- Imperialism – the process where stronger nations extend their power over weaker nations to control them economically, socially, and politically.- Imperialism was not new. European countries had taken colonies in the Americas during the 1400’s and 1500’s, but had lost most of them during the Age of Revolutions. During this time, they focus their attention on Africa and Asia.- WHY?- European nations had several reasons for taking new colonies: (The New 3 G’s)- 1. Industrial Revolution(Gold) - Europe was becoming heavily industrialized. The more factories they created the more they needed cheap raw materials, especially oil, rubber, iron for making steel, and tin for making aluminum. - Europe’s factories also needed new markets where they could sell their products quickly. Africa and Asia were perfect markets because they had very little industry.
2. Nationalism & Militarism (Glory) There had always been competition between the powerful countries of Europe, but national pride had made it much more intense. Countries were now competing for valuable natural resources, lucrative trade markets, and status between themselves. Less powerful, newer countries like Germany, Italy, Belgium, the United States and later Japan saw colonies as their chance to compete with their older powers of Great Britain and France. Also, the new factories of the Industrial Revolution were quickly turning out steam powered warships, trains, and new, powerful weapons very quickly. This superior technology allowed industrialized countries to force their will on the weaker nations and maintain control. This dependence on military strength and their willingness to use it to promote their national interest becomes known as militarism.
3. “The White Man’s Burden” & Social Darwinism (God) As Europeans become more involved in Africa and Asia, they see themselves as superior to the Asians and Africans. • Most Africans and Asian countries had not yet become industrialized. Europeans saw this as a sign of weakness. They believed that other nations that had not yet discovered the inventions of the Industrial Revolution and the message of Christianity were ”backwards” and heathens. • Many whites believed that they knew what was best for the rest of the world they believe it is their responsibility to “civilize” the people of Asia and Africa. They begin a process of assimilation, which is where the natives are forced to accept European culture, technology, and religion. This is called “The White Man’s Burden”. • In many colonies, native culture and religion is banned and people are forced to convert to Christianity, dress in European styles, speak European languages, and are treated as inferiors to Europeans.
Political cartoon showing Great Britain and the United States carrying the“children” of Africa and Asia to the mountaintop, where civilization awaits them.
Africa Before 1860, most of Africa was unexplored by Europeans, but after the Industrial Revolution steamships and trains allowed for more exploration. Once Europeans discover the natural resources that Africa holds they begin the “Scramble for Africa”. Each country tries to grab as much land as quickly as possible and use their military to hold on to whatever they can. Natives who resist are enslaved or destroyed. Others are forced to sign over their land and resources at gunpoint. In 1885, the Kaiser(King) of Germany calls a meeting of all the imperial countries to divide up the land of Africa. The Berlin Conference of 1885 drew up borders for colonies and enforced their claims on Africa. No Africans are present. By the end of the conference, only two African nations remained independent. All of Africa was now ruled by Europeans.
The Effects on Africa POSITIVE Improve the land – Build railroads, damns, canals, etc. Provide education for a small portion of Africans. Create a elite class among the Africans Introduce superior technology and medicine into Africa. NEGATIVE Destroys native African culture Forced separation and combination of cultural groups (Forced groups that hate each other to live together under one colony, and divided up groups that had been unified for hundreds of years. This still causes internal problems and civil wars in Africa today.) Exploit the land and take as much natural resources as they can get (Leaves African countries poor) Millions of deaths because of fighting and starvation (Africans are forced to grow cash crops instead of needed food)
Austrailia• Founded as a British prison colony in 1788.• The incoming British brought numerous diseases and that killed offmost of the native people (called Aborigines). Those that survived weretreated as second class citizens and segregated from the whitepopulation and not given the right to vote or participate in government(called apartheid). Southern Asia• The islands of Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Burma werequickly divided up between several countries. The British and Frenchforced the overthrow of the kings of Burma and Vietnam and replacedthem with European governors.• Indonesia was divided among several countries including Britain, theNetherlands, and Germany.• In most of these colonies the natives were treated very poorly – made towork long hours for no pay, starved while they grew cash crops forsale, given no say in government, forced to assimilate European cultureand Christianity.
India Great Britain, France, and Portugal all competed for land in India from the 1400’s until the 1800’s. The British were able to drive out the other countries by 1848. In 1857, the was a revolt by Indian soldiers, called sepoys, against the British but they were crushed by the superior technology of the British. After the rebellion, Britain sent more troops and officially took over all of India as a colony. The British were very worried about another rebellion by the Indians so they ruled India very harshly. The Indian language was banned, many were forced to convert to Christianity, thousands of people starved as land was taken to grow cash crops instead of food, and Indians were made into second class citizens. However, the British did bring some positive effects to India – built railroads, telephones, and telegraphs that improved communication and transportation; did provide education to a portion of the population which created an educated middle class that would eventually lead the Indian independence movement. (Gandhi, Nehru).
China Imperialism begins in China in the 1830’s. Europeans had been trading with China for hundreds of years, but the Chinese had forbidden foreigners to settle in China. This meant that they had to constantly make the long trip back and forth. In the 1830’s British traders began to bring and sell opium in China, and within 10 years the Chinese people had a major opium addiction problem. The Emperor of China tried to force the British to stop bringing opium into China, but Queen Victoria of England refused and went to war against China (The Opium War). The British technology quickly allowed them to win. After the war, the British forced the Chinese to give them the entire city of Canton. British people were allowed to settle, they were not forced to follow Chinese laws, only British merchants could trade in that area, and opium was made legal in China. Once Great Britain breaks into China’s markets, other nations quickly jump in and force the Chinese to give them similar deals. Russia, Germany, France, Portugal, and Japan all are given “spheres of influence”.
The Chinese people are embarrassed and angered that their government would allow foreigners to push them around. In 1898 a group of Chinese called the Righteous Order of the Harmonious Fist, called the Boxers for short, rebel against the government and the foreign invaders. The Boxers go on a rampage in the capital of Shanghai. They slaughter about 2500 Chinese soldiers, 600 foreigners, and 30,000 Chinese Christians. The Chinese government asks the foreigners for help defeating the Boxers. Russia, the U.S., Great Britain, Japan, Germany, and France all send troops. Finally, in 1901, they are able to capture the last of the Boxers. But, in return for the help, the foreign countries demand larger spheres of influence and even more power inside China. In 1901, the United States and other western countries agree to an “Open Door Policy” in China, where they agree that no one country will attempt to dominate all of China. Each country will stay within their sphere of influence and share the markets in China. They do not give the Chinese any say in the agreement. By, 1910 China is in chaos. Westerners are free to run wild in their spheres of influence, the Chinese government is falling apart, and civil war breaks out in 1916. The civil war lasts for almost 40 years.
Political cartoons showing Great Britain, Germany, Russia, and Japan dividing upChina while the Chinese can do nothing about it.
Japan Not all parts of Asia are dominated by European powers though. Japan is able to quickly adopt western technology and ways and actually begin competing against the westerners for colonies and power. Since the 1600’s Japan had isolated themselves from the rest of the world. Only Korean and Dutch merchants were allowed to approach Japan and only at one port, Nagasaki. Other countries were chased off. In 1853, the United States send a fleet of modern warships to the capital of Edo (Tokyo) and force the shogun of Japan to accept American merchants and visitors (Treaty of Kanagawa). Just like China, once one western nation is able to force their way in, other nations jump on the habit and force their way into Japan. However, Japan fights back against this invasion of their culture. A group called the Sat-Chos, lead by samurais from the towns of Satsuma and Chosun overthrow the shogun and give power back to the Japanese emperor. They quickly decide that they must adopt western technology if they wish to compete and save their country from domination.
This period becomes known as the Meiji (“Enlightened Rule”) Restoration. Japan begins to buy and build western weapons and technology. They hire experts from western countries to come to Japan and teach them modern methods. They also send their best and brightest students to other countries to be educated in western schools. They begin to build factories to produce their own goods and armies. By 1900, Japan had built or purchased an army and navy to compete with the western nations. The Meiji emperor then decided that Japan must compete with the western nations on their own terms and began their own imperialism. In 1894, the Japanese went to war with China and easily defeated the Chinese navy. The took possession of the island of Taiwan, a sphere of influence in China, and a northern section of China called Manchuria. However, Russia was interested in Manchuria as well and the two countries went to war in 1904. But, Japan’s new ships proved to be too much and the destroyed two Russian fleets before the Russians were forced to surrender. Russia gave up the rest of Manchuria and Sakhalin Island. In 1910, Japan annexes (peacefully conquers) Korea as well. Japan had officially become a major force, was the strongest country in all of Asia, and the only Asian nation that was able to compete with and stand up to the western imperialist nations.
Political cartoon showing “tiny” Japan defeating the “giant” of China.
Political cartoon showing Japan (on the left) and Russia (on the right) bothfighting to “squeeze” whatever they can out of China.