Originally Posted by Ironanvil1
Might be down to the differing priorities of the two.
For France the focus was generally on Europe, trade from the colonies being to support that, so working with the locals against the British made more sense, whereas the British tended towards wanting to supplant the local rulers, or at least get a good leash on them.
True the French weren't nearly as interested in the Americas as the British were, though in the areas where they did have an interested in the Natives weren't treated too badly...until it came to peace treaties and they found out the French had sold them out.
As for the Americans most of the really nasty stuff was done by settlers themselves or was done at a state leave with the federal government being forced to get involved when the Natives actually fought back. Though plenty of bad stuff happened on the federal level too.
- John Stuart Mill
Dec 25th 2010, 10:10pm #52
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Join Date: 21 Jan 2005
Originally Posted by VhenRa
What about the better Colonial powers?
Persian Empire. To some extend the Roman empire. The Caliphate wasn't half bad, either. The Mongols were pretty nice after actually finishing the conquest deal - although the actual conquest was rather less nice.
As a rule of thumb, the western European colonial powers don't exactly rank among the nice guys on the imperial rankings. If one limits it solely to western European colonial empires post-1500... The French could be pretty decent guys (Could. It varies heavily depending on where you look. They could also be giant assholes). The Portuguese were fairly acceptable once they actually finished christianising the locals (Although they were still assholes compared to neighboring non-Europeans - this is actually a big reason they never got a decent hold on Indonesian territories, and why Indonesia went muslim. The muslims were nicer). The British only if you casually ignore the remarkably successful elimination of large swatches of natives in Tasmania, to a large extend Australia, and the North American colonies, as well as beautifully organised 'We don't care about catholics/ brown people, white Anglicans need your food!' famines in Ireland & India.
The US were pretty nasty, too, though nothing overly unusual, and one has to be fair - when a demographic bomb rolls over a native people, the results will be nastier than average, even if the actual will to exterminate them wasn't all that high. And the taking of Hawaii, although laughing at the principles of everything America supposedly stands for, wasn't really a genocide. The Russians I don't really know enough about - they may have been a little nicer than the Anglo-Saxons (Slave Labour > Wholesale extermination).
In many cases - The British, the French, the Portuguese & Germans - it also depends heavily on location. The Portuguese were relatively ok in Asia, but total assholes in Brazil. Africa was somewhere in between the two. The British managed to variously completely exterminate everything looking humanoid and brown on the American east coast and Tasmania (Australia wasn't lagging far behind), and are famous for being the only state to ever equal a drug cartel - enforcing delivery by force of arms. Yet, their behaviour in South Africa was, by the standards of the time, remarkably fair (Boers nonwithstanding), and I'd be inclined to view its intervention in the Mahdist territories as outright humanitarian. New Zealand also received a comparatively light treatment. The Germans behaved incredibly nicely on their pacific holdings, and its African colonies, although war-torn varied dramatically in the degree of violence involved - East Africa was treated remarkably fairly, compared to South-West Africa. And the French varied from 'Kill every towelhead in sight' (Algeria) to fairly conventional conquests that didn't actually change much for the locals (Indochina).
Originally Posted by Skyzeta
For the better powers, it really depends on what standards you use. To my knowledge, the Dutch and the Portuguese never really had much in the way of large scale colonial abuses.
Sort of true for the Portuguese (I use 'Sort of' for a reason, see above paragraphs). The dutch on the other hand, were actually really fucking nasty in Indonesia, and it's always worth remembering that the people who had the real hard on for oppressin' them negros in South Africa were the Boers - ex-Dutchmen.
The Dutch, although exhibiting a remarkable degree of religious tolerance in their colonies, were probably the most racist bunch of all while they still had colonies.
Originally Posted by Scottty
I think I must disagree about Germany. In South West Africa (now Namibia) they used their army to effect policies that amounted almost to genocide against some of the native tribes.
This isn't entirely true. Yes, the campaigns in South-West Africa were an attempt at genocide, and the local commander (Lothar von Trotha) was convinced that he was fighting a 'Race War' and didn't plan to leave any darkies alive - cue poisoned wells, concentration camps and slavery. However, it must be noted that it's exactly these activities that caused German public opinion to demand that Lothar von Trotha be relieved from his command (He eventually managed to avoid this by asking for his dismissal himself). Read: It was genocide, but not a genocide sanctioned by the German government. Trotha was certainly not the only person to advocate a genocide, but it's fair to say that the German government was, lets say, fairly divided on the issue. Which is a bit in contrast to the Belgians (Where nobody gave a shit), and more similar to the early colonial period in the Americas (Where the Spanish government favoured a comparatively lenient approach, but failed thoroughly at enforcing it).
Originally Posted by Kevin Vacit
However, it must be noted that it's exactly these activities that caused German public opinion to demand that Lothar von Trotha be relieved from his command (He eventually managed to avoid this by asking for his dismissal himself). Read: It was genocide, but not a genocide sanctioned by the German government. Trotha was certainly not the only person to advocate a genocide, but it's fair to say that the German government was, lets say, fairly divided on the issue. Which is a bit in contrast to the Belgians (Where nobody gave a shit), and more similar to the early colonial period in the Americas (Where the Spanish government favoured a comparatively lenient approach, but failed thoroughly at enforcing it).
Spain was a classic example of well meaning heads of state failing to understand why no-one else gave a shit about their views. Carlos I, Phillip II and Carlos II all meant well but simply couldn't enforce their will an ocean away, especially later on when the Spanish Empire was beginning to fall apart and demanded more and more gold and riches from it's American Empire and cared less and less what it took to get them just that they were obtained
In contrast in Germany it was the other way around, with the common man being appealed and horrified at what the government was willing to do to people who got in its way. Leopold II of Belgium, Phillip II of Spain, Louis XIV of France and Victoria of Great Britain never openly said what they were going to do like Von Trotha did in Namibia:
I, the great general of the German soldiers, send this letter to the Hereros. The Hereros are German subjects no longer. They have killed, stolen, cut off the ears and other parts of the body of wounded soldiers, and now are too cowardly to want to fight any longer. I announce to the people that whoever hands me one of the chiefs shall receive 1,000 marks, and 5,000 marks for Samuel Maherero. The Herero nation must now leave the country. If it refuses, I shall compel it to do so with the 'long tube' (cannon). Any Herero found inside the German frontier, with or without a gun or cattle, will be executed. I shall spare neither women nor children. I shall give the order to drive them away and fire on them. Such are my words to the Herero people.
There was a report that once in the Reichstag when a Socialist member tried to say that black Africans had souls, he was howled down by the Conservative side of the house
It if wasn't for the massive public backlash over what Von Trotha was doing Von Bulow and Wilhelm II would've happily sat back and let him wipe the Herero from the face of the Earth. And let the Eugen Fischer, who gave his name to the practice of eugenics continue to perform medical experiments on the Herero children
India in the past decade is just now reaching the standards of living it did under the heights of the Mughals
Don't fool yourself, the British went into India, took everything, and then sold it back to the Indians. By ww2 India was sucked dry.
Most of the initial weapons, equipment, and vehicles used by the Americans in Korea were hastily taken out of storage after being put there a few years ago after the conclusion of WWII.
The British suppressed India's cottage/workshop industries to protect their industrial imports for the sub-continent.
Originally Posted by GoC
Weren't most powers nice after finishing the conquest (though the European powers had trouble finishing)?
The Caliphates were definitely better to live in than the western European kingdoms at the time and indeed right up until te industrial revolution the Ottoman Empire/Caliphate was probably among the better places to find yourself in, them and the Byzantine Empire
The Mughals by the time Britain came to India were a pale shadow of their former glory. Britain was brutal in its oppression but unlike other colonial powers, especially Hapsburg Spain and Belgium, they tried to improve their colonies (albeit to reap a bigger profit), they didn't just barge in and ransack the place like Spain and Belgium did
Also Britain, for all its faults, never turned severed hands into a currency
Originally Posted by Kevin Vacit
American colonies, 17th & 18th century, scalps. I'll admit, they're not severed hands, but I think the difference is pretty superficial.
Actually scalping was the Dutch's idea first, Britain took it and ran with it when they took their colonies...
...I mean, when they appropriated their colonies
Scalping was horrific but it's not in the same league as children, after seeing their parents killed, mutilated and possibly cannibalized in front of them, having to remain perfectly still/play dead while their right hand is cut off with a blunt machete
If there was a specific hell for colonial atrocities Leopold II would be on the bottom circle, alongside Henry Morton Stanley and probably Christopher Columbus too