Western Powers Rule Southeast Asia A PRESENTATION by Alex Hammond

Westerners taking control of native Asians

Western Rivalries for Pacific Rim Lands: In the 19th century the Dutch East India Company took over the Indonesian islands. Soon after, other European powers began to gain interest in the area and colonization followed. The British gained Singapore, the French gained Indochina, and Germans gained New Guinea along with chains of islands

Asian workers harvesting Sugarcane

Plantation Products Spur Production: Southeast Asia was perfect for plantation agriculture. Production focused around Sugarcane, Coffee, Cocoa, and Rubber

Dutch Soldiers treading through Southeast Asia

Dutch Expand Control: The Dutch fought hard for areas of Southeast Asia. They would even fight other European powers for lands (a good example being their fighting against the British for control of Java). The amount of profit that the islands were producing was very lucrative, because of this, many Dutch people moved there to live out their lives. This contrasts what the British did. They would move to their colonies to make money then move back once they were satiated.

The port of modern-day Singapore

British Take the Malayan Peninsula: In order to stay competitive with the Dutch, the British tried to find a port that they could use for regional trade, and they found this in Singapore, located on the tip of the Malayan Peninsula. This port, due to the great abundance of raw goods throughout Southeast Asia, quickly became one of the busiest ports in the world. Workers were in high demand in British controlled colonies. To combat this, they encouraged the Chinese to migrate to Malaysia, and they did, in droves. Eventually the native population of Malaysia became a minority as the Chinese took over not only the population, but the businesses and local governments as well.

French troops advancing through Indochinese forces

French Control Indochina: French has been involved in Indochina (especially Vietnam) for a very long time. After Napoleon III ordered a military takeover in order to protect business interests, they were ruling the area until just before the Vietnam War. Tensions were always high however, despite rice production being increased dramatically, the farmers and people of Indochina were eating less than they were before because so much of their food was being exported. This caused lasting resentment of the French in the area.

European powers dividing Southeast Asia

Colonial Impact: In Southeast Asia, colonialism had mixed results. Economies grew and local infrastructure was improved but the rapid increase in diversity lead to a lot of the cultural clashes that have occurred since colonialism in the 16th century.

King Chulalongkorn, son of King Mongkut

Siam Maintains Independence- Despite European powers controlling Burma and Indochina, between the two imperialized nations lied the neutral nation of Siam (Thailand). Under King Mongkut and his son Chulalongkorn, Siam was able to advance the country through the creation of schools, legal and government reforms, railroads, telegraphs, and the abolishment of slavery. These changes proved to be successful and Siam remained independent.

Islands of the Pacific

U.S. Acquires Pacific Islands- While Europe was fully engaged in imperialism, the US was hesitant to join in because of their past struggle for independence from colonialism. Despite this hesitance two groups of Americans thought that US involvement in imperialism was the next step to continue growing as a world power. Some citizens felt that just like the US needed to expand westward, the U.S. also needed to become a colonizing world power. In addition to this some businessmen even believed imperialism was necessary to open up new trading opportunities.

President McKinley

The Philippines Change Hands- Under President McKinley's persuasion, the U.S. began taking Imperialistic actions towards the Philippines, despite the promise to Filipinos that independence would be gained after the Spanish-American War. After defeating Filipino nationalists the US began setting the Philippines up for self rule by creating roads, railroads, schools and hospitals. Despite these attempts to help the Philippines, American business men used them to made cash crops, even putting the cultivation of sugar above food crops.

Queen Liliuokalani

Hawaii Becomes a Republic- Hawaii had great value to American businessmen until President McKinley changed the tariffs placed on sugar that made Hawaiian sugar no longer cheaper than its competition. This caused businessman to encourage the annexation of Hawaii. During this time the queen of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani, decide to create a new constitution that would take away the Americans power. In response to this the businessmen decided to overthrow Liliuokalani and make Sanford B. Dole President of Hawaii. The new presidency pushed for Hawaii's annexation but it took around five years for Hawaii to finally be accepted into the US.

Terms and People:

King Mongkut- King who helped Siam maintain independence and brought it into modernity.

Emilio Aguinaldo- Leader of the Filipino nationalists

Annexation- the taking over of land

Queen Liliuokalani- Queen of Hawaii prior to its annexation


"The American flag has not been planted on foreign soil to acquire more territory, but for humanities sake" -President McKinley

McKinley wanted to ensure the anti-colonialist population of the United States that its intentions for taking over the Philippines were pure.

"The cause of Hawaiian independence is larger and dearer than the life of any man connected with it." -Queen Liliuokalani

Queen Liliuokalani believed that Hawaiian independence was something very valuable. She believed that every native Hawaiian should stand up and try to fight for their right to independance

"We cannot free ourselves unless we move forward united in a single desire." - Emilio Aguinaldo

Aguinaldo, a Filipino nationalist knew he needed the total support of his country if he was to move ahead with any plans to keep the Philippines independent.


1602- The Dutch East India company is chartered, this gives way to colonial expansion by the Dutch

1840's- Military takeover of Vietnam by the French leading to stricter French rule and worsening relations between the two societies.

1898- The U.S. starts to gain land off the pacific. This marks the start for imperialism in the Pacific by the U.S.

1902- Filipino nationalists defeated by the U.S.

1893- Last monarch of Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani, is taken out of power. This starts the process of Hawaii becoming the 50th state of the United States

Most Important people:

1.) King Mongkut- As the king of Siam, he was able to help his people maintain independence from the Europeans while modernizing them at the same time.

2.) President McKinley- As president of the U.S. he did a lot to directly colonize areas in the pacific (namely Hawaii, and the Philippines)

Created By
Alex Hammond

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

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.