The American Empire Encyclopedia (work-in-progress)

For some time now, I’ve been extremely interested creating something of an encyclopedia documenting all instances of the United States’ imperial adventures.  Specifically, I’ve been interested in countries in which the U.S. either overthrew a democratically-elected government, or countries in which the U.S. helped to keep an existing brutal dictatorship in power despite democratic opposition.

That the U.S. regularly overthrows democratically-elected governments should come as no real surprise to most people who are literate and somewhat familiar at all with global history.  However, in all my searching, I have never found a single exhaustive source which compiled all instances of U.S. imperialism along with proper academic citations for future reference, so I have taken it upon myself to try to get together such an admittedly ambitious collection of information.

So far, my highly incomplete tally has resulted in the creation of this map:

The U.S. and International Democracy: Incompatible?

The problem is two-fold:

#1) I would like to create a ‘clickable map’ so that readers can click on each highlighted country and be brought to a page detailing important dates, information, credible academic sources and possibly even direct quotes and page numbers.

The problem here is that I have little to no experience with html code and am unable to find good programs to generate such a ‘clickable map’ of the data on the American Empire.

#2) This project would obviously be much richer if it were structured as a “wiki” for all like-minded people with an interest in this subject to be able to contribute.

Now the problem here is that I’m not sure of the best way of going about accomplishing this task.  I’m considering switching this blog out of wordpress.com so that I can host it myself, but does anybody here know anything about ‘wiki’ software and hosting said software on a wordpress.org blog?

Can any kind soul help me with these problems?

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25 Responses to “The American Empire Encyclopedia (work-in-progress)”


  1. 1 Calybos 30 July, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    I don’t know about the wiki-technical side of things, but these pages have some useful resources on U.S. military interventions in other nations over the past century or so.

    http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/project.jsp?project=us_interventions_project

    http://www.zmag.org/CrisesCurEvts/interventions.htm

    http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/KillingHope_page.html

    And here’s an interactive-globe type of site that does something similar:
    http://www.rethinkingschools.org/just_fun/games/world.html

  2. 2 Scott 30 July, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    Wish I had useful things to say about the technical issues, because this sounds like a worthwhile project…good luck with it and I look forward to seeing it!

    (I might also suggest some sort of adjunt to it that concentrated specifically on historical Canadian complicity in empire…)

  3. 3 paulitics 30 July, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    Scott – I definitely share your interest in Canadian complicity in U.S. impirical adventures (especially our involvement in Haiti). I think there’d definitely be a place for such content in my American Empire Encyclopedia.

  4. 4 Alison 30 July, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    Great project. Sorry, no techs.
    If it wouldn’t complicate matters too much, it would be useful to include the names of companies who provided cover for invasions, like United Fruit

  5. 5 E.Abbink 31 July, 2007 at 12:53 am

    a. To make your image clickable you have to come up with a client-side imagemap. You can find more information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_map

    b. I like your idea of turning the site into a wiki (although you also might have trouble with people messing it up). I don’t have any experience, but if allow me to give you the following advice: keep your blog separated from this new project. This way you can have the best of both worlds.

    I don’t have any experience with setting up a wiki but maybe I can help. TWiki looks like a good candidate for a free wiki.

  6. 6 Emily 31 July, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Cool project. Maybe you could collaborate with these folks! http://www.worldmapper.org/

  7. 7 Christie 1 August, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Hey Paul, long time no talk to!! I don’t know very much about wiki (read as I know nothing about wiki) however I’d be able to make your map clickable and uploadable here using a source of your chosing (html, flash, vb, etc.)

    Integrating into wiki is something I’m sure I’d be able to figure out, I’m really good with that sort of thing.

    Let me know if I can be of service!

    (In case your not sure which Christie this is, the number 66 may jog your memory :P)

  8. 8 Christie 1 August, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Update: I think something like this http://hectorcorrea.s27.dotnetsql.com/dotwiki/ would be pretty easy to use. I can program with .NET and most C derivative programs so any wiki that uses this shouldn’t take much to get used to.

    (Clearly this being out of school thing isn’t working so well, I’ve had a real job for barely two months and I’m already looking for new side projects!)

  9. 9 paulitics 1 August, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    Christie – I figured that’s who you were. It’s great to hear from you. I’m actually going to e-mail you to talk more about this because I’ve got lots of questions.

    Thanks again.

    Paul

  10. 10 Louis 16 August, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    I’m working on a U.S. crime list. Right now I am reading about Nicaragua. If you ever need help with this section, you can contact me with this.

  11. 11 Mark 24 September, 2008 at 1:20 am

    You may be happy to learn that MediaWiki, the technology that powers Wikipedia, is actually open source and freely available for your project.

    I implemented this package as one of my company’s internal project management tools, and was quite pleased by both how easy it was to install as well as use.

    If interested, check it out here:

    http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki

  12. 12 Jerome Nabban 28 September, 2008 at 4:56 am

    Japan should also be included on this map. Although it is an independent democratic country it is still a US-occupied territory. 47,000 US troops are stationned in Japan.

  13. 13 my name 11 October, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    jerome Japan is not Us occupies the US has all of its troops on one small island with debates underway on america to leave only a few of these countries were ever really ruled by america

  14. 14 Saif uz-Zaman 16 November, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Is it safe to say that B.O. will continue the American Empire, or just modify it in such a way that less people will be aware of it? I for one am really afraid of his record popularity. This is not because I am a racist (for verily I believe that all humans are equal, whether Black or White, whether African or Eurasian, whether Latin American or gringo, whether Australasian or Polynesian, whether Arab or not) but we must do what the Honourable Dr. King warned us to, “judge them (people) by the content of their character.” Please remember that even though GWB was probably one of the worst presidents in American history, we must be sincere to our belief against American imperialism. We simply can’t bash Bush without worrying about the hopelessness or lack of change that Obama seeks to keep you distracted from. That would be serving the Demoncat (sic) Party. I’m not a Demican (sic) or a Republocrat (sic); I’m just a concerned human being that fears how democracy is being subverted by an elite group of people who seek to destroy democracy. By the way, Obama’s just another power-hungry politician from Chicago’s corrupt Democrat machine. How else do you think he got there? Remember to think critically, to care for your fellow mate, to love thy neighbour, to thank God for having created you, to be an independent politique, and don’t be brainwashed by the media no matter what nonsense they peddle through manic-depressive drugs, a self-serving news, and sub-standard education. I warn you NOT to betray the noble cause of Noam Chomsky and Alex Jones by becoming an opportunist in a renewed era of imperialism sans Republican presidency that follows you in the upcoming year. Be a moralist, a rationalist, and an activist – and never sacrifice your beliefs!

  15. 15 paulitics 18 November, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Saif uz-Zaman,

    I think the question that started off your comment (“Is it safe to say that B.O. will continue the American Empire, or just modify it in such a way that less people will be aware of it?”) is perhaps the most important question all progressives and anti-imperialists need to ask themselves. I share your concern that this is something that progressives and anti-imperialists are sadly not asking themselves in the face of Barak Obama’s towering popularity right now.

    I don’t know if I have an answer for you because predicting the future is inevitably a mug’s game. That said, if I had to guess based on Obama’s position toward strikes in Pakistan and his past affiliation with the right wing DLC faction of the Senate Democrats, I would have to guess that he will likely modify it in such a way that less people are aware of it.

    I would argue that historical precedent suggests that my prediction is also the most likely outcome. The British Empire did not end because the British decided that they had a moral obligation to end it. The Ottoman Empire did not end because they decided to end it. The Roman Empire did not end because they decided to end it. No empire ever ends of its own volition. Empires have to be put down and I highly doubt that Barak Obama will be the first person to break that more than 3000 year trend in the history of empire collapse.

    But that’s just an educated guess.

  16. 16 mamad 30 October, 2009 at 3:18 am

    are you sure iran is a part of american empire too?

  17. 17 Endless_Nameless 28 March, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    This is a great project!

    I always thought about the consequences of colonization and direct interventions. Great to know that you are going to to this with the USA.

    One question: germany should not be in the map, also?
    Intervention to change goverment: Check
    Rebuild of country: Check
    Control of economy for some time: Check

    What scare me is that if this map was made for the UK, it would be easier if you marked tha countries that does NOT have some reason…

    Yeap, my country, Brazil, is here! Good! I think support for military dictatorship, and information exchange (we learnt and we taught a lot of things to the north-americans) on torture methods are a good reason…

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