Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

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Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Ramlam on Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:42 pm

Throughout history it would seem that European military technology was much more advanced than in other societies. Why is this? One could say it's because of how much time the European states spent fighting each other which led to the development of military tech, but other places have been just as volatile as Europe throughout history and in those places native states weren't able match the Europeans in military tech, nor tech in general.
I find myself deeply intrigued by this and I wonder if anyone could answer me (sorry for my bad English, it isn't my native tongue).


Last edited by Ramlam on Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:45 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : grammar)
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Alexander I (Abraxis) on Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:54 pm

First, I believe it is because of the resources that can be found there. For example, horses were first domesticated near Crimea and major sources of tin were found in Cyprus. But, I believe the more significant reason more advanced military technology was made there was because civilization started there really early, and that there were different cultures with different ideals, which might have caused them to clash with each other.

Either way, this seems intriguing to me.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by EmperorTigerstar on Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:57 pm

Well let us not forget that technology spreads. Europe's imperial empires greatly relied on paper, horse-riding, writing, and irrigation. These inventions and technologies were not invented in Europe, just used by them.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Dinotrakker on Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:00 pm

There's a great book on this I'm actually reading right now called "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond, it tries to answer this exact question. My amateur answer is that humans had more time to develop in Europe than in other regions, putting it ahead of other regions. A new discovery shows that humans may have originated in Europe around 7 million years ago. This gave the first humans time to develop while others had to migrate and then develop once they settled down, leaving them behind the already-developing and already-ahead Europeans. This technological head start lasted until the Industrial Revolution and Information Age, when development could be shared worldwide and everyone got to, more or less, the same technological level, where we are now.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Brusilov on Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:00 pm

I think that it is because so many different peoples and ethnicities live in such a small space.
You see, Africa for example is huge. Thousands of ethnicities, but what's the difference? They're all isolated from each other.
The ones which weren't, stood the test of time. Like Ethiopia for example.
Also, Europe is extremely rich in natural materials, but not only that. The wheel was invented in Europe, writing was invented by peoples near europe. Agriculture first took place in Mesopotamia and quickly spread throughout Europe. The bronze age first started in the middle east and very quickly spread throughout europe.
Innovation was pushed to it's boundries by genius mathmeticians, philosphers and many more.
The difference, is space. Europe's small. Asia's big.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Yamamoto on Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:22 pm

The Europeans just more quickly adopted the technologies they were introduced to, for quite a while they weren't the most advanced peoples, the Arab World and far East were. The major difference that caused the Europeans to adopt these more rapidly was that there was a high population in a confined area with many different factions. These factions were then constantly trying to one up one another in a battle for territory and resources, while in the rest of the world these battles were typically near the fringes of society, not permeating it. This constant struggle for power is what caused the Europeans to so rapidly adopt new technologies, always trying to get an upper hand in whatever conflict they were in, and old habits die hard; once they had caught up with the rest of the world, they still were trying to one up one another, developing new technologies rapidly while standing on the shoulders of giants from the near and far east.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by GeorgeIVofBritannia on Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:30 pm

The Europeans were just quicker than most continents to adopt new technology, if it came from them or any other continent. And if you also had tech advantages over another nation you would become technologically better than them, which is a status most nations will need to be seen strong in both those eras and the modern day world.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Geeked in the Face on Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:01 pm

Well, plop a Millenia spanning Empire, based on staying the best in the world, mostly on one continent and watch as the nations that follow keep that same mentality as they fight each other, using whatever technology they could to get the upper hand.

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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Darth Guilder on Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:15 pm

I'm currently reading a book called Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harrai, and it explains many aspects of humanity and our development. One of the thoughts I've taken from the book is that a combination of capitalism, scientific revolution, and the desire to conquer coalesced in Europe and in the past few centuries this mix has been the perfect storm to drive both military and civilian innovation.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Octagon History on Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:51 pm

Environmental Determinism,Diversity of thought,and Natural selection.

The temperate Zones are New England,The Mediterranean,and lower Manchuria. Those zones are determined to become more successful than areas surrounding them. The only problem is that for a long time New England was lowly populated and isolated. Lower Manchuria was too big and open meaning people could live without conflict. However in Europe the area is actually kinda small. People are forced to live in the same area because everyone wants to live in the temperate zone. Since they had so many ideas in such a small space so they fought and the weak people and ideas were rooted out until some people found this other land called America and checked it out. They brought all the good ideas they had and combined them into one and that's why America is the best.

Also someone said that humans began in Europe when it began In Africa.
Fin
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by leo_the_greatest on Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:09 pm

There are a variety of factors that lead to Europe's development including the presence of the Gulf Stream, having an abundance of natural resources, having limited natural disasters, and being difficult to invade from another region.

The last aspect was very important as the one time foreign invaders made their way into Europe they caused the collapse of the Roman Empire and began the "dark ages" in which Europe was of lower status than the Middle East, India, and China. This almost occurred again with the Mongols, but luckily the great Khan of the time died leading to the foreigners retreating from most of Eastern Europe.

After the renaissance, which was supposedly begun with the help of the Ottomans, Europe began to rise to its former status of superiority through trade, rapid technological development, and the unification of rivaling ethnicities. Through their extensive trade networks, Europe was able to use their newfound technology to colonize and capture territories around the world which solidified their dominance for centuries to come.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Loopdelooper on Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:19 am

The Europeans haven't always been technology advanced. The Agriculture Revolution, one of the most important technological revolutions started in the middle east and not in Europe. The middle east was than far more advanced than Europe. The first script: Cuneiform script, was also invented in the middle east. Another example is Gunpowder, what is also a pretty important technological invention. Gunpowder was invented and used in the far east while the Europeans were fighting with swords. Of course there were also times that Europe was the most advanced, but they haven't always been it.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Big_Appa on Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:24 am

You're mainly looking at the Industrial Revolution. As others have noted European technology has not always been superior.
That said, you're better off asking why the Industrial Revolution happened in Western Europe, specifically beginning in Great Britain. Some reasons include:
1. Geography - An abundance of coal, iron, lumber, waterways, etc, in Europe, specifically GB.
2. Incentive to compete due to a variety of states competing for land.
3. The Scientific Revolution, which is its own conversation.
4. Reforms in favor of the entrepreneurship.
5. Migration from rural areas to urban areas, creating a greater workforce.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Octagon History on Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:27 am

leo_the_greatest wrote:There are a variety of factors that lead to Europe's development including the presence of the Gulf Stream, having an abundance of natural resources, having limited natural disasters, and being difficult to invade from another region.

The last aspect was very important as the one time foreign invaders made their way into Europe they caused the collapse of the Roman Empire and began the "dark ages" in which Europe was of lower status than the Middle East, India, and China. This almost occurred again with the Mongols, but luckily the great Khan of the time died leading to the foreigners retreating from most of Eastern Europe.

After the renaissance, which was supposedly begun with the help of the Ottomans, Europe began to rise to its former status of superiority through trade, rapid technological development, and the unification of rivaling ethnicities. Through their extensive trade networks, Europe was able to use their newfound technology to colonize and capture territories around the world which solidified their dominance for centuries to come.

The Ottomans invaded and defeated the Byzantine Empire which during the fall of Constantinople the Byzantine scholars fled with their transcripts of Classical Greek and Roman works. Which began the renaissance.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by r3volutionr0ck on Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:08 pm

There's a text named The Race Question (hyperlink), from Claude Lévi-Strauss, this is a UNESCO text and can be found for free in the internet. Strauss talks about progress. He describes progress being a "gambling game", the more players the easier the game. Europe for an example several societies for most time battling each other out the game. The Powder it self was a resource made possible by the multiple actors in the game, a chinese weapon brought to europe in the hands of their occupants (Moors and Turks). The powder who took the Constantinople Walls was the same who killed Montezuma in America.

Also, The european culture favors that kind of development. As Durkheim says in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. And of course for last and more important POWDER. LOTS OF POWDER. New continent? POWDER. The rulling king it's against the opium trade? POWDER.

The european continent for a long time was overflowing wars, so they mastered the use of powder, from muskeets to gatling guns to canoons. Having better guns, give you half for what you need for a good army. Having a good army means you can protect yourself and can damage others. By attacking others or you annex then or make him a tributarie. More Lands = more goods. More goods = More trade. More trade = more money. More money = more wealth. The richier the country the better educated he is.

Quick example. The Powder handed America to the Portuguese and Spanish. Look the size of America, American Wood, silver and gold paid for more opera houses in Lisbon than in Lima or São Paulo. For me? Powder is the answer
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by TrueCommunistDoggo on Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:02 am

Everyone is giving such long and detailed answers however I have not seen many people mention the most obvious answer, war. The European nations have constantly been fighting with each other driving technological innovation in order to gain an advantage over their opponents. While this is one of many factors I doubt the technological advantages we see Europe as having in our history would have been possible or as large if Europe had spent the past 3000 years as a peaceful place.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by TrueCommunistDoggo on Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:04 am

r3volutionr0ck wrote:For me? Powder is the answer
I completely agree.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Gildor13 on Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:41 am

In the book, "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers", Paul Kennedy correlates Europe's "success" with their "competitive nature". Because Europe was such an enclosed space, Different nations wanted to "leap frog" ahead of the others both militarily, and economically, looking for any chance they had to run ahead of the competition. One example of this is the North Italian states implementing dirt mounds within their fortifications to make a breach during siege more difficult, or how due to the choppy waters of the Atlantic, Sturdier, more seaworthy, vessels were adopted, leading to prolonged voyages and eventually the discovery of the New World, allowing European Nations to successfully exploit the Resources and Manpower of this "new" continent. However, make no mistake, I do not believe in Environmental determinism, nor do I believe that Europeans are a "superior" Race. I simply believe that enhanced competition created fierce political and technological rivalries, not really seen somewhere like in Ming China at the same time, where only one State ruled a vast part of the continent.

The argument that since Europe was more closely bound, diffusion of ideas was much easier does have its merit, but one must also consider that the same "interconnectedness" is what helped propel the black plague across the continent.

So when one takes into account the different factors deciding European dominance of the world stage, it seems to me that Colonization and Imperialism were the keys to Europe's rise as a cultural, political, Economic and Military hearth.

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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by DavidlVofGeorgia on Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:58 pm

The success of Europe is due to the the adoption of the Nation-state model (which has since become the dominant model around the world).

The model was first created when Christian Popes converted nomads and convinced them to settle into agrarian societies. Europe was successful because Europe was Christian.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Johnnythewizard on Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:50 pm

The book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond answers this question. The best thing I can say is to actually read it, but I'll summarize some key points.

-All domestic animals (except the Llama) along with some of the two most useful crops (Wheat and Barley) originated in the Fertile Crescent. Europe and Asia are both along the same parallel as the Crescent, thus having climates to support these crops and livestock. It was with these crops that Europeans were able to invent things and organize themselves instead of farming all day: Wheat is easy to store and plant, and the livestock provided many useful qualities, including ploughs. As previously mentioned, the only non-Middle Eastern domestic animal is the Llama, which is native to the Andes, home to the Inca. If this theory is true, then the Llama is the secret to the success of the Inca.

-Though gunpowder was invented in China, China had no desire for overseas expansion or innovation, and remained bound by tradition until the 20th century.

-Because Europeans had spent so much time with domestic animals, they had become immune to diseases that the animals carried. However they could still carry these diseases. Native Americans had no such animals, and were susceptible to European diseases such as smallpox.

To learn more you should read the book.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by _Dewey on Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:18 pm

I think it all pretty much comes down to the fact that we're products of our environments. Like for example, the reason so many people flourished around Europe is the fact that they could easily sustain the population, there's rich soil, easy to domesticate animals (like pigs and cows), and resources that you can trade with. In Europe it made sense to build cities where people could specialize and explore, research, trade, etc. as apposed to say, the natives on the prairies.

Where your food source migrates, there's no domestic animals, few resources to trade, etc. There wasn't room for specialization, you're more useful as a hunter to a tribe, than a philosopher. The people around the world where it was less 'civilized' you could say aren't smarter or dumber than their European counterparts. Just less educated, since the environment they lived in didn't promote that.

It's almost like natural selection, but for civilizations. It's like social darwinism but not based on race, or ethnicity. Anyone from an 'uncivilized' place today, put in a 'civilized' place will adapt to that way of life. It's kind of hard to put into exact words in a short paragraph, but just imagine the continent of Europe itself, with its resources and geography, and compare it to say, the Sahara, or the Amazon, and wonder why a civilization would thrive and grow exponentially in Europe compared to the others. It has nothing to do with the people there, or their race or anything, it's all about their environment.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by _Dewey on Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:22 pm

_Dewey wrote:I think it all pretty much comes down to the fact that we're products of our environments. Like for example, the reason so many people flourished around Europe is the fact that they could easily sustain the population, there's rich soil, easy to domesticate animals (like pigs and cows), and resources that you can trade with. In Europe it made sense to build cities where people could specialize and explore, research, trade, etc. as apposed to say, the natives on the prairies.

Where your food source migrates, there's no domestic animals, few resources to trade, etc. There wasn't room for specialization, you're more useful as a hunter to a tribe, than a philosopher. The people around the world where it was less 'civilized' you could say aren't smarter or dumber than their European counterparts. Just less educated, since the environment they lived in didn't promote that.

It's almost like natural selection, but for civilizations. It's like social darwinism but not based on race, or ethnicity. Anyone from an 'uncivilized' place today, put in a 'civilized' place will adapt to that way of life. It's kind of hard to put into exact words in a short paragraph, but just imagine the continent of Europe itself, with its resources and geography, and compare it to say, the Sahara, or the Amazon, and wonder why a civilization would thrive and grow exponentially in Europe compared to the others. It has nothing to do with the people there, or their race or anything, it's all about their environment.
mi

It's also not just geographic environment that shapes a civilization, but the political one too. Like say, in Rome, there was kind of a military technological stagnation, since they didn't really need to develop anything better than their current weapons and tactics. But when you need to adapt or die, like in Europe during both the introduction of gunpowder, and WWI even, there was a huge technological boom in the military because they needed it. Or else they would be destroyed by their enemy.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Federico the Great on Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:52 am

Dinotrakker wrote:There's a great book on this I'm actually reading right now called "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond, it tries to answer this exact question. My amateur answer is that humans had more time to develop in Europe than in other regions, putting it ahead of other regions. A new discovery shows that humans may have originated in Europe around 7 million years ago. This gave the first humans time to develop while others had to migrate and then develop once they settled down, leaving them behind the already-developing and already-ahead Europeans. This technological head start lasted until the Industrial Revolution and Information Age, when development could be shared worldwide and everyone got to, more or less, the same technological level, where we are now.

well i don´t think it is beacause of the time availible, because the Chinese and the north indian civilizations were voth as old, if not more than the european, so it must be because of something other than time, for example, inn Europe no large empire was dominant after the fall of the Roman Empire, therefore forcing the small, compiting states to adopt every meausre that might give them an advantage over others, in order to survive, This led to much more dynamic and proggressive societies than the ones in China or India, where large empires were dominant throughout most of history. Also, Europe has a lot of coastline in relation to its landmass, allowing a seafairing society to develop. And last, but not least, Europe is longer from east to west than from north to south, so the ground is pretty much the same everywhere. That allows agricultural innovations made in, say, Lyons to be used in Kiev, and viceversa, making technological advances much more worthwhile and universal. I haven´t read much on the topic, so don´t take my word for granted Razz
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by Cold War Communist on Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:29 pm

I wouldn't say it was more advanced. I would say it boils down to being advanced in the right way at just the right time...

There are a number of ways things could have gone wrong (and have gone wrong) in history. Arguably European nations would not have been able to adapt technology as quickly if it arrived at the wrong time.

And since the topic came up, one of the issues I have had with Guns, Germs, and Steel is that technology and resources don't develop in a vacuum. My point is, they can be adapted fast once they appear by everyone who takes advantage of it. I don't think the book covers the idea of societal or cultural values well enough with regards to assimilating new technology or ideas (and this is absolutely not to be nterpreted as one culture or people being inferior to others).
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

Post by CptCrape on Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:57 am

Europeans don't invent technology, they just make it far better.

Powder Rifles? Machine Guns. Sail Ships? Steam Ships. Horses? Cars. Cavalry? Tanks. Cannons? Artillery. Paper and Pencil? Well, just look at what your writing on right now.
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Re: Why was European technology more advanced than in most other societies

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