The End of Empires: African Americans and India

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Recognizing their common history of exploitation, Horne writes, African Americans and Indians interacted frequently and eventually created alliances, which were advocated by W. Du Bois, among other leaders.

Beyond Gandhi and King: A project traces the solidarity between Indians and African Americans

Based on extensive archival research in India, the United States and the United Kingdom, The End of Empires breaks new ground in the effort to put African American history into a global context. Well-written and amply documented The End of Empires is an original contribution to the little-known history of global linkages between two colored peoples struggling for liberation.

A must-read for anybody interested in the history of race relations. Gerald Horne excavates many layers of African American cultural and social history, the history of colonialism in India, the slave trade, and contemporary South Asian immigration to the United States.

He has created a compelling and original narrative. No one else has come close to telling this story in this way. Few would have thought to use the archives in New Delhi or in Hong Kong to help illuminate the worlds of African-Americans Horne's super book shows us what was, with the hope that if the objective basis exists this kind of solidarity might be reaffirmed. It is a powerful historical and political vision. Horne outlines the mutually beneficial self-interest between African Americans and Indians in the struggle against racism, and how this self-interest not only spanned the oceans, but blossomed through the course of World War II and paved the way for both the Civil Rights Movement and the Indian Independence Movement Horne's book unfolds with insight and skill.

Most black soldiers were scattered throughout the Continental Army in integrated infantry regiments, where they were often assigned to support roles as wagoners, cooks, waiters or artisans. Several all-black units, commanded by white officers, also were formed and saw action against the British.

The legislature agreed to set free slaves who volunteered for the duration of the war, and compensated their owners for their value. Although the Southern states were reluctant to recruit enslaved African Americans for the army, they had no objections to using free and enslaved blacks as pilots and able-bodied seaman. In Virginia alone, as many as black men, many of them slaves, served in the state navy.

After the war, the legislature granted several of these men their freedom as a reward for faithful service. While the majority of blacks who contributed to the struggle for independence performed routine jobs, a few, such as James Lafayette, gained renown serving as spies or orderlies for well-known military leaders. Black participation in the Revolution, however, was not limited to supporting the American cause, and either voluntarily or under duress thousands also fought for the British.

Enslaved blacks made their own assessment of the conflict and supported the side that offered the best opportunity to escape bondage. By the early 16th century, the Aztecs dominated Mexico, especially the southern part. It is believed that the Aztec empire of over 10 million people had a strong military tradition and a well established trading network.

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Merchants travelled through the whole empire, trading as well as serving as ambassadors, spies and sometimes soldiers. The Aztec monetary system was based on cocoa seeds, and the markets were very well organised. More than 60 people came to the market in the capital daily. When the Spanish came to Mexico and saw these markets, they declared that they had never seen anything like it in Europe.

Source: www. The Aztecs were influenced by an earlier civilisation, the Toltecs, who ruled the area between and AD. Toltec workers and merchants taught the Aztecs how to make objects from feathers and gold, how to interpret the stars and how to use a calendar. The Aztecs knew how to restore land from the lake — in other words, to dry up sections of the lake in order to expand the islands. This was done by piling mud onto beds of straw inside wooden fences.

In this way, they also built new land areas. They followed a hieroglyphic writing system, and wrote documents on paper made from tree bark. Documents included tax lists, legal documents, religious texts and historical writings. These documents reveal much about the Aztecs. The modern Mexican flag bears an eagle with a snake in its beak. The symbol comes from an Aztec legend. According to this legend, the gods had promised the Aztecs land they would be able to recognise through the presence of an eagle sitting on a cactus, holding a snake in its beak.

They found the eagle on an island in Lake Texcoco, where they settled. According to another Aztec legend, the god Quetzalcoatl had been defeated by an evil god and disappeared into the eastern Atlantic sea.

Gerald Horne: The End of Empires

He had foretold that he would return from the same sea, leading a group of white-skinned, bearded men, to defeat his enemies. When the Spaniards came from the east, white-skinned and bearded, the Aztecs did not fear them.

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Instead, they welcomed them as their deity and his group of warriors, which made it so much easier for the Europeans to conquer the Aztecs. Who were the Mayans, and how do they relate to the Aztecs? They are often compared to the Romans. They had a complicated hieroglyphic writing and a mathematics system, and their calendar was more exact than the European's calendar. Civil wars and invasions weakened the mighty empire. In around the Mayas were conquered by the Toltecs, who absorbed Mayan architecture, art and religion.

Even later, the Aztecs took over and at the same time took over aspects of Toltec and so Mayan culture. By the time the Europeans came, the grand Maya civilisation had collapsed. All that was left were small groups. These were unable to unite against the European invaders, and the Spaniards conquered the groups one by one. Modern-day Mexico City is situated on the site of the great Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. The Emperor headed a very complex society that was ruled partly by religion and fear. The Aztecs believed they were the chosen people of the gods.

Their chief god was Huitzilpochtli who represented the sun. The victorious sun rose each morning, drove off the moon and stars and captured the daytime sky.

Anti African racism in India

But the sun's victory was short-lived. Each afternoon and evening, the sun sank in tired defeat. For the sun to successfully rise each day, it had to be nourished with human blood. This blood was supplied by victims were captured during war. The Aztecs therefore went to war continuously. Those who were defeated and incorporated into the Empire were never happy with Aztec rule.


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The Aztec calendar had days. It was used more than years before the Gregorian calendar used in our world today and shows the level of sophistication of Aztec science. The Aztec calendar is recorded as a carving on the Aztec sun stone currently on exhibit in Mexico City.

The sun stone is filled with symbols that refer to human sacrifice. At the centre is a sacrificial knife sticking out from the mouth of the central deity and talons on either side of the deity's face which grasp human hearts. The Spanish king sent a general called Hernando Cortes to find the Aztecs. The Aztecs lived in a fertile valley metres above sea level, the water from the surrounding mountains watered their crops, which included maize, cotton, beans and chili peppers.

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The capital was at Tenochtitlin today called Mexico City , a vast city with causeways and bridges and huge stone buildings and temples. Their leader at the time that Cortes and the Spanish soldiers arrived, was Montezuma. Montezuma at first welcomed the Spanish as the Aztecs thoughts they might be holy men, but they were soon to realise this was not so. The Spanish conquistadors were only interested in the gold. Cortes came with 16 horses which the Aztecs had never seen before , 14 cannons, steel swords and crossbows.