Okay, I'm reviving this page to give my own outline of history. More for my own interest than anything else.1

It'll be natural to pay more attention to later times as technological progress speeds up.


The Paleolithic - hunting and gathering. 99% of the history of Homo sapiens.
Introduction of agriculture from the Levant.
Iron, and the dawn of recorded history in the Roman Empire.2

(At some point in the above occurred the spread of the Indo-European languages, around the time of agriculture or slightly later, but no-one's really sure.)

Now, at some point the Roman Empire fell. Why did this happen, and did it matter that much? That's an interesting question.

Christianity gets blamed for this. To really understand history and why what happened when it did, we must understand that A caused B. This means that if A hadn't happened, B wouldn't have happened. That's what causality means. So counter-factual history is essential, not just a fun diversion. What if Jesus hadn't founded Christianity? It's easy to imagine that something like it may have arose instead. He wasn't the only cult leader around at that time, and the economic and political situation allowed travel and spread of ideology. An essential attribute of Christianity is its "universal" nature, which it got from Judaism. Rather than there being many roads to the same truth, this religion is the right one and all the others are from the Devil. For something like Christianity not to have spread, one of the following things would have needed to have happened:

  • No universalist religions. I don't know how this could have happened because I'm hazy on religious origins. Judaism wasn't the only one, there was Zoroastrianism too.
  • Universalist religions, but no way for them to spread. A more religiously intolerant Roman Empire, or a Jewish religious institution that was better at stamping out cults.

After that, there was a new order in the new Germanic kingdoms (France, Spain, and so on), and Christendom. Is there a parallel to be drawn between the Indo-European Germanics founding this order, and the early Indo-European Romans? (Ideas of virtue and honour and so forth.) Or is that too much of a long shot? I'm interested in exploring this question.

This kind of ran down after a while. There were religious wars and the Christian world became disunited. The spread of the printing press may have had something to do with this. There may be other reasons too, but I can't think of them at the moment.

The Black Death kept on returning. One effect of this was a strengthening of government so it could implement plague controls.

Well, the next big event seems to be globalization. It had to happen sooner or later. The proximate cause seems to be the voyages of Henry the Navigator, and some of the ship designs that he used while fighting against Muslims. So we had Christopher Columbus, and Spain and Portugal acquired colonies in the New World.

But before that there was also the Mongol empire, and the Silk Road.

At some point Northern Europe got in the game, with ships like the Mayflower.

The collapse of the authority of the Roman Catholic Church left a moral vacuum, allowing radical ideas like freedom and democracy to spread. Since then it's been one popular revolution after another, like in 1776 (the USA) and 1789 (France).

Although there may have been some plus points to the French Revolution. One cause seems to have been political theory (Montesquieu et al), and particularly the principle of separation of powers. I agree with this: it's not a good idea to have all power vested in a monarch who could turn out bad.

Since the collapse of the feudal system, there have been both capitalist and communist currents. Neither has been completely implemented.

Space travel - combined with 'progressive' rhetoric - 'we came in peace for all mankind.'

Preliminary conclusion: all the problems of the last seven hundred years are the fault of the Roman Catholic Church (of seven hundred years ago, that is, not of today) and its inflexible, corrupt, superstitious character; and all the problems of the last two thousand years are the fault of the Roman Empire. It's a pity neither institution survived.

So, ideologies have been very important in the last two hundred years or so. Democracy, communism, and so on. People care most about ideologies such as these when they are struggling to establish or maintain them. Just as when everyone in Europe was Christian, they fought over Christian sects, if every country in the world was a democracy, democracy would be taken for granted. As in the 1939 War,3 the Cold War, and even the War on Terror, the label "democracy" is used as a label to denote, in effect, one's own side.

Ideologies are perennial,4 i.e. they have a dual origin, one of tradition, one of appealing to innate human character. It's interesting to track the spread of ideologies, but one shouldn't push the traditional side too far in explaining their success, especially over long periods of time.

In conclusion let's hope China does a good job when it takes over the job of running the world.

Some predictions for the future. A growing dissatisfaction with political leaders, caused by advanced communication technology allowing their faults to be monitored and disseminated. Nonetheless, nothing much will change (apart from participation rates in elections). The population will slowly increase, resources becoming scarcer and more expensive. There will always be pockets of rich people who will buy themselves out of the surrounding mess. This situation will go on for centuries. There will be occasions of mass death to starvation or fighting, which again will change nothing. (It will be viewed as normal, just like Africa is today.) This situation will come to an end when the world economy has decayed to the extent that governments can no longer sustain themselves.

I'm skipping ahead a lot here (missing out African colonialism, the Industrial Revolution, and the American Civil War to give three examples) to point out that after the invention of radio we must pay a lot more attention to popular culture.


Comparative history is very important. Why did Henry III struggle against England's barons in the 13th Century, and yet in the 17th Century the House of Lords was easily abolished or at least ignored by Parliament and the revolutionaries. In the 20th Century, the Parliament Acts destroyed the barons' power at the stroke of a pen. I think the answer is the growth of cities and a monetary economy. MP's in the House of Commons represented cities and were able to raise money for the king, and the king did not have to rely on a sense of duty among his feudal inferiors. Money is power. How the MP's consent to raising taxes actually led to more taxes I'm not sure about.

The Middle East

Hugely important.

The Far East

Don't know much about this actually.

North Africa

I'll describe this in either the Middle East or Europe section.

South Africa and Australasia

Not important.

The Americas before Columbus

Maybe interesting, but not particularly important as they developed in isolation.

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