Become a member and get access to larger maps by subscribing to Euratlas-Info.

Hisatlas Explanation

Hisatlas-Web: Explanation, by Joaquín de Salas Vara de Rey


The history of political organizations can be explained by following the evolution of the following principles:

1. REGAL POWERS (Royalty Puissances). They have been dominant in the formation of political societies throughout history according to the monarchical principle. Accordingly, any history textbook or historical atlas shows their evolution and, therefore, they are not part of our project.

2. COMMUNAL POWERS (federations and/or republics). They are the privileged object of our project which tries to describe this underground trend of history poorly treated in history textbooks. It is a trend in which the subjects freely self-constitute themselves politically. In the evolution of these powers we can distinguish two stages:
2.1. Communal stage, strictly speaking, that includes the Phoenician trading cities, despite their monarchical form of government; the Greek poleis; the Roman Republic; the Icelandic 'things'; the communal leagues and trading and maritime republics of Italy; the perpetual charters of the Swiss valleys and cities; the network of imperial or trading cities in Germany (Hanseatic League) or the Boards and Merindades in the Basque Country and northern Spain.
2.2. Provincial stage, representing an intermediate step between the small area of the commune and the modern state. We can mention here the Generalities of the United Provinces of Netherlands; the leading role of the counties in shaping the English parliamentary political system or the same role, but reduced, of the provinces represented in the Cortes of the Spanish monarchy through the cities with recognized representation, and finally, the townships and the New England States.

3. REPUBLICAN POWERS. The principle of the “republican union”, no longer confined to a small geographical area and without the necessity of an earlier nation, triumphed in America, first in the United States and later in the emancipatory project of the provincial councils and deputations in Latin America.

4. NATIONAL POWERS (the nation-state and the national principle). With the French Revolution was established the nation which cancelled in one single blow the role of the Crown and of the cities in the forming of political organizations. The following stages can be distinguished:

4.1. Imperial stage, which is conceived on two levels:
4.1.1. The European core inaugurated by the Napoleonic Empire, that was the culmination of the French Revolution; the British Empire built through the implementation the "indirect rule", which was also practiced in the Dutch colonial empire, and the French and German colonial empires of strong metropolitan and purely administrative centralism. Africa, Arabia and the Pacific would be the areas where the European Imperialism was deployed.
4.1.2. The imperial periphery. With the Ottoman Empire, the Chinese and Japanese ones and to a lesser extent, the Persian Empire, as examples of old political structures, were modernized and were allowed to assimilate the European model in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

4.2. National stage (nation-state). The political unification of the German and Italian nations in the nineteenth century, understood as political identities around a language, a race, a culture or a religion, was transmitted as a model throughout Europe and its empires. The history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and of the Balkans is the endeavour to be a nation with aspiration to empire (in the case of Serbia or Bulgaria) of each ethnic group liberated from the old empires.

4.3. State stage. The exaltation of the people or the nation around the state institution, and the consideration of this as a perfect and total governance system centered on the social class or ethnicity, gave rise to the two most rigorous models of ideological and social control of all times: Socialist Russia and National Socialist Germany, both, State Socialism or Socialization of State, at the hypothetical service of a pure class or ethnicity.

With the process of independence of the European colonies following the national principle, this project would be finalized, leaving open and unresolved the future way in which the human collectivities will organize themselves. The nation is no longer the essential, but residual, constituent principle and the commune seems not to be a sufficient framework to make a history that is deploying globally.