Published on August 20, 2007
European Imperialism: European Imperialism 1850-1914 Introduction: Introduction Imperialism- The social, economic, and political domination of one nation by another. Between 1815 andamp; 1914, the West (Europe and America) increased their control of the world’s land mass from 35%-85%. 19th century was truly an 'age of empire'. Introduction: Introduction Western imperialism was not new; Europeans had been influencing or conquering parts of the world since the 1400’s. U.S. grew from coast to coast during 1700’s. Aggressive imperialism dominated the scene in the 1800’s. 'New Imperialism' Introduction: Introduction Remains one of the most controversial legacies of the Western world. Although the West’s domination was impressive, and it made Europe and the U.S. rich andamp; powerful, there was a negative flip side. Bloodshed, racial prejudice, slavery, and violence often broke out vs. natives. English writer Joseph Conrad: 'The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much.' Heart of Darkness Causes of Imperialism: Causes of Imperialism Economic Industrialization gave the West the ability to conquer other parts of the world, but more reasons to do so, too. Large-scale industrial production made Western factories demand more raw materials, which could be seized from less powerful nations. Also, Western nations needed markets for goods produced. Colonies would serve as potential markets. Immense wealth allowed Western world to conquer far-flung places. Causes of Imperialism: Causes of Imperialism Military Factors Industrialization bestowed new weaponry of all types upon the armies and navies of the West: Ocean-going fleets Modern rifles and rapid-fire artillery. Occasions were rare that native populations could resist Western military forces. Growing need of Western nations to maintain bases andamp; coal/oil stations around the world for naval andamp; civilian fleets. Ships required repairs and refueling stations at strategic locations globally. Causes of Imperialism: Causes of Imperialism Social Factors Europe’s rapid population growth during the 1800’s-played a role in prompting imperial activity. Emigration to the Americas was an outlet. Millions came to the Americas. Another outlet was to leave home for colonial life. Ambitious or desperate families attempted to make their fortunes this way. Causes of Imperialism: Causes of Imperialism Role of Science andamp; Technology Instrumental in allowing West to conquer andamp; colonize. Knowledge was power. Advances in transportation, communication, and warfare brought by the I.R. enabled Western nations to build empires. New wave of exploration allowed for better knowledge of the geography of the world. Medical advances Made possible for Euros and Americans to press into tropical regions. Quinine helped relieve symptoms of malaria andamp; yellow fever. Causes of Imperialism: Causes of Imperialism Cultural Factors Sense of racial superiority was widespread among Westerners. Created a sense that Western nations were entitled to conquer andamp; colonize areas that appeared 'backwards' or 'primitive'. Cecil Rhodes, British imperialist, 'I contend that we are the finest race in the world, and the more of it we inhabit, the better.' Causes of Imperialism: Causes of Imperialism Cultural Factors In some cases, the belief was 'justified' in crude andamp; prejudiced ways. In other ways, the theory of social Darwinism* was used to argue in favor of imperialism. Misguided application of 'survival of the fittest' and natural selection. People who were tech. and culturally advanced were permitted to conquer those who were less. Causes of Imperialism: Causes of Imperialism Cultural Factors Genuine conviction that it was the duty of white Westerners to teach andamp; modernize the darker-skinned, supposedly 'primitive' peoples of Africa andamp; Asia. English poet Rudyard Kipling, 'White Man’s Burden'. Attitude was well-meaning and heartfelt, but also condescending. Euro andamp; American missionaries, doctors, and scientists, and colonial officials sometimes did much good in the places they visited. Did so out of a subconscious sense of racial superiority, and often trampled on the beliefs and ideas of the natives. Europe’s Overseas Empire: Europe’s Overseas Empire Western Approaches Britain’s was the largest and most powerful colonial establishment. France, Belgium, and the Netherlands also had sizable colonies. Various approaches to governing British considered to have most 'enlightened' approach to colonization. Did take their colonies by force andamp; exploited them economically-and were prone to the same sense of racial superiority as the others. Yet, they interfered as little as possible with local customs. Introduced positive social reforms and scientific/tech. Knowledge. Europe’s Overseas Empire: Europe’s Overseas Empire Various Approaches to governing Portuguese and Belgians were known to be especially harsh, even cruel, masters, particularly in Africa. Germany andamp; Italy were also brutal. Europe’s Overseas Empires: Europe’s Overseas Empires SE Asia Colonized andamp; influenced by a variety of powers. Dutch controlled Indonesia. Napoleon III led France into overtaking Indochina. British controlled Burma, Malay Peninsula, and Australia. Philippines was given to the U.S. in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. Europe’s Overseas Empires: Europe’s Overseas Empires India Had been a source of conflict between France andamp; Britain for much of the 18th andamp; 19th century. Britain gained control of most of India by 1850; but was not directly ruled by the British gov’t but the BEIC. Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, which shocked the British badly-convinced the gov’t to assume full control over the colony. Very important to Britain in terms of pride, strategic location, and economic benefit. Europe’s Overseas Empires: Europe’s Overseas Empires China Despite its vast size and immense population, China fell victim to nearly every Euro nation andamp; the U.S.. Not technically colonized. Thanks to military defeat at the hands of the Brits and others, compelled to open its borders andamp; trade with others in a highly disadvantageous setting. Gave up territory (e.g. Hong Kong to the British) British, French, Americans, Russians, Germans, and others were allowed to establish concessions on the Chinese coast. Large districts where Western law prevailed. 1911: Manchu dynasty, weakened b/c of foreign meddling, collapsed. Foreign ships could sail up rivers as far as they wanted. 1900: Chinese rose up in Boxer Rebellion to resist foreign domination. Europe’s Overseas Empires: Europe’s Overseas Empires Japan Was able to resist Western imperialism. Isolated until 1853, when U.S. Navy forced it to resume diplomatic andamp; economic relation with the world. Japan chose to adopt the science, technology, and military know-how of the West. Not only avoided takeover, but began to build its own empire. 1894-95: Defeated China 1904-5: Defeated Russia. Europe’s Overseas Empires: Europe’s Overseas Empires The Middle East andamp; the 'Eastern Question' Had been in the hand of the Ottoman Empire for 100’s of years. Was collapsing and the 'Eastern Question'-how to fill in the power vacuum left by Ottoman decline-became a central ? In global politics. During last ½ of the 1800’s, large portions were seized by Euros, esp. the French andamp; British. Europe’s Overseas Empires: Europe’s Overseas Empires Middle East Perhaps most important territory was Egypt. Became a British protectorate in 1880’s. France andamp; Britain both vied for Egypt, mainly b/c of the financing of the Suez Canal (1869). Control over the canal-a vital link between Med. And Red Sea/ Indian Ocean-was crucial, British used eco. pressure to gain more political control over Egypt. Persia too became important, namely between Britain andamp; Russia-b/c of geo. position andamp; large petroleum reserves found in 1908. Europe’s Overseas Empires: Europe’s Overseas Empires Scramble for Africa Experienced the most intense burst of Euro imperialism. After 1880, African colonization moved away from gold andamp; slave trade to one of taking over territory. Thanks to better maps, industrial-era weapons, and medicines, European armies and colonizers were able to penetrate every part of the 'Dark Continent'. Almost led to war amongst the nations of Europe several times-Berlin Conference of 1884-5 was held Presided over by Bismarck Laid down guidelines for African expansion and played a certain role in keeping the peace. Europe’s Overseas Empires: Europe’s Overseas Empires Scramble for Africa Competition over African territory caused a number of diplomatic crises among the European powers. Boer War (1899-1902) Africans suffered greatly; tribe after tribe, country after country fell to the Europeans. By 1914, only Ethiopia and Liberia were independent.