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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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And it is not the coincidence that Europeans were able to leverage power over Mughals - it is an aspect of why the European organization was better
Mughal Empire was about to start a massive collapse when the British first tried even "leveraging" them. Emperor Farrukhsiyar (who granted EIC tax and production rights in a few cities in Bengal delta in return for personal bribes) is widely regarded as a stupid monarch, who was only put there as a puppet of two powerful imperial court members (Sayyid brothers, the assassins of the previous emperor). Born as a low-ranking prince never expected to rule, he became the puppet emperor under their regency and proceeded to mismanage everything until most of India was in a series of rebellions, Mughal military was dysfunctional and divided, and the stage was set for their internal collapse.

Even when a competent emperor (Rangila) finally ascended the throne, the imperial court and army had weakened to the point that governors and viceroys began to declare themselves autonomous, beginning in 1725.

On top of that, the entire plot was in the making since the death of Emperor Shah-Alam I in 1712, essentially the last powerful Indian emperor to rule over a unified India. Everything after that point was relentless plotting and assassinations in the Mughal court, corruption, decay and collapse of the imperial order.

That doesn't tell anyone much about how British/French order was "superior". It only points to the sudden internal disarray in Mughal imperial order that lasted too long to recover from.

They were able to abuse Mughals collapse because they were present around and could simply catch the chance - something that no other state had.
But that's how Maratha Empire came into existence, and to an extent so did the later Durrani Empire. Before 1720 Marathas were essentially a bunch of rebels in the hills raiding Mughal army supply lines, and they immediately used Mughal collapse to overrun multiple provinces with cavalry (replacing their governors with their own), reached Delhi by 1737, had their own large empire by 1749, and by 1760 they were just three provinces away from reuniting India....before their massive loss in the third battle of Panipat in 1761 against Durrani invasion.

The Persian invasion of India in 1739 was also a gamble against the Mughal collapse.

The British (or for that matter the French, who were recently defeated by the British, or the Dutch who controlled only one province) didn't have any real power in India until they organized a coup in Bengal in 1757. Most of their "chances" were against the Maratha Empire which was almost continuously embroiled in civil war, or against smaller rulers who formed their own domains in Mughal provinces.
 
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love sweden

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It´s preety amazing to think that some small states on the other side of the world even were able to effect India in any way when the way to it required you to sail around Africa every time
 

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It´s preety amazing to think that some small states on the other side of the world even were able to effect India in any way when the way to it required you to sail around Africa every time
Not necessary. The trading companies largely operated from Asia, away from the eyes and the ears of the monarchs. The whole thing does a better job of demonstrating the power of an armed company. If there's a profit to be made, unscrupulous merchants are the best people to manage it.
 

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Mughal Empire was about to start a massive collapse when the British first tried even "leveraging" them. Emperor Farrukhsiyar (who granted EIC tax and production rights in a few cities in Bengal delta in return for personal bribes) is widely regarded as a stupid monarch, who was only put there as a puppet of two powerful imperial court members (Sayyid brothers, the assassins of the previous emperor). Born as a low-ranking prince never expected to rule, he became the puppet emperor under their regency and proceeded to mismanage everything until most of India was in a series of rebellions, Mughal military was dysfunctional and divided, and the stage was set for their internal collapse.

Even when a competent emperor (Rangila) finally ascended the throne, the imperial court and army had weakened to the point that governors and viceroys began to declare themselves autonomous, beginning in 1725.

On top of that, the entire plot was in the making since the death of Emperor Shah-Alam I in 1712, essentially the last powerful Indian emperor to rule over a unified India. Everything after that point was relentless plotting and assassinations in the Mughal court, corruption, decay and collapse of the imperial order.

That doesn't tell anyone much about how British/French order was "superior". It only points to the sudden internal disarray in Mughal imperial order that lasted too long to recover from.



But that's how Maratha Empire came into existence, and to an extent so did the later Durrani Empire. Before 1720 Marathas were essentially a bunch of rebels in the hills raiding Mughal army supply lines, and they immediately used Mughal collapse to overrun multiple provinces with cavalry (replacing their governors with their own), reached Delhi by 1737, had their own large empire by 1749, and by 1760 they were just three provinces away from reuniting India....before their massive loss in the third battle of Panipat in 1761 against Durrani invasion.

The Persian invasion of India in 1739 was also a gamble against the Mughal collapse.

The British (or for that matter the French, who were recently defeated by the British, or the Dutch who controlled only one province) didn't have any real power in India until they organized a coup in Bengal in 1757. Most of their "chances" were against the Maratha Empire which was almost continuously embroiled in civil war, or against smaller rulers who formed their own domains in Mughal provinces.
My main point here is that, well, there are different such processes in world. A lot of opportunity windows to use to expand or gain influence, which were usually used by neighbors or internal forces.

With globalization, Europe became omnipresent. That means that they were open to such opportunities all across the world now - and, well, they did use it in case of India and SEA. Of course, it didn't mean that they could use just any opportunity (Japan becoming Christian or a colony didn't work and China was left alone) and of course in some cases luck did play role (mineral wealth of Americas is indeed huge).

Because Europe became open to opportunities to expand or gain influence all over world, as well as global trade, they were set to become the dominant order. Even Mughals survived, it would only mean that they would just gain power a bit slower, perhaps try to be more aggressive in other places and use other opportunities - like China and Taiping rebellion.

I mean, it is a simple "game" perspective: if you can expand anywhere in world you will sooner or later outdo "traditional" powerhouses, especially if world is mostly underdeveloped compared to Eurasia and isn't more developed than you in most other cases. It would take only an exotic scenario of no America existing and India + SEA never caving in to the Europeans to challenge the historical developments that much. And even then there is still a lot of potential in Africa and Russia still has Urals and Siberia, the giant resource silos that they used to expand their influence and Empire ever since settling these and developing local resources.

The only course of history that would be challenging Europe is the one where they are robbed of their monopoly on globalism. Otherwise, it would only take a few more centuries for Europe to become that dominant.
 

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I mean, it is a simple "game" perspective: if you can expand anywhere in world you will sooner or later outdo "traditional" powerhouses, especially if world is mostly underdeveloped compared to Eurasia and isn't more developed than you in most other cases. It would take only an exotic scenario of no America existing and India + SEA never caving in to the Europeans to challenge the historical developments that much. And even then there is still a lot of potential in Africa and Russia still has Urals and Siberia, the giant resource silos that they used to expand their influence and Empire ever since settling these and developing local resources.
Without South America, you get no quinine. Without African slaves (who served in the Americas), you get no immunization procedures. Without that, settlement of Africa becomes nearly impossible.

The only course of history that would be challenging Europe is the one where they are robbed of their monopoly on globalism. Otherwise, it would only take a few more centuries for Europe to become that dominant.
Reconquista fails, Malians land and organize trade in the Americas in 1312, or the Ottomans cut North Africa off from Indian trade.
 

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Reconquista fails, Malians land and organize trade in the Americas in 1312, or the Ottomans cut North Africa off from Indian trade.
First is unlikely simply because Malians didn't have much sea trade and them developing vessels that could trade with Europe and further Africa (let alone discover America) would take a long time, especially given that they didn't have technologies from European areas.
Not sure how North Africa argument matters, especially given that Ottomans had hold on the trade anyway and had presence in important ports and trade routes that were not taken by Portuguese.
 

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First is unlikely simply because Malians didn't have much sea trade and them developing vessels that could trade with Europe and further Africa (let alone discover America) would take a long time, especially given that they didn't have technologies from European areas.
They didn't need European technology. The navigational technology was largely developed by the Moroccans and other Islamic states. Same with the naval technology. Again, all we know is that the Mansa didn't make his way back to Mali. We don't know the reason. If Abu Bakr II had landed and managed a correspondence with Mali, we'd have extremely early colonies.

Not sure how North Africa argument matters, especially given that Ottomans had hold on the trade anyway and had presence in important ports and trade routes that were not taken by Portuguese.
It would cut Morocco off from Indian trade and force them to become active participants in the game beyond just fighting the Iberians.
 

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They didn't need European technology. The navigational technology was largely developed by the Moroccans and other Islamic states. Same with the naval technology. Again, all we know is that the Mansa didn't make his way back to Mali. We don't know the reason. If Abu Bakr II had landed and managed a correspondence with Mali, we'd have extremely early colonies.
I will concede that, under some circumstances, Morocco could be the first power to sail to Americas. However, it wouldn't change anything in long run as Europe would still be the one most interested. Perhaps North Africa would be simply much better off and Mali would become less relevant and fall under influence of Morocco.

Mali, on the other hand, definitely didn't have sea-faring capabilities for the Atlantic ocean outside of the coast.

Lastly, you need to account that quite a few states and tribes even could fare across ocean: Polynesian people, Malay, African Horn (which was doing it very early natively)... even Vikings were that. But they all were quite limited in how much they could transport across water and where they could traverse. In particular, Mali would have difficulties exploting mineral riches of America simply because transporting it away from Africa would be hard. It's not an unsolvable issue, of course, but it still means that more navigationally advanced nations would be prone to have their share in "american pie" which would still guide history to a similar outcome.
 

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I will concede that, under some circumstances, Morocco could be the first power to sail to Americas. However, it wouldn't change anything in long run as Europe would still be the one most interested. Perhaps North Africa would be simply much better off and Mali would become less relevant and fall under influence of Morocco.
Don't see how you figure that one.

Mali, on the other hand, definitely didn't have sea-faring capabilities for the Atlantic ocean outside of the coast.
They were a two-months' journey away from Morocco. I can't imagine that they'd knowingly avoid sending someone to ask a country with experience sailing in the Atlantic for ship designs. Mansa Musa later did something similar by paying an architect from North Africa to help him redesign Timbuktu.

Lastly, you need to account that quite a few states and tribes even could fare across ocean: Polynesian people, Malay, African Horn (which was doing it very early natively)... even Vikings were that. But they all were quite limited in how much they could transport across water and where they could traverse. In particular, Mali would have difficulties exploting mineral riches of America simply because transporting it away from Africa would be hard.
They likely wouldn't be interested in the minerals at first. Just the crop diversity. The minerals would come later, when the population increase hits. Also, improving ship designs specifically to aid transportation capabilities is something very normal for societies.

It's not an unsolvable issue, of course, but it still means that more navigationally advanced nations would be prone to have their share in "american pie" which would still guide history to a similar outcome.
Europeans wouldn't make an attempt for the following 180 years, and they didn't manage to contact the Malians until 140 years after the initial voyage. So long as the Malians and Moroccans don't blab to the up-and-coming Iberians about their discovery, which they likely wouldn't, South America and the Caribbean would be theirs for the taking. Malians especially, as their king would've set up his own Empire there. 200 years of exploring a familiar biome and natives encountering a wave of disease that aids conversion to Islam, and more coastal settlements being founded...

We could very easily see an alternate universe in which the Emperor of Mali chooses to reside the Americas and gains massive amounts of control and influence there, further empowering and legitimizing the already-mighty Malian Empire. I don't believe the Moroccans could make a similar trip, as they'd be trying to sail down the coast of the Sahara desert, which nobody accomplished until ~1450. The Malians would only need to sail across the Romanche gap.

Also, keep in mind that when the Malians and the Portuguese met, they immediately fought in the waterways, and the Malians won each encounter, save the one in which they decided to engage each other as trading partners. If the Europeans try to engage the Malians as rivals, it's entirely possible that the Malians could come out on top, especially with the rest of the Islamic world flooding over to the land of gold for both learning opportunities and to engage them on the topic of the New World, yet unmapped.
 

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Also technology is not easy to quantify, Aztecs for example was more advanced than the Europeans in many ways but at the same time did not use Wheels or iron. Tenochtitlan was greater than any city in Spain.
 
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Tenochtitlan was greater than any city in Spain.
Size of cities is quite irrelevant when we think about technology levels. Big population does not equal good technology, in fact today its almost other way around.
 

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Size of cities is quite irrelevant when we think about technology levels.
Usually, greater technology would be required to peacefully sustain larger populations in smaller spaces. The Aztecs were able to manage what they did because they made floating farms to feed themselves. Self-watering crops in an equatorial climate. They didn't have the same military tools, and really, the horses and galleons are what made the most difference, but they were definitely able to make the things they did have work.
 

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Usually, greater technology would be required to peacefully sustain larger populations in smaller spaces. The Aztecs were able to manage what they did because they made floating farms to feed themselves. Self-watering crops in an equatorial climate. They didn't have the same military tools, and really, the horses and galleons are what made the most difference, but they were definitely able to make the things they did have work.
Yes but in Europe Rome had million inhabitants in ancient times, yet much much less later on. Its more about adminstration than technology. Technology helps ofc. But you can't look at size of cities and use that as evidence of how advanced technology was.
Soviet Union had lot more tractors than Imperial Russia, yet suffered propably worse from starvation. China under Mao had more advanced technology than Qin dynasty, but caused massive famine.
 

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Yes but in Europe Rome had million inhabitants in ancient times, yet much much less later on. Its more about adminstration than technology. Technology helps ofc. But you can't look at size of cities and use that as evidence of how advanced technology was.
Soviet Union had lot more tractors than Imperial Russia, yet suffered propably worse from starvation. China under Mao had more advanced technology than Qin dynasty, but caused massive famine.
None of your examples touch on the populations of urban centers. Also, both of the modern cases are counting nationwide famines, and the Roman example doesn't hold up because the populations of Europe before the Black Plague hit were fairly similar, if not greater.

For cities, you have to count households, population density, the infrastructure required to transport food and water, and waste management systems, alongside other facets of life.
 

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So long as the Malians and Moroccans don't blab to the up-and-coming Iberians about their discovery, which they likely wouldn't
That would happen though as they would need to trade to realize an advantage of first discovery.

South America and the Caribbean would be theirs for the taking. Malians especially, as their king would've set up his own Empire there.
That would mostly need an ability to control new Empire administratively. Mali didn't really have it. They could colonize New World, but it could easily secede and pit under question benefit of colonization. Especially because Mali was bad at global trade and had little contacts with Europe, it would have little incentive to control New World and continuously invest into it.

Also, keep in mind that when the Malians and the Portuguese met, they immediately fought in the waterways, and the Malians won each encounter, save the one in which they decided to engage each other as trading partners. If the Europeans try to engage the Malians as rivals, it's entirely possible that the Malians could come out on top, especially with the rest of the Islamic world flooding over to the land of gold for both learning opportunities and to engage them on the topic of the New World, yet unmapped.
Nope. That's not possible.
They mainly fought off because they were at home and Portuguese were, mind you, thousands of kms away from bases. To have capability to fight same Portuguese in foreign waters, they must be much stronger than that.
Otherwise Pirates would be a much much more bigger issue to them than they ever were to Spain.

Usually, greater technology would be required to peacefully sustain larger populations in smaller spaces.
This is a thing that happened ever since early ancient times though. It doesn't reflect development too well.

For cities, you have to count households, population density, the infrastructure required to transport food and water, and waste management systems, alongside other facets of life.
The most important thing for urban centers is about population occupation and what they produce or contribute.
Which is where African and American cities were inferior to European, which in turn weren't as developed as some Mediterrean, Middle East and Asian cities for a while. Crafting was more developed there and less in Africa and America, which lagged behind.
 

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That would happen though as they would need to trade to realize an advantage of first discovery.
Malians typically traded with other Sub-saharan nations. It just exchanged its gold for desert salt before doing so to maximize the value of their currency. Their trade links would've caused them to spread the South American crops inland, along the Niger river, and to the Hausa states and Benin. While the New World crops would've eventually reached Europe, it wouldn't be enough reason in itself for them to sail there.

That would mostly need an ability to control new Empire administratively. Mali didn't really have it.
Sending a branch family to form a kingdom and formally recognize the Mansa of Mali as its overlord wouldn't require much, especially since taxes were generally only leveraged on traders. The developments would effectively be local, and based around linking the South Americans to the fruits of African trade. With those links in place, and with the Malian Empire providing the new kingdom with troops still directly owned by the Mansa, the new kingdom's legitimacy would be directly dependent on Malian support.

They could colonize New World, but it could easily secede and pit under question benefit of colonization. Especially because Mali was bad at global trade and had little contacts with Europe, it would have little incentive to control New World and continuously invest into it.
Mali specialized in trade. It just focused on inland routes because those were the most profitable ones (The Volta, Senegal, and Niger rivers working with the Trans-Saharan routes made inland trade easy and incredibly rewarding.) They didn't need to trade with Europe (although they later would), as they were able to trade with the North Africans, East Africans, and Arabs to connect them to the Indian Ocean and Silk Road trade routes. As soon as they realize the benefits of trading in silver, it'll become a repeat of the gold trade. Nobody knows where it is, just that Mali has it. They might even focus on developing the inland kingdoms of South America to reap greater benefits from the trade before letting some leak out to the rest of the world, ingratiating them to the coastal Malian kingdom.

Nope. That's not possible.
They mainly fought off because they were at home and Portuguese were, mind you, thousands of kms away from bases. To have capability to fight same Portuguese in foreign waters, they must be much stronger than that.
They won because of their military tactics. Every time, it was about their ability to launch salvos of poisoned arrows faster than the Portuguese could launch their darts, and the fact that Portuguese cannons struggled to keep up with them. The cannons weren't even able to scare the enemy navies enough to prevent them from continuing to attack. Given the fact that the environments surrounding West Africa and South America are generally similar, I believe their tactics would remain effective in both environments, and that attacking them on the ocean would be unprofitable due to reasons explained in the next section.

Otherwise Pirates would be a much much more bigger issue to them than they ever were to Spain.
Pirates would have even less reason to attack the colonies. Silver wouldn't be exported as ferociously in the early years, as the main source of value would be in the crops and animal products. Minerals would only become valuable later, when less costly methods of obtaining them became commonplace. In the gold-producing lands, all Mali would need to do is keep them from exporting it, which is easy enough to do. They were already rich because of their own local gold supply. Using the gold as a backup would work well enough, but it would take a few hundred years for the gold fields of Bambuk and Bure to become drained enough to justify even looking to other gold sources within Africa, let alone the New World. This would also mean enslavement of the natives would be largely unnecessary, and Mali's American colonies would primarily serve as an additional source of goods.

To keep things simple: The colonies would export animal products, salt (until Mali claims Taghaza for itself), cocoa, and seeds. The traders would bring back goods traded from the mouth of the Senegal river, which are traded along the river and the Niger river to Timbuktu/Gao, where Malian gold is most valuable. This means Islamic writings, African fabrics, weapons, ornaments, horses, Arabic tools, scholars, and things like those. Pirates wouldn't have much to steal, and even if the Malians decided to trade their gold on the ocean (from Wolof lands to North Africa/Arabia) by using the new caravel design, and suffered from pirate attacks as a result, they would just limit the gold trade to inland routes, as they always had. This doesn't include the effect this would have on trade with coastal African nations to the south, who would inevitably be drawn into trade in and with Mali if it begins to use the ocean for trading.

This is a thing that happened ever since early ancient times though. It doesn't reflect development too well.
Seems to be directly tied to development. If you aren't participating in some form of globalized economy, the values of goods will largely be determined by local factors. The buildings you construct and the organizations present will be determined by local demands. Define "Development" if there's anything else to be said here.

The most important thing for urban centers is about population occupation and what they produce or contribute.
Which is where African and American cities were inferior to European, which in turn weren't as developed as some Mediterrean, Middle East and Asian cities for a while. Crafting was more developed there and less in Africa and America, which lagged behind.
I don't see what you mean. The Malians generally wanted for nothing. Food and clothing were abundant. Water wasn't a problem, and they traded heavily in worked bronze, salt, gold, tools, and writings. Could you give some examples of what you mean?
 
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TheRomanRuler

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None of your examples touch on the populations of urban centers. Also, both of the modern cases are counting nationwide famines

For cities, you have to count households, population density, the infrastructure required to transport food and water, and waste management systems, alongside other facets of life.
Ah, true

And the Roman example doesn't hold up because the populations of Europe before the Black Plague hit were fairly similar, if not greater.
Rome's population had already dropped long before black plague though. Approximetly during 550 it was estimated to be as small as 30 000 people. Not sure if there are more modern estimates that are more accurate, but decline was nevertheless enormous.
 

Lightwell

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Rome's population had already dropped long before black plague though. Approximetly during 550 it was estimated to be as small as 30 000 people. Not sure if there are more modern estimates that are more accurate, but decline was nevertheless enormous.
I misunderstood what you mean when you said, "Rome". I was thinking of the Empire. If you mean the city of Rome, the population of that city has tended to fluctuate. A large contributor to its populations has always been its influence as the center of a nation, an Empire, or an organization. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the city of Rome was sacked multiple times by the Goths. During the Middle Ages, it was hit with multiple plagues and a sacking, and during the Renaissance, it was sacked again at the hands of mercenaries.

Rome is a very odd, dynamic case.
 

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Size of cities is quite irrelevant when we think about technology levels. Big population does not equal good technology, in fact today its almost other way around.
The three countries with the largest population today is:
  1. China
  2. India
  3. USA
China have stuff like domestic produced 5th gen stealth fighters and today is probably on par if not more advanced than the majority of Europé in many key areas. India, like China a Rising star and a World leader in stuff like space technology. USA, most technological advanced country on Earth right now and much richer than the EU and nearly all European countries with few exception.

Yes you have countries with large population that can't really be called advanced but chances are that large population allow for more technology advancement than a small population for many reasons and that is clearly the case with the countries with the largest population.

Its more about adminstration than technology.
Administartion is in fact technology, technology is a very broad thing and don't just mean an object but also things such as organization.

Yes but in Europe Rome had million inhabitants in ancient times, yet much much less later on.
Rome could grow so large was because it had access to food and other resources from the whole mediterranean which is not that different from aztec forcing conquered people to give them tribute.

That would happen though as they would need to trade to realize an advantage of first discovery.
Literally everyone traded, it was not something unique to Europeans and the Europeans was not the only ones that conducted oversea trade either.

That would mostly need an ability to control new Empire administratively. Mali didn't really have it. They could colonize New World, but it could easily secede and pit under question benefit of colonization. Especially because Mali was bad at global trade and had little contacts with Europe, it would have little incentive to control New World and continuously invest into it.
I actually wonder if colonizing the new World was actully Worth it. Did it make Spain stronger? Maybe early on with influence of silver and other trade goods but by 1700s they started to fall behind. Did it make England stronger, well UK's peak was after the american revolution. A hundred year later UK was basically broke and far behind USA which had been a former colony to UK.

The most important thing for urban centers is about population occupation and what they produce or contribute.
Which is where African and American cities were inferior to European, which in turn weren't as developed as some Mediterrean, Middle East and Asian cities for a while. Crafting was more developed there and less in Africa and America, which lagged behind.
Can you actually give a proof for that? Inca for example was able to produce huge quantity of objects made out of gold. The messoamerican civilizations was also able to build large monuments which indicate a level of productivity.

I don't see what you mean. The Malians generally wanted for nothing. Food and clothing were abundant. Water wasn't a problem, and they traded heavily in worked bronze, salt, gold, tools, and writings. Could you give some examples of what you mean?
Yes, many civilizations did not have a need of the Technologies that the European had but on other hand developed Technologies that eureopan lacked, for example the messoamerican civilizations did have quite advanced Healthcare and the Mayan civilization it seems like invented zero Before everyone else. Technology is not a linear thing unlike how it is in video games with Tech trees.

Rome's population had already dropped long before black plague though. Approximetly during 550 it was estimated to be as small as 30 000 people. Not sure if there are more modern estimates that are more accurate, but decline was nevertheless enormous.
Rome declined because it had lost its importance, even during the Roman Empire, by 286 it was no longer the capital and without the support from the empire, Rome could no longer support its population.
 

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China have stuff like domestic produced 5th gen stealth fighters and today is probably on par if not more advanced than the majority of Europé in many key areas. India, like China a Rising star and a World leader in stuff like space technology. USA, most technological advanced country on Earth right now and much richer than the EU and nearly all European countries with few exception.

Yes you have countries with large population that can't really be called advanced but chances are that large population allow for more technology advancement than a small population for many reasons and that is clearly the case with the countries with the largest population.
Using Chinese stealth technology is a bad example, because most of it was straight-up stolen from the Americans via corporate espionage. The PRC's acquisition of stealth jets was not due to its large population, for example, resulting in more skilled engineers, but a result of Chinese spies stealing American F-22 and F-35 fighter tech.