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Old June 11th, 2018, 11:55 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Bart Dale View Post
Yes, the CIA may not have helped matters, but you are deluded if you think that if hadn't been for the CIA, Ghana, Nigeria, or other African countries would have tne same living standard as Europe, or even China or India. While the African countries might not be quite so desparately poor, they would still be poor by world standards.
1. "You are deluded if" is a pretty over the top way to address someone who is simply pointing out a massive error and huge misrepresentation in someone else's posts. I have no interest in that style of conversation.

2. It is not simply that "the CIA may not have helped matters". They literally conspired to destabilize a country, and this had disastrous effects, some of which I have already mentioned (there were others, such as increasing ethnic tensions in that country, but that's another issue).

3. Nobody mentioned the CIA doing anything to destabilize Nigeria. Stop conflating Nigeria with Ghana. They are totally different countries. It does not work at all to just casually group them together on this issue of development, since the differences between the two just go on and on. For example, Ghana has one majority larger ethnic/cultural group (which is somewhat unusual in Africa), the Akan people, so ethnic tensions, although they exist, are much less severe and are less of an issue there when compared to Nigeria. Just that alone is one very major difference. I am not and was not making some sort of generalized argument about "the CIA destabilized all African countries" or some similar claim and it is a misinterpretation of my posts to try to place them in that light.

A country like Nigeria, for example, does not and did not need CIA intervention to be destabilized, it was already unstable from the get-go.

4. You don't know what a country would or would not have done in the absence of hugely negative intervention from outsiders. It makes no sense to assume a country would fail to develop at a decent pace when we have no idea what would happen in some alternate reality that we do not have access to. And the main thing that I found absurd was the claim that Nkrumah was not focused on developing his own country and that is what I objected to strongly. I made no specific claim about knowing exactly how Ghana would turn out compared to the most developed countries today, so do not misrepresent my posting.

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But it is most unlikely that Nkrumah would have brought Ghana up to world standards. It must be pointed that Korea had a long history of advance civilization - the first metal type for printing was made in Korea.
No, no one has any idea whether it is "most unlikely" or not. This is just pretending to have some deep insight into what was going to happen in that particular country without any basis.

And as I already stated, what we know is that the British and Dutch were impressed when they visited Asante, at a time when those countries (the UK and the Netherlands) were among the most advanced nations in the world. They didn't walk into some near empty wasteland or barely developed wilderness there at all, but instead came across something quite the opposite - a thriving state. This is why, for example, a French merchant who was held as a (generally well-treated) prisoner in Asante for four years could write in the 1870s in his journal of his observations that:

"The Ashantis. . .revel in any industrial work. It is here that their characteristic taste distinguishes itself: as much as they find the work of the earth to be so valueless, so great and noble do they find an industrial occupation. This is the cause of the amazing progress that the Ashanti has made in arts and industry. . ." - Marie-Joseph Bonnat

I do not know what western European nations thought of the contemporary Korea of the time (19th century) but that is not the issue here when talking specifically about the different approaches taken by people to South Korea's dictatorship vs. Nkrumah's administration. The level of western aid and support that South Korea received is also an important factor, and that is even more important than what Goguryeo or Baekje or Silla was doing thousands of years ago.

After all, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Austria, Iceland and a bunch of other countries in Europe do not have a history of "advanced civilization" which is as long as that of Korea, yet we know that we do not determine how it is that they are doing so well now by simply extrapolating from how advanced they were or were not in 200 B.C. We look at how they've done over the last two or three centuries instead.

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However, Communist leaders often had a poor success rate at developing their country, no matter how sincere their desire to do so. There is no comparison between Communist Germany and Korea and non Communist Germany and Korea in economic terms. Ghana still would not be a paradise even if there was no intervention. Thqt it might be better off is an unknown.
Nkrumah was not a communist. If you actually think he was then then you do not understand what I posted.
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Old June 12th, 2018, 12:20 AM   #32
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"The Ashantis. . .revel in any industrial work. It is here that their characteristic taste distinguishes itself: as much as they find the work of the earth to be so valueless, so great and noble do they find an industrial occupation. This is the cause of the amazing progress that the Ashanti has made in arts and industry. . ." - Marie-Joseph Bonnat
About the value of the "work of the earth" it should be noted that while Bonnat may have been unaware of the magnitude of Asante's trade in agricultural products with countries much further north (because Bonnat did not go further north within the Asante state to see that trade being carried out), some other European visitors and writers were well aware of that trade and noted the "immense" volume of the kola trade with countries further north.


Edit: Also, I should have stated above that the Akan people constitute a significant plurality of the population of Ghana (nearly 50%), not an outright majority, but the import of the point is still the same.

Last edited by Ighayere; June 12th, 2018 at 01:31 AM.
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Old June 12th, 2018, 02:11 AM   #33
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1. "You are deluded if" is a pretty over the top way to address someone who is simply pointing out a massive error and huge misrepresentation in someone else's posts. I have no interest in that style of conversation. 
I appologize for the term "deluded". It was not the proper term to use.

But I got the wrong impression you thought that if it hadn't been for the CIA, Ghana today would be enjoying a living standard as high as other countries such as South Korea, and that seems rather unlikely. Although Ghana would have been far better of if tne CIA hadn't gotten invovled I will concede.


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2. It is not simply that "the CIA may not have helped matters". They literally conspired to destabilize a country, and this had disastrous effects, some of which I have already mentioned (there were others, such as increasing ethnic tensions in that country, but that's another issue) 
And perhaps the country could have destabilized anyways even without the CIA.

According to Wikipedia, the Akans, although they are by far the largest ethnic group, still made only 47.5% of Ghana's population, not even an outright majority. And Muslims make up some 18%. Plenty of potential for division to come about without the CIA.

Although that does not excuse the CIA for their actions. If as you say, then the US owes Ghana an apology and compensation.



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3. Nobody mentioned the CIA doing anything to destabilize Nigeria. Stop conflating Nigeria with Ghana. They are totally different countries. 
My mistake, I apologize. You had included Nigeria with Ghana in your post, and I misunderstood.


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4. You don't know what a country would or would not have done in the absence of hugely negative intervention from outsiders. It makes no sense to assume a country would fail to develop at a decent pace when we have no idea what would happen in some alternate reality that we do not have access to. And the main thing that I found absurd was the claim that Nkrumah was not focused on developing his own country and that is what I objected to strongly. I made no specific claim about knowing exactly how Ghana would turn out compared to the most developed countries today, so do not misrepresent my posting. 
You don't know what would have happened either, Strongmen, dictators often generate opposition that could have still torn the country

I misunderstood that you were just responding to someone who made inaccurate claims about Nkrumah.

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No, no one has any idea whether it is "most unlikely" or not. This is just pretending to have some deep insight into what was going to happen in that particular country without any basis.

And as I already stated, what we know is that the British and Dutch were impressed when they visited Asante, at a time when those countries (the UK and the Netherlands) were among the most advanced nations in the world. They didn't walk into some near empty wasteland or barely developed wilderness there at all, but instead came across something quite the opposite - a thriving state. This is why, for example, a French merchant who was held as a (generally well-treated) prisoner in Asante for four years could write in the 1870s in his journal of his observations that: 
That the British and Dutch were impressed does not mean tney thought the Asante were their equals, or had a civilization compaeable to their own. Compared to what they expected to find they were quite impressed. A thriving state does not mean that the Asante were on the same level of civilization. 14th century England was a thriving state, but no where near the level of 19th century Britain

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"The Ashantis. . .revel in any industrial work. It is here that their characteristic taste distinguishes itself: as much as they find the work of the earth to be so valueless, so great and noble do they find an industrial occupation. This is the cause of the amazing progress that the Ashanti has made in arts and industry. . ." - Marie-Joseph Bonnat

I do not know what western European nations thought of the contemporary Korea of the time (19th century) but that is not the issue here when talking specifically about the different approaches taken by people to South Korea's dictatorship vs. Nkrumah's administration. The level of western aid and support that South Korea received is also an important factor, and that is even more important than what Goguryeo or Baekje or Silla was doing thousands of years ago. 
The Japanese had been modernizing Korea before WW2 when it was a colony of Japan. While the level of aid was vital, I think it helped that Korea was already more developed than Ghana was at independent. Literacy in Korea was starting at higher level, for example, and those kinds of things are almost as important as aid.

Quote:
After all, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Austria, Iceland and a bunch of other countries in Europe do not have a history of "advanced civilization" which is as long as that of Korea, yet we know that we do not determine how it is that they are doing so well now by simply extrapolating from how advanced they were or were not in 200 B.C. We look at how they've done over the last two or three centuries instead. 
By the 13th century or earlier, Swedn, Denmark, Finland, Austria, Iceland and other European countries were integrally part of a civilization that had roots in ancient Classical civilization. Writing was well establishe, to a far greater extent in Europe of the 14th century than Ghana of the 19th century. By the time the Europeans visited Ghana, they were several centuries ahead:

In Europe, already in the middle ages there was an extensive use of labor saving machinery such as windmills and watermills. In the 11th century Doomsday Book, there were more than 5,000 watermills listed in England alone.

Even in Medieval Europe, signs of writings were everywhere - on tne coins people used for their daily business, on the windows and doorways in the local churches, on crosses, etc. Charters and wills were written documents, and tnat the Magne Carta was a written document shows the importance of writing. Even in Iceland, we find the extensive use of writing. Much of what we know of pagan Germanic mythology and myths come from medieval Icelandic manuscripts. Writing played a far more crucial role society in even Medieval Europe than even 19th century Ghana (Asante Kingdom). How many universities did the Kingdom of Asante have? What universities did the elites of the Kingdom of Asante attend in the 18th century? Not trying to criticize, just want to show that long before the slave trade and the arrival of the Europeans, the peoples of Ghana lagged behind in some key areas.

Even with 50 years, there is a lot of catching up the people of Ghana had to do. Nothing wrong with that, we all have to start somewhere, and it took centuries for the Germans and the European peoples outside the Roman empire to develop a civilization that was comparable to the other world's major civilizations.

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Nkrumah was not a communist. If you actually think he was then then you do not understand what I posted.
I am sorry I gave that impression I though he was a communist. But even with good intentions, you can sometimes can produced bad results. Nationalizing industry can sometimes have negative consequences, and if Nkrumah was taking the communist money and resources, he might have eventually wound up taking their advice as well, which often was bad when it came to the economy.
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Old June 12th, 2018, 02:51 AM   #34
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I'll respond to some of that post tomorrow, when I'm less busy, but for now, just about this:

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That the British and Dutch were impressed does not mean tney thought the Asante were their equals, or had a civilization compaeable to their own. Compared to what they expected to find they were quite impressed. A thriving state does not mean that the Asante were on the same level of civilization. 14th century England was a thriving state, but no where near the level of 19th century Britain
We are talking about economic development, not whether they thought the Akan were their "civilizational equals". This thread is about poverty after all.

What they found was a state that was thriving economically and that is quite relevant to this discussion about poverty. The fact that the Akan hadn't achieved the level of achievement in some important fields that the Dutch and British had achieved does not change the fact of the economic situation of the area being quite positive as attested directly by observers.

Also, though this is less important, it is not simply that they were only impressed "compared to what they expected to find". The descriptions from some 19th century European observers show that some of them were just out and out impressed with what they saw, period.
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Old June 12th, 2018, 04:30 PM   #35

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I once came across a list of institutions, factories, infrastructural projects, etc. that Nkrumah initiated and/or completed during his time as Ghana's head of state years ago when I was looking through some posts on a Ghanaian forum. I eventually had to start checking the items on the list to see if it was really legitimate (it was) because the list was so varied and impressive. Just that list (putting aside the other important things that he did for Ghana) made basically all of his successors as head of state look like useless incompetents (which some of them were, and they would not have been heads of state without Nkrumah being overthrown).
Please, can you share this list? I'm interested.
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Old June 12th, 2018, 10:38 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Ighayere View Post
I'll respond to some of that post tomorrow, when I'm less busy, but for now, just about this:

We are talking about economic development, not whether they thought the Akan were their "civilizational equals". This thread is about poverty after all.

What they found was a state that was thriving economically and that is quite relevant to this discussion about poverty. The fact that the Akan hadn't achieved the level of achievement in some important fields that the Dutch and British had achieved does not change the fact of the economic situation of the area being quite positive as attested directly by observers.

Also, though this is less important, it is not simply that they were only impressed "compared to what they expected to find". The descriptions from some 19th century European observers show that some of them were just out and out impressed with what they saw, period.
The importance is that if the were starting from a less advanced position, they would have had a lot further development to catch up. Up until the mid-19th century, the difference in living standard betweem the most advanced and the least advanced wasn't that great. Most people were what we consider poor in all societies.

What happened in the 19th century is living standards shot way up in the most advanced societies, greatly widening the gap between the most advanced (Western countries and later Japan as well) and the less advanced countries. The definition of poverty was redefined, a country regarded as poor today might be considered fairly well off in previous centuries. The Europeans may have been actually impressed, but coming upon it after going through trackless jungle, flr example, could flavor their impressions. Like if you put you hand in ice cold water, then luke warm water, the luke warm water will feel warm, almost hot, not just luke warm.

Impressions are subjective and not always accurate. If you look at the facts, they tell a different story:

1. Did the Asante have a history of making complex machines like clocks?
The skills in making complex machinery the Asante did not have, and that was important to make and operate tne machines of the industrial revolution.

2. What was the literacy rate of the Asante kingdom? How many printing presses did they have, how many paper mills? How much paper did they import, and how many books at the time of the European visitors?

3. How many miles of roads, canals did the people of Ghana have? What was tneir transportation network like, especially for heavy bulk items?

4. What was their use of labor saving machinery like, windmills, watermills, etc?

5. Did Ghana mine coal? What shipping or road facilities did they have to transport large quantities of fuel from outside if they had to import it?

Ghana may have been havd been prosperous by standards of the past, but did it have the foundations to create the prosperity of the standards of modern times of the later 19th and 20th century. If Ghana didn't have all the items I listed above, they had a long way to go to catch up.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 12:24 AM   #37
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Please, can you share this list? I'm interested.
I would have already posted a link to it but I no longer have it. I have seen a few similar lists online now of the developments that Nkrumah was responsible for in Ghana but they do not seem to be as comprehensive as that one was.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 11:15 AM   #38

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You are actually placing Nkrumah alongside Mobutu. Incredible. As I asked you last time, why even repeatedly write about Africa when you don't take the time to study it seriously? To try to reduce Nkrumah to a Mobutu type of figure is just beyond absurd.
I believe he was an overrated leader. And? the opposition to him admitted CIA support, and that his rule had many atrocities. I never equated him exactly with Mobutut, this is foolish I agree. But he did towards the end of his rule become more autocratic.
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Nkrumah was trying to industrialize his country, and that was why he had some closeness with some Soviets. It wasn't some sudden love of communism or a belief that it was some perfect economic system that made him open to working with some of them. They were just a more advanced country in many areas of development so there were some things to be learned from them.

In reality, Ghana was part of the Non-Aligned Movement under Nkrumah - a direction that he and like-minded Ghanaian politicians had deliberately steered the country in - and was not in any risk of turning communist at all. Some aspects of Nkrumah's actual ideological views are laid out in his book Consciencism. He was no communist, nor were his so called "links to Russia" so great as could possibly somehow justify (even in the Cold War context) some other country's intelligence agency conspiring to overthrow his government by manipulating the most debased, ignorant, wretched, and lowly elements of the Ghanaian population and its armed forces.

And yes the CIA can be blamed. This is literally a case of a group of uninformed hooligans in fancy suits in an office somewhere conspiring to destabilize a country. The disastrous period of Ghana's military rule - a period which saw the country's economic fortunes decline so massively than an entire 1 million Ghanaians had flocked to Nigeria by the early 1980s looking for better economic opportunities - was much worse than anything the Ghanaians suffered due to any of Nkrumah's economic failings.

As for Nkrumah's paranoia and his becoming dictatorial. He became paranoid and started building up his own private bodyguard and taking other dictatorial actions because he suspected that some people were conspiring against him and out to undermine his government, which in fact, they were. People were indeed out to get him, as the coup later proved. The coup did not just spontaneously happen out of the blue in 1966 when they had the economic excuse of the cocoa issue to use as a justification. There had been other signs years before before that, and obviously some of these had not gone unnoticed by Nkrumah and his allies.


https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePa...ary-1966-99926


https://www.pambazuka.org/governance...-50-years-back

It is interesting that when a South Korean dictator (Park Chung-hee) develops his country (with significant western aid as well), with no regard for democracy, almost everyone everywhere can later simply admit what an important role that leader played in industrializing that country. Yet when a Ghanaian politician launches his country on a path towards industrialization, and starts to take a dictatorial approach in response to actual conspiracies against his government and as a response to the risk he sees of division and dissension retarding his country's way forward, he gets demonized by the usual crowd.


I once came across a list of institutions, factories, infrastructural projects, etc. that Nkrumah initiated and/or completed during his time as Ghana's head of state years ago when I was looking through some posts on a Ghanaian forum. I eventually had to start checking the items on the list to see if it was really legitimate (it was) because the list was so varied and impressive. Just that list (putting aside the other important things that he did for Ghana) made basically all of his successors as head of state look like useless incompetents (which some of them were, and they would not have been heads of state without Nkrumah being overthrown).


But let me guess, you got your information about Nkrumah from some silly British TV show ("The Crown")?

https://qz.com/1179193/netflixs-the-...d-the-soviets/

Netflix is now a source of history, right? Because if it isn't this Netflix garbage, it is very hard to see how one could get some strange idea about Nkrumah not focusing on developing his country or having such deep links with the Russians and communism that he could somehow be justifiably be overthrown by anti-communists. Is the propagandizing ever going to end? After over 200 years, isn't it enough? Take a break for once.



As for the notion that "Nigeria is not perfect", that is not merely an understatement, but such a severe downplaying of the level of failure that is going on there that it is almost comical. I could write quite a lot about why Nigeria is much worse than just "not perfect", but I know it would be a waste of time and not affect anything in reality. And Nigeria is not failing because of the existence of Boko Haram. That is a superficial approach. It is not that Nigeria is failing because Boko Haram exists. On the contrary, Boko Haram could thrive as it had because of the extent of Nigeria's failure, and the country had been failing well before they became prominent. But to even get into the issue of Nigeria and its situation is going to have me wasting time here writing book length essays which isn't a productive use of my time.
It seems despite being abashedly educated, you lack the capacity to read tone, and select only brief points from prose to suit a subjective bias.

Ghana's military rule actually helped stablise the country. Fmr. President Rawlings was an army general, who did stablise things as military leader. He won two elections in the modern democratic state, and was lauded as an example of sound democratic leader. It's not as black and white as you cite.

And no, Ididn't base it entirely on Netflix. It's my honest view based on Nkrumah's record, that he had grand ideas but was a bit misguided.

As for South Korea, well the Korean war, and the Kims just to the north (and China and USSR not that far away) were a factor. The West needed a friendly buffer state in the region. The Korean War stil technically exists, since no formal peace treaty was ever agreed. No such Cold War or geopolitical basis can exist for Nkrumah.

I don't know enough about Nigeria fully, but I do know like Ghana that since it has reverted to full liberal democracy, it has made some progress. But you can continue to read into things, despite being intelligent and learned.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 11:20 AM   #39

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The importance is that if the were starting from a less advanced position, they would have had a lot further development to catch up. Up until the mid-19th century, the difference in living standard betweem the most advanced and the least advanced wasn't that great. Most people were what we consider poor in all societies.

What happened in the 19th century is living standards shot way up in the most advanced societies, greatly widening the gap between the most advanced (Western countries and later Japan as well) and the less advanced countries. The definition of poverty was redefined, a country regarded as poor today might be considered fairly well off in previous centuries. The Europeans may have been actually impressed, but coming upon it after going through trackless jungle, flr example, could flavor their impressions. Like if you put you hand in ice cold water, then luke warm water, the luke warm water will feel warm, almost hot, not just luke warm.

Impressions are subjective and not always accurate. If you look at the facts, they tell a different story:

1. Did the Asante have a history of making complex machines like clocks?
The skills in making complex machinery the Asante did not have, and that was important to make and operate tne machines of the industrial revolution.

2. What was the literacy rate of the Asante kingdom? How many printing presses did they have, how many paper mills? How much paper did they import, and how many books at the time of the European visitors?

3. How many miles of roads, canals did the people of Ghana have? What was tneir transportation network like, especially for heavy bulk items?

4. What was their use of labor saving machinery like, windmills, watermills, etc?

5. Did Ghana mine coal? What shipping or road facilities did they have to transport large quantities of fuel from outside if they had to import it?

Ghana may have been havd been prosperous by standards of the past, but did it have the foundations to create the prosperity of the standards of modern times of the later 19th and 20th century. If Ghana didn't have all the items I listed above, they had a long way to go to catch up.
there are many ways to define advancement.

What was Britain's literacy rate in 1750? or France's? France's may have been lower since it was still a feudal society then. Asante didn't mine coal, since coal doesn't exist there. but it did mine gold, and had goldworking on par or better than Europeans.

Politically, it was a feudal-esque system, but there were no serfs, and the royal family and chief positions were based on a descended lineage. So whilst being King (or Asantehene) was closed to many, everybody had opportunitiesto trade or travel. This is a lot more than most of Europe in the 18th or 19th centuries. Only Britain, possibly the Netherlands and the German states, could say the same.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 02:37 PM   #40
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there are many ways to define advancement.

What was Britain's literacy rate in 1750? or France's? France's may have been lower since it was still a feudal society then.
for this one question posted once already Why are former western colonies still undeveloped?

the table was originally posted by Guaporense in another topic

Click the image to open in full size.

since then i looked after the source of the original estimates from R.C Allen's The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective (2009) p 53 and the author's comment on it:

Note: Data for 1500 are estimated from rural–urban breakdown.
Rural population assumed to be 5 per cent literate. This is suggested by later data from Nalle (1989, p. 71) and Houston (1988, pp. 140–1, 152–3) for Spain, Wyczanski (1974, p. 713) for Poland, Le Roy Ladurie (1974, pp. 161–4) for Languedoc, and Graff (1987, p. 106) for England.
Urban population assumed to be 23 per cent literate generalizing from Grendler’s (1989, p. 46) estimate for Venice in 1587 that 33 per cent of the men and 12.2–13.2 per cent of the women were literate for an overall average of 23 per cent.
The proportion was of the same order in Valencia (Nalle 1989, p. 71), among the nobles and bourgeoisie of Poland (Wyczanski 1974, p. 713), and perhaps a bit lower in fifteenth-century London (Graff 1987, p. 106). The small urban shares in countries besides Spain and Italy at this time mean that the urban literacy rate had no discernible impact on the national average.
Data for 1800 are fuller for the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and include: Nalle (1989), Houston (1988), Graff (1987), Cressy (1980, 1981), Fraga (1990), Grendler (1989), Ruwet and Wellemans (1978), Wyczanski (1974), Francois (1989), Furet and Ozouf (1977), Gelabert (1987), de Vries and van der Woude (1997), Park (1980), Chartier (1987), Cipolla (1969), Kuijpers (1997) and Larguie (1987).


...

now around 1750 it could be slightly lower both in England and France but I wouldn't expect much difference (around 50% in England and somewhere around 30-35% in France?). Of course your question was about Britain... that could modify the data, also if we include the whole UK, i doubt literacy was too high among the Irish who made up almost half of the population of the UK in 1800 (and were still majority Gaelic speaking?), so including them i only guess the combined literacy rate could be somewhere between 30-40 %, around the same level as France?

Last edited by Tulun; June 13th, 2018 at 03:19 PM.
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