History of International Relations

an Open Textbook Project by Erik Ringmar

Welcome …

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to the web pages of the History of International Relations textbook project. This book provides a brief overview of the history of international relations from an explicitly non-European point of view. Europe certainly matters but, as it turns out, not all that much.

I am hard at work on the book but a couple of chapters are yet to be completed. Links to the chapters that are reasonably ready are below. Check out the “research blog” too where I post additional material and updates, and follow the book on Twitter. I tweet on things historical and non-European above all.

I am thrilled that the textbook will be published by Open Book Publishers, in open access format, that the text will be free for everyone to read online or to download as pdfs, but also to buy as a regular book.

Happy reading!

Erik

  • Introduction

    Introduction

    Introduction International relations as the topic usually is taught at the university has next to no historical depth. In an introductory class your teacher might tell you that the basic rules of international politics were established in the aftermath of the Thirty Years War in the seventeenth-century, or you might Read More
  • China and East Asia

    China and East Asia

    Introduction For much of its history, China was the all-dominant country in East Asia and international relations in this part of the world were more than anything organized by the Chinese and on Chinese terms. China itself was an empire, meaning that the country contained a multitude of different ethnic Read More
  • Muslim caliphates

    Muslim caliphates

    Introduction After the death of the prophet Muhammad in Medina in 632 CE, his followers on the Arabian peninsula expanded quickly in all directions, creating an empire which only one hundred years later came to include not only all of the Middle East and much of Central Asia, but also Read More
  • Mongol khanates

    Mongol khanates

    Introduction In the thirteenth- and fourteenth-centuries, the Mongols created the largest contiguous empire the world has ever known. In 1206, Temüjin, an orphan and a former slave, united the many feuding clans which occupied the steppes to the north of China and declared himself “Genghis Khan.” Once this feat was Read More
  • India and indianization

    India and indianization

    Introduction The history of India is long, as long as China’s. The first human settlements here go back some 9,000 years and in the valley of the river Indus — running through what today is Pakistan — the first organized states were established some 5,000 years ago. The city of Harappa is Read More
  • Africa

    Africa

    Introduction All human beings are Africans. It was in today’s Ethiopia, some 200,000 years ago, that the first settlements of homo sapiens were established and from this origin we gradually came to migrate to every corner on the planet. Africa is an enormous continent, occupying a fifth of the world’s Read More
  • The Americas

    The Americas

    Human beings began settling in the Americas some 20,000 years ago. Scholars are convinced that the first Americans wandered across the land bridge which at the time connected Asia and North America — across today's Bering's Strait, between Siberia and Alaska — but there is an abundance of other, far more fanciful, Read More
  • European expansion

    European expansion

    Introduction A study of comparative international systems is by definition a historical study. There are no separate international systems to compare anymore. There is only one system -- the system which first made its appearance in Europe in the late Renaissance and which later came to spread to every corner of Read More
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