137 votes
Accepted

Why did Native Americans die from European diseases while Europeans didn't catch serious diseases from the New World?

Europeans were introduced to at least one important disease from the Americas (syphilis), but far more Old World pathogens were introduced to the Americas than vice versa. There are several reasons ...
  • 17.9k
99 votes

Why was Germany not as successful as other Europeans in establishing overseas colonies?

Which Germany do you mean? Something that can reasonably called a German nation-state was founded only in 1871, when Prussia first defeated France and then unified most German states under their ...
  • 16.1k
76 votes
Accepted

Why aren't there any Chinese colonies?

They did. Depending on the preferred definition of "colonies", Chinese states in fact established innumerable colonies throughout history. Certainly the most common form was overland colonies created ...
  • 96.3k
58 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Portugal found universities in its colonies like Spain?

SHORT ANSWER Spanish policy was rooted in the tradition of setting up universities in conquered territories, accompanied by the aim of converting the local people to Catholicism in order to bind them ...
51 votes
Accepted

Why could China keep most of the lands it conquered after 17th century but European powers could not?

The Chinese situation was fundamentally different from the Western European colonial empires. In fact it's rather more like Russia, who also managed to keep her Eurasian empire, or the United States, ...
  • 96.3k
50 votes
Accepted

Why did no other empire contest Russia's colonization of North-Asia?

Siberia was colonized earlier than the 18/19th centuries. There actually were a few challenges by great powers to Russia's colonial empire as it expanded and later: from China to some extent early on, ...
49 votes

How accurate or supported is Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel"?

The book is well written and well explained; Jared Diamond actually takes real pain to explain that his theories are not implacable and must not be taken as a 100% reliable blueprint for predicting ...
46 votes

Why did Native Americans die from European diseases while Europeans didn't catch serious diseases from the New World?

Several good answers have already been suggested, but there are a few very important points that are worth mentioning: Native Americans were badly unprepared for the emergence of epidemic disease ...
46 votes
Accepted

Did Pope Urban II issue the papal bull "terra nullius" in 1095?

It seems likely this is a historical myth. According to WikiPedia's list of Papal Bulls*, Urban II did issue a bull that year, but it had to do with who was allowed to excommunicate the ruler of the ...
  • 111k
38 votes
Accepted

Why did China annex Tibet?

The other two answers speak in terms of Tibet's legal status; and these answers, while correct, don't properly explain why Tibet is important to China. This answer relates entirely to geography. The ...
  • 7,222
33 votes
Accepted

Why was Germany not as successful as other Europeans in establishing overseas colonies?

Germany arrived late to the party, and did so unenthusiastically Germany basically was a mess of small states at the onset of the colonial era. It took a very long time for Brandenburg-Prussia to ...
32 votes

Are there historical instances of settlers who were largely uncontacted and undisturbed after settling?

The peopling of Hawaii in the 1100s or 1200s may qualify. Drifters or shipwrecks could have arrived in the following centuries (for which see Braden's On the Probability of Pre-1778 Japanese Drifts to ...
  • 27.3k
28 votes

Why was Germany not as successful as other Europeans in establishing overseas colonies?

In order to support a global empire, you need to be capable of supplying and defending your outposts with a strong Navy. The five other European nations that you named all had long naval traditions ...
  • 18.1k
27 votes

Were the Islamic Caliphates (Umayyad and Abbasid) and the Mongol Empires truly as benevolent as they are portrayed?

If your textbook indeed says this, it is evidently biased. First of all, these things (the Caliphate, the Mongol Empire, and European empires) belong to very different historical periods, and thus ...
  • 37.5k
26 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Britain or any other European power colonize Abyssinia/Ethiopia before 1936?

Abyssinia / Ethiopia (the borders of which expanded and contracted frequently over the centuries) maintained its independence until 1936 by a combination of diplomatic skill in playing would-be ...
25 votes

Did Japanese modernisation have an effect on Ethiopia?

Addis Hiwet first used the term 'Japanizer' to one group of modernisers in post-WWI Ethiopia who took the example of Meiji Japan as giving a model for development away from feudal forms. The model ...
24 votes
Accepted

Was there a serious proposal to offer India territory in East Africa?

Yes, surprising as it is, I found credible sources indicating that there was some discussion of offering India East Africa as a mandate. Perhaps it is useful for others who wish to read more about ...
  • 814
24 votes
Accepted

Why did it take over 100 years for Britain to begin seriously colonising America?

Here is a list with the major factors. This list focuses on the period Oct 1492 to April 1607 and is extracted from this Timeline of Colonial America. The timeline already contains links to sources ...
  • 2,189
23 votes
Accepted

Why has Nepal never been conquered or colonized?

There were some times Nepal was partially conquered. Most were during the early medieval period. Documentation during this period can be problematic, but there are records of the Muraya Empire ...
  • 111k
18 votes
Accepted

Why were Morocco and Tunisia made a French protectorate, but Algeria annexed as part of France?

One of the main differences between Algeria and other Maghreb countries controlled by France was the extensive settlements established there. European settlers began arriving immediately after the ...
  • 6,972
18 votes
Accepted

Why did United Kingdom not keep the colonies after Napoleon's defeat?

Unlike the earlier European wars of the 18th Century, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, from a British perspective, were not about acquiring or retaining territory. The purpose of war for ...
  • 18.1k
16 votes
Accepted

Did Japan have any continental colonies before modern times?

Kind of, but not as such. The closest to what you're probably thinking of is the nihonjin-machi that began to form in the Pacific around the same time as Europe's Renaissance. These were primarily ...
  • 96.3k
16 votes
Accepted

How large were the East India Company armed forces?

The British East India Company raised three forces between 1740-1757. These became known as the Presidency Armies, named after the three Presidencies in India under Company rule. They were the: ...
  • 96.3k
16 votes

Why didn't colonial empires exchange their colonies with others empire to make their territories whole?

The shorthand answer is that the age of colonial empires was not a board game where each empire has a a strategy, and there's a way of scoring a winner. Empires -- like everything human -- were ...
  • 5,982
15 votes

Why were Sri Lanka and Myanmar separated from India under the British Empire?

Neither of them were really part of India to begin with. Sri Lanka was formerly the British Crown Colony of Ceylon, which grew out of an earlier Dutch colony. In 1795, during the Napoleonic Wars, ...
  • 96.3k
15 votes

Why did China annex Tibet?

tl;dr Why invade? Because government, in order to be legitimate (I'm using the term "legitimate" in the same sense as Fukyama - that the citizens perceive the government's actions as ...
  • 31.1k
14 votes

Why aren't there any Chinese colonies?

Notice how big China is? There's a reason for that; it's only a semantic difference between calling conquered territory a "colony" and simply part of your country. EDIT: Someone pointed out in ...
  • 251
14 votes

Why do Afro-Caribbeans have English names whereas Indo-Caribbeans still have Indian(ish) names?

Afro Carribeans: Afro-Caribbeans are Caribbean people who trace their heritage to Sub-Saharan Africa [...] Between the 16th and 19th centuries, European-led triangular trade brought African people ...
  • 5,582
14 votes
Accepted

What caused the shift from annexation of territory, to colonization of territory?

Part of the problem is "colony" is a floaty term. I think there are at least three basic ways a country dominates land: Colony: replacing the natives with your own people (the Americas, Australia, ...
  • 53.1k
14 votes

Are there historical instances of settlers who were largely uncontacted and undisturbed after settling?

It doesn't reach the bars in the OP of 200 settlers and 3 centuries, but in case you are interested in a smaller experience, Pitcairn Island was settled in 1790 by 27 people. The community they built ...
  • 5,493

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