In the 1800’s, the Europeans started colonizing like crazy.
Imperialism is the extension of political, economic, or social control by industrialized nations on other weaker nations, regions, and territories .
European Colonies - 1700
Western control at 1900
The British Empire 19 th century
Reasons (in general)
The Euros wanted to obtain raw materials to use in their fancy new factories they had built as a result of the industrial revolution . Africa and other places had them.
Some also thought the colonies would be good markets for Euro good. In some places, like India, the market for Euro goods was enforced and ruined local industries.
The Europeans also wanted to expand their power and influence.
It was like a keeping up with the Joneses effect. Everybody else was doing so you did too. You didn’t want to be the country without colonies.
There was also the “noble” high-minded goal of civilizing the savages. Also Christianizing them.
This contributed to a lot of racism and Social Darwinism (though this term is often misused and meant different things depending on the person or political persuasion).
Social Darwinism is what it sounds like. The Euros thought that since they were the most technologically and administratively advanced people they encountered anywhere on the globe and that they were capable of conquering others, they were necessarily fitter than all others and were superior to them.
This meant they were doing other peoples a favor by colonizing them.
Also, because they could!
They were industrialized nations that had:
United effort and a superiority complex
Wealth for investment and influence
Superior firepower, military technologies and militaries
U.S. Troops in the Philippines
Europeans wanted to control more territory.
The more places a nation controlled, the better it could gain access to and control other areas around the world for BOTH trade and naval & military purposes.
British control of India
Better Euro weaponry, such as automatic weapons, which the Africans and others didn’t have helped the conquering.
Telegraphy, steam boats, and trains helped the transfer of goods and aided colonial administration.
In Africa anyway, the malarial medicine quinine helped Euros resist the effects of the disease.
The Euros were also very good at playing ethnic tribes against each other.
Africa has lots of resources and the Europeans wanted them. MINERAL RESOURCES!!
North Africa along the Mediterranean had interacted with Europe for nearly 2,000 years and coastal Africa for a few hundred as the Europeans used coastal areas as ports on the way to India and the East Indies (and to get slaves), but in the 1800’s the powers started claiming land inland.
This was because the interior hadn’t been better charted by the late 19 th century.
Many Africans were good at fighting off the Europeans, but truth be told, the Europeans just weren’t interested enough in the continent when the richest areas seemed to be to the east.
The Berlin Conference was arranged among the European powers in 1884 to settle competing claims. They didn’t care to fight over the continent.
Africans didn’t have a say in things. They weren’t allowed to attend.
By 1914, Africa had been split up thus:
Note that Ethopia and Liberia remained uncolonized.
Liberia was a settlement by freed American slaves.
Ethiopia successfully fought off Italian colonizers.
See if you can identify part of the problem with colonization.
Yep… the Europeans grouped together different people, ethnicities, tribes, languages, etc. into larger colonies.
Many of these groups were not only very different from each other, but also didn’t get along well. Some were mortal enemies who were kept from each other’s throats only because of the colonial powers.
In some cases, conflict among groups was generated by the powers.
When colonialism ended, these colonies became independent countries, but with those disagreeable groups still in them.
It was a recipe for conflict and has contributed to some of the problems in the continent.
Rwanda is an example of these problems
There were two tribes there, the Hutus and the Tutsis.
The Hutus were the majority, but the Tutsis were the dominant tribe and were the rulers.
The Germans and then the Belgians recognized this and made sure the Tutsis were in charge. This built resentment among the Hutus.
When Belgium granted Rwanda independence in 1962, free elections elected a Hutu dominated government – it destroyed the centuries of social and government structure and the fragile chemistry the place had.
In 1994, the genocide began. Hutu militias rounded up all the Tutsis they could find. From April 6 th to mid-July, up to 1,071,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.
Think about that… over a million people murdered in just 3 months.
Many were killed by neighbors who either hated the Tutsis themselves or were afraid the militias would kill them also if they didn’t.
Many were hacked to death by machetes. Many were forced into churches or other buildings and massacred.
Studies suggest 53.8% of the victims were killed by machete, 16.6% by clubs, and only 14.7% by gunfire.
This isn’t ancient history. It’s not even WWII. This was just 13 years ago. You were alive when it happened.
The world forgets and tried to ignore it when it happened anyway.