Category: World History

Crusades: how did the Muslims view it?


As a creative project to explain the Crusades from early 11th centuries to late 12th century in an Islamic narrative, I created a news feed with my colleagues.

Crusades – Perspective of a Muslim – Daniel Ahn, Aiden Kang, David Paik


Islamization of South East Asia, Its Course, Problems and Effects

Islamization of South East Asia, Its Course, Problems and Effects

Southeast Asia today is a major part of Islam in today’s world. However it has not been very old since Islam entered the South Eastern Asia. This Islamic entrance to the South Eastern Asian countries happened majorly through trade because of a lot of conditions such as geographical factors and cultural factors. During the course of conversion, there were many conflicts and problems that Islam faced however they later were successful at influencing South East Asia even until today.

Islamic ideas and religion spread throughout South East Asia majorly through trade. First, looking at Map 10, Southeast Asia; Conversion to Islam, the fact that among the South East Asian regions, Islamic conversion spread from north western islands to the eastern island can be observed. This shows how the wind of Islamic ideas blew from the north western regions of India and the Arabian Peninsula inwards to South East Asia. This map also shows how the conversion happened throughout majorly in the coastal regions of the islands. This shows how most of Islamic interactions happen among the coastal regions compared to inland regions of islands. To add on, map 10 also shows how Islam didn’t spread all the way past the western coast of Irian Java of Indonesia before 1800. This shows how interaction of Islam and South East Asia happen very gradually over a time period of 300 years. However, this map also has lots of limitations too. For example, this map has a time frame of 300 years. This results to vague picture of spreading of Islam. Thus specific routes on how Islam spread and developed in South East Asia would be restricted. To reduce this limitation, additional document of map illustrating specific routes of Islamic spread might be used. Along with map 10, map 17, Trade Links of Melaka, ca. 1500 shows how Melaka, a city in the Malaysian Peninsula has actively traded with both Islamic countries and other parts of South Eastern Asia. Connecting this map to map 10, map 10 shows how Melaka and its near regions were comparatively converted earlier than other parts of South East Asia. To add on, Melaka traded more actively with Gujarat and traders via Gujarat coming from Islamic Empires in the Middle East and East Africa. These are direct evidences of how Islam spread in the South East Asia through trade as it is shown that; Melaka an active city of trade became one of the first and the most important city in the South East Asia at spreading Islamic religion. However, map 17 does not specify about how much of those items were traded among thus not being able to illustrate the exact picture of how deeply Melaka and other countries interacted. To reduce these limitations, additional document of statistical report of traded commodities and its amount might be used. Contradicting the previous statement, looking at the reading The Conversion of Melaka, it is clearly shown that Islamic missionaries and preachers traveling around to spread Islam did exist. However, even these missionaries were able to exist because of the trade routes that traders have made earlier and the fact that Islamic traders interacted with the locals before the missionaries have made them possible to preach and teach the Islamic believes. So, of course there were lots of missionaries traveling only for religious purposes. However these missionaries too were a result of interaction that earlier Islamic traders have made.

For Islam to spread in South East Asia, there were lots of unique characteristics that it had for Islam to spread this way such as geographical factors and cultural unity. First, as it is shown in Map 14, Land & Sea Elevation of Indo-Malay Region, there are significantly large areas of shallow seas. To add on, shallow seas make sailing to be easy because it makes the sailors more efficient and easy to navigate through them and the fact that the sea is shallow says that there are less storms or waves. This shows how shallow seas that were easy to sail made trade and interactions between these islands more easy thus effecting the spread of Islam through it. To expand and in connection to map 10, the close islands of Borneo and Java were not converted until the 16th century. However, further islands of Mindanao and Irian Java converted much faster than the previous islands in terms of time that Islam took to spread. To add on, the Australian regions further away in the Arafura Sea didn’t convert even after the 19th century. The most reasonable explanation for this irregular conversion might be that the Java Sea between Malaysia and Sumatra, and Borneo and Java is deeper than its surrounding seas thus slowing down sea interactions. However Flores Sea and Banda Sea further away in the east is shallower compared to Java Sea thus speeding up the spread. Not only sea elevation affect conversion but land elevation also affected the conversion too. In map 14, it is shown that inner land of Borneo island and Sulawesi is covered in high lands. Connecting this to map 10, lands that are highly elevated are not converted as easily as the lands of low elevation. This shows how high lands decreased the interaction between the Islamic traders and the locals. Cultural unity also affected the spread of Islam. Map 12, Linguistic Families and Preponderant Groups of Southeast Asia, shows a wide range of South East Asia to have Austronesian language root. The fact that a group belongs to the same linguistic family also says that they share a similar culture and habit. Thus, the major part of South East Asia shares a comparatively strong unity through cultural similarity. Connecting this to map 10, major part of Islamic converts in South East Asia belongs to the Austronesian linguistic family thus sharing a strong bond. This allows Islamic traders and missionaries to easily convert other areas of South East Asia after the primary conversion of Melaka and its neighboring regions. To add on, the northern part of South East Asia such as Thailand and Tibeto Burman regions spoke languages of very different root thus sharing different cultures and believes. The fact that they didn’t share the culture made the Islamic traders difficult to convert them compared to the rest of South East Asia.

Even though Islamization in South East Asia seemed to be easy, they faced lots of conflicts and troubles along their conversion. Mentioned in the first reading, Introduction to Southeast Asia: History, Geography, and Livelihood, there was “…a “race” to gain followers…” To add on, the fact that “The Spanish pushed back Muslim from the northern Philippines” shows that there were a lot of religious conflicts in South East Asia. Furthermore, if there is a religious conflict between two religions not tolerant of each other, the conflict may expand to military and political conflicts as well. Thus, Christianity, a rapidly growing religion, has somewhat interrupted Islam from spreading in South East Asia. In addition, the first reading on introduction to Southeast Asia is an article to give general information on the spread of Islam. However, since the focus of this document too is on Islamization, the document would reduce information on conflict that they had with other religions. This show how religious conflict between Christianity and Islam would have been more serious than said in the reading. To add on, as shown in the last reading, The Conversion of Melaka, the officials tried to persuade the king of Melaka that the new religion is “devil plaguing [him]”. This shows how people at that time were not very tolerant about other religion. Furthermore, this document extracted from Ten Conversion Myths from Indonesia is a myth from an Islamic country about the conversion of Islam. This source has to be biased towards the Islamic spread. Thus, the opposition against Islam would have been reduced compared to reality. This shows how resistances of conservatives in South Eastern Asian countries have been strong against Islam, causing conflicts with between them. To add on, as shown in Map 3, there were diverse routes on how Islam got spread through South East Asia. Before South East Asia was converted, most of the important ports in South Asia, Arabian Peninsula and Eastern Africa were converted into Islam. In addition, as Islam spread through other parts of the world, Islamic ideas started to vary from Arabian Islam, Indian Islam and Chinese Islam.  These varieties of Islamic believes then joint in South East Asia through trade. Thus, in South East Asia, they must have faced religious diversity among themselves. This would lessen the unity among Islamic societies in South East Asia thus creating conflicts among themselves.

Even though there were lots of problems in Islamization of South East Asia, it left a long reputation and is now a big part of religious history. As shown in map 15, Political Map of Indo-Malay Region, most of important cities in South East Asia even till today lies on the coastal areas. To add on, cities mentioned on the map such as Melaka and Jakarta was and still is the center of Islam in South East Asia. Further connecting this to map 10, most of the areas of primary conversion and even later conversion still carries out to be major part of South East Asia. This shows how Islam was an important factor shaping the region and how that importance is still carried out to be the center of Islam even till today. To support this argument of Islamic reputation, additional documents of artwork that carries both Islamic and South Eastern Asian characteristics may be used.

To conclude, Islam spread throughout South East Asia by majorly trade. For this to be possible, a lot of natural and artificial conditions were required such as geographical factors and linguistic factors. However, during its spread, there were conflicts both internally and externally between different religions, between countries and regions and within Islam itself. Even though it had lots of problems, Islam still remains to be a major part of South East Asian culture and will still carry out to play a major role at shaping South East Asia.

Social and Economic changes and continuities in Europe between 600 and 1750

Social and Economic changes and continuities in Europe between 600 and 1750

Europe is a continental organization whose power reaches out very far. It influences the world trade through its early developments in economy and commerce. However, Europe has been influential to the world economy and trade only since the 1400s which is not very long compared to Islamic who solidified their place in global economy by the 600s. Thus, in order to know the traits of world economy now, it is inevitable to study the historical traits of Europe’s both social and economic aspects during 600 CE to 1750 CE

Throughout the post classical period and the early modern period, Western Europe Catholic Church’s economy; and the gender roles, social participation and the treatment of women changed slowly for the worse; however, desire for the deserved equal rights of the lower working class people did continue.

Catholic Church, as one of the most influential organization that carried enormous power in the Western Europe during the period, has experienced shifting of their economical power to individuals during the period of 600 CE to 1750 CE. In 1054 CE the Roman Catholic Church first separated from the Eastern Orthodox Church to take control over the western half of Europe. However after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Church, Catholic Church became the only solid organization with popular religious correlation. Thus, the church carried high political values. This political importance became the key that the church was able to gain such economical power. During the medieval period, German princes ardent for political power donated lands and money to the church associations. To add on, as the church moved towards being capitalistic, monasteries and nunneries started to act as the church’s economical branch. The monasteries with granted lands and estates farmed both crops and raised animal. They also developed agricultural techniques that helped productivity to increase. By the 13th century, monasteries grew as a major economical candidate not only because of its enormous landholdings but also because it played an important role in the medieval wool trade as the middleman. To add on, during the period from 11th century to 13th century, the church promoted crusades to conquer Jerusalem from the Muslims. At first the church gained economical power through the lands and booties conquered from the Muslims. However, after the last crusade state in the Middle East fell back to the Muslim’s hands, church has lost a great deal of money in promoting the failed crusades. From that point onwards, the church started to lose its economical superiority. By the end of 15th century, church’s power became very corrupt that they promoted lavish building projects such as the rebuilding of St. Peter Basilica. Along with the shortage that the church felt right after the failure of crusades, these building projects made the church desperate for money. This fact is clearly shown through the abusive selling of indulgences to pay off the expenses spent during the mid 15th century. Furthermore, the protestant reformation that followed the selling of indulgences threatened the Catholic Church even more. Soon after the separation of protestant church from the Catholic Church, German princes who wanted to be independent from the tight organization of the church followed the protestant church. This gave German princes a chance to take away monastery lands. Hence this process directly led to the loss of church. The enlightenment movement that happened at the late early modern period finally separated the church authorities and the political powers that it had. This finally ended the economical prosperity that the Catholic Church enjoyed by strictly cutting down possibilities that the church could have had of earning money through political powers.

The gender roles, social participation of women and treatments toward women has changed for the worse since the medieval period. During the medieval period, all of Europe’s social and economical structure was based on agricultural life of the peasants. Due to this factor, women were allowed to take part in agricultural activities that does require physical strength but is very much capable of being completed by women as well. Furthermore, women were able to take greater part in local commerce through creating craft guilds. In addition, the Catholic nunneries granted women social power to some extent. The monastic groups gave chance to women to take part in economy more intensively through church-run manufacturing production. They were also able to receive education from the nunneries to the extent where they were able to create literary pieces of work collectively. To add on, nunneries provided women with alternatives to marriage. To add on, biblical significance of female character such as Mary gave more attention to women than before. Furthermore, the religious emphasis on Christian equality of all souls gave women more equal chances even in religious services where women became less segregated from men. However as the early modern period approached, the society changed from being an agriculture based society to mercantile society. This first reduced the importance of women as a part of economical society because jobs that woman could do in it were too minor to be done. This eventually eliminated the possibility for women to get jobs. The protestant reformation played a big role in determining the women’s social value in the early modern period. The power gaining protestant churches strongly believed in witch-hunting. The witch-hunting trials and executions spread across Europe like wildfire and has killed thousands of women regardless of what their true identity was. Furthermore, theological analyses on women were made during the enlightenment movement which too degraded them. The analogy was given that women were no more than tools of reproduction and production. This shows how women’s values are deteriorated.

Even though from 600CE to 1750CE major parts of Europe changed, the rebellion created by the combination of desire to ascend in the social hierarchy and popular theologies to reason was kept continuous. During the medieval period, there are reported cases of serfs, who were free men tied to landowners because he has no money to be independent, escaping and running away from their landlords to create communities of homeless serfs. Along with this, theologians such as Peter Abelard or Thomas Aquinas suggested people to reason with information and have skeptic views than to just take in information as they are. They have also mentioned the necessities of logical thought process which later directly links to rebellion for natural rights. In global historical context, soon after the transition to the early modern period, the Columbian Exchange took place all around the world for several years. There were new ideas that traveled through sea and as well as ideas slaves from Africa traveled too. This too gave the rebellion strength to be continued. First, because of Columbian exchange, the economical and social gap between the poor and the rich became very distinct. This created new social classes such as the proletariats, the working class without access to prosperity. To add on, the exposure to the social classes below the existing low classes should have given the peasants the feeling of deserving more privileges than the slave classes. These two major global events pushed peasant uprisings to continue even as it went in to a new era. Furthermore, with the enlightenment movement, people were able to ask for what in specific they needed. The natural rights that John Locke argued were the right to life, right to liberty, and right to property. Spread of these basic rights gave peasants foundation for their protest to base on.

To conclude, Europe indeed has faced lots of changes as well as continuities. The declining status of economy of the Catholic Church during the 600CE to 1750CE period has determined the government that now stands independent from religion; the change of gender roles and social participation of women has laid its foundation on the equal society that Europe now has; and finally the continuously rebellious lower classes and criticisms had created a Europe with developed philosophy and strong skilled work force. All together, the period from 600CE to 1750CE is a period of transition when major events happened not just for the sake of happening but it occurred to change and shape world economy and society that exists now.

Impact of Enlightenment Thoughts on the Atlantic Revolution – DBQ

Impact of Enlightenment Thoughts on the Atlantic Revolution

The Enlightenment ideals produced during the period from the 18th century to the 19th century affected the people, usually of lower class, in devastating conditions in order to create numerous reforms and revolutions. However, due to these reforms, conservative ideas started to appear to check on the social and political transformations.

Analyzing the status of the Atlantic countries before the revolution it is clear that there were not much traits of ideas similar to the thought processes produced during the enlightenment. Document 2 explains the absence of enlightenment ideas before the Atlantic revolution by clearly showing that the monarch of the state, Louis the XVI, both restricts the right of people to express and say in public and also justifies himself, the individual, to be the absolute power that decides the rights and the wrongs. To add on, he shows numerous traits of absolutism oppressing and restricting the rights of the peasant class by extensively claiming the title of guarantor of respective rights. These show how enlightenment ideas such as the individual natural rights are not present. Considering the document’s point of view, this document was written in governmental power’s point of view after several riots and uprisings. However, considering the time period that this document was written, it shows that even though there were uprisings, the prior ones lacked in its philosophy thus not carrying enough significance to the governmental power that the monarch thought it would be fine to oppress people not compensate with them of what they needed. This led to future uprisings which did support their causes through ideas that appeared during the enlightenment movement, contributing directly to the collapse of royal authorities. Furthermore, document 4 shows that slaves were oppressed in their rights more extensively. Considering article 2, it is clear that the slave’s right to freedom of religion has been oppressed. To add on, the amount of food to be given to slave as their weekly ration specified in article 22 is insufficient for a grown up human being to survive for a week considering the hard labor they have to complete in order to eat them. Furthermore, article 59 also shows how only free men were allowed to enjoy not only the fruits of labor but also the natural rights and additional benefits granted by the government. To consider the document’s view point, this document is a law code written and maintained by the central government in France, but applied in Saint Domingue, across the Atlantic Ocean. To add on, because of the fact that both legislative and executive branch are very far from where it is actually needed, chances of this law code perverting to favor the minority of higher social and economic status, eventually degrading the life of the slaves were very likely. Along with the documents mentioned above, the Stamp Act passed by the British Parliament on its Colonies in North America will demonstrate the social and political situation of the nations before its revolution through ideas of enlightenment in a different dimension from the previous documents. Stamp Act shows how British Colonies in America, as the leaders of Atlantic Revolution came into being through describing the tense and restricted trade and economic situation they were in before fighting for their liberty. This restriction eventually triggered the revolution to happen. To add on, similar to document 4, the Stamp Act being a legal document passed by the British Parliament, across the Atlantic Ocean, shows how these restrictions too might have been heavier than what it is mentioned. These factors emphasize the terrible condition they were in before using Enlightenment thoughts to revolutionize the society. Through the documents mentioned above, it is clearly shown that situation before the revolution was very unfavorable to the majority who were oppressed by the minority monopolizing wealth and power. To add on, the ideas produced during the enlightenment such as the idea of natural rights or popular sovereignty is clearly not very well spread throughout the Atlantic regions.

As the enlightenment ideas spread, the unprivileged majorities took up different forms of revolution in order to claim their basic rights, life and liberty. Document 1 directly shows people’s expression of their pursuit of those rights. Document 1 clearly states that people do deserve rights from their birth and the purpose of the government is to protect them. The document not only states but also emphasizes the fact that the rights are extremely individualistic and is given from nature. To add on, document 1 expands to say that it is the people’s right and also their duty to abolish the government that has failed to reinforce the rights and also to institute a new government that will support those rights for the people. These ideas supposed in the document show great traits of enlightenment ideas such as natural rights. This document being a legal document of declaration, the perspective of this document shows how enlightenment ideas were not only ideals pursued by people informally but also philosophies that made the foundation of a nation. Furthermore, these ideas also took forms of violent revolts. Document 7 clearly states that there will be a violent revolt and the revolt will not stop unless the people are satisfied. To add on, it also states that the cause of this violent reform is for the liberty of the people. This does show how the enlightenment ideals such as right to liberty impact the people in more extreme ways. Considering the document’s perspective, the fact that document is presumed to be written by or if not, influenced by the leader of the slave revolt, Toussaint L’ Ouverture, emphasizes the desire for liberty in the first person’s shoe and also suggests that this document, with much influence, would have motivated several other revolts contributing to the spread and further impact of enlightenment ideas. To further develop the impact, the enlightenment ideas started to form different forms of government from violent revolts. Document 10 states that people under oppression will continue to fight for their liberty even in violent terms. However, the conclusion of the document states that the fighting should not end just as a revolt but should finish as a formation of a new government. To add on, even though he emphasizes the role of final government to control the revolution he does not specify its type; except for the fact that it has to be liberal, thus opening its format so that the formation of it is a very fast process. This shows how enlightenment ideas of liberty could be pursued with any type of government instituted by the people. Analyzing the perspective of this document, Simon Boulivar as the leader of the revolt and the head of revolution could have easily overtaken the government like Robespierre of France. However, his continuous pursuit of common goal of the nation shows how enlightenment ideals expanded to create nationalistic ideas in order to pose a different dimension of national development. Through the documents mentioned above, it is clear that enlightenment thoughts not only influenced people to revolt against the existing power to claim their basic rights but also developed those thoughts into action and finally into ideas such as nationalism that played an important role in thrusting the development into its next step.

Not only did people pursue basic rights but after liberty was stabilized, people started to claim rights to benefit themselves and to raise their quality of life. Document 3 is a direct example of pursuit of expanded rights. It not only demands for basic rights such as liberty and resistance to oppression also present in earlier documents but also contains rights to property, security and most importantly, right to exercise authority as the source of sovereignty. To analyze the document’s perspective in a bigger historical context, document 3 also shows the process in which ideal rights in previous documents come to reality. In document 1, it has been clearly stated that it is the right of the people to abolish the government if it fails to protect the individual’s rights. However, Declaration of Independence was written in response to the oppressive colonial government, thus it can be seen that the right to abolishment of government wasn’t in full activation. Document 3, on the other hand, was declared in response to oppressive French Government. This shows that because the nation was free of external oppression, unlike the examples discussed above, people were able to declare rights on their own government and ask for more rights. To add on, The Constitution of these United States of America of 1787 along with The Mexican Constitution of 1824 will further support the argument by demonstrating other ways in which different parts of the Atlantic Ocean advance their life style through acquiring additional rights. The Constitution of these United States of America of 1787 shows how people of the United States were guaranteed luxuries such as freedom of press, right to freely assemble for various purposes, and finally more active participation in politics. Furthermore, it can be observed that even slaves did have a voice in government too. Analyzing its point of view, since the document is a legal law code, it can be easily drawn out that the government too started to get influenced by enlightenment ideas such as popular sovereignty thus trying to work in favor of the citizen. To add on, The Mexican Constitution of 1824 clearly shows popular enlightenment ideas regarding politics such as division of government. To expand on previous rights, the document also guarantees higher quality education to first develop even more merit based system of government and second to develop scientific technologies in order to increase efficiency and grow more competitive to other European countries economically and technically. Similar to the Constitution of the United States of America of 1787, this document too is a legal law code showing greater care that the central government imposes on the people in order to earn their favor in the system of popular sovereignty. Through the documents mentioned above, it is clearly shown that people participating and leading the Atlantic Revolution not only borrows the enlightenment theories but also uses them and combines them with their situations to ask the central power for more luxury that they could enjoy.

However, as enlightenment ideals influenced people to rise and make changes for a better cause, many people were also influenced in another way. People who opposed the revolutionary idea formed the conservative party to suppress the revolution and try to return to monarchal structure. Document 5 explains one way in which conservatism rose. The document says that even though colonies are a part of the Empire and are encouraged to not only enjoy their rights but also the benefits of the Empire, the colonists were not granted any rights specified in the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen” for they are not included in the constitution. To add on, it assures that the slave trade will remain active and whoever rises against the government or the higher classed colonists will be considered traitor, further oppressing them of their enlightenment ideals of freedom. To analyze the document further, this document was written by the French Government as soon as Mulattoes in their colony started to develop arguments to claim right and eventually abolish the existing government for a new one. This shows how conservatism was used as a tool to control the growing revolutions. To add on, Document 6 shows how the government will remain as it is, continuing to use slaves, and will not grant any rights to the slaves showing traits of conservative ideas. Analyzing the document’s point of view, the fact that this document was created right after the execution of the mulatto leader who tried to claim more rights for his own race shows that even after the influence of enlightenment ideas, the government will not grant rights to anybody stopping the revolution to its halt. Furthermore, document 8 shows how the US president Thomas Jefferson tried to stop Haitian revolution from negatively influencing the people of the United States. To add on, this shows that as a governor of a neighboring country of a revolutionizing country, it would have been an inevitable decision to try and ban the revolution from happening in order to keep order in your own country. Thus, to these leaders, enlightenment ideas would have been a big threat thus trying to oppose it. Similar to document 8, document 9 shows how slave owners tried to stop the spreading of the thoughts of rebellion and furthermore, enlightenment ideas. To add on, this document also shows the pressure that revolution has imposed not only to the leader ruling the rebellious regions but also to the leaders of neighboring regions. These two documents show how political or economic minorities ruling the subjects of potential rebellion would have turned their heads towards conservatism than the enlightenment. However, since this turn away from the enlightenment is caused by major revolutions, it can be easily said that even the increase of conservatism is the aftermath of the spread of enlightenment thoughts.

To conclude, the enlightenment ideas were a great influence on the Atlantic society that originally was portrayed to be monarchal and very hierarchal. However, those newly evolving theories not only created new nations liberating from other powers but it also gave chance for numerous people to earn rights and raise their quality of life. However, as more people tried to pursue the ideals, the minorities in control of power started to oppose the enlightenment ideas eventually creating an everlasting conflict between the conservatives and the liberals.