Student Questions on Imperialism - 3A

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Student Questions on Imperialism - 3A

  1. 1. Remember those questions on the bookmark activity? Here are the answers!
  2. 2. Q. “Wherewas it hardest for the Europeans toconquer?” It is hard to pick a specific place that was most difficult, as they all had challenges. Is it more difficult to conquer a place because of their strong military forces (like the Zulus in Africa), or because they have a smart ruler that outsmarts you (like Emperor Menelik of Ethiopia)? That being said, many historians believe that the southern areas of Africa were the nations that had the most gruesome fighting. The Zulus were particularly fierce, especially for a force with no firearms! But the nation that gave the Europeans the most problems was Ethiopia. As we talked about in class, Italy failed to conquer Ethiopia due to Menelik’s foresight; when the Italians were faced by a well-disciplined, well-armed army, they failed to gain a foothold and Ethiopia remained an independent nation.
  3. 3. Q. “What ended imperialism?”It can be argued that imperialism never really ended!But for historical purposes, the Age of Imperialism ended onJuly 28, 1914, AKA the beginning of World War I. During thewar the imperialist nations did not have the resources ormanpower spare on imperialism, and after the war treaties wereput into play to limit imperialism, which was recognized as amain reason WWI happened in the first place.As an important note, some nations (India is a good example),actively supported their European ‘allies.’ India sent 1,000,000troops to the battlefields of WWI. 75,000 of them died in battle.
  4. 4. Q. “How are imperialism and colonialism related?”Colonialism is the expansion of a nation by moving a portion oftheir population from their homeland to the new territory,claiming it for their nation. For example, when Great Britain sentcolonists to the New World, the areas they settled became a partof Great Britain.While imperialism included some colonization, it was broader inscope. The nations of Europe learned that maintaining colonieswas difficult and often led to revolutions (which were costly toput down, and you sometimes lost!). This led to imperialism; thespreading of national influence through various means.Check your notes and your book; imperialism used settlementcolonies, dependant colonies, protectorates, and spheres ofinfluence to gain power in other nations. Colonialism usedprimarily settlement colonies.
  5. 5. Q. “How did all of this imperialism not start a majorwar earlier?”The balance of power in Europe at this time kept most of thenations in check. What this meant is that all nations wanted asmuch power as they could get, but understood that if they gottoo much power that their neighbors would band together and‘put them in their place.’Another large factor was Great Britain. During the 1800s(specifically the reign of Queen Victoria), England wasAMAZINGLY powerful. They had the unquestioned mastery ofthe seas, and an army that few could challenge. Englandwalked the line between ‘too much’ and ‘just right’ in terms ofpower, and the other nations were very careful not to getinvolved in British affairs, while England was careful not to gettoo big!
  6. 6. Q. “How did imperialism help maintain the balance ofpower?”Once the various areas in Africa and Asia were targeted byEuropean nations, the race was on! Because of this, thebalance of power was maintained by three important factors:• Nations busy grabbing for regions of Africa were not busytrying to conquer their neighbors;• The various powers of Europe realized that there was a lot ofnew territory to conquer, and more than enough for everyone tohave a bit;• Due to Great Britain’s dominance over international trade (andtheir understanding that other European nations would notattack them as long as everyone is making money), most ofthese nations were making money hand over fist!
  7. 7. Q. “Did the nations controlled by European powersconvert their culture to more European views?”Some assimilation happened in each case of imperialistpower, as the people of the nation being controlled realizedthat there might be more comfort in the idea of “if you can’tbeat ‘em, join ‘em!” Other people, like many of those in SouthAfrica, resisted assimilation to the point of open revolt.In most cases, the culture of the nation being taken overchanged, keeping much of their old ways while bringing in theparts of the conquering nation that help them become stronger(and keeps the new landlord off of their back!) India is the bestexample, as even today they maintain much of their several-thousand-year-old culture intact while adopting a good deal ofBritish efficiency in administration and industry.
  8. 8. Q. “What kept the African nations from bandingtogether to fight the Europeans?”Two major factors kept this from happening:• As we talked about in class, many of the people of theseAfrican ‘nations’ DID NOT KNOW THEY WERE A NATION!European leaders drew these borders, NOT them! They wereused to smaller tribal organization, and most had warred witheach other for centuries. By the time they realized they had acommon enemy (remember, they had NO fast communications!),their military was already destroyed.• Most of the European nations were MASTERS at imperialism!By this point, they had several hundred years worth ofexperience at subjugating people who were technologicallyinferior to them, so they knew exactly how to keep these nationsapart. They knew when to apply reward and when to applypunishment (in many cases, ESPECIALLY the punishment!).
  9. 9. Q. “What raw materials made a nation a target forimperialism?”Africa: wheat, olives, coffee, bananas, cocoa, livestock (cattle,sheep, pigs, etc.), cotton, fish, vanilla, rubber (started out a littleimportant, but became of HUGE importance by WWI!), fruit, rice,timber, sorghum (for molasses), tea, coconuts, petroleum (oil andcoal), diamonds, limestone, gold, salt, zinc, iron ore, copper,rubies, graphite, tin ore, clay, and lots and lots of diamonds!Asia: If you take all of the vast territory that comprises the Asiancontinent, virtually every natural resource was up for grabs! Indiaand China in particular reflect much of what was found in Africa,also adding many more gemstones, much more tea and variedfoodstuff, and (while not a raw material) a rich culture that is animport all its own!Everywhere: More manpower to help fight future wars! Thepeople from these colonies were VITAL to European efforts inWWI and even WWII!
  10. 10. Q. “Did India ever try to rebel against England?”As India became ruled by Great Britain due to the IndianRebellion of 1857 (when they threw off the rule of the Dutch EastIndia Company), they were not prepared to have organized,armed rebellion against England. Since English rule was mostlyof an administration-based rule rather than a military-based one,the need to revolt was largely not present.However, India did remove a large portion of British rule. Unlikealmost every other revolution of the time, India’s removal fromBritish rule occurred through mostly peaceful means. Ever hearof Gandhi? He was the leader and figurehead of this peacefulmeans of non-cooperation. At this point, India has a powerfulenough economy and military to be considered a major worldplayer, although it still struggles with problems from its ages-oldculture clashing with modern sensibilities.
  11. 11. Q. “Why did Europeans not let the people that theytook over practice their own culture?” Let’s keep this one simple: human nature has shown time- after-time that so long as a group of people sees themselves as ‘us’ and another group as ‘them,’ conflict will happen at some point. By forcing assimilation, Europeans made the people that they conquered see less of a division of ‘us’ vs. ‘them,’ and therefore fewer revolutions SHOULD happen. That is the theory, anyway. In reality, most people force such change because they see their culture as superior in every way, and therefore it should be the only one allowed. Europeans of the time (and people today are very little different) refused to accept that the lifestyle of anyone not living the ‘civilized,’ European culture had any merit.

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