More notes at http://tanguay.info/learntracker
C O U R S E 
A Brief History of Humankind
Dr. Yuval Noah Harari, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
European Empires, Science, and Capitalism
Notes taken on January 23, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
what united science and European imperialism was the urge to discover and conquer
at first the empires supported science mainly in terms of geographical explorations
however, soon followed medicine, botany, history, linguistics studies
even studies that seemed useless were supported by the European empires because you could never really know what might be useful
19th century, botanists who studied the folk medicines and witch doctors of South American tribes, discovered a treatment for malaria from the tree of Cinchona, which was later used in treating malaria when exploring Africa
British in India
first lets look what the Muslims did when they conquered India
they were not particularly interested in archeology or history
when the British came, they
archeologists to study Indian history anthropologists, zoologists
rare Indian spiders and butterflies
studied languages of India
discovering of the Indus valley civilization
destroyed around 2000 BC
no Indian knew anything about it until the British came
1922 discovered Mohenjo-daro
deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics
the last person who could read hieroglyphic text probably died in the first millennium AD, in the Roman Empire when Egypt was ruled by the Romans
when the Arabs conquered Egypt in the 7th century, they made no attempt to decipher hieroglyphics
when the Mamluks conquered Egypt in the 13th century, they also made no attempt to decipher hieroglyphics
when the Turks conquered Egypt in the 16th century, they also made to serious attempt to decipher hieroglyphics
in 1791, Napoleon invaded Egypt, when his soldiers were busy building a fort at a place called Rosetta, they were digging to make a fort, they discovered a stone with three texts on it: one in Greek, one in Demotic, and one in Hieroglyphics
as was usual, Napoleon's army was accompanied by scientists, 160 experts from different disciplines to study Egypt, and when this stone was discovered, it was quickly brought to the attention of these scientists, who realized this might be the key to deciphering the lost writing of ancient Egypt
two years later in 1801, the French army was defeated by the British, and as part of the surrender terms, the French had to give up the Rosetta stone to the British
British allowed scholars from all over Europe to try to decipher the text on this stone
after 20 years, by ironic justice, a French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion in 1822
enabled archeologists to read other texts and begin exploring the ancient world of Egypt in detail
science owes a large debt to the contribution of European empires
European empires didn't support everything, they supported mostly those projects which they thought could be of use to them
not only practically but ideologically
history, archeology, biology
scientists gave their support to the empires because
they supported scientific research
they were seen as engines of progress
they would bring science and reason to other parts of the world
European imperialism is complicated: it clearly brought both war, famine, racism, slavery, and exploitation, as well as medicines, roads, schools, freedom, liberty, and in general a higher standard of living
1764 British conquered Bengal
richest province of India
new British rulers were interested in making themselves rich
their economic policy in part caused the Great Bengal Famine between 1769 and 1773
10 million people died
the issue of European imperialism is complicated
very powerful
controlled very large areas of the world
did so many things that they provide plenty of evidence for any argument one wants to make about them
due to the alliance with science, the European empires wielded so much power and their activity in so many areas of the world led to so many changes, you can find plenty of evidence of European empires being both extraordinarily beneficial or destructive to the rest of the world, but what we know is that the European empires allied with science for the large part created the world as we know it today including the ideologies which we use in order to judge them
without the contribution of science, it is hard to believe that Europeans could have conquered the world, but the conquerors returned the favor by providing scientists with information and protection, by supporting all kinds of strange and fascinating projects and by spreading the scientific way of thinking all over the world
and without imperial support, it is doubtful that modern science could have progressed very far
and it was capitalism which provided the financial means for both doing science and building empires
without this financial support, Columbus could never have reach America, James Cook could never have reached Australia, and Neil Armstrong could never have reached the moon