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"Anna Boghiguian: The Loom of History": Woven...


My name is Anna Boghiguian and I am exhibiting the Loom of History. The history of the modern World changed completely with the age of “exploration” and “discovery” when Imperialism and Colonialism opened their doors. Dutch, Portuguese, French, Spanish, and English invaders entered lands previously unknown to them to find raw material they could trade. In the 16th century the Portuguese Vasco de Gama, the first European to sail to India, brought pepper back to Europe, breaking the monopoly of Arab and Venetian spice traders.

On the European market of Venice cinnamon, clove and nutmeg were sold by Arab merchants, many from Yemen. As the prices of these spices were very high the Portuguese as well as the Dutch wanted to know their sources, thus they followed the traders and forced Malay pilots to lead them to the islands of Banda in the Maluku archipelago in Indonesia. The Portuguese entered into trade in the Banda Islands but when they wanted to create permanent trade, they were driven out. With the price of nutmeg greater than that of gold, the Dutch came and took over all the islands, capturing and torturing any Bandanese who resisted, and making the survivors slaves and forced laborers. The British held Run, one Banda island, and after conflicts between the Dutch and the British, the two came to an agreement that in exchange for full control over the Banda islands the Dutch would give the British New Amsterdam, a trading port for furs. In the past the Dutch had had difficulty finding settlers to live permanently in New Amsterdam, so they had initially taken slaves there to become permanent settlers. In New Amsterdam, slaves were auctioned at a market near Wall Street and Pearl Street. The slaves built forts and settlements, and built the wall from which Wall Street takes its name.

Over 12 million slaves were brought to the New World by British, Spanish and Portuguese traders. In their slave ships, they debased human life, and the ill or weak were thrown into the sea because for the shippers it was more lucrative to collect insurance on their cargo. Slaves were sold and forced to work in the cotton plantations and those of sugarcane and tobacco in Virginia. After the discovery of the spinning jenny and the cotton gin, production became faster and the demand higher, and more slaves were brought to work in the fields, and more cotton was shipped out to Europe.

The Industrial Revolution made it possible for machines previously made with wood to be made with steel and iron. Women and children worked in spinning factories in Manchester and Lancashire, cotton was received in the port of Liverpool where the price was set for the whole world. A German by the name of Friedrich Engels gave an account of the condition of the factory workers in Manchester and how poor they were. The city was dirty and unsanitary, the workers worked long hours from sunrise to sunset.

In 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln called for all the ports of cotton shipment in the South to be closed. The closure shifted the cotton trade to Egypt and India but also affected mill towns like Lancashire when Liverpool cotton traders suspended trade. Lancashire had been importing 3/4 of the cotton grown in the southern US, but mill workers took a stand of solidarity against slavery and stood by the embargo, even at the cost of their own income and wellbeing.

Although many have written that the Industrial Revolution bettered the standards of living, Engels proved the contrary was true. Bourgeois society benefitted from the Industrial Revolution but many poor were exploited. He met Marx, a student of Hegel, in Paris, and convinced him that the working class would be the instrument of the final revolution.

In many ways the slave trade and textile industry between the British and the United States led to the creation of the ideology of communism, which through implementation in Russia became conflicting or opposite to the “democratic” system of the United States, a conflict between two economic superpowers.

"Anna Boghiguian: The Loom of History": Woven Winds
"Anna Boghiguian: The Loom of History": Woven Winds