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Transcript of Imperialism 1800-1914
At it's height, it was said that...
This map depicts all the territories around the globe once owned by Britain. With the exception of the USA, all this territory was held in 1922.
By the later 19th century other European nations began to compete with Britain in a worldwide "scramble" for colonies.
The new Imperialism of the late 1800s differed from the mercantilism and colonialism of earlier times in that the mother countries were no longer content in just trading with the colonial people.
So why did the Europeans change paths and move to this aggressive new style of Imperial rule?
Seven Reasons for "New Imperialism"
I. The Impact of the Industrial Revolution
Modern manufacturing demanded far flung and exotic natural resources. Mistrustful European powers wanted to control all aspects of manufacturing in the event of war.
Modern machines needed oil from the Middle East, Asia and the Americas...
The British sourced their Rubber from Asia and Africa after stealing it from Brazil...
Aluminum from South America and Asia...
Due to overproduction and competition, European manufacturers needed markets for their surplus products. Overseas colonies with large populations were excellent captive markets.
Overseas colonies also provided an outlet for surplus populations of emigrants...
II. Military and Political Reasons
Remote islands became desirable as military coaling stations.
Nationalism spurred European rulers (and others) into contests of pride in which they raced one another to conquer other nations
III. Humanitarian Goals
Europeans felt they would help "civilize" the world by educating and converting "inferior" or "savage" races.
Western notions of law and justice
Technology v. Tradition
IV. Social Darwinism
Many westerners had felt socially superior to non-westerners for centuries. "Racial superiority" based upon the scientific theories of Charles Darwin now gave some people a guilt-free conscience for exploitation and domination.
European Empires established 3 styles of Imperial rule
1. Colonies - Europeans utilized the military to
direct rule colonies
in which the Governors of the colony were from France. The French imposed the French language and customs upon the native population.
French soldier in Algeria
Locals tended to be isolated in direct-rule colonies. The imperial powers were essentially armies of occupation over an "inferior" people. The Belgian Congo was an extreme form of this sort of arrangement.
The British favored
. Indirect rule colonies used local Governors educated in England. British language and customs were spread instead by the colony elite who were educated in England or special schools in India.
Local rulers have imperial "Advisors". The military is usually made up of locals and the rulers are educated in the mother country, but the advisors are on hand to train and advise both the ruler and the military.
This method allowed for Imperial control at a much lower cost in both money and manpower.
Spheres of Influence are areas in which an Imperial Power claims preferential rights for trade and privileges, but usually does not rule directly.
The USA has claimed a sphere of influence in the western hemisphere ever since issuing the Monroe Doctrine in 1823.
Berlin Conference 1884
The Berlin Conference set rules for dividing up Africa among seven European countries. By the eve of World War One only two independent African countries were left....Ethiopia and Liberia.
Why were these two exempted?
"The sick man of Europe"
Throughout the 19th Century Russia, Austria, Britain and France chipped away at the edges of the Ottoman Empire.
Between 1859 and 1869 the French constructed the Suez Canal linking the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
The canal shortened the trip from London to India by about 5000 miles.
For centuries the British East India Company was given monopoly trading rights over commerce in India and even governing rights.
The East India Company controlled law enforcement, imports, exports and even the coinage of money in the subcontinent.
Queen Victoria ruled over the vast British Empire from 1837 until 1901
England's oldest overseas colony, Ireland illustrates this transition from the "Old Imperialism" or mercantilism of the earlier colonial period to the "New Imperialism" of the later 19th century.
Imperialism in the Far East
The British scoured the empire to find a product the Chinese would actually buy...
The problem from the British perspective was that they had no products of comparable worth to sell to the Chinese.
They found the right product in the mountains of NW India.
Indian poppies were converted into opium and sold to millions of addicts in China.
(start vid at 30 minute mark)
In 1839 the Chinese Emperor banned the sale of opium and had Chinese officials dump seized opium in the Pearl river (ala the Boston Tea Party). The British navy citing "free trade" retaliated in two opium wars between 1839 and 1860.
The Treaty of Nanjing ending the Second Opium War gave Britain exclusive rights to openly sell opium, ceded the port of Hong Kong as a base, and established both
spheres of influence
to British citizens throughout China. Over the next several decades this was extended to other European Imperial powers.
By 1900 a secret society known as the Society of Righteous Harmonious Fists coerced the Empress to fight a war to expel the imperial powers. This war became known as the "Boxer Rebellion". (start at 4:30)
Following the defeat of the Boxers the Imperialists installed a weak Emperor they could manipulate. The Chinese government continued in this arrangement until the total collapse of the Qing/Manchu dynasty in 1911.
Imperialism in Japan
In addition to the opening of Japan, America embarked on a foreign policy leading toward a naval empire around the Pacific. The USA acquired Alaska, Hawaii and Guam in the decades following the Civil War.
Roosevelt had his critics - the anti-imperialists - who thought it was un-American to be so aggressive with "Gunboat Diplomacy" and exploiting people in a far-flung empire.
Britain faced far larger threats and criticism to it's imperial model than America, however.
Britain's three wars in North America along with competition with France and other rising Imperial powers, persuaded Britain to change it's colonial model of governance in some colonies.
Canada was granted dominion status in 1867 in which the Britain allowed the Canadians to control internal affairs but left the monarch as head of state and Parliament to control international matters like war and trade. Other colonies followed over the next several decades.
The colonization of Australia was advanced as a way for the British to deal with problems in other parts of their empire, but being so far from Britain Australia was difficult to administrate.
Since the first plantations under the Tudor monarchs in the 1500s, Ireland has continued to be a difficult place for the English to fully control.
European Colonial Possessions circa 1900
start video at min 9
Did the U.S. engage in imperialism?
British Dominions in the Commonwealth of Nations today
"China: Roots of Madness"A 1967 TV documentary
Start at 4 mins
Christian Church in Lalibela, Ethiopia