Causes and Effects of ImperialismThis is a featured page

Aim: What were the causes and effects of Imperialism?

Who: US, Japanese, French, British, Indian, African

What: Imperial powers and their imposed rule on subject lands & Mixed motives, competition, legacies

When: 19th-20th century

Where: Europe, Africa, India, Japan, Pacific, America

How: Industrialization equipped imperial powers with effective tools

Why: To gain natural resources, to subdue potential enemies, to acquire land

Modern Imperialism and Colonialism
  • Domination by industrialized countries over subject lands
  • Two types of colonies (Ruled and populated by migrants & Controlled by imperial powers)
  • Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902) – Entrepreneur and prime minister of Cape Colony
Motivation for Imperialism
  • Economic (Rubber, tin, and copper & Rubber plantations in Congo River)
  • Political (Colonies as harbors and supply stations for naval ships & Defuse internal tension)
  • Cultural (Christian Missionaries in Africa and Asia & Rudyard Kipling: Raised in India and justified expansion with “white man’s burden”)
Tools for Imperialism
  • Transportation (Steamboat gun-ships reached Africa/Asia & Railroads organized communication)
  • Telegraph (1870s) development of submarine cables, Firearms & Muskets to rifles to Maxime guns to Machine guns
  • Battle of Omdurman, Infrastructure
  • Suez Canal (1859-1869) and Panama Canal (1904-1914) lowered costs of trade
British in India
  • Mughal decline and EIC take over 1750s & Built trading cities in Calcutta, Madras & Ruled with sepoys (sepoy revolt 1857) & Cartridges in wax paper greased with animal fat & Attacks on British civilians & Imperial rule replaced EIC & Viceroy and civil service represented authority & Stamp of British culture on Indian environment & Outlawed sati & Opium and Coffee
Imperialism in Central and Southeast Asia
  • Central Asia (British, French, Russians compete for central Asia & The “Great Game”)
  • Southeast Asia (Dutch: Indonesia [Dutch East Indies] & British establish rule in Burma 1880s & French: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, 1859-1893)
Europeans in Africa (1875-1900)
  • European powers seized almost entire continent between 1875-1900
  • Britain establishes strong presence in Egypt, Rhodesia (Suez Canal)
  • Britain seized Cape Colony (Trek of Afrikaners-they went inland and established independent republics; Orange Free State)
  • European exploration of rivers (Nile, Niger, Congo, Zambesi)
  • King Leopold II of Belgium starts Congo Free State, commercial ventures
Significant Events in Africa
  • South African (Boer) War 1899-1902 (Started with discovery of gold in their lands & Britain defeated Afrikaners and converted Boer republic into British colonies)
  • The Berlin Conference (1884-1885) – (European states and the US set the ground rules for the colonization of Africa)
    • (1900) all of Africa was under European powers except Ethiopia and Liberia
Imperialism in the Pacific
  • (1770) James Cook reached Australia
  • 1000 settlers establish colony in New South Whales
  • Diseases decrease aboriginal populations
  • Settlers force indigenous population onto marginal lands
  • Gold discovered 1851
  • Most islands claimed by France, Britain, Germany and US
US Imperialism
  • The Monroe Doctrine: all Americas a U.S. Protectorate (Roosevelt Corollary)
  • Manifest Destiny
  • (1867) purchased Alaska from Russia
  • (1875) established protectorate over Hawaii (Locals overthrow queen in 1893, persuade US to acquire islands in 1898)
  • Panama Canal (U.S. gains territory to build canal)
Spanish-American War (1898-1899)
  • US declares war in Spain after battleship Maine sinks
    • Treaty of Paris- Possession of Guam, Puerto Rico, Philippines, Cuba
    • US intervenes in Caribbean, Central American lands
    • Filipinos revolt against Spanish rule, later against US rule (Philippine- American War)
  • Led by Emilio Aguinaldo
Early Japanese Expansion
  • Resentment over Unequal Treaties of 1860s by the United States and Europeans
  • 1870s colonized northern and southern region
  • 1876 Japanese purchase warships from Britain, dominate Korea
  • Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) with China fought over Korea results in Japanese victory
  • Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) also ends in Japanese victory making them into a major imperial power
Legacies of Imperialism
  • Europeans migrate to temperate lands
  • Africans, Asians, and Pacific islanders migrate to tropical/subtropical lands
  • Colonial rule caused the transformation of crops
    • Indian cotton for British textiles industry
    • Introduction of new crops – Tea in Ceylon
    • Rainforests converted to tea plantations
Colonial Conflict
  • Rebellions against colonial rule (Maji Maji Rebellion (1905-1906) & Rebels use “magic water” &75,000 insurgents died)
  • Development of “Scientific” Racism (Combines with theories of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) to form pernicious doctrine of Social Darwinism & Count Joseph Arthur de Gobineau (1816-1882))
Nationalism and Anti-Colonial Movements in India
  • Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1883), Bengali called “father of modern India”
  • Reformers call for self-government, adoption of selected British practices
    • Influence of Enlightenment thought, often obtained in European universities
  • Indian National Congress formed 1885
  • 1906 joins with All-India Muslim League


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