Europe and the World
The British Empire history has significantly affected the course of world history. English language now dominates the world and has become the lingua franca of world institutions as well as literature and technology. The French and English cultures now dominate the world cultures in industralization and life style and cultural and legal institutions. The Francophonie of about 57 countries and Commonwealth of about 60 countries, comprise much of the world that is moving towards a unified world of institutions, including the United Nations. The last 300 years marks the domination and leadership of European culture with their extensions in Canada and the United States.
Rivalries of European powers, particularly between France, England, and Germany were played a dominant role in the conflicts between these powers and the colonies were dragged into these conflicts particularly in the First and the Second World Wars. In France Joan of Arc was tried in Rouen, France,then occupied by British and she was executed at the age 19 for liberating France from England and she was burnt at the stake after an unfairly conducted trial on 30th May, 1431. She was tried under for “insubordination and heterodocy” in an Ecclesiastical English Court with trick questions posed in cross-examination. She is a heroine in French history who helped Charles VII to be crowned as the king in France. Britain and France as Europeans have been allies and enemies for centuries. The conflict between the two nations was also played out on Canadian soil and resulted in the victory of Britain at the Plains of Abraham near Quebec City in Canada on 13th September, 1759 which changed the history of Canada. In Canada this conflict continues in the arguments over use of language and Bloc Quebecois which votes as a separate party in the Federal politics.
The conflicts of the major powers of Europe, being Germany, France, and England is being resolved with the unification of Europe with the formation of European Common Market with Russia being somewhat of an outsider. The rest of the world was embroiled in their conflicts through colonization and particularly India. The twentieth century wars were called the First and the Second World War which were essentially European wars and which included Russia. Japanese did fight on the on the Asian front and were defeated by the US atom bomb in 1945. These wars cost 80 million lives of people around the world. The moral guilt for such huge loss of life which is unprecedented in the history of civilizations and should really be shared by Europeans who brought the colonies to the war involuntarily and sacrificed millions of their lives for the European causes. Accordingly, the First World war should be named First European War and the Second should be renamed Second European and Japanese War.
The British history has made positive contribution to the development of world culture and it includes a significant milestone in the separation of political power from religious authority and ethnic affiliation. This conflict grips much of the Middle East and many parts of the world today and which has resulted in highest level of migration of refugees in world history. In Great Britain the separation of religious power happened in the time of Henry the VIII in England around 1500 AD when he broke off from the dominance of Rome and Pope. Although the Queen is the head of the Church of England today, the authority of the Church of England is exercised thorough Archbishop of Canterbury.
The British Empire in its heyday occupied almost a third of the world, It was said that the sun would never set on the Empire as there was always a colony where sun shone. Suez Canal was built by a private French company in 1869 and later taken over by the British. It played a significant role in connecting Britain with its most important colony, India, then called the British Raj. Prior to the Canal British men travelled around the South African Cape of Good Hope to India and married Indian women, leaving behind almost a million Anglo Indians. At the tail end of the Empire period, in 1956, President Gamal Nassar nationalized Suez Canal prompting French, Israeli and British to invade Egypt. The canal was damaged and stopped traffic for a few years. United States with its history of revolution against English rule, opposed the invasion, and Lester B. Pearson of Canada mediated the resolution of the conflict and a treaty was signed allowing passage through the canal by all nations. The canal reopening is mentioned in this novel.