Nationalism in Africa and Asia as a Mass Movement

The book, After the Tamerlane: the rise and fall of global empires, 1400-200 by John Darwin, is an impressive example of the macro narrative approach to the history of the world that has been (Anderson, 2006, p170). The writer provides a well argued, nuanced yet so clear, and highly informative overview of more than half a millennium of interaction cross-continentally and exchange, which he relates to his main theme-the rise and fall of global empires. Starting with a well-produced survey of the state of various Asian empires circa 1500, the writer sets out to decentre the overwhelmingly European-focused macro-narrative that has dominated thinking and writing about the rise and fall of expansive colonizing polities for centuries (Anderson, 2006, p183). The writer is able to sustain this shift in perspective quite well through the early chapters, which converge in his discussion the factors leading to the ‘great divergence’, which has received a considerable deal of concentration on the fraction of the world’s historians in the recent years (Anderson, 2006, p190). … that consists of well focused and perceptive discussions of the weaknesses and failures of European colonizing enterprises and their persisting dependence on colonized peoples for all manner of imperial endeavors, from trade and war to the governance of conquered territories. Darwin’s attention to the weakness and vulnerability of even empires on the increase or at the climax of their global power considerably enhances his superb discussions of what he uses as key factors that favor some empire-minded societies over others (Anderson, 2006, p178). In the course of the nineteenth century, especially in its latter half, the philological lexicographic revolution and the rise of intra-European nationalist movements, themselves the products, not only of capitalism, but of the elephantiasis of the reigning states, formed increasing culture, therefore, supporting and complex for many dynasts (Anderson, 2006, p180). The legitimacy of most of these dynasties had nothing to do with nationals. Romanov ruled over the Tatars and Letts, Germans and Armenians, Russians and Finns. Habsburgs were perched high over Magyars and Croats, Slovaks and Italians, Ukrainians and Austro-Germans (Anderson, 2006, p182). Hanoverians presided over Bengalis and Quebecois, as well as Scots and Irish, English and Welsh. On the continent furthermore, members of the same dynastic families often ruled in different, sometimes rivalrous states. What nationality should be assigned to Bourbons ruling in France and Spain, Hohenzollerns in Prussia and Rumania, Wittelsbachs in Bavaria and Greece?