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HarryPotterWizardingSchools.jpeg

A Realistic History of the Wizarding Schools In the Harry Potter Universe

By Alberto Cox Délano | Miscellaneous | February 8, 2023 |

By Alberto Cox Délano | Miscellaneous | February 8, 2023 |


HarryPotterWizardingSchools.jpeg

This tweet by the very funny account Terrible Maps has been making the rounds. It maps the “catchment area” of the 11 canonical Wizarding Schools in the Harry Potter Universe.

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Like so many British officers before her, Joanne put no effort in dividing up hundreds of millions of people with no regard to religion, culture, and language. Indeed, just like with Gender, Biology, and Self-Editing, Joanne also lacks an understanding of Human Geography.

How come this woman fills thousands of pages for a standard murder mystery novel, but is too … work-shy to do thorough world-building on her cash cow? Joannehas excused this away by stating that most wizards just homeschool their children, or that there are several unaccredited institutions of “dubious” reputation… SIGH.

But the thing is, Harry Potter is set in our Universe and parallel to our history. When you consider the impact Colonialism has had over every single everything in the world, including education, this map actually looks realistic. In fact, it looks exactly like how European Colonialist Wizards would divide the world. So, here’s a more accurate history for Joanne (and her ghost-writers):

General Historical Context

In short: European Wizards also participated in Colonialism alongside their Muggle counterparts (Muggle Colonialism did most of the work, because the repetition rifle and smallpox are more effective than the Unforgivable Curses). Just like with everything else in the Non-European World, its Wizarding cultures and societies were decimated.

By the early 20th Century, the European Ministries of Magic held their own equivalent of the Berlin Conference, in order to reorganize the administration of their colonial subalterns. Basically, they had predicted the World Wars, and they realized they needed a way to keep the colonials in check after the Europeans were done killing each other, the educational system being a key part of the artifice. Thus, they organized the World into 11 accredited Wizarding Schools.

Beauxbatons

An ancient school. Like all European and North American schools, it has several campuses. With students from The Netherlands, France, the Iberian Peninsula, and a few Northern Italians, they are by far the best-looking ones in Europe. Southern Italians are seldomly accepted, supposedly because of Beauxbatons conflicts with the Vatican and the Papal States, but it’s mostly racism. Greek students are seldom allowed because they are encouraged to attend Durmstrang.

During World War II, the students usually supported the Resistance, but the Headmaster was a Nazi collaborator (“to protect them from attacks by Nazi Durmstrang”, he claimed).

Durmstrang

Ancient school grouping Central and Eastern Europe. Nowadays, their German, Nordic, and Baltic campuses are havens of progressive and pro-Muggle thought. Same for the Polish and Czech campuses, but their parent’s councils are very reactionary. Meanwhile, the Hungarian and Balkan campuses are chronically underfunded and led by Headmasters who pit students against each other. The Balkan campus, during the 1920s, was a haven of intercultural harmony and the heart of Magic Marxism, but it was all stomped down by Nazi students. Greek students are seldom allowed because they are encouraged to attend Beauxbatons.

Koldovstoretz

Historically, a proxy for whatever form of Russian Imperialism is in charge, it controls Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Siberia, despite their wholly different Magical traditions. This might be the most oppressive and miserable of all the schools. The students don’t actually get to learn much, basically magic tricks to extract basic resources. Fun fact: This school is also the main exporter of Dementors.

Ilvermorny

AKA: The North American one. There are at least four dozen campuses, of varying quality. For some reason (AKA, the Mexican-American Wars), it receives students from Mexico and the Caribbean, but students prefer studying at the South American school for a few years and then transferring to the North. The campuses in Southern US were segregated until the late 70s. Actual, anti-Black segregation.

Even though they have a very large proportion of Black and American Indian professors (compared to the student body) it took them until the 70s to actually start courses on Indigenous or African-American Magical Practices.

Mahoutokoro

AKA: The Japanese and Korean one. They weren’t grouped with School Nº10 because the Japanese Wizards were already doing some colonizing of their own, deeming themselves racially superior. Korean students remain part of it after World War II, because of Cold War interventionism. In every European or American Wizarding School, there’s a clique that is obsessed to the point of fetishism with Mahoutokoro.

School Nº10 For China, Mongolia and South Asia.

The greatest achievement in Wizarding Colonialist Idiocy: They lumped together into one school the youths from two completely different … Civilizations.

It was such a harebrained decision that, in fact, those European Wizards came back to the drawing board. But then they predicted the Partition of India and the Radcliffe line, felt better about themselves, and settled on having two campuses: one in Nepal for South Asia and one in the Tibet for China and Mongolia. Classrooms are the size of movie theatres, and there are thousands of sections per class. The Chinese campus has better funding, but creativity is highly discouraged. The South Asian campus is well-funded, but constant antagonizing between South Asian Ministries of Magic stagnates development. Afghan students are seldom accepted.

School Nº11 For South East Asia and the Pacific

The sole campus is located in Darwin, Australia because European Wizards thought it’d be more convenient. In reality, very few people from South-East Asia actually go to this school, as they choose local institutions (put a pin on that), it’s mostly used by ANZACs and Pacific Islanders.

School Nº9 For MENA Countries, including Israel, Iran and also Turkey for some reason.

There is a strong chance that this school was created by the British Ministry of Magic in collaboration with the Foreign Office, with the sole purpose that their students would end up killing each other, preventing the birth of Magical Atatürk or Mohammad Mosaddegh, and thus maintaining control of the region. In reality, the school has been mostly harmonious, as the Anglos had a mostly hands-off approach, but is now fully part of the Turkish-Wizarding sphere of influence.

Castelobruxo

AKA, the South and Central American one, which is not called Castelobruxo in reality, because though it was founded in the 12th Century, as in the canon, Portuguese and Spanish hadn’t been imported to the Continent yet. They barely existed as such. Its actual name is the Plurinational Lycée of Magical Sciences, modeled on the French educational system. And no, it’s not located in the middle of the Amazonas; as with any regional NGO or supranational organization, its main campus is located in Chile because it’s stable. The campuses are located in two cities: one that only exists in legend, Rancagua, and one where weird shit always happens, Talca. Portuguese and Spanish are the lingua franca, but sometimes Spanish-speaking students will pretend not to understand Portuguese and vice versa. It is by far the most cohesive of all the Wizarding Schools, except for the little fact that there are three sections: A wholly privatized one for students of white elites; a well-funded public one, for the middle classes, and the underfunded public one, for everyone else. Cycles of protests and campus occupations are an almost seasonal feature. They used to copy their curriculum from Beauxbatons, but now they are finally incorporating courses in Indigenous Magic Sciences.

Uagadou

AKA, the for one for the entirety of Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the motherload. Imagine the most diverse Continent being grouped together in a single school. As with the canonical source, it is located in Uganda; however, the name is West African. Turns out it was named by a British wizard diplomat in London. The school provides education for barely 0.01% of Africa’s Wizarding youth while the remainder just have to make do with a mixture of home education and regular, non-magic education. They could expand their coverage by leaps and bounds if only the European and US Wizarding Schools stopped doing charity balls for Africa and started sharing their endowments. Still, it is a very harmonious school overall.

To go back to those “unaccredited” Wizarding Schools, most of them are just as good as Hogwarts, if not better (their yearly body count is much lower). The problem is that international accreditation is a racket under Hogwarts’ control. Maybe now, after being destroyed by Voldemort (and Brexit), there is a chance for a Decolonization process to take over the wizard’s educational system. But with elf-slaves still a thing in their world, they’ll need a few more revolutions to catch up.

Alberto Cox will not apologize to the citizens of Talca and Rancagua for dissing their very existence here. They know what they did.