Like all sustainability challenges, Eurasia's story is quite simple but incrediby rich in detail
Like all sustainability challenges, Eurasia's story is quite simple but incredibly rich in bottom-up detail
Over two third of the world lives on the Eurasian continent
Less than a sixth live on its West End - Europe
More than half live in Asia - two nations each account for one sixth of the world's population - China at far eastern coastal belt of Eurasia; India which protrudes from middle of its southern belt (much of which is around latitude 20) extending eurasia to within 7 degrees north of the equator
Until the year 1500, the graph (below) shows economies were largely people-centric- in other words because each of china and india were over 7 times larger in populations than any other nation, they were the biggest economies. In India's case before 1500, borders were quite fuzzy - what today are called countries of south asia might then have been called the Indian subcontinent
More detail before 1500
Until around 1500 the world's greatest overland trading route had started at the Asian end of the med sea around latitude 30 north (which is also close to the origin of most of the world's golden rule religions eg jewish, christian, muslim ...) and involved over
6 years trek to China's East coast (Hangzhou on Yangtze River or Shanghai on the coast). Only a few people eg Marco Polo made this whole trek- it was set up as a whole series of trading relays : win-wins between each of the neighboring overland places. However trade and so wealth multipied most of all at the 2 ends - all round the med sea (Italy, Greece, Turkey/Ottoman, Middle East and its overland crossroads to Africa starting with Egypt and its great river the Nile). AND: at the Chinese (far eastern) coastal belt were sources of the most valued trades of all : silks, spices, porcelain.
more detail after 1500
After 1500 Northern Europe got organised around mercantile Empires; the biggest of all hubbed round the island nation of Great Britain which is actually separated from continental europe by about 33 miles of channel (the channel tunnel opened in 1994 being just over 50 km long)
Perhaps accidentally these Mercantile Empires spun the biggest win-lose trading systems ever. For over 4 centuries with world wars the outcome.
PRETTY MUCH WHOLE SOUTHERN COASTAL BELT OF EURASIA TAKEN OVER BY BRITAIN
Britain was the first to rule the waves mapped by the discovery that Eurasia wasnt landlocked- if a ship was prepared to sail all the way round Africa it could hit the southern coastal belt of Eurasia: at what is today's western boundary of Pakistan you can sail East and hit India or west back into the Gulf. Or you have 2 more choices to come up from the equator, after India , of after Singapore at the Asean Penisular where you pretty soon start to hit China's coastal belt and the island port of Hong Kong. If it had taken a 3 year overland trek to get trade from Europe to the centre of eurasia (say where latitude 30 meets India,s north) Empire ships could now get to Mumbai in about 6 months. Having made that voyage, captains would dictate what trade they wanted using arms if necessary to get it. From the mid 1700s this was turning into colonisation of most of the countries up to and including Asean. Britain had also become the first to exploit industrial revolution's steam engines- thousand of times more power than that of a horse or man as long as you could feed this industrialisation by extracting ever more carbon and iton in the case of railways and newly (1840) gigantic ironclad warships.
Lets learn from this approximate map of world economies at such dates as 1500, 1776, 1860, 1914, 1946
In 1500 China and India were the laregst economies both about 30% ; the UK was less 1%, the US was about to be discovered by Europeans
By 1860 China's economy is pictured as closing down and US's was overtaking Britains. What actually happened was that Queen Victoria sent James Wilson founder of The Economist to Calcutta to try to design a more inclusive Raj economy. He died within 9 months due to lack of oral rehydration. And over in China, the Brits ultimatum that opium should be traded for silk and spices caused the closure of China to trade with the world for over a century.
Stories of what happened after 1946 become very interesting if you look for regions where win-win trades were being born to replace the 450 yeras of win-lose colonisation, and innovations were needed beyond the the peak era of extraction of carbon and iron