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The Age of Imperialism: 1850 1914
ROOM 812
Causes of Imperialism
 Why? Because. Western Nations had motive and
Economic: Markets for goods, Hungry for Resources,
could dominate an area economically not politically
Military: New weapons (ex. Steam Fleets, Machine
Guns, needed base stations around the world.
Social: Rapid population growth – Emigration for
Science and Technology: Quest for Knowledge,
medical advances
Causes continued…..
 Cultural: Racial Superiority – white, industrialized
nations were entitled to conquer and colonize areas
that were backward or uncivilized
Social Darwinism – Science applied to Society
“I contend that we are the finest race in the world,
and the more of it we inhabit, the better it is.” – Cecil
“The White Man’s Burden”
NATIONALISM – Colonies were a source of
national pride.
Nationalism Continued….
 “C is for
colonies rightly
we boast. For
we are Great
Britain, and we
have the most”
- 1900
Nationalist Movements – Italian Unification
 Mid 19th Century Italy was
a whole bunch of
independent states
Austria controlled some of
the North, France actually
controlled Rome, Spain
Victor Emmanuel – King of
Count Camillo Cavour –
Made alliances with
European Nations to boot
out Austria
Italian Unification Continued
 Guiseppe Garibaldi –
Raised a volunteer army
to drive out Spain from
Sicily (1860)
 Over the next decade –
wars and alliances fought
and made to bring
together all Italian
speaking Peoples.
 Italy would seek now to
prove itself on the world
German Unification
 Like Italy – German
speakers were divided into
numerous territories
Prussia and Austria were
the Largest
William I and Otto Von
Bismarck (1861)
Fought against Austria for
control of German
Protestant regions
1871 – Franco-Prussian
War – consolidated
German speaking Catholic
peoples to Prussia
German Unification Continued
 1871 – Bismarck declares
the “2nd Reich”
Unification leads to rapid
1890 – New Emperor
William II kicks
Bismarck out
William II builds a
massive fleet, pursues
colonies, and militarizes
Germany will want
respect as a world power
How to Imperialize?
 England
The sun never sets on the British
Primarily ruled indirectly – used
pre-existing local leaders to rule
 French
“La mission civilisatrice”
More of a tendency to export
population to areas to rule over
directly – will lead to problems
 Portuguese – harsh
 Belgians – extremely harsh -
 Germany - Harsh
 Italy - Harsh
 United States – Limited imperial
Colonization of India (Case Study)
 India has been a crux of
trade since post-classical
 Mughal rule breaking down
Islam/Hindu Conflict
Returning to its natural state
 British East India Company
conquers Bangladesh in
Granted exclusive trade
Set up administrative centers
all over India
Needed protection - Sepoys
India Continued…..
 1857 – Sepoy Mutiny
 B.E.I. not respecting customs
(ex. Pork/beef fat)
 Fear being sent overseas
 Massacres on both sides
 Hindus/Muslims don’t
 Reaction
British military deployed to
maintain order
India made a crown colony
300 million Indians not
British subjects
India Continued…..
Global Impact
British Imperial Model
 Raw materials to
Britain – finished
goods to India
Upper Castes taught
Christianity Spread
Investment in
 Affected Global
Movement of navies
International relations
Balance of world power
Gives Britain immense
wealth and prestige
The Good, the Bad and the Indian…
The Good (for India)
 Rapid Modernization-
roads, railroads,
 Educational systems –
will become the hallmark
of their society
 Create some Pro-west
 Eliminated inhumane
cultural practices: Sati,
Thuggee, “Untouchables”
The Bad (for India)
 Profits sent back to Britain
 Destroys local businesses
and hand-crafted goods
 British confiscated lands if
taxes delinquent – mass
 Economically Exploited
 Indian culture
marginalized – English
Customs become dominant
Europe in Southeast Asia
 Before 1800 – European
powers only control major
 Why S.E. Asia? – Rubber,
tin, oil, copper, iron,
aluminum, chrome
 Thailand (Siam) – retains
Modern Monarchs –
introduced western
industrialization and reforms
Buffer Zone between French
Indochina and British Burma
Europe in China (Case Study)
 Qing Dynasty (Manchus)
retained Isolationist
policies of Ming
Expanded by conquering
neighbors – post-classical
Unwilling to
modernize/industrialize –
delusions of grandeur
Limited European access to
Napoleon – “Sleeping
Opium Wars in China
 1773 – British introduce
Opium – why?
 Trade imbalance swings
 1839 – Manchu Emperor
outlaws Opium
 1839-1842 – 1st “War”
Treaty of Nanjing – open
ports, lower tariffs, Hong
Kong taken, Christian
missionaries back in
 1856 – 1860 – 2nd “War”
 All of China opened to trade
– “Spheres of Influence” –
controlled by foreigners
Fall of China
Opium Wars lead to a series of violent
White Lotus – Buddhists
Taiping – 2nd Deadliest war in world
history – 20-30 million dead
1895 – Sino-Japanese war – China
embarrassed by “little brother” – lose
Leads to more foreign involvement –
“Open Door Policy”
Boxer Rebellion – “Society of righteous
and harmonious fists” – martial artists
Anti-west, anti-manchu, anti-Christian
Easily defeated – few modern weapons
By 1900 traditional China is falling
1911 – Government Toppled – will
become a republic led by SunYat-Sen
The Enigma of Japan
 Tokugawa Shogunate 18th
century – Achievements?
Very Similar to China –
Isolated, Proud,
1853 – Commodore
Matthew Perry – “Gunboat
“Treaty of Friendship” –
Perry returns in 1854 with
a bigger fleet….
How can Japan resist this
The Enigma of Japan: Meiji Restorartion
 1868 – Overthrow of the
Tokugawa – Meiji come
to power
 Irony – must embrace
the West to resist the
 Top-Down: emperor to
 Political Changes:
Abolished Feudalism
Established Parliament –
“voted in” 5% could vote
Meiji Restoration continued….
Economic Changes
Social Changes
 No more rigid social
 Stress Efficiency – rural
Civil service exams –
Urbanization and all the
problems that come with
Lower classes educated,
military service
Rapid population growth
peasant numbers decline
Sent young upper class to
Europe and U.S. to train
Government investment
in Industry
Sponge for any and all
Western Technology
Traded their “market” for
Africa in 1800 - Hundreds of Tribes and
North Africa
West Africa
 Sahara Desert
 Islamic reform
 Egypt and the Fertile
 Fertile land along the
 Close ties to Islamic
 Under Ottoman
movement in wake of
abolishment of slave
 “Jihad” preached as a
means of resistance
 New Muslim State arose
in West Africa based on
farming, herding, and
 Ex. Asante Kingdom
Africa in 1800 continued
South Africa
East Africa
 Dutch Settler 1650’s –
 Port Cities and
similar climate
 Exapnded north –
 Wars between
Vortrekkers and Zulu
 Zulu were a centralized
militaristic nation
unified by Shaka
profitable trade
 Slave Trade
 Ivory and Copper in
Europe in Africa
 Europeans have little
interest in Africa prior to
I.R. – only coastal areas
European contacts with
Africa increase: Explorers,
Missionaries, Settlers
1880-1910 “Scramble for
Africa” - Almost brings
Europe to war
1884-1885 – Berlin
By 1910 Only 2
independent nations in
Africa: Liberia, Ethiopia
The Berlin Conference - 1884
 Set up rules for African
colonization – limit conflict
over colonies
Needed to be first to establish
possession – “effective
Positives – added
Negatives – Economic
Exploitation, treatment of
Natives, erosion of African
Borders of modern countries
based on European
possession, not cultural,
linguistic or tribal boundaries
– leads to conflict
African Regions and Domination
 North Africa: Easy to
control, many European
 South Africa also easy,
established European
 Sub-Saharan and Central
Africa difficult to control,
maintain communication
 West African Kingdoms
also difficult to subdue
Ex. Anashti Kingdom
Europe in Middle East - “The Eastern Question”
 Ottoman Empire – “Sick
Man of Europe”
Held together loosely a
very volatile area
Extremely Predictable
Europe doesn’t want
Ottomans to fall – Chaos
Prop up Empire and pick
off parts that they want
Nationalism at work –
Balkans gain independence
1876 – 1878
1908 – “Young Turks” prowest army officers – coup –
ally Ottomans with
Case Study: Egypt
 Egypt part of the Ottoman
Empire – However wanted
Muhammad Ali revolt 1805 –
breaks away goes on the offensive
France/Britain step in, why?
Don’t want to see Ottomans
N. Africa now cut off from
Ottoman – goes to Europeans
Egypt begins construction of
Suez Canal – French & British
1881 military revolt leads British
to intervene to protect interests
Egypt becomes protectorate –
expand South