missionary =
endeavour played only a minor role in Siberia. This was purely a ann =
enterprise out for profit - no missionary fig-leaves here, most people =
in Siberia were not converted until 1800 if at all (like the Buryat =
5.)Obvious - in spite of the demographic disasters like the Oprichnika =
or the `time of troubles' Russian population increased from 16 to about =
35 milion friom 1500 to 1650. And Siberia grew much faster.
6.)That's a hotly disputed point but one might make an argument that =
Poland, then Sweden to the west, Ottoman empire/Crimea Tartars withheld =
Russia from expanding in its `normal' (as some Russian writers would =
say) direction westwards to turn eastwards, or, rather, that the =
military/strategic balance on the European steppes/Caucasian borderlands =
restricted Russian expansion westwards until after 1720 when Russia =
begins to turrn south: beginning of a new massive wave of expansion.
7.)Precisely - settlement of nobles and the church in Siberia begins =
only after the area has been opened by the warrior-merchants (Cossacs =
mainly, although the whole thing is intertwinned with the expansion of =
Armenian and Greek merchant-houses in Siberia - and let us not forget =
the Tartar and Turkis h merchants on the Kazak frontier - `Russian' =
expansion was really driven forward by Eurasian investment).
Actually there were several expansion movements in the early modern =
period, all driven by some of the same forces as west European =
expansion. Consider the Chinese move into Turkestan, Mongolia and Tibet =
from 1460 onward and the Arab expansion in the Indian Ocean. But that's =
.. a different matter.

N.b. Sorry for the unfamiliar places and terminology of this posting but =
the history of the Eurasian heartland is a very useful corrective to =
most history (including Worldsystem Theory) which is mostly written from =
the vantage point of the ship's bridge as Van Leur reminded us long ago.