How Europe Conquered the World
a Single-Minded Focus on War .... between 1492 and 1914, Europeans conquered 84 percent of the globe .... Why and how did Europe rise to the top, even when societies in Asia and the Middle East were far more advanced? ..... the Europeans were the first to industrialize, and they were immune to the diseases, such as smallpox, that devastated indigenous populations ..... fails to explain Europe’s colonization of India, since the Indians had similar immunity. Industrialization also falls short as an explanation: the Europeans had taken control of more than 35 percent of the planet even before they began to industrialize ....... the incentives that political leaders faced in Europe—incentives that drove them not just to make war, but also to spend huge sums on it .... In China, for example, emperors were encouraged to keep taxes low and to attend to people’s livelihoods rather than to pursue the sort of military glory that obsessed European kings. ...... The huge sums of money showered on fighting in Europe gave military leaders the flexibility to buy new weapons and battleships and try out new tactics, fortifications, and methods of supply. In the process, they learned from their mistakes and improved their technologies. ......
Without a single-minded focus on war and the extraordinary ability to tax, there may never have been any European empires..... In the late eighteenth century, per-capita taxes were 15 times higher in France than in China, and 40 times higher in England ..... Europe’s military lead continued into the nineteenth century. Tax revenues rose as Europe industrialized, and the innovations from the Industrial Revolution—applied science and engineering—made it possible for Europeans to improve their technology not just by waging war, but also by conducting research, which magnified what the Europeans learned on the battlefield. ..... Europe’s ability to tax was no small achievement. China could not raise equivalent tax revenues, even in the nineteenth century. And countries in sub-Saharan Africa today still lack the basic capacity to tax, which keeps them from providing security and other basic public goods to their citizens. ..... the Dutch East India Company .. the first business to issue tradable shares of stock. ..... Western Europe .. centuries of warfare by bands of warriors whose leaders resembled modern-day warlords. .... “no object, thought, or profession but war.”