In a tense social situation where colonialists were staring at government problems from across an ocean, one could only predict when the final match would burn down the thirteen colonies’ relationship with the motherland. Mercantilism was beginning to actually backfire, to the dismay of the British crown, but it is sad to realize that the people in power refused to actually change their ideals and laws towards the people that were obviously receiving the short end of the stick.
So, what made Catherine II so Great? Why, in history, do we recall the Russian empress as “Catherine the Great”? Well, in short, she was a brilliant political success story. More than just a personal success story, mind you. Catherine’s success went further than personal ambitions and benefits. Catherine became the Great for the era she bestowed upon her people. That’s right. We’re nearing the end of this biography. Today we talk about Catherine the Great’s reign — what she did during her time in power, and what the history books will record of her until the end of time.
Catherine II may have taken the throne, but there were plenty of usurpers lurking throughout her empire. The new empress would crush several rebellions and prevent countless coups, many pathetic, to keep herself within the palace. One could easily call the early days of Catherine’s reign as relatively unstable. Perhaps the only two reasons the people of Russia didn’t immediately call for Catherine to give up the throne were the unpopular opinions of Peter III and the fact that Catherine had issued 40,000 soldiers to patrol the streets.
The end of the war for empire showed the powerhouse of Britain that debt wasn’t just a fictional plague. It was indeed a reality, and the Royal Government of Britain was over 122 million pounds of sterling silver in debt. Quite a large amount; this was a good sixty percent of all British revenues. Similar to how the French Revolution started, Britain had a large population that was paying more taxes than people that could actually afford it. Eight million people in Britain were being overloaded with new taxes, and the Treaty of Paris hastily demobilized large parts of the Royal Military so that the government wouldn’t have had to pay for soldiers they no longer needed.
This Anglo-Zulu War led to a major victory…and a major defeat. The British actually suffered a significant defeat at the Battle of Isandlwana around the 22nd of January 1879. The Zulu’s military killed more than 1000 British soldiers in a single day, the worst defeat the British army had ever suffered at the hands of an African fighting force. The Zulu Kingdom had proven the capability of well-organized tactical systems, the very same initiated in the Age of Shaka that allowed for such success to exist for decades.
Born in 1787, Shaka Zulu was born as the illegitimate son to the chief of the Zulu clan, Senzangakhona kaJama. According to oral traditions, Shaka was conceived during an act of what began as “ukuhlobonga”, a form of sexual foreplay forbidding penetration which was socially allowed between unmarried or single couples. The word “Shaka” means “intestinal beetle” in the Zulu bantu language, showing just how his father felt about him
When we think of world domination, we oftentimes think of countries that have strongholds on land mass. How much of the world has been painted with their flag? While this won’t necessarily be the perfect explanation for what the empires stood for or accomplished, it’ll be interesting to see what nations had at least the slightest chance to dominate the world in one form or another. There are thousands of empires to choose from, so I’m going to focus on five of them.
Constantine, the son of Augustus Constantinius Chlorus and Helena, was proclaimed the Augustus of the Western Roman Empire upon the death of his father on July 25th, 306 CE. He became the sole ruler of the empire after the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 and the defeat of Licinius in 324, after which he re-United the Empire under his reign. Building Constantinople, “Constantine’s City” or “New Rome”, he created the new capital of the empire. He would go on to revolutionize and reform coinage, with his reign introducing a new “form” of gold called solidus. He played a crucial role in the Christianization of the Roman World, getting baptized on his deathbed and leaving the standards for future emperors.