Re: AW: Nikolai Rozov's posting

Mon, 24 Feb 1997 17:24:39 -0500 (EST)
A. Gunder Frank (

Good for you Rene, and for sending this to Nikloai in Siberia!I secoind
ALL of Rene's comments. See ya in Ams soon R. sorry you did not make it to
Pomona N.
gunderOn Mon, 24 Feb 1997, barendse wrote:

> Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 21:59:34 +-100
> From: barendse <>
> Subject: AW: Nikolai Rozov's posting
> On 24 february Nikolai i Rozov enumerates a number of causes for European expansion:
> 2) expansionist initiative, competition in first discovery (between
> Spain,Portugal, then Nederlands, England,France) in constellation with
> caravels supplied by guns - most powerful maritime military and
> transportation instruments in that period
> 3) fortunate union between states (monarchies), bankers, traders and
> masses of conquestadors-colonists
> 4) missionary features of Christianity in combination with geopolitical view
> of that time that all non-Christian countries can and must be captured by
> Christian ones
> 5) demographic pressure in Europe (since 16 century?)
> 6) existance of some restriction (not absolute of course) for large
> 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 groups
> to reinvest in activities given above
> Maybe, but why restrict expansion in the period 1500-1800 to WEST Europeans ?
> Wat about Russian expansion,
> 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 Mongols),.
> 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.