European Imperialism: 1880-1914

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EUROPEAN
IMPERIALISM: 18801914
The what, when, who, and why of Imperialism
• What is Imperialism?
• Economic, political, and social control of one country or territory by another
• Similar to (almost exactly the same as) colonization, EXCEPT, in colonization an
“invading country” tries to control a new territory and replace all the native inhabitants
with its own people, whereas in imperialism the “invading country” simply tries to
control a new territory economically, politically, and socially while leaving the native
population in place (can you think of examples of countries that were colonized?)
• When was imperialism?
• Europeans had been colonizing places around the world ever since Columbus (1492) but
imperialism didn’t start until the late 1800’s, around 1880 and lasted until the outbreak
of WWI in 1914. After 1914 Europeans held on to the imperial colonies they already had,
but didn’t add many more new ones
• Who imperialized, who was imperialized?
• European countries were the chief imperializing countries, there were only a small
handful of non-European countries that became involved in Imperialism (USA and
Japan)
• Not all European countries became involved in imperialism the biggest European
imperializing countries were: Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy,
Portugal, and Spain
• The areas of the world that were imperialized were principally Africa, southeast Asia,
Africa During Imperialism: 1914
Asia During Imperialism: 1914
The what, when, who, and why of Imperialism
(cont.)
• Why did European countries start imperializing and why did they
start in the 1880’s?
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Industrialization and Economic Motives
Military motives
Intangible motives
Nationalism
Social Darwinism
New Technologies
Two Types of Imperialism: Direct and Indirect
• Direct Imperialism:
• Europeans replaced all of the local officials and government of the areas
that they imperialized with European officials
• So Europeans made all the decisions/policies AND enforced all their
decisions/policies in their imperial colonies
• Pros/Cons for Europeans?
• Pros/Cons for the native inhabitants??
• Practiced by all European countries (except Britain)
• Indirect Imperialism:
• Europeans replaced the high ranking officials in the places that they
imperialized with Europeans, but left lower level native rulers in place
• So Europeans made most of the decisions/policies, but allowed native
rulers to enforce them
• Pros/Cons for Europeans
• Pros/Cons for the native inhabitants??
Non-European Imperialist Countries
• Japan
• Modernized and industrialized very rapidly between 1850 and 1880
• Needed natural resources to fuel their economy
• Imperialized Korea and parts of China (Manchuria, Formosa)
• US
• Took over some old Spanish colonies after the Spanish-American War in
1898 (Philippines, Guam)
• Mostly wanted access to trade routes in Asia (Hawaii, Samoa)
• Egypt
• Very briefly involved in imperializing other parts of Africa (Sudan)
• Ended up getting imperialized by the British after the construction of the
Suez Canal
Putting it All Together
• Q: What was Europe like in the early 1900’s?
• A: There was an enormous amount of competition between European
Countries
• Economic competition due to industrialization
• Competition and rivalry due to intense nationalism
• Competition to see who could control the most places around the world due to
imperialism
• A: There was a lot of tension underneath the surface inside of European
Countries
• Nationalism caused fear and rivalry between nations, but also inside of some
countries as well (Britain, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire)
• Economic inequality led to calls for socialist policies and even communist
revolution
• Political inequality led to calls for increased democracy—voting rights for the
poor, voting rights for women

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