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 The Legacies of Empires

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Priscilla
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PostSubject: The Legacies of Empires   Thu 26 Apr 2018, 09:17

Currently enthralled by the BBC4 prog on the Ottoman Empire with its thoughtful weight given to the  ongoing  considerable impact in many areas, it also gives rise to wondering about similar legacies, and me, in particular relating to the the Commonwealth. If nothing else its formation has probably been the less painful  wihdrawal following the decline of the British Empire - or does that make hackles rise here? Any thoughts on this Res Hist? There have been, after all quite a few Empires we can chew over.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Thu 26 Apr 2018, 14:08

You probably know a great deal more than I about certain empires, Priscilla, because you have travelled further afield than I ever have (albeit your travelling may have been by chance).  I remember when I was transcribing records in the museum one book had a list of exhibits from "Athens, Turkey" and the penny didn't drop straight away that Athens would have been part of the Turkish Empire when they were collected.  Again, I'd heard of Crimean Muslims being moved from their homeland when the former USSR  was the USSR.  Were there people belonging to the Muslim faith in that region because it had once been under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire?  I read an Alastair Maclean book in the 1980s and was quite surprised (this was before Yugoslavia started to fall apart) that there were Muslims in that country but of course Turkish influence did stretch far at one time.

The effects of the British Empire I will have to have a think about.  I know the teaching of Latin has declined in schools but I guess the continuing use of Latin for describing medical conditions (sometimes) and in taxonomy can be traced back even if only tangentially to the use of Latin in the Roman Empire.  Then there are a whole raft of languages that are descended from Latin, though I suppose modern Italian, French, Portuguese and Rumanian are the main ones.

Wrong thread, but getting mundane, guess what I bought in my town's branch of "Saver's" today - a packet of Fisherman's Friends.  They were on sale in a variety of flavours - I can only remember the brown ones from the old days.  I got some flavoured "honey and lemon".  Like other brands, the packet was much (and I mean MUCH) smaller than I remember with the olde-worlde Fisherman's Friends.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Thu 26 Apr 2018, 14:46

"Legacy" sounds a rather arbitrarily positive take on what empires generally leave in their wake. "Residue" might be a more accurate description - be it in terms of culture, political system, social order, or whichever way you want to analyse what any such legacy might be.

What is probably more important anyway is to appreciate what the empire never leaves behind itself because it will not - the stolen assets stripped while in charge, or the wealth it accrued from the acquisition of those assets - and that which it cannot leave behind as it's now an historical fait accompli which can't be undone; the theft of another people's ability and right to determine their own future.

It is seldom that a retreating empire relinquishes absolutely all the material benefits it established for itself from its prior "hands on" ownership and political control of a people or a region - so even when one strains to imagine actual benefits to any such legacy (as we have discussed here before) it is always with one eye on the uncomfortable truth that end of empire, however well the political withdrawal may have appear to have been managed, invariably involves also a legacy of continuing exploitation, as well as festering division which it had once encouraged in order to conquer. Either or both of these aspects to imperial legacy can, and often will, lead to further misery for those who have inherited it.

The residue, however sweetly it's imagined to smell by the retreating power, is rarely much more than a rancid whiff to the majority of those who inherit it.
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Thu 26 Apr 2018, 15:05

There was an anecdote from Niall Ferguson in one of his programmes in which the last Governor - General of South Yemen said to Dennis Healey

" The only two things the British Empire will be remembered for are Association Football and the expression **** off"

or something like that.
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Thu 26 Apr 2018, 15:28

From wiki:


Today, Roman law is no longer applied in legal practice, even though the legal systems of some countries like South Africa and San Marino are still based on the old jus commune. However, even where the legal practice is based on a code, many rules deriving from Roman law apply: no code completely broke with the Roman tradition. Rather, the provisions of the Roman law were fitted into a more coherent system and expressed in the national language. For this reason, knowledge of the Roman law is indispensable to understand the legal systems of today. Thus, Roman law is often still a mandatory subject for law students in civil law jurisdictions.
As steps towards a unification of the private law in the member states of the European Union are being taken, the old jus commune, which was the common basis of legal practice everywhere in Europe, but allowed for many local variants, is seen by many as a model.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Thu 26 Apr 2018, 15:36

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
You probably know a great deal more than I about certain empires, Priscilla, because you have travelled further afield than I ever have (albeit your travelling may have been by chance).  I remember when I was transcribing records in the museum one book had a list of exhibits from "Athens, Turkey" and the penny didn't drop straight away that Athens would have been part of the Turkish Empire when they were collected.  Again, I'd heard of Crimean Muslims being moved from their homeland when the former USSR  was the USSR.  Were there people belonging to the Muslim faith in that region because it had once been under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire?  I read an Alastair Maclean book in the 1980s and was quite surprised (this was before Yugoslavia started to fall apart) that there were Muslims in that country but of course Turkish influence did stretch far at one time.

The effects of the British Empire I will have to have a think about.  I know the teaching of Latin has declined in schools but I guess the continuing use of Latin for describing medical conditions (sometimes) and in taxonomy can be traced back even if only tangentially to the use of Latin in the Roman Empire.  Then there are a whole raft of languages that are descended from Latin, though I suppose modern Italian, French, Portuguese and Rumanian are the main ones.

Wrong thread, but getting mundane, guess what I bought in my town's branch of "Saver's" today - a packet of Fisherman's Friends.  They were on sale in a variety of flavours - I can only remember the brown ones from the old days.  I got some flavoured "honey and lemon".  Like other brands, the packet was much (and I mean MUCH) smaller than I remember with the olde-worlde Fisherman's Friends.

There are many Muslims stretched right across the Balkans, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo et al all have sizeable Muslim populations.

Not forgetting that whilst parts of Greece belonged to the Ottoman Empire, all the Ionian Islands of Greece were under Venetian, French and finally British control before finally being handed back to Greece in 1864. If one is looking for benefits of Empire I suppose the Ionians would be a good example merely because of the British love for record keeping. Whilst the Ottoman Empire tended to destroy more than it kept during its occupation of Greece, very little records survive in the former Ottoman held parts of the country,  the Ionaian Islands of Corfu and Kythera both hold what was to become the most important and intact archives in the counry stretching back to the begining of Venetian rule in the 14th Century and before.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Thu 26 Apr 2018, 16:54

I was not thinking especially of benefits; legacies can also be a trial or unwelcome wills with conditions are no longer allowed but clearing up someones muddle and mess falls to someone. 

Perhaps I ought to have said that attitudes and poliicies are legacies; he impact of these the progamme noted very well,  Ottoman 'conversion' policies, come to mind.

Nordman's observation about and empire  leaving nothing of itself in that it stripped wealth and artifacts is interesting. Th museums of Istanbul - and the haul from Delphi is impressive;like wise the British Museum's collection. However, in the subcontinent there is considerable structual evidence of the former empire. Of course thee is New Delhi itself, many imposing Gothic style stations, courthouses, admin buildings, schools and colleges clock towers, huge river barrages, bridges, road and railsystems down to bungalows.......and some pretty imposing ones at that and not all built for or by the Raj; many wealthy locals had even larger ones. I do not think the Ottomans made that sort of impact. But what of other empires -the French ones and Hapsburgs - and Russia too?
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Sun 22 Jul 2018, 15:26

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I remember when I was transcribing records in the museum one book had a list of exhibits from "Athens, Turkey" and the penny didn't drop straight away that Athens would have been part of the Turkish Empire when they were collected.  Again, I'd heard of Crimean Muslims being moved from their homeland when the former USSR  was the USSR.  Were there people belonging to the Muslim faith in that region because it had once been under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire?  I read an Alastair Maclean book in the 1980s and was quite surprised (this was before Yugoslavia started to fall apart) that there were Muslims in that country but of course Turkish influence did stretch far at one time.

The Black Sea was at one time virtually an Ottoman lake. The empire was vast stretching from Algiers in the west to Basra in the east and from the Ukraine in the north to the Sudan in the south. In terms of the legacy of the empire, then its decline was long and drawn out. Its final fall, however, was surprisingly quick. Even then there were examples where Ottoman authority and Ottoman power were separated from one another. In other words some territories were nominally within the empire but in reality the power of the Ottomans had been replaced by that of local rulers. And in some cases territory was actually garrisoned and governed by rival empires under a sort of ‘joint-sovereignty’ arrangement. Two examples of this were Bosnia and Cyprus.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Berlin 1878, Bosnia was occupied and governed by Austria-Hungary although Bosnia officially remained an Ottoman possession for a further 30 years. It was only in 1908 that sovereignty was transferred to the Habsburg Empire. Bearing in mind that this was only 6 years before the outbreak of the First World War then it’s quite remarkable to consider that as recently as the early 20th Century the Ottoman Empire and Germany were officially only 200 miles apart. Or put another way, less distance than from London to Penzance (250 miles) or from Paris to Strasbourg (250 miles).

With regard to Cyprus, then Ottoman sovereignty endured even longer. As with Bosnia it too had been placed under a joint-sovereignty arrangement by the 1878 Treaty of Berlin although in this case it was occupied and administered by the British Empire. Following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 the island was unilaterally annexed by Britain in November of that year. This annexation, however, was not recognised by the Ottomans until the signing of the Treaty of Sevres in 1920. Two years later the Ottoman Empire itself ceased to exist and Turkey (claiming successor status) declared the Treaty of Sevres to be null and void. As most of that treaty had related to the territorial settlement of Asia Minor, and as the subsequent Turkish War of Independence had greatly changed facts on the ground, then a further treaty was necessitated. By the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, Turkey did acknowledge UK sovereignty over Cyprus but this didn’t come into effect until August 1924 nearly 10 years after Britain’s unilateral annexation. Or put another way, the legacy of the Ottoman Empire was still thwarting the ambitions of the British Empire in the Eastern Mediterranean at a time when the UK had already lost authority over southern Ireland within the British Isles themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Sun 22 Jul 2018, 20:05

Vizzer, that is all interesting history and I read each sentence and word as the "joint-sovereignity"...really a lot that I wasn't aware of...and about Bosnia:  has the recognition of Slovenia and Croatia by Kohl (die Alleingang) in the Yugoslavian civil war not a lot to do with 20th century history of these two regions?
https://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/24/world/slovenia-and-croatia-get-bonn-s-nod.html
I defended on the old BBC board that it would have been better had the international community had pressed Serbia and Croatia to make an end at the civil war? And they had the means to do it...and was the deal that Croatia and Serbia wanted to make about the dividing of Bosnia also not a consequence of the previous history?


Thank you again for this new information, Vizzer and kind regards from Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Sun 22 Jul 2018, 20:27

Thank you, Vizzer, for your information - and thanks also belatedly to Priscilla.  I'm just logging in to say 'hello' to everyone really  - today I have a bit of a jaw and cheek bone ache and am not sure if it is because of dental decay or as a result of the Alendronic Acid tablets I now take once weekly (they can have side effects of face ache though such side effects are rare).  It would be sensible for me to have my teeth checked first.   Regards to everyone but I shall log out now.
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Sun 22 Jul 2018, 22:16

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
Thank you, Vizzer, for your information - and thanks also belatedly to Priscilla.  I'm just logging in to say 'hello' to everyone really  - today I have a bit of a jaw and cheek bone ache and am not sure if it is because of dental decay or as a result of the Alendronic Acid tablets I now take once weekly (they can have side effects of face ache though such side effects are rare).  It would be sensible for me to have my teeth checked first.   Regards to everyone but I shall log out now.
 Lady,

" It would be sensible for me to have my teeth checked first. " I suppose that is a reasonable thought...
My wife has each six months an injection with a product with an obscure name (I will check) for her osteroporosis...
And yes a lot of precautions to take your tablets:
https://www.ouh.nhs.uk/patient-guide/leaflets/files/11732Palendronic.pdf
Hope that you feel better after a visit to the dentist...while she/he giving you comfort by explaining the causes...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Mon 17 Sep 2018, 12:18

In the UK - and a lot of European countries - there is a problem with migration from other parts of the world.  Well, it's not so much migration (or immigration) of itself but the sheer scale of it.  I wonder if the UK seems the promised land (which I don't think it is) to some migrants because many of them learn English as a second language (which in part I guess stems from Britain having had an empire at one time) and they would like to come to a country where they could speak the language without having to learn a new one.  Could English's standing as a lingua franca of sorts in some areas be a "legacy" or "residue" of empire.  (Pitman shorthand seems to be having something of a renaissance in India - or it was 4 years ago).  [url=https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com › ... › Shorthand is back, set for a long haul]https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com › ... › Shorthand is back, set for a long haul[/url]

Ha, ha, just seen the comment about mine.  The ache I referred to seems to have cleared up spontaneously though today was the day I took my weekly alendronic acid tablet.
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PostSubject: Re: The Legacies of Empires   Mon 17 Sep 2018, 13:29

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I wonder if the UK seems the promised land (which I don't think it is) to some migrants because many of them learn English as a second language (which in part I guess stems from Britain having had an empire at one time) and they would like to come to a country where they could speak the language without having to learn a new one.  Could English's standing as a lingua franca of sorts in some areas be a "legacy" or "residue" of empire. 

This is certainly true ... although in the case of English as a second language - a lingua franca as it were - it might perhaps nowadays be better described as 'American' (and so recognise not just the international all-pervading influence of US diplomacy, commerce and military might post-WW2 but also the softer, though no less invasive, effects of Hollywood and MacDonalds). But the effect in terms of immigration is not of course confined just to the UK.

The majority of migrants into France have usually been - and still are - from North Africa (the Magreb) or French-speaking West Africa (but rarely from Nigeria which was a British colony and so English-speaking), or Indo-China (Vietnam, Laos, etc). Similarly many migrants into Spain come from Central and South America (other than Portuguese-speaking Brazil, of course) and, at least until recently, most migrants into Germany were from Turkey or to a lesser extent the wider Middle East (from what is now northern Iraq, Syria and western Iran/Persia) - a lasting effect of Imperial Germany's huge influence and investment in the Ottoman Empire before WW1. This old German influence is still apparent in modern Turkey where the written language - which under Attaturk changed from the cursive Arabic script to the Roman alphabet - has adopted very Germanic spelling forms, such as "taksi" in place of the English/French "taxi" and the widespread use of the German umlaut in representing Turkish vowel sounds.

PS - Modern Germany (as most of the rest of Europe if not the whole world) nowadays uses the international term 'taxi'. But originally as I understand it, 'x' was rarely used in German, and anyway was then most often pronounced with a "sch" sound, rather than the hard "ks" sound of "taxi" as is normal today. But whatever the reason I'm pretty sure that many Turkish taxis all still carry the illuminated sign "taksi", exactly as they did some 30 years ago whether in Istambul, Ankara or Iskenurun.
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