Land tells a story of conquest
DISPUTES over land or territory are a cause of wars – international, national, regional, tribal and even familial.
Political history is full of the counter-trends of unification and fragmentation of nations. Thus, in the past century, Europe has undergone the unification of many nations and the subsequent conglomeration into political blocs, such as the Soviet Union.
This been followed by their disintegration and the re-establishment of the previous nationalisms. It is uncertain whether Europe will disintegrate or continue to conglomerate.
The same piece of land in Europe could, accordingly, change nationality, reflecting conquests and occupations.
The most interesting case of stability is found in England. In 1085 William the Conqueror decided to carry out an inventory of all the land.
The result was the formidable “Domesday Book”, a vast project recording ownership of every piece of land. Amazingly, it was produced in about a year, handwritten and without GPS.
It became the official record, principally as a source of revenue, payable to the king. The book gives the lie to the popular misconception that “medieval” means slow-moving and inefficient.
In Africa the demarcation of territories is largely the legacy of colonialism.