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Thread: England's Evils

  1. #1 England's Evils 
    Forum Masters Degree mmatt9876's Avatar
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    I was interested in England's evils throughout history.


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    Don't know if that's terribly interesting myself. Most countries are tediously alike in the kinds of evils they inflict on themselves and others.

    It's more interesting to look at how a particular country has done a noteworthy good. (Or at least it's more interesting to me. Perhaps I've got a bit old and tired and cynical in looking at how mediocre and/or awful your fair average quality country turns out to be through history.)

    I suppose most of the negatives about England or Britain would centre on the empire. Could be a worthwhile exercise to tabulate who was the worst / best/ average European colonising power. How good or bad were the Brits compared to the Belgians, Dutch, Spanish, Germans, Portuguese, Italians, French in establishing and maintaining their worldwide empires?

    Then you could look at the Ottoman, Russian, Chinese, Japanese empires which tended to expand mostly by acquiring territories nearby rather than sailing away over the horizon. Were they, are they, any better or worse than the other group?


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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I was interested in England's evils throughout history.
    Since you say you were interested in England's evils I take it that you are no longer interested in them. In which case I don't know why you would start a thread on an interest that has passed.
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    England has never done anything evil. Ever. In fact all the good things and happyness in the world are due to England's loving care.

    Or is it the other thing?
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    The Beatles!
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    Adele! !
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    Simon Cowell!
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Simon Cowell!
    Now we really are talking Evil!
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    Marmite.




    But I like it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I was interested in England's evils throughout history.
    It is a long list. Ireland, India, China, Africa for starters.

    Different bits of Africa, black, white, what is now Nigeria as well as South Africa, your Boer Wars.

    By "India" too, not just modern day India but Pakistan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.

    Opium Wars in China, of course, but the British used drugs extensively as instruments of conquest in Africa and India too.

    You might say that other European countries got into the game too, but the biggest was Old Blight, and the one with command of the high seas was Old Blight, so these other Europeans were more like franchisees. Indeed, none of them really held a candle to the British in terms of looting distant lands.

    More than this I cannot say.
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    As far as North America goes, there is the War of 1812 and the "Indian" wars which followed. Britain armed them through Canada and Tecumseh even fought in a British uniform.

    Britain also armed the Confederate rebels- the antebellum South was a sort of pseudo-colony of the British, who needed cotton for their mills to make "shoddy" textiles for India- neither the South nor India was allowed to industrialize, but had to remain poor, backward, raw-material exporting areas. Even salt had to come from Old Blight to these distant lands, both blessed with an amplitude of access to the sea. Curious but true.

    More than this I cannot say.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    More than this I cannot say.
    And yet you did

    I am not convinced that England/Britain was significantly worse (or better) than other exploring/trading/empire-building nations. You will find examples of extremely bad behavior in all, as well as examples of good.
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    Then there is the case of Tasmania, adelady can probably fill you in on the fate of the natives of that island.
    Or if she is busy, perhaps Mark Twain's account will serve:

    Tasmania's History 1: the First Tasmanians and European Exploration and Invasion
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    More than this I cannot say.
    And yet you did

    I am not convinced that England/Britain was significantly worse (or better) than other exploring/trading/empire-building nations. You will find examples of extremely bad behavior in all, as well as examples of good.
    What good?

    You mean this:"The Whites always mean well when they take human fish out of the ocean and try to make them dry and warm and happy and comfortable in a chicken coop; but the kindest-hearted white man can always be depended on to prove himself inadequate when he deals with savages. He cannot turn the situation around and imagine how he would like it to have a well-meaning savage transfer him from his house and his church and his clothes and his books and his choice food to a hideous wilderness of sand and rocks and snow, and ice and sleet and storm and blistering sun, with no shelter, no bed, no covering for his and his family's naked bodies, and nothing to eat but snakes and grubs and 'offal. This would be a hell to him; and if he had any wisdom he would know that his own civilization is a hell to the savage--but he hasn't any, and has never had any; and for lack of it he shut up those poor natives in the unimaginable perdition of his civilization, committing his crime with the very best intentions, and saw those poor creatures waste away under his tortures; and gazed at it, vaguely troubled and sorrowful, and wondered what could be the matter with them. One is almost betrayed into respecting those criminals, they were so sincerely kind, and tender, and humane; and well-meaning." -from Twain, extracted from above link

    Evidently the British went abroad with the best intentions, to do GOOD to the poor savages in remote corners of the globe- nevermind that these "savages" had been civilized far longer than Old Blight in many cases. They went to LOOT, period, stealing everything they could carry off, like the Elgin Marbles, for one example. In return they brought murder, woe, and opium. Not a fair bargain, but more than this I cannot say- it might be inflammatory.
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    but more than this I cannot say- it might be inflammatory.
    Will you stop acting like an indignant child? You just want to stir up a fight, don't you? Can't you just be civil?


    They went to LOOT, period, stealing everything they could carry off, like the Elgin Marbles, for one example. In return they brought murder, woe, and opium.
    Who said they didn't do those things?
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    Look Mack, I just don't wanna get BANNED again, I am trying to be civil here. It is Strange who has made the claim that some good came out of colonialism. I am not looking for a fight, nor am I criticizing you and the way YOU post, accusations, threats and all.

    If you have some FACTS to contribute to the conversation, I'd be glad to learn of 'em. Being African and all it would be great to get your ideas on the topic. That said, maybe I had better get some rest for the night, been up studying too late again, might be cranky after all. Hopefully I will be able to see more next time I come here, getting banned is a stone drag, no joke.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    It is Strange who has made the claim that some good came out of colonialism.
    I'm not sure it is worth coming up with examples. I suspect that any positive I suggest, you will point out the negatives it was built on.

    Maybe if we take something sufficiently distant? The Norman invasion of England brought a very good legal system and added greatly to the language. (But, of course, they killed people and oppressed the locals). Much the same could be said of the Romans bringing various technologies to northern Europe.
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    I just don't wanna get BANNED again, I am trying to be civil here.....I am not looking for a fight....might be cranky after all. Hopefully I will be able to see more next time I come here, getting banned is a stone drag, no joke.
    That's great, seriously. Despite what you might think, we don't like to ban people left, right and centre. It is just our job to keep conversation loosely civil and productive, while not coming across as dictators. It is just that some of your posts have been pretty inflammatory, i.e. needlessly drenched in sarcasm and a standoffish tone. That you do desire to be a productive member is good to hear. I look forward to your contributions.



    Strange makes a good point. England and most other cultures do have a past (and sometimes current) record of atrocities, but they don't have them (as much at least) today any more. That is basically just apparently a usual step in cultural evolution. And I have no bias in their favour either. England after all employed some of the first concentration camps in the Anglo-Boer War to incarcerate our woman and children, with horrible stories of them being fed bits of glass and wire in their food, etc. I have no love lost for those bastards, but England certainly can't be said to be operating in the same way today.

    Now, whatever their intentions were, it is undeniable that they and other cultures with similar histories (like the Romans) did have some positive lasting effects as well. That is all Strange is saying. He is not denying what they did.
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    Topics about "evil" probably don't even belong in a science forum because it is not a scientifically defined concept. There is no way to sort out and account for the good and evil of a society in any objective manner.

    The native societies that were pushed aside under colonial rule were not the paragons of virtue that some people like to imagine. Their technology was lacking, superstition was widespread, disease was rampant, and mostly they were very warlike. There was headhunting, human sacrifice, cannabilism, and things of that nature. How are you going to account for those types of things in your calculation of evil?
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    But if we get back to what good things were done, we don't need to shilly-shally saying that colonialism wasn't all bad, they did some good almost by mistake. By and large, even the things they did because they thought they were good had some bad consequences. Just look at the canal systems in India - no-one's ever found a better way to increase malaria rates by an order of magnitude in just a couple of decades.

    The outstanding good thing that Britain did, alone among everyone, not just the Europeans but African and Middle Eastern societies as well. They took real serious action against the slave trade. Noone ever advanced an argument that slavery was inherently wrong ... slavery was mentioned in the bible after all. And there were plenty of chieftains and traders of various kinds willing to sell their own people or captives to any bidders at all.

    Britain came very close to bankrupting herself running blockades along African coasts to impede the slave trade. They could have done nothing and held themselves out to be superior to other nations, because by that time slavery was just about done for in Britain itself. They'd abandoned most of their own traditions of slavery and serfdom a few centuries earlier, and they'd formally outlawed trading. They could have kept themselves 'pure' and turned away from those who continued to trade. But they didn't, they took them on.

    One good thing. And an excellent example to others. Some were a bit slow to catch on. Portugal didn't formally outlaw slavery unitl the 20th century.
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    I believe we should probably drop "evils" in favour of "crimes"?

    While her European neighbours certainly dabbled in barbarism, the British Empire was undoubtedly the leader of the pack. To be fair, this may be attributed to the comparative reach of the Empire.

    As to the abolition of slavery; as late as post-WW2 they were still engaged in starving their Asian subjects in favour of market stability at home, (Churchill's Secret War), along with savagely quelling any hint of freedom in Kenya.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    While her European neighbours certainly dabbled in barbarism, the British Empire was undoubtedly the leader of the pack. To be fair, this may be attributed to the comparative reach of the Empire.
    Even in recent history, I am not convinced that is true. Without wishing to "point fingers" I would just mention the actions of various other countries in the Second World War and more recent examples of "ethnic cleansing" in Europe, Africa and Asia.

    Looking at history, there are so many example of brutality and repression (also mixed with beneficial effects, whether deliberate or otherwise) that I am not sure it is realistic to make a list of who was better or worse than anyone else. Even Hitler is famous for supposedly "making the trains run on time" (although I don't think there is anything good to be said about the Khmer Rouge).
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    they were still engaged in starving their Asian subjects in favour of market stability at home,
    I don't know if that's a really good example. That role has largely been taken over by international corporations and it still happens. Though we might say that the Brits often ran their colonial operations through venture capital (South Australia was settled by "The South Australian Company" after all) so can we blame them for starting the trend?

    (Rather than blaming ourselves for turning a blind eye to some of the awfulness in mining rare earths for our phones or sweatshops making our sneakers. Be nice to dump it all in someone else's lap if we could.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    I believe we should probably drop "evils" in favour of "crimes"?
    This doesn't work either, because many or even most of the actions we are discussing were perfectly legal under the laws in place at the time.
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    Atrocities then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Atrocities then.
    You can use that word if you want, but it brings us no closer to objective criteria. On a different thread, iceaura defended Mao's siege which killed 160,000 or so civilians. Others might be inclined to call that an atrocity.
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    Could someone explain England's rule of Ireland and the crimes committed during said time.
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    England - Ireland then. Now? Indonesia - Papua. Maybe China - Tibet.

    Who knows. Another few decades, generations or centuries and Papua, Tibet and a few other places will regain their autonomy.

    As I said earlier, the wrongs of countries all over the world are tediously, boringly, predictably alike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Could someone explain England's rule of Ireland and the crimes committed during said time.
    Conveniently located. Good agricultural land. Small population easy to subdue. An easy mark.

    Three principle crimes: Cromwell's genocidal fury; general exploitation; failure to provide relief during the potato famine. (Real historians feel free to challenge my cereal box summary.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    failure to provide relief during the potato famine.
    The basis for this policy was laissez-faire, or let the market decide who will live and die; a philosophy that, from your board name, I would assume you would have applauded.
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    Perhaps, but just who is John Galt?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I was interested in England's evils throughout history.
    As any child of four can plainly see, the OP's interest was in the misdeeds of Old Blight, so really comparison with other European powers is outside the proper scope of the topic. Has Old Blight interfered with the internal affairs of these European rivals?

    Indeed it has, and it would be stupid not to.

    Consider:

    The British Isles have been invaded from France twice at least, Romans and Normans, and from Scandinavia multiple times, Danes, Angles, Saxons, etc.

    Obviously this can get old fast. By keeping its European rivals in disarray and at odds with each other, Old Blight can prevent them from uniting to crush the maritime empire it had developed, very much on the Roman model. People do not think of Rome as a maritime power but it was the Mediterranean, Mare nostrum, "our sea" that was basically the major hub and highway of Roman power, and Rome dealt most severely with its rivals indeed.
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    A brief word about the international trade in illicit drugs- it is run out of Britain, with concessions awarded to local operators, as happened during the Chinese Opium Wars. It is too profitable for them to give up- the British are addicted to money, so they keep the rest of the world addicted to drugs. It has been going on for centuries now, and is arguably evil.

    Britain's City of London provides the means to launder the proceeds and connections to suppliers of arms and other necessities, all very discreet, as well as an amplitude of funds for bribes to the relevant parties. In fact London and Wall Street in New York City are the twin financial capitals of the world and perform similar functions. Richard Grasso was notoriously photographed literally in the arms of the Narcoterrorist FARC leadership. Crime pays most handsomely, due to low overhead.
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    Speaking of crime, treason is most certainly a crime, and Aaron Burr a traitor to the United States of America. Not coincidentally, he founded what we now know as Chase Bank.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    While her European neighbours certainly dabbled in barbarism, the British Empire was undoubtedly the leader of the pack. To be fair, this may be attributed to the comparative reach of the Empire.
    Even in recent history, I am not convinced that is true. Without wishing to "point fingers" I would just mention the actions of various other countries in the Second World War and more recent examples of "ethnic cleansing" in Europe, Africa and Asia.

    Looking at history, there are so many example of brutality and repression (also mixed with beneficial effects, whether deliberate or otherwise) that I am not sure it is realistic to make a list of who was better or worse than anyone else. Even Hitler is famous for supposedly "making the trains run on time" (although I don't think there is anything good to be said about the Khmer Rouge).
    Let us imagine a court case- the defendant who points out that others have committed crimes as bad or worse will be convicted all the same. Perhaps we might stick to the topic and originate other threads to explore these lesser abominations?

    As far as crimes against the Irish people are concerned, any text of Irish history will provide an amplitude of information regarding the British, very little of it flattering. It is true that private interests based in Britain are largely to blame for many of the misdeeds- so what? Clive conquered India for the British East India Company. Rhodes was supposedly a private businessman. they relied for backing upon the monarchy, which generally accommodated them very well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    A brief word about the international trade in illicit drugs- it is run out of Britain
    That seems, on the surface, rather implausible. Do you have any sources for more information?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    As any child of four can plainly see, the OP's interest was in the misdeeds of Old Blight, so really comparison with other European powers is outside the proper scope of the topic.
    In your post #14 you already broadened it out to "whites" in general (as if this wasn't something that had been done by all cultures throughout all history).

    And then you bring up a purely American issue:
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Speaking of crime, treason is most certainly a crime, and Aaron Burr a traitor to the United States of America. Not coincidentally, he founded what we now know as Chase Bank.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    While her European neighbours certainly dabbled in barbarism, the British Empire was undoubtedly the leader of the pack. To be fair, this may be attributed to the comparative reach of the Empire.
    Even in recent history, I am not convinced that is true. Without wishing to "point fingers" I would just mention the actions of various other countries in the Second World War and more recent examples of "ethnic cleansing" in Europe, Africa and Asia.

    Looking at history, there are so many example of brutality and repression (also mixed with beneficial effects, whether deliberate or otherwise) that I am not sure it is realistic to make a list of who was better or worse than anyone else. Even Hitler is famous for supposedly "making the trains run on time" (although I don't think there is anything good to be said about the Khmer Rouge).
    Let us imagine a court case- the defendant who points out that others have committed crimes as bad or worse will be convicted all the same. Perhaps we might stick to the topic and originate other threads to explore these lesser abominations?
    I was simply responding to the suggestion that Britain was the "leader of the pack", which is clearly unsupportable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Could someone explain England's rule of Ireland and the crimes committed during said time.
    Let me guess, you have ancestors that came from the Emerald Isles, and post 27 is the axe, that you have to grind, or someone will do it for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Perhaps, but just who is John Galt?
    Well, I really don't care, but I do think it's interesting that unfettered capitalism, laissez faire, or libertarianism can be perceived as a crime in the context of England's failure to save the Irish from starvation, and can simultaneously be portrayed almost daily by the Republican candidates, including one "historian/not lobbyist" as the only way to save our country from some vaguely defined fate. I realize Newt was busy bonking multiple wives/mistresses but he should have found time to read the chapter on Ireland instead of reading Atlas Shrugged for the fifth time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Perhaps, but just who is John Galt?
    Well, I really don't care, but I do think it's interesting that unfettered capitalism, laissez faire, or libertarianism can be perceived as a crime in the context of England's failure to save the Irish from starvation, and can simultaneously be portrayed almost daily by the Republican candidates, including one "historian/not lobbyist" as the only way to save our country from some vaguely defined fate. I realize Newt was busy bonking multiple wives/mistresses but he should have found time to read the chapter on Ireland instead of reading Atlas Shrugged for the fifth time.
    My underlying point was that you seemed to decide, or believe that my earlier post was somehow in defence of laissez faire capitalism, or that I supported it. You based this on the presumption that only a Rand fan would choose her hero's name. As it happens Atlas Shrugged is one of my three favourite books, but I am wholly opposed to Rand's entire philosophy. However, the choice of that name was for an entirely different reason, unconnected from philosophy, economics or politics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Perhaps, but just who is John Galt?
    Well, I really don't care, but I do think it's interesting that unfettered capitalism, laissez faire, or libertarianism can be perceived as a crime in the context of England's failure to save the Irish from starvation, and can simultaneously be portrayed almost daily by the Republican candidates, including one "historian/not lobbyist" as the only way to save our country from some vaguely defined fate. I realize Newt was busy bonking multiple wives/mistresses but he should have found time to read the chapter on Ireland instead of reading Atlas Shrugged for the fifth time.
    My underlying point was that you seemed to decide, or believe that my earlier post was somehow in defence of laissez faire capitalism, or that I supported it. You based this on the presumption that only a Rand fan would choose her hero's name. As it happens Atlas Shrugged is one of my three favourite books, but I am wholly opposed to Rand's entire philosophy. However, the choice of that name was for an entirely different reason, unconnected from philosophy, economics or politics.
    Then perhaps a second rate Scottish author and bureaucrat?
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup View Post
    I believe we should probably drop "evils" in favour of "crimes"?

    While her European neighbours certainly dabbled in barbarism, the British Empire was undoubtedly the leader of the pack. To be fair, this may be attributed to the comparative reach of the Empire.

    As to the abolition of slavery; as late as post-WW2 they were still engaged in starving their Asian subjects in favour of market stability at home, (Churchill's Secret War), along with savagely quelling any hint of freedom in Kenya.
    Excellent point.

    The introduction of opium into china WAS a violation of Chinese Law. And the termination of the African slave trade did not stop the British from procuring cheap labor by dubious means:

    British, Amoy & Human Trafficking

    British, which stationed warships near Gulangyu of Amoy for protecting its interests extracted from the 1842 Nanking Treaty, engaged in human trafficking no less notorious than the African slave trade. Departing from Amoy would be: French shipment of Chinese coolie to Liu-ni-wang Island in 1845 and Spanish shipment of 800 Chinese coolie to Cuba in 1847. At Amoy, 5 British firms and 1 German firm, often with governmental consuls acting as company executives, had sold 8281 coolie from 1847 to 1853, and as much as 50000 could have been abducted each year from the port of Amoy.

    In 1847, British governor claimed that British revenues from Amoy was 72,000 pounds, about 3 times the combined value from all other ports, a manifestation of slave trade in trafficking Chinese coolie to British Guana, Trinidad and Jamaica. Peru passed its law for importing Chinese coolie in Nov 1849, and Australia imported 2666 Chinese coolie from 1848 to 1852. French-controlled islands and Spanish-controlled Philipines all imported Chinese coolie from Amoy. Peru, Pacific Islands, West Indies, North Africa, South Africa, and Australia had all engaged in Chinese coolie slave trade. Chinese coolies built the Panama Railway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    As any child of four can plainly see, the OP's interest was in the misdeeds of Old Blight, so really comparison with other European powers is outside the proper scope of the topic.
    In your post #14 you already broadened it out to "whites" in general (as if this wasn't something that had been done by all cultures throughout all history).

    And then you bring up a purely American issue:
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Angler View Post
    Speaking of crime, treason is most certainly a crime, and Aaron Burr a traitor to the United States of America. Not coincidentally, he founded what we now know as Chase Bank.
    To begin with, I was quoting Twain on the subject of Tasmania, where the "whites" were overwhelmingly British colonists.

    As for the case of Burr, this traitor was in the employ of Old Blight, the young Republic's principal adversary. So it is only a "purely" American issue to people of a singularly myopic and silly point of view. Would you say that the case of the Cambridge Five was a "purely British issue"?
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    One source maintains that coolies from South Asia were imported to the New World up until the 1900s.

    Indian Indentured Immigration to Guyana
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