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Introduction to Imperialism

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An overview of the Age of Imperialism.

An overview of the Age of Imperialism.

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  • 1. Introduction to Imperialism
  • 2. Definition of Imperialism
    • Process by which one state, with superior military strength and more advanced technology, imposes its control over the land, resources, and population of a less developed region
  • 3. What did this look like?
  • 4. The Rationale
    • Think about the last two units (Revolutions, Industrial Revolution) - how did we get here?
    • Nationalism - large colonies meant power
    • Industrialization - vast access to natural resources and cheap labor
    • Humanitarianism - Europeans thought it was their duty to civilize and uplift African people
    • Social Darwinism - Survival of the fittest people
  • 5. Nationalism (1800-1914)
    • French Revolution and Napoleon spread nationalism throughout Europe
    • Pride in one’s country was based upon industrial production, military strength, and size of empire
  • 6. Industrialization (1750-1900)
    • Increased population in Europe
    • Great technological advances - military, transportation, and communications
    • Continued economic expansion requires more resources and markets
  • 7. Humanitarianism
    • Christian missionaries saw Africa and Asia as fertile ground for converts
    • Cultural superiority - Europeans must “save” the rest of the world
    • Must stop the Arab slave trade in Africa (still in practice in North/East Africa)
  • 8. Scramble for Africa
    • Prior to the Age of Imperialism, Europeans only controlled port towns (except for Portugal who had two larger colonies)
    • British took South Africa, Sierra Leone, and Gambia in the mid-1800s
  • 9. Scramble for Africa
    • Between 1875 and 1900 European control of Africa went from 10% to 90%
    • Only two nations, Liberia (home to many freed American slaves) and Ethiopia remained independent
  • 10. The Berlin Conference
    • Tensions began to mount between rival European nations
    • Conference called in 1884 by Bismarck of Germany to defuse disputes and set guidelines for colonization
  • 11. The Berlin Conference
    • Conference in Berlin essentially divided up Africa – no African representatives were in attendance (or were even invited)
    • While dividing up the continent tribal territories and rivalries were not considered. Boundaries were drawn that divided tribes and coupled enemies together, leading to modern problems in Africa.
  • 12. Administrative Styles
    • Colonies (Direct Rule)
      • French, German, Portuguese
      • European rule imposed
      • Highly centralized
      • No attempt to preserve African institutions
    • Protectorates (Indirect Rule)
      • British
      • Governor appointed by British gov’t
      • Local leaders advised by British
      • Supposed to preserve African institutions
  • 13. Administrative Styles
    • Spheres of Influence
      • Local rulers maintain control of internal affairs
      • Europeans control port towns
      • China
    • Company Rule
      • European country grants economic and political control to trading company
      • India (revoked later)
      • Belgium Congo (terrible abuses)
  • 14. Competition for Asia
    • British East India Company had long controlled large parts of India, but other areas were soon being sought after
  • 15. Competition for Asia
    • Subjugation of Asia less violent and more diplomatic than in Africa (other than the French campaign for Indochina)