Imperialism By: Finau Tonga


Imperialism in Africa Between 1450 and 1750 Europeans traded with Africa, but they set up very few colonies. By 1850, only a few colonies existed along African coastlines, such as Algeria (French), the Cape Colony (Great Britain,) and Angola (Portugal). Instead, free African states continued, and after the end of the slave trade in the early 1800s, a lively exchange took place between Europeans and African states, such as the Sokoto Caliphate in western Africa and Egypt and Ethiopia in northeast Africa. They traded manufactured goods for gold, ivory, palm oil (a substance used in soap, candles, and lubricants). Under the leadership of Muhammad Ali¸ and his grandson Ismail¸ Egypt grew to be the strongest Muslim state of the 19th century, producing cotton for export and employing western technology and business methods. They benefited from the American Civil War, when cotton shipments from the southern U.S. were cut off, but the Egyptian cotton market collapsed after American shipments resumed after the Civil War was over.In the latter half of the 19th century, dramatic changes occurred, as Europeans began to explore Africa's interior, and by 1914, virtually the entire continent was colonized by one or the other of the competing European countries. European imperialists built on the information provided by adventurers and missionaries, especially the famous Dr. David Livingstone and Henry Stanley. Livingstone, a Scottish missionary, went to Africa in the 1840s and spent three decades exploring the interior of Africa and setting up missionary outposts all the way from central Africa to the Cape Colony on the southern tip. When people in Britain lost contact with Livingstone, journalist Henry Stanley became a news sensation when he traveled to Africa and found Livingstone. The two sparked interest in Africa and others followed, including the imperialists.The Berlin Conference of 1884-5, in an effort to avoid war, allowed European diplomats to draw lines on maps and carve Africa into colonies. The result was a transformation of political and economic Africa, with virtually all parts of the continent colonized by 1900. As the European powers continued to invade and interfere with African land and culture, several of the Africans became extremely frustrated and upset. Various individuals began to lead independence movements and inspired several others to join in the fight for freedom.


Asia between 1750-1914 experienced outrageous amounts of imperialism. China was put under spheres of influence, meaning that they had areas of their nation which were controlled by outside nations for the imperializing nation's benefit. Japan, however, was the opposite, and was an imperializing nation. They controlled some of China and many of the other South East Asian nations under their power. Below are some links to help you better understand just what happened in Asia during 1750-1914. By the 1830s, Britain realized it could make up the trade deficit with China by selling Indian opium into the Chinese market, making opium Britain's most profitable and important crop in world markets. Eventually, opium poured into China faster than tea poured into British hands; soon, Chinese merchants, already addicted themselves and buying for an addicted population, paid British opium traders in pure silver. Europe's scramble for Africa did not leave South and East Asia at peace. Beginning in the seventeenth century, Great Britain formed and maintained an economic relationship with India. By the end of the eighteenth century, British rule of India was firmly planted and London came to view India as the jewel of its empire. This view guided its foreign policy. For decades, Britain used its military victories and naval superiority to ensure uninterrupted routes to India and beyond, hence its island holdings in the Mediterranean, along the west African coast, at the southern tip of Africa, and, most importantly, the Suez Canal. By the end of the eighteenth century, Indo-British economic ties were so entrenched in a neo-mercantile system that India provided a stepping stone for British trade with China. Britain traded English wool and Indian cotton for Chinese tea and textiles; however, as Chinese demand slackened, Britain sought other means of attracting trade with China. By the 1830s, Britain realized it could make up the trade deficit with China by selling Indian opium into the Chinese market, making opium Britain's most profitable and important crop in world markets. Eventually, opium poured into China faster than tea poured into British hands; soon, Chinese merchants, already addicted themselves and buying for an addicted population, paid British opium traders in pure silver. Concerned with the sharp rise in opium addiction and the associated social costs and rise in criminal acts, the Chinese government, led by the aging Manchu dynasty, took action against the British. In 1839, the Chinese destroyed British opium in the port city of Canton, sparking the Opium Wars of 1839- 1842. Easily dominating the backward Chinese forces, the British expeditionary force blockaded Chinese ports, occupied Shanghai, and took complete control of Canton. The 1842 Treaty of Nanking granted Britain extensive trading and commercial rights in China, marking the first in a series of unequal treaties between China and European imperial powers.


American imperialism is partly rooted in American exceptionalism, the idea that the United States is different from other countries due to its specific world mission to spread liberty and democracy. This theory often is traced back to the words of 1800s French observer Alexis de Tocqueville, who concluded that the United States was a unique nation, "proceeding along a path to which no limit can be perceived." Pinpointing the actual beginning of American imperialism is difficult. Some historians suggest that it began with the writing of the Constitution; historian Donald W. Meinig argues that the imperial behavior of the United States dates back to at least the Louisiana Purchase. He describes this event as an, "aggressive encroachment of one people upon the territory of another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule." Here, he is referring to the U.S. policies toward Native Americans, which he said were, "designed to remold them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial desires."Whatever its origins, American imperialism experienced its pinnacle from the late 1800s through the years following World War II. During this "Age of Imperialism," the United States exerted political, social, and economic control over countries such as the Philippines, Cuba, Germany, Austria, Korea, and Japan. One of the most notable examples of American imperialism in this age was the annexation of Hawaii in 1898, which allowed the United States to gain possession and control of all ports, buildings, harbors, military equipment, and public property that had formally belonged to the Government of the Hawaiian Islands. On January 17, 1893, the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani, was deposed in a coup d'état led largely by American citizens who were opposed to Liliuokalani's attempt to establish a new Constitution. This action eventually resulted in Hawaii's becoming America's 50th state in 1959.


The Indian Subcontinent is rich in commodities that traders enjoyed, many of these traders being European. During 1450-1750, the weakening of the Mughal Empire in addition to the internal unrest between the Hindu majority and the Muslims allowed for ample vacancy for the Europeans to encroach. With the Dutch in the Indies, India was left to the victorious party between the British and French, decided to some degree during the Seven Years War, one front being in India itself (The other two being North America and Europe). England emerged victorious and took little time in establishing itself as the dominate trader in the Indian Ocean, with the creation of the British East India company led in India by Robert Clive. Soon, this company raised an army that eradicated all the French from the subcontinent. Soon the company used the crumbling Mughal Empire to establish administrations throughout the subcontinent, and to help in the administration, the British relied on Sepoys, Indians who worked for the Brits.


Created with images by vaticanus - "THE FACE OF IMPERIALISM" • WikiImages - "africa continent aerial view" • paularps - "Mandalay Palace (Myanmar 2013)" • Mrs_Shaffer1 - "america flag usa" • LoggaWiggler - "taj mahal mausoleum agra"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.