Imperialism refers to the authority or control of one nation or ruler over the other. The age of imperialism doesn’t actually begin in the 19th century. It was started from sixteenth to nineteenth century. When European rulers traveled various parts of the world to establish their colonies and to begin trade with different countries of the world. They started off with their journey towards the Far East. They wanted to establish their settlement and wanted to begin trading relationships however in their own interest. Europeans traveled to Middle East, south and North America, china and African countries. Although the age of industrialization brought huge changes to the European society but imperial played an integral role in enabling the Europeans to spread their roots around the world in the early nineteenth century. European imperialists established relations with the local rulers and leaders to establish their settlement and to build a trading relationship with them.
The new European imperialists had a different approach and method of establishing colonies and trading relationships with other countries. They didn’t rely on methods used by early imperialists to establish their settlement. During the period of 1870 till the time of 19145 another revolution took place in Europe. This was second industrial revolution. European imperialist had an aggressive and somehow greedy intentions. They wanted to expand their roots to other foreign countries to fulfil rising demands of the second industrial revolution. The second industrial revolution helped Europeans to transform the society they live in. it upgraded and improved standards of living. Steel production was drastically increased and improved. Science and technology replaced old ways of doing things. Transportation methods and shipment production improved. Power generation helped in doing various tasks with ease and sped. Thus the second industrial revolution came with its own advantages, improvements and technology while putting more pressure on the European nations to meet increasing demand of the industrialized society. To meet these demand European imperialists started traveling around the world. Modern imperialist had an idea of controlling administrative affairs of native countries so as to strengthen their feet in those countries and to trade for the sake of their own benefits (Stuchtey 2011) .
European imperialism was also fueled by political leaders since they wanted to gain control over underdeveloped societies for their own benefits. European imperialism was on its peak in the year of 1914. The Great Britain had its colonies spread all around the world mainly in Asian and African countries. They were so proud of their expansion and control over less developed societies and countries that they believed that sun never sets in the empire of the Great Britain. European imperialism had left some consequences on the nations that were colonized as well as on European nations. Imperialism led to conflicts and disturbed peace among nations of the world.
Early industrial imperialism:
European imperialism was fueled by the needs of commercial revolution in Europe in the years of 1800. During the revolutions there was a greater need for wealth, money and raw material. European leaders believed that much wealth and raw material can be taken from less developed countries. So they began to colonize different parts of the world. European imperialists established their colonies in India, America, Africa, and chine and along the coastal areas of china and Africa. East Indies was also colonized by European leaders. Political personnel and other European leaders had their interest in colonizing different countries to earn benefits for themselves. The Great Britain had largest number of colonies in the years of 1800. The Great Britain established its colonies in America, India and Africa. In central and south America Spain established its colonies. French guinea and Louisiana were colonized by France. Holland established control in East Indies. Thus many parts of the world were colonized in the age of imperialism to cope with the needs and demands of the commercial revolution.
During the time of 1837-1901, the great =Britain became an industrial giant. They supplied almost twenty percent of the output produced by industries to the world. In the early years of the 19th century imperialism was not as fast as in the latter year. Struggle for control and democracy, war had drained out energies of the European leaders. They believed the benefits of establishing colonies and establishment in different parts of the world will be less that the cost of establishing it. Thus their motives to colonize in the first half of the 19th century was low/. However in the early years of 19th century, France and the Great Britain began establishing colonies in different countries pf the world. During the Victoria era that lasted between 1837 to 1901, the Great Britain had benefited its economy due to industrialization. They supplied vast proportion of raw material to the world.
Motives behind new European imperialism:
The new imperialism began from late eighteenth century and lasted till early nineteenth century. There were various forces that compelled European imperialists to establish their control in other foreign nation. These motives include religious, political, military, humanitarian and other motives. The acceptance of the Darwin theory also compelled European imperialism (Cleary n.d.).
The industrialization lead to the over production of various items and products that cannot be sold only in European countries. European imperialists established trading relationships with their countries to sell them. The European nations had huge wealth that could be invested to earn huge return. European imperialists decided to take the huge risk to invest in less developed societies to earn great profits. Cheap labor was also available in underdeveloped countries. Thus the need to magnify wealth forced European imperialists to colonize other foreign nations. Imperialists believed that colonizing foreign countries would depict their power, wealth and control. Imperialists believe that for nations to be strong, they need to have a strong military particularly navy power. To establish naval basis in different parts of the world, Europeans began to establish their colonies in various foreign countries (Kiernan 1982). Some westerns hold an opinion that they must also help their fellow countries to benefit themselves from the age of industrialization. With the motive to help and civilize many underdeveloped societies, western nations began colonizing them. The social Darwin theory initiated and presented the idea of natural selection of traits that result in the survival of the fittest among all. European believed that they were more fit, advanced and civilized than others. They believed that being white makes them superior to others. They started colonizing underdeveloped states because they believed that these countries are inferior. The white supremacy forced modern imperialism. New technology possessed by European also geared up imperialism. European had better technology, weapons and medicines as well as transportation system to survive and to gain power and supremacy over underdeveloped and less fortunate people (Porter 1994).
Effects of imperialism:
Imperialism had both positive and negative effects on western societies as well as countries that were colonized. Western leaders by establishing colonies in different parts of the world played an integral and critical role in ensuring that wealth and resources are circulated to different parts of the world. Science and technology is not limited to few areas or countries but less developed countries also learned from latest technological trends. Western countries benefited other countries to learn and life their standards of living. However colonized countries suffered too. Western countries wiped away local markets and industries. Locally manufactured goods were considered inferior in quality than imported goods. European imperialist played an integral role in ensuring that colonized nations do not prosper. They took advantage of their cheap labor and too away their raw material. Thus depriving colonized nations of their own wealth and resources.
Imperialism affected the culture of colonized nation in both positive and negative way. Western people believed that their culture, norms and values are far more superior to those of colonized people. The western people forced them to adopt their customs and even the language. Some worn out traditions were replaced however imperialism affected golden values of people of modernized nation. For instance sati was tradition in India where a women would also die at her husband’s funeral. Such traditions were replaced with modern ones. The western people came with the trend of use of modern medicines and vaccines to improve health conditions of colonized people.
Imperial has also disturbed the peaceful situation in many countries. Imperialism created tension and political conflicts within colonized nations. Several groups were formed in colonized nations that competed with one another. Such situation created a state of conflict within countries. Not only within countries, had imperialism created tensions among countries. It disturbed the peace of the world.
There were several motives that fueled and geared up imperialism. Imperial helped many underprivileged states to earn benefits from the technology of western nations. However most of the motive behind colonizing and gaining power on less developed states were driven by selfish interest and the demands of industrial revolution. Greater need of raw material, cheap labor, need for investment and to sale different products, western nations had only one option that is to colonize other foreign countries and to depict their power and wealth (Modern European Imperialism n.d.).
Cleary, Vern. n.d. Motives for Imperialism. Accessed March 9, 2018. http://webs.bcp.org/sites/vcleary/modernworldhistorytextbook/imperialism/section_2/motives.html.
Kiernan, V. G. 1982. From Conquest to Collapse: European Empires from 1815 to 1960. New York: Pantheon.
n.d. Modern European Imperialism . Accessed March 9, 2018. http://pages.uoregon.edu/kimball/ggr.frn.MPR.gnr.htm.
Porter, Andrew N. 1994. European Imperialism, 1860–1914. Basingstoke. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Stuchtey, B. 2011. “Colonialism and Imperialism, 1450–1950.” European History Online. http://ieg-ego.eu/en/threads/backgrounds/colonialism-and-imperialism/benedikt-stuchtey-colonialism-and-imperialism-1450-1950.