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Imperialism: Colonialism and Industrial Revolution

Oct 08, 1999 388 Words
Imperialism

Imperialism is the domination by one country of the political, economic, or cultural life of another country or region in order to increase its own wealth and power. Imperialism during the period following the Age of Exploration, when European countries acquired colonies to support mercantilism, can be called "old imperialism." In the nineteenth century, a new era of imperialism began, this time spurred on by the Industrial Revolution.

Some reasons for imperialism were political, economic, and social. These are some political reasons. Feelings of nationalism itensified throughout Europe during the nineteenth century. Nationalism in the extreme promotes the idea of national superiority. Industrialized countries therefore felt they had the right to take control of weaker areas. Countries also tried to increase their power through the control of more land and people.

Economic causes also led to imperialism. As a result of the Industrial Revolution, countries needed colonies for Raw materials to feed the ever- increasing number of factories, Markets for finished products, places to invest surplus capital, and places to send surplus population. And social causes also led to imperialism. Many people believed the word of Rudyard Kipling, who said it was the white mans burden to educate the people of the underdeveloped world, spread the customs of what they perceived was a superior western culture, and to convert people to Christianity, since it was believed that the souls of the non- believers would not be saved.

The new era of imperialism brought about important and farreaching effects. Through the creation of global empires, the imperial powers helped spread the Industrial Revolution and the capitalist system around the world. Christianity, western European languages, and Imperialism benefited underdeveloped regions through improved transportation, education, and medical care.

Imperialism also had its negative side. It undermined native cultures and exploited people and resources in underdeveloped lands. Eventually, colonial nationalist movements developed to end imperial control. One such movement was the Boxer Rebellion in China. The most dangerous aspect of imperialism was competition among the colonial powers themselves. These rivalries held the potential for conflict and war.

Much of Africa suffers from restrictive trading patterns established during the age of European imperialism. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, European nations acquired colonies in Africa in order to take advantage of the continents raw materials. For example, imperial powers built zi

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