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!


  • 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
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