Although Europe represents only 8 percent of entire landmass, they were in a position to conquer 80% of the world as a whole. Reason being is that Europe was termed as superior and dominant. They used Gun power technology invented by the Chinese; therefore few states could fight them regarding conquest. Their leaders hesitated not to spend a lot on military changes as per technology. They learned a lot in trial and error wars of which finally improved their military. Giving them and a great chance to dominate the world including third world countries. This military became the best entirely.
Moreover, Conquest of America’s gave them gold from South America. The attained wealth was used in paying their arms and building several of its fleets. The armies or squadrons were used to trade with the Asia and Africa thereby enabling them attains more wealth. Europe became industrialized more quickly, therefore, became wealthier than any other part of the world. The attained wealth enabled them to grow regarding the economy. Then later industrial trade as well gave them more wealth. Industrial in Europe was possible as a result of Printing Technology. It allowed their knowledge to spread fast to their people and even to other nations (Hull, 1976). This is why they industrially developed before China who lacked printing technology. This spread their products, in combination with the exploitation of Africa and America, they had plenty of wealth. They so emerged economically and technically superior.
Europeans could not rely on hunting and gathering but were able to join in other professionals like soldiers and scientists. This improved their intelligence as well. They were driven by the culture of the fight to kill your enemies, not allowing their cultural practices stop them from fighting. This motto motivated them anytime they go for a war, hence killed many enemies and conquered many countries. They, therefore, decided to travel along the world, since people from other nations couldn’t fight them due to their superior weapons. After 1800, they had grown industrially having 35% of states conquered. Their Geographical Area: Easy access to the sea enabled them to be able to expand into other nations (Hull, 1976). France, Britain, Portugal, and Spain had access to seas. This led to the emergence of merchant economy which eventually developed intelligence thereby creating chances for energy formation.
By 1870, Europe was already stable therefore was able to form new states in Germany and Italy. Together with the use of technology from the industrial revolution, European countries became even more powerful and so pursue political power abroad. The new technologies highly encouraged imperialism. This, in turn, enables, for example, Quinine to conquer inland Africa. Telegraph enables their states to monitor their imperial possessions around the world. With time, they were able to capture large territories in Africa and Asia.
Imperialism was highly linked to the rivalry among European nations. For example, British wanted to maintain colonies, while other European powers wanted to expand their territories as well. British responded by preventing such colonies. Scramble for gold and diamond in South Africa and Egypt accounted large part for colonization as they were among the primary sources of wealth. As a result, the rivalry between France, Germany, and Britain exceedingly increase. Germany could not have control overseas due to its late unification and lack of knowledge on modern navigation.
Moreover, Collaboration also increased chances of imperialism. Local leaders wanted to benefit from the colonial government of which the only way was joining them. Those who collaborated ensured a good relationship between colonial government and the local people. This, In turn, created a better environment for their activities. Some of these leaders who collaborated came to benefit when colonial government was coming to an end.
Economic factors; Imperial governments wanted large profits. As a result financial expanded which in turn called for cheap labor, markets to sell products and need for raw materials. Cheap labor was attainted from the Africans; raw materials also obtained from the dependent colonies since European countries had been facing a shortage of raw materials. The imperial merchants created transportation and infrastructure (Klein, 1999). As a result, the European states competed for the market, raw materials and labor hence motivating the need of conquest or rather imperialism. Exploratory, which was done for medicine and research. Some for the need of adventure and goal for expansion to maintain their imperialism.
Another factor is Ethnocentric; they believed their culture and power is superior to any other therefore would bring their culture to the inferior people. This enabled them to civilize these nations of which they increasingly seceded to conquer. Spread of their religious to Africans, many were converted to Christianity by the missionaries. Churches were built in the conquered territories places where Africans learned the western culture.
The political factor as result of European countries fighting for supremacy among them spurring patriotism and supremacy. This political motive expanded the need to conquer many states each in correspondence to the need of raw materials, labor, and market for their states.
The decline of their power
By the earliest 20th Century, Europe had controlled many parts of Africa, Asia, and Caribbean. However, these empires collapsed after 1945. The causes of their fall include. The colonies had suffered from depression as a result of European imperialist which encouraged production of raw materials. This left these colonies poor. As a result, Europeans were depreciating economically as well. During world war 11, Japan defeated European power forcing them to leave Asia. Japanese forces came to conquer Asia after European surrender powers them in 1945, the states began to fight for their independence demanding for freedom from Japanese forces. These nationalists used the guerrilla’s methods to fight Japan. They seek support from the United States governments. Europeans therefore lost were weakened in terms of power and economy. It is these wars that left European countries like Britain, France facing economic problems.
Moreover, the immediate rise of nationalism in the colonies as well led to the decline of imperialism hence European powers collapsed as well (Keal, 2003). Handing overpowers was a major factor as well. During 1940, decolonization has taken the pick in Asia and the Middle East. European forces, for example, French forces left Syria and Lebanon. Leaving Philippines independent attained from the USA in 1946. Indonesia was granted independence in 1948 forcing Britain colony to give up control of India. In Africa and Caribbean, however, independence came late since it took French and Britain time to grant their colonies independence (begun by 1960s). Civil war arose as a result of Belgium government pulling out from Congo in 1960.
Also, these lose affected Europeans more so in the colonies where many Europeans had lived permanently. Algeria war with French forces, for example, lasted for eight years leaving many dead. White minority in Zimbabwe was refusing to share power with the blacks leading to war until 1980.In South Africa; independence was attained in 1910 of which the whites still stayed in power. This forced blacks to fight until 1994 when Nelson Mandela was elected the president. French tried to keep their colonies in China; however, they were defeated by Vietnam enabling the USA to intervene until 1975. Portugal took so long to surrender power to its colonies, Angola and Mozambique. This led to war between nationalists and imperialists until 1975 when independence was granted unto them.
The end of empire led to the existence of independent states worldwide.
The process of decolonization led to the existence of cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Decolonization was more affected by superpowers changing patterns of international relations (Keal, 2003). The US although supported self-determination of various countries; it had the connection with the European who claimed for their former colonies. Cold war competition, later on, came to dominate U.S policy concerns forcing European to lose powers. Soviet-supported communism while US supported capitalism hence Soviet was able to take control of access to economic resources from the U.S of which they abolished.
Events like Vietnamese war against france1945-1954, nationalist take over in Egypt in 1952, Indonesia struggle for independence from the Netherlands in 1945-1950, created fears .U.S, therefore, was forced to use technical assistance and military sometimes to convince other states to fight with them. However, Soviet used tactics and encouraged nations to join communist claiming it was a non-imperialist economic or political ideology. However, new states refused to indulge in the cold war. After the Bandung conference in 1955, there was a focus on internal development. United Nations had grown, and many states from the third world countries had joined. They knew nations pushed UN leadership to accept resolutions for independence; therefore a special committee for colonialism was formed. Bringing to an end colonial era.
Hull, R. W. (1976). African cities and towns before the European conquest. Norton.
Keal, P. (2003). European conquest and the rights of indigenous peoples: The moral backwardness of international society (Vol. 92). Cambridge University Press.
Klein, K. L. (1999). Frontiers of Historical Imagination: Narrating the European Conquest of Native America, 1890-1990. Univ of California Press.