The Reality of the Great British Empire, Part 2: What We Did in Our Colonies
Updated: Jan 4
This post is the second in a series of 3. Read Part 1: 'Standing on the Shoulders of Slaves' here.
TW: Discussions of racial discrimination and violence.
I've been thinking a lot recently about colonialism. Having spent a lot of time immersed in and engaging with Latin American culture, I've seen it as a prominent theme coming through especially in the arts, including identity reclamation songs such as Calle 13's Latinoamérica. As a collective, Latin America is an obvious example of how a people have had to construct and reconstruct an identity out of a colonial past that has irrevocably shaped the formation of its culture. Yet what I've come to realise when looking at British colonialism is that we, the British, rarely see our former colonies in the same way.
In my previous post, I reminisced a little about my school days. As I said, we spent about 6 weeks on the British Empire, but there wasn't really much about slavery which was, of course, a huge part of it. The other thing we didn't exactly spend much time on was what actually happened to the people in the places we colonised. It's strange really, looking back it sort of feels like the history we were taught in school has forgotten those people - after all, the focus of the British Empire was the British, right?
It's kind of mad how easily Britain glosses over what we've done wrong in the past. Sure, it's not been all bad - pretty sure telling Hitler to 0121-do-one was a good move - but that, unfortunately, doesn't really make up for some pretty bad stuff. Even if we don't realise it, our history actually has quite a significant effect on how we view the world now. According to a recent YouGov survey, 32% of people thought that Britain's empire was something to be more proud than ashamed of, and a further 49% were unbothered or not really sure. Personally, my own view of it has been shaped a lot by period dramas and films, and it's always seemed like Europeans living in colonies were sort of on holiday and that the local people weren't really bothered or affected by them but unfortunately, that was not the case at all.
In order to make some attempt at exploring the reality of what life was like under colonialism and how places have been changed as a result, I've picked out three places to look at a little more in-depth. I have also asked a friend I know from each of those countries to provide their own thoughts on the question, "How has the British colonial past of your country affected its present?". So without further ado, let's have a little explore of what we did in our colonies...
Trade between Britain and India started in the early 1600s after the infamous East India Company was founded. The company primarily traded spices, tea, cotton, and opium, but in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey between Britain and Bengali forces plus their French allies, the company's private army started taking Indian land. As this was part of the Seven Years War (fought over Austrian succession and therefore it involved European colonies too), the military was then able to take territory relatively easily, either through direct conquests or through using the land of allied local rulers (take a look at this video for more). Over the second half of the 18th century and the early 19th century, British rule steadily expanded over the Indian subcontinent through the company. After the suppression of India's First War of Independence in 1857-8 (or the Sepoy Mutiny as it is more commonly known), the British Raj was declared, meaning that India became an official subject of the crown.
The subjugation of the Indian people didn't entirely happen in the way you might imagine. The British were able to maintain control because they made treaties with a lot of local rulers and princes who benefitted greatly from British rule, and so the British had the Indian military at their disposal too, but the main reason was more social than political. There's a lot of debate amongst historians as to whether the British created social divides, exacerbated existing ones, or both, but either way, the divide and conquer strategy worked. A lot of this was to do with religion, playing on the divisions between Muslims and Hindus and further pitting them against each other through creating separate electorates in local elections (1909), and of course, the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan. In the more secular areas of life, the upper classes were educated in English schools, and Indians were encouraged to aspire to work with institutions like the civil service and the army, thereby effectively ruling over their fellow Indians and heavily reinforcing class divisions. It is doubtful, however, that any real power was exerted by these higher ranks, and even the seemingly powerful princely classes were still subject to British rule.
Restrictions in daily life for most people were as you would probably expect them to be. Curfews were imposed, and there were parts of cities that were strictly out of bounds for Indians. Perhaps one of the worst areas was the justice system, which almost always favoured the British party if one was involved. Even if the British party was guilty, getting an Indian judge presiding over your case didn't necessarily help this given the very real possibilities of bribery, falsification of evidence, fear of repercussions, or just a plain bias. If you want to see how this may have looked, then I highly recommend Channel 4's drama Indian Summers. It's a fictional storyline, but they've done an excellent job of highlighting what life was like for Indians during the 1930s, and gives a lot of attention in particular to how the judicial system worked, as well as the civil service.
Health, in particular, got significantly worse under the British - life expectancy dropped by 20%, and in 120 years of British rule there were 31 famines. It is estimated that there had only been 17 in the previous 2,000 years. By the time independence was achieved in 1947, over 90% of the Indian people were living below our modern poverty line, life expectancy was 27 years old, and only 16% of the population was literate.
One aspect of the Raj that the British are often praised for is the introduction of the railway, which obviously was a major boost to transport infrastructure. In spite of this, the glaring negative impacts cannot be ignored. Though it was British shareholders who initially invested in the railways, their returns were paid for out of Indian taxpayers' money. To make it worse, Indians were not given jobs in staffing the railways even as signalmen, and in 1912 it became illegal for Indians to even manufacture locomotives to ensure that British manufacturers continued to reap the profits from the exportation of their own locomotives to India. On top of that, Indian travellers were shoved into the extremely bare environment of third class whilst the British had the luxury of the first-class carriages all to themselves...until of course keeping an all-white first-class became 'economically impractical' and that rule was abolished.
By far the worst thing about the railways, however, is that they were the site of countless murders. During the Partition of 1947, migrants were moving between India and newly-formed Pakistan, generally based on religious divides as mentioned above. The pre-existing issues arose once more, and between 1 and 2 million were killed in the resulting conflict, many en route to their new homes via train. And yes, the British knew. And yes, they did nothing. Even the establishment of the railways came out of an intention to exploit India as much as was humanly possible. The networks were initially built to transport exploited resources such as coal, silk, cotton, and tea around the country more efficiently for both internal use and outside trade. Including those exploited resources and everything else, Britain stole the equivalent of $45 trillion from India, which is just over £33 trillion at the current exchange rate.
Something I've found really interesting recently has been chatting with Nayha, a close friend of mine from India about British colonial rule there. I asked her to send me a few thoughts of her own about how it has affected what the country looks like today:
"The British rule brought with itself an imposition of Western concepts of law and order, modern bureaucracy, communication, transportation, and the education system which eventually lead to a cultural hegemonizing of an entire nation. This control allowed the British to maintain their power and superiority over the Indian subcontinent as India underwent rigorous Westernisation. As a result of the cultural imperialism, the colonialists came to be viewed as Elites, and elements from British culture were incorporated into everyday life by Indians who aspired for social mobility and access to British privilege of education and governance. Unsurprisingly then, the English language became the main tool that allowed social mobility and still remains so in the present day. However, it has evolved from its role during the British rule and in modern India: knowing the English language has become an indicator of one's social class, educational background and determines their employment and social privilege.
While the British rule allowed for the rise of the concept of India as a 'nation' and united an entire population of the subcontinent against their rulers, in later years India struggled to situate that very identity away from the British. Against British rule, the notion of India as a motherland arose and Indians started identifying themselves as belonging to the same mother, the same nation. However, once the British rule ended, India struggled with maintaining a steady foothold as the British restructured the Indian subcontinent skilfully and severely. Their divide and rule policy resulted in the separation of the two strongest religious groups in India – The Muslims and the Hindus, birthing their enmity which caused the separation of the nation, thousands of deaths in riots, and has become one of the central tactics of the government. Due to controlled activity, restrictions, and the advent of a new culture, the British managed to create social structures that would over time only evolve and deteriorate the languages, cultures, and structure of the Indian society."
To some people, Ireland perhaps seems a strange choice to include in a blog on British colonialism but given the extent of our mutual past, it is, in fact, an extremely relevant place for this post to be exploring. To be honest, the history between Britain and Ireland is so long and complicated with so many wars, invasions, and rebellions that it could easily be a blog post all by itself, so for the sake of not making this post an hour-long read, I'm going to condense the history a fair bit.
It may surprise many of you, as it did me, to find out that the English first invaded Ireland in 1169. This was initially the result of an alliance made between the English barons and the recently-dethroned King of Leinster, Dermot MacMurrough, to try and get him back in power. However, the capture of places such as Wexford, Waterford, and Dublin during the initial invasion laid the perfect groundwork for Henry II to send a fleet in 1171, with which he sailed into Waterford and declared it a royal city. From that point he basically assumed control and the English slowly expanded over a lot of Ireland, bringing the feudal system into effect with them.
However, it wasn't until the early 1540s in the time of Henry VIII that the Emerald Isle came under the official rule of the crown after skirmishes resulting from Henry's break with the Catholic church. The seizure of land continued with the rules of Elizabeth I, the ultimate serious resistance to which was the Nine Years' War. The Irish side was led by Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and several other Ulster chiefs who fought to keep their land, which was the last unconquered part of the country at that stage. In 1601, however, the Battle of Kinsale was lost to the English, and after an Irish surrender in 1603, O'Neill and the other earls left Ireland. Elizabeth's successor James I then seized the properties belonging to Irish nobility, which essentially marked the end of any remaining Gaelic socio-political structures. 75% of the seized Ulster lands were given to the Protestant English and Scottish settlers who then established plantations, while the Irish who had previously lived there were cleared and a system of segregation was put in place. Known as the Ulster Plantation, this created and cemented a vast divide which we still see the effects of today in Northern Ireland. The highly discriminatory Penal Laws brought in by Oliver Cromwell in 1641 served to further solidify English rule by aiming to dispossess the remaining Catholic gentry, who owned only 5% of the land by 1776.
As we might infer from all of this, the takeover of Ireland was much more of an internal thing. Given the way that the seizure of land started in the 12th and 13th centuries and gradually carried on down the years, I think it's reasonable to assume that the English became a lot more integrated into Irish society than we ever did in places like India. What this doesn't mean, however, is that Irish customs were adopted by the newcomers, quite the opposite, in fact - they tried to eradicate it.
A large part of this was the Irish language. In 1367, The Statute of Kilkenny made it illegal for English colonisers to speak Irish, and for the Irish to speak it when interacting with an Englishman, then in 1541 it was banned completely within the English-ruled areas. Although its speakers managed to keep it alive as a majority language in spite of the laws, it was completely taken out of the school curriculum in 1831, which certainly brought its status down to that of a minority. This was hugely exacerbated by the huge number of people who left Ireland during the Great Famine of the 1840s and 1850s, taking their language and culture with them. It was reincorporated into schools in 1878, but only as something that could be optional once students had already learned the 'essentials': English, French, Latin, and Greek. Before 1981, there wasn't even an authorised Catholic Bible in the Irish language.
You cannot talk about the history of British-Irish relations without talking about the Great Famine. In 1845, a fungus-like infection spread across Irish potatoes ruining half of the crops for that year, which was disastrous given the huge reliance on potatoes in the Irish diet at that point. Over the following few years, the infection persisted, ruining 75% of the potato crops. The aforementioned Penal Laws had been abolished by this time, but many Irish Catholics were still living as tenant farmers or plantation workers and were forced to pay rent to the Protestant landowners. Though the Whig reforms of the late 1830s did curb things like landlord powers, it was a slow process and by the time the famine hit, there were still many living in some pretty dire conditions. After petitions from the Irish leaders, Parliament agreed to repeal the Corn Laws in 1845, which until that point had put tariffs on grain, which made products like bread much too expensive. However, this didn't offset the potato problem, which continued to develop.
After this, you would think that any exports from Ireland would be allowed to stop for a while and that their benevolent British rulers would send help, right?
Think again. Britain continued to import huge quantities of food from Ireland throughout the famine years, and it is believed by historians that imports of things like livestock and butter even increased. The government sent no food as relief. About 1-2 million people emigrated to places like America, and another million died from starvation and related illnesses. To this day it is one of the worst recorded famines in history.
During the 19th century, definitely accelerated by the horrors of the Great Hunger, the movement for Irish independence began to gain traction, culminating in the Easter Rising of 1916 when there was an all-out rebellion in Dublin. Conflicts with British military forces resulted in 2,000 dead or injured, and after a British victory, the leaders of the rebellion were promptly executed and more than 3,000 suspected supporters were arrested, 1,800 of whom were sent to England and held there without trial. The Easter Rising had little public support at the time, but the severity of the British reaction swayed many and by 1918, the republican party Sinn Fein gained the majority of Irish seats. The Irish Free State was declared in 1921, which became the fully independent Irish Republic in 1949.
However, it doesn't end there. Northern Ireland, as you will know, is still part of the United Kingdom, and the long-standing conflict between Catholics and Protestants, unionists and republicans, is still causing so much hurt and damage. To try and explain it all would be a whole other blog post in itself so I'm going to let you research it yourself if you want to (I encourage you to if you don't know much about it), but there is no doubt that the majority of the origins of the associated suffering lie firmly in the hands of British colonialism. My good friend Megan, who is from Northern Ireland, has kindly agreed to share some of her perspective on the modern consequences of British rule there:
"Speaking only for myself, growing up in Northern Ireland is a paradoxical and conflicting experience. We seem to have a reputation for being a ‘complex issue’... all of the histories, politics, religions. Most know about Northern Ireland because of the Troubles, and most would describe it as a Protestant-Catholic conflict. The effects of the Troubles have long been talked about by various many people, far better than I could. We still see key players of ‘both sides' in our government or as friends of our MLAs (NI MPs), we see the so-called Peace Walls (huge, metal contraptions that divide communities), the Murals that commemorate the heroes and hostages of the conflicts, the ongoing community efforts to bring two sides together, the fear of paramilitary tactics resurfacing, and the growing tension with every decision made by Westminster for Northern Ireland.
It is incredibly easy to think of all these things as the result of the last 50 or 100 years - fairly recent history, fairly recent politics, all things considered. But Northern Irish history did not start with the official split of the North and the Republic. And ‘peace tactics’ designed to smooth everything over have not worked because they do not acknowledge that the conflict is not of two sides of the same country battling each other, but a result of colonialism. Conflict in Northern Ireland is between those who feel Irish and those who feel British, not simply over religion. Religion, like language, customs, and education, is a marker of culture and upbringing. The emphasis on ‘protestant vs catholic’ is one done by those who colonised Ireland to reduce the devastating impact of colonisation - and it has worked. People still wear their denomination as a badge of honour in fights, talk as if their denomination is the basis of their being, spurred on by those who fought the ‘good fight’ against their neighbour. This is the biggest thing I reflect on when thinking of Northern Ireland and is part of what makes the experience of NI so hard to put into words. Having lived in England for the past few years, it’s also incredibly easy to remain distant from anything to do with Northern Ireland. England rarely reports on anything that happens... I find that unless I ask family or friends, I don’t know protests have broken out, buses petrol bombed or people hurt. So much history and tension have been reduced to only colonialism’s most recent impacts, leaving Northern Ireland ignored and overlooked."
Last but not least, we come to Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia/Southern Rhodesia. Although there had been centuries of Afro-European contact before the 1800s, 1884 was a pivotal point. At the Berlin Conference, the leaders of Europe sat down together and divided up the continent of Africa between themselves, the primary goal of which was to gain access to unexploited raw materials like gold, timber, and rubber. Thus began what is now known as the 'Scramble for Africa' - by 1914, only Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia) and Liberia remained independent.
In south-central Africa, diamonds were the main prize, and one of the companies set up to mine and trade them was the De Beers Company, started by British businessman Cecil Rhodes in 1888. A firm supporter of British imperialism, Rhodes saw it as his duty to do his part in expanding British rule: ‘The more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race.'. In the same year, he approached Lobengula, the king of what was then Matabeleland, Mashonaland, and surrounding territories and as part of the treaty they signed (known as the Rudd Concession), Rhodes was granted exclusive access to mineral rights within Lobengula's territories in exchange for money and weapons, as long as no colonies were established. Using this as a foundation, in 1889 Rhodes obtained a royal charter for the British South Africa Company (based on that of the East India Company), which aimed to promote the colonisation and economic exploitation of south-central Africa. However, it didn't then take long for Rhodes to break the terms of the treaty he'd made with Lobengula. In 1890, he sent what he called the ‘Pioneer Column’ - 200 civilians escorted by more than 400 paramilitaries from the BSAC police - into Mashona territory where they established the settlements of Fort Salisbury and later, Fort Victoria in Matabeleland.
3 years later, the BSAC got the opening they had been looking for - an excuse for a conflict. A refusal from a Shona chief to pay tribute to Lobengula provoked him to send out warriors and put down the dissent, but when the colonial forces at Fort Victoria claimed authority to settle disputes and the Matabele warriors refused to recognise that authority, it sparked the First Matabele War. Long story short, the BSAC forces won, not least because of their maxim guns, a predecessor of the modern machine gun. By the end of 1894, Lobengula had died from smallpox, and the majority of his remaining forces made peace with the British, allowing them to take over the rest of what would then be named Rhodesia. Despite a second war with the Matabele and continued resistance from the Shona, the BSAC consolidated control under Rhodes' leadership and Rhodesia became a white settler colony.
Due to the distance between Fort Salisbury (the Rhodesian capital, now Harare) and London, the colony's governance relied on keeping steady alliances with local African leaders who would quash any resistance on their behalf. Unsurprisingly, however, their most effective tool for keeping the people under their control was a complex hierarchical and racial segregation system, not unlike the apartheid system employed in South Africa. Through the concept of 'citizenship', white settlers were given almost exclusive access to urban areas, and so the non-white population was kept away from civil power and forced into specific areas of the country as far as possible. The only Black people who were regularly allowed into white urban areas were those who worked in white households as servants, or those making deliveries. By 1922, 64% of the Africans in Rhodesia were living on reserves, and a lot of the farmland there was significantly less arable than the land given to white farmers. A restricted number of Black Africans were allowed to keep property and vote, as long as either that property had a minimum value of £150 or they had an annual income of at least £100, but this of course was not the case for the majority. This financial assessment was also accompanied by an English language ability test, further playing on and cementing the socio-economic divides within the Black population.
You might think that keeping urban centres exclusively white would have been enough for the British, but it wasn't. In the early years of the 20th century, heavy taxes were imposed on Black Africans and much of the land they did have was taken away which meant that many, especially those who had previously been self-sufficient farmers, were forced to look for waged work in the colonial economy - factories; mines; white-owned farms. There were also laws put in place that forced many of the Matabele and Shona to sign long-term contracts which bound them to work in labour camps. In 1951, the Land Husbandry Act made all of this worse by establishing a legal requirement for permits in order to graze cattle, whilst also restricting the size of farmlands and uprooting families, often entire villages.
Everyday restrictions for the Black African community were as you might expect. Curfews were enforced, and a system of passes was introduced in order to control and restrict movement - those who were found to be in restricted areas, etc. without a pass given to them by an employer or white citizen would be brutalised. Black people were not allowed into hotels or cinemas, etc. (basically wherever white Rhodesians might want to be) and the restaurants that did allow non-whites in had separate rooms. The Black servants of white households were allowed to shop and run errands for their employers in white areas, but most shops would provide their goods through hatches in the wall so that white shoppers would not be 'disturbed' by any non-white presence. On top of that, verbal abuse towards Black Africans was commonplace.
Culturally, the notion of 'whiteness' was taught to every Rhodesian as something to aspire to, especially those who were in the upper classes. In his article 'Colonialism Had Never Really Ended', Simukai Chigudu refers to the memoir of Peter Godwin, who describes meeting a group of Black students at a majority-white élite school - their conversation, accents, and general aspirations were all about emulating 'whiteness'. Chigudu even admits that though he obviously resented racism, he himself still "aspired to the cultural capital of whiteness".
By far the vilest thing to come out of British colonialism in Zimbabwe, however, was the heinous abuse of human rights committed by the white authorities against the Black community, ranging from unreasonable detainments to beatings to outright murder. The constitution had basic human rights written into it, but it also stated that these could be ignored in the interests of 'public interest'. In this video, Newton Kanhema speaks about how his father was imprisoned in literal chains for 10 years for supporting the idea of 'one man, one vote'. This concept was in no way against the law but he was detained anyway. In terms of the segregation of prisoners, although race was not the official basis for it, people were divided between grades 1, 2, and 3, depending on the standard of living they were used to, meaning that race was still a determining factor. Those in grade 1 (Europeans) would receive better food, space, and treatment, whilst those in grade 3 (Africans) would receive the worst standards of those amenities, and they were rarely allowed to have visitors. Kanhema and his family were only allowed to see his father within a limited period of 2 weeks, during which he witnessed him being severely beaten by the prison guards, who were fully aware that the whole family was watching. There are very few records of this kind of thing (there has never been any official action taken to bring perpetrators to justice), but there is no way that Kanhema's case was unique.
Tendai, a Zimbabwean friend of mine, kindly agreed to share his perspective on how British colonialism shaped his home country. I wasn't able to include all of it here, but if you'd like to read everything (please do, it's excellent) then I've attached it in a document at the bottom of this post. This is just a part of how Britain's colonial rule has affected modern Zimbabwe:
"...This brings us to the primary legacies of colonialism in Zimbabwe. The first one is, like almost all of the Empire's darker legacies, almost completely untaught in Western schools (because that is just what institutional racism does). You see, Robert Mugabe wasn't actually a major leader in Zimbabwe's liberation struggle. Zimbabwe's great leaders and future Presidents in the making - our Nelson Mandelas, Thabo Mbekis and Cyril Ramaphosas if you like - were mostly assassinated by racist Rhodesians or died in Rhodesian prisons. Imagine if an entire generation of the UK's future leaders were assassinated by Hitler. Imagine if Lloyd George, Churchill, Clement Atlee, Thatcher and Tony Blair had all been killed before their time, leaving Britain with Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage as the best leadership it could manage. That is what happened in Zimbabwe. And that is how you end up with overeducated authoritarians like Robert Mugabe filling the gaping power vacuum. So colonialism robbed Zimbabwe of an entire generation of great post-colonial nation-builders. That is why what happens today in Zimbabwe is a direct legacy of colonialism. And it is also why honouring racists like Cecil John Rhodes at Oxford University is an insulting celebration of the racist regime that worshipped him (hint: they named their evil white-nationalist apartheid state after him for a reason!).
Here's a second legacy of colonialism that you will almost never hear about - that post-colonial leaders simply copied the brutal colonial templates that were modelled by the British Empire. There are many examples I could give including how African leaders like Robert Mugabe have copied the British Empire's ethnic "divide and rule" playbook to destroy native identities they perceived as dangerous and control populations. But one more novel one that you will definitely not know is the notorious Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), which is known and feared for its history of orchestrating abductions and rampant human rights abuses. Now, remember those future Zimbabwean leaders who were assassinated by the Rhodesians? Well, those murders (and the subsequent cover-ups of those murders) were committed by an organisation that was conceived by the Rhodesians in the 1960s called (you guessed it!) - the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). Whether it is the British CIO that was the template for ethnic discrimination by the CIO in Zimbabwe, or French/Belgian brutality which was copied to commit ethnic cleansing and genocide in Rwanda - institutions built on discrimination and racism will always produce discrimination and racism far into the future because they were built to outlive their creators.
A couple more. Not only did colonialism rob Zimbabwe of its future, colonialism robbed Zimbabwe of its past. The result is that Zimbabwe as a nation has suffered with a hollowed-out identity that will yet take a number of generations to rebuild. This is the case across Africa to this day, and it is almost never taught that Africa's civilisations outside Egypt were some of the most advanced in the world. And indeed, many European nations still hold plundered African heritage in their museums as their property under the continued belief that white institutions are intrinsically more capable of preserving and caring for precious African artefacts than black ones (institutional racism anyone?)..."
Now, of course, none of this means that the places Britain colonised had no problems before we arrived - no place is perfect and they undoubtedly all had their fair share of problems before the British took over, and we certainly cannot say that no issues would have ever arisen if it weren't for British rule. However, that is not to say that colonial rule did not do a huge amount of damage. We cannot know exactly what would have happened without it, but I think it's time we owned up to exactly how much wrong we've done.
I'll say more about the relevance of this in the final part of the series but for now, I'll leave you with this. Facing up to our colonial past is important because so much of the hurt that colonialism caused has not been recognised by us as the guilty party. Colonialism is not the only cause of cultural and racial discord today, but it has played a huge part in it, and the fact that it has gone unrecognised means that people's pain has gone unrecognised, which is fundamentally not right.
Read Part 3: 'Why Does it Actually Matter Today?' here.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or if you'd like to guest-write for The Classicist with an Atlas then I'd love to hear from you - you can get in touch via the form on the Contact page or on Instagram @theclassicistwithanatlas.
I would like to thank Nayha, Megan, and Tendai for each of their contributions to this post as without their unique insights, it would most definitely be incomplete. There is so much more to the stories of each of these countries that I wasn't able to include for want of making this post an hour-long read at least, but if you want to do some further research for yourself or see where I gleaned my information from, feel free to look at the links to the sites I used in the document below, and do give Tendai's full contribution a read as well.