The Age of Imperialism 1850-1914 study guide summary chapters



The Age of Imperialism 1850-1914 study guide summary chapters


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The Age of Imperialism 1850-1914 study guide summary chapters

Chapter 27 -  The Age of Imperialism 1850-1914

  • Empire Building –
    • The Industrial Revolution gave European nations the necessary technology to dominate other people
    • During the 1800s - The European powers competed with one another to claim parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, India, and the Pacific
  • Economics –
    • The imperialists regarded their colonies as captive markets as well as sources of raw materials and trade goods
    • The colonizers (another word for imperialist)  demanded production of cash crops as the expense of peasants own subsistence agriculture


  • Power and Authority
    • Colonizers were divided on the best method of rule
      • Britain and the U.S. ruled indirectly
        • Using local leaders and institutions
      • The French and others ruled the colonies directly
        • Using a central authority from France

Section 1 – Imperialists Divide Africa

  • Industrialized countries in Europe looked to countries in Africa and Asia as a source of raw materials and as markets for cloth, plows, guns, and other industrial products


Africa Before Imperialism

  • In the mid 1800s African people were divided into hundreds of ethnic and linguistic groups
  • Some had converted to Islam or Christianity while other followed traditional beliefs
  • There were more than 1,000 languages in Africa
  • Powerful African armies were able to keep the Europeans out of Africa for 400 years
  • As late as 1880  Europeans controlled only 10 percent of the continents land – mainly on the coast
  • Africans had a large and specialized trade network

Nations Compete for Overseas Empires

The Congo Sparks Interest

  • David Livingstone – a minister from Scotland went on a search in Africa for the source of the Nile River
    • Livingstone went missing for several years
    • Reporter Henry Stanley from U.S was sent to find him
      • 1871 Stanley found Livingstone at Lake Tanganyika
      • 1882 Stanley returns to Africa – the Congo River Valley with Treaties giving King Leopold II of Belgium personal account of the land
      • Leopold exploited the natural resource of the Rubber trees –
        • He forced Africans to collect sap from the rubber trees – which made it impossible for them to tend to their own food crops
        • Leopold abused the native Congonese population by excessive tax and forced labor
  • Belgium’s control of the Belgium Congo Sparked interest from the rest of Europe to claim land in Africa
    • Britain, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain would soon claim land in Africa

Motives Driving Imperialism

  • Economic, political, and social forces accelerated the drive to take over land in all parts of the globe
  • Imperialism -  The takeover of a country or territory by a stronger nation with the intent of dominating the political, economic, and social life of the people of that nation
    • As European countries industrialized, they searched for new markets and raw materials to improve their economy
  • National pride and economic competition were two reasons why countries wanted to colonize
    • Europeans viewed an empire as a measure of national greatness
  • Europeans believed that they were better than other people because of their technological advancements
    • This belief was Racism – The idea that one race is superior to others
    • Social Darwinism – Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolution and survival of the fittest were applied to social change
      • Those who were fittest for survival enjoyed wealth and success and were considered superior to others
      • Non-Europeans were considered to be on the lower scale of cultural and physical development – because they did not have the technology that Europeans had
  • Europeans believed that they had the right and the duty to bring their technology to other lands
  • Missionaries also worked to Christianize the people of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands
    • Missionaries also wanted to ‘civilize’ ,‘westernize’ or modernize the people of foreign lands
  • European Motives for Imperialism
    • Nationalism
    • Economic Competition
    • European Racism
    • Missionary impulse

Forces Enabling Imperialism

  • External and internal forces contributed to the Europeans’ conquest of Africa
  • External Forces – created by Europeans’ technological superiority
    • Maxim Gun – 1889 First automatic machine gun
      • Africans were forced to rely on outdated weapons
    • The Railroads and Steamship
      • The invention of the steam engine allowed Europeans to easily travel upstream to establish bases of control – Railroads allowed for easy communication w/i a colony and between the colony and controlling nation
    • Cure for Malaria
      • Europeans were highly susceptible to Malaria – the drug quinine protected Europeans from attacks of the disease caused by mosquitoes
  • Internal Forces
    • Variety of cultures and languages
      • Discouraged Unity among the various nations of Africa
    • Lowe level of technology
      • Africans did not have the weapons or technology the Europeans had
    • Ethnic strife
      • Wars fought over land, water, and trade rights also prevented a unified stand

African Land Become European Colonies

  • The scramble for African Territory began in 1880

Berlin Conference Divides Africa

  • Competition over African land was so fierce that European countries feared war amongst themselves
  •  To prevent fighting 14 European nations met at the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 to lay down the ground rules for the division of Africa
    • The nations agreed to:
      • Any European country could claim land in Africa by notifying other nations of their claims and showing they could control the area
    • They divided the rest of the continent with little thought to how African ethnic or linguist groups were distributed
    • No African ruler attended the Berlin Conference
    • By 1914 only Ethiopia and Liberia were free of European control

Demand for Product Shapes Colonies

  • Many Europeans thought that once they had colonized an area Africans would be buying European goods in large quantities
    • This did not happen
  • Europeans shifted to exploiting their African lands for raw materials and cash – crops such as peanuts, palm oil, cocoa, and rubber
    • These products displace the food crops grown by farmers to feed their families
  • The great source of wealth in Africa was its rich mineral resources – copper, tin, gold and diamonds

Three Groups Clash over South Africa

  • Africans, Dutch, and British clashed over land and resources

Zulu Expansion

  • From late 1700s to the late 1800s a series of local wars shook southern Africa
  • Shaka – a Zulu Chief used highly disciplined warriors and good military organization to create a large centralized state
    • He was unable to keep out the British and they ended up controlling South Africa in 1887

Boers and British Settle in the Cape

  • Dutch were the first Europeans to visit the Cape of Good Hope in 1652
    • Dutch Settlers known as Boers gradually took over native Africans’ land
  • British colonist and the Dutch Boers clashed on many issues (regarding land and slaves)
    • The Boers tried to escape British control by fleeing to the Northern part of South Africa – this fleeing is known as the Great Trek
    • Because of the fleeing of the cape the Boers went north and face opposition of the Zulus and other African groups whose land they were trying to take over because of their displacement

The Boer War

  • Diamonds and gold were discovered in South Africa in the 1860s and 1880s
  • Thousands of people flooded South Africa to claim fortunes
  • The Boers tried to keep them out but were not entirely successful – they blamed the British
  • The Boer Wars were between the British and the Dutch in 1899
    • Britain Won the war in 1902 and South Africa was controlled by the British

Section 2 - Imperialism – Case Study: Nigeria

  • In splitting up Africa Europeans paid little attention to historical political divisions such as kingdom or caliphates, or to ethnic and language groupings
  • Europeans wanted to control land, its people and their resources

Colonial Control Takes Many Forms

Forms of Colonial Control

  • Each European nationa had certain policies and goals for establishing colonies
  • Over time 4 forms of colonial control emerged:
    • Colony
    • Protectorate
    • Sphere of Influence
    • Economic Imperialism
  • Sometimes when trying to control an area a European nation would use multiple forms of Imperialism
  • Colony – A country or region governed internally by a foreign power
    • An example is Somaliland  - (east Africa) – was a French Colony
  • Protectorate – A country or territory with its own internal government but under the control of an outside power
    • An example is the Niger River Delta – Britain established a Protectorate
  • Sphere of Influence – An area in which an outside power claims exclusive investment or trading privileges
    • An example is Liberia – Under the Sphere of Influence of United States
  • Economic Imperialism – Independent but less developed nations controlled by private business interests rather than by other governments
    • An example is – Dole Fruit company  controlled pineapple trade in Hawaii

Patterns of Imperialist Management

  • European rulers need to develop methods of day-to-day management of the colony
  • Two forms of Internal management emerged:
    • Indirect Control (Britain, and the U.S)
    • Direct Control (France, and most of Europe)

Indirect Control

  • Indirect control relied on existing political rulers
    • Local officials handled most of the daily management of the colony
  • Each colony had a legislative council which included colonial officials along with local merchants and professionals
  • Characteristics of Indirect Control:
    • Local government officials were used
    • Limited self-rule
    • Goal: To develop future leaders
    • Government institutions are based on European styles but may have local rules
      • Examples:
        • British Colonies in Nigeria, India, and Burma

Direct Control

  • The French and other European powers preferred a more direct control of their colonies. 
  • The Europeans developed a policy of paternalism – governing people in a fatherly way by providing for their needs but not giving them rights
  • Europeans brought in their own bureaucrats and did not train local people in European methods of government
  • French supported assimilation – in time the local populations would become absorbed into French culture
  • With time France realized that Africans would not assimilate to their culture and they settled with association
  • Characteristics of Direct Control:
    • Foreign officials brought in to rule
    • No Self Rule
    • Goal: Assimilation
    • Government institutions are based only on European Styles
      • Examples:
        • French Colonies in Somaliland, Vietnam
        • German colonies in Tanganyika
        • Portuguese colonies in Angola

African Resistance

  • Across Africa, European attempt to colonize the lands were met with resistance
  • With the single case of Ethiopia all of the attempts at resistance ultimately failed
  • The unsuccessful resistance attempts included active resistance and religious movements

Ethiopia: A Successful Resistance

  • Ethiopia was the only African nation to successfully resist the Europeans
  • Menelik II – Emperor of Ethiopia in 1889 credited with the successful resistance to Europe
  • He played Italians, French and British against each other – each wanted to colonize Ethiopia
  • He built up a large supply of modern weapons purchased from France and Russia
  • Menelik declared war with Italy over a misunderstanding of terminology in a treaty
    • At the Battle of Adowa – Ethiopian forces successfully defeated the Italians and maintained their national identity

Impact of Colonial Rule

  • European colonial rule forever altered Africans’ lives
  • For the most part the effects were negative, but there were some positive outcomes
  • Positive Outcomes
    • Colonialism reduced local warfare
      • Raids between rival tribes were reduced
    • Humanitarian efforts in some colonies improved sanitation and brought hospitals and schools
      • Life span increased and literacy rates improved
    • Economic Expansion
      • African Products came to be valued on the international market
      • Gained railroads, dams, and telephone and telegraph lines
  • Negative Outcomes
    • Africans lost control of their land and their independence
    • Many died of new diseases such as small pox
    • Thousands of Africans were killed in the resistance of Europe
    • Famines resulted from the change to cash crops in place of subsistence farming
    • Breakdown of their traditional culture
      • Traditional authority figures were replaced
  • The most troublesome political legacy from the colonial period was the dividing of the African continent
    • The artificial boundaries that combined or unnaturally divided groups created problems that plagued African colonies during European occupation – problems continue today

Section 3 Muslim Lands Fall to Imperialist Demands

  • The European powers who carved up Africa among themselves also looked elsewhere to see what other lands they could control

Ottoman Empire Loses Power

  • The Ottoman Empire at its peak stretched from Hungary in the North, through Greece around the Black Sea, south through Syria, and across Egypt all the way west to the border of Morocco
    • During the empire’s last 300 years it steadily declined in power

Reforms Fail

  • After 1566 the Ottoman’s had a series of week Sultans
    • Weakening power led to other problems
      • Corruption and theft led to financial problems
      • Money was devalued leading to inflation
  • The Ottoman Empire fell further and further behind Europe
  • 1789 Selim III came to power and tried to modernize the army – people resisted and Selim was overthrown – reform was abandoned
  • Regions such as Greece and Serbia gained independence from the Ottoman Empire ins 1830
    • Europe took this as a sign of weakness and looked for ways to gain territory

Europeans Grab Territory

  • Geopolitics – an interest in or taking of land for its strategic location or products
    • Played an important role in the fate of the Ottoman Empire – world powers were interested in the Ottoman Empires strategic location
      • Ottoman’s controlled access to the Mediterranean and Atlantic sea trade

Russia and the Crimean War

  • Each Russian czar launched a war on the Ottomans to try to gain land on the Black Sea – (For trading purposes)
  • 1853 War broke out between the Russians and the Ottomans – This war is known as the Crimean War – after a peninsula in the the Black Sea where most of the war was fought
    • Britain and France helped the Ottomans because they did not want Russia gaining any valuable land in the Empire
      • Britain, France, and the Ottomans defeated Russia
        • First war in which women led by Florence Nightingale were practicing nurses
        • Revealed the Ottoman’s military weakness
        • Despite help from France and Britain the Ottoman Empire lost lots of land


Egypt Tries Reform

  • Modernization came to Egypt as a result of the interest in the area created by the French Revolution
    • After Napoleon failed to win Egypt a new leader emerged: Muhammad Ali
      • Ali and his heirs were recognized as the hereditary rulers of Eygpt
      • Ali began a series of reforms in the military and in the economy
        • Shifted agriculture to a cash crop – cotton – bringing Egypt into the world marketplace
  • Mohammad Ali was followed by his Grandson – Isma’il
    • Isma’il supported the construction of the Suez Canal – The canal was a manmade waterway that cut through the Isthmus of Suez connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean
      • Isma’il’s modernization efforts were very expensive – Egypt was $450 million in debt
      • British insisted on overseeing financial controls of Egypt and in 1882 Britain occupied the country
      • The Suez Canal was important to Britain because it allowed Britain quicker access to colonies in Africa and Asia

Persia Pressured to Change  

  • Russia and Britain competed to exploit Persia commercially and to bring that country under their own sphere of Influence
  • Britain’s interest in Persia increased greatly after the discovery of oil in 1908
  • Persia lacked the capital to develop its own resources
    • The Persian Ruler began granting concessions to Western businesses
      • Businesses earned the right to operate in certain areas or develop a certain product
  • Tension arouse between corrupt rulers, who wanted to sell  concessions to Europeans, and the people
    • The people feared change and disliked Western influence  
    • 1906 a group of revolutionaries forced the ruler to establish a constitution
    • 1907 Russia and Britain took over the country and divided it into spheres of influence
  • In Muslim lands, the European imperialists gained control by using economic imperialism and creating spheres of influence

Section 4 British Imperialism in India

  • British economic interest in India began in the 1600s

British Expand Control Over India

East India Company Dominates

  • The British government regulated the East India Company’s efforts both in London and in India
  • The East India Company had its own army led by British  officers and staffed by Sepoys
    • Sepoys – or Indian Soldiers – Some British military leaders were worried that the Sepoys army could turn on them

‘Jewel in the Crown’ Produces Trade Products

  • India was a major supplier of raw materials during the industrial revolution
  • India was known as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ – or the most valuable of all of Britain’s colonies because of raw materials and the large population of 300 million people to purchase British goods
  • British policies called for India to produce raw materials for British manufacturing and to buy British finished goods
  • India could not compete with British finished good products
  • India became economically valuable only after the British established a railroad network
    • Transported raw products from the interior to the ports and manufactured goods back to the interior
    • Plantations crops were grown in India – tea, indigo, coffee, cotton and jute

Impact of Colonialism

  • India both benefited from and was oppressed by British Colonialism
  • Positive Impacts:
    • British laid the third largest railroad network in India
      • Enabled India to develop a modern economy and brought unity to the connected regions
    • Modern road network, telephone and telegraph lines, dams, bridges and irrigation canals enabled India to modernize
    • Sanitation and public health improved
    • Schools and colleges funded
      • Literacy rates improved
    • British troops put an end to local warfare among competing local rules
  • Negative Impacts
    • Britain held much of the political and economic power
    • Emphasis on cash crops resulted in reduced food production – causing famines in the late 1800s

Indians Rebel

  • By 1850, the British controlled most of the Indian subcontinent
    • Many pockets of discontent about racism and control

Sepoy Rebellion

  • As economic problems increased for Indians, so did feelings of resentment and nationalism
  • Sepoy Army is informed that the new guns used cartridges that were sealed with beef and pork fat
    • Hindus believed that the cow is sacred and Muslims do not eat pork
    • Sepoys were outraged and 85 out of 90 refused to accept the new cartridges
      • These soldiers were jailed
      • May 10, 1857 the day after the Soldiers were jailed they rebelled
      • They captured the city of Dehli à The Rebellion then spread to Northern and central India à Rebellion is know as Sepoy Mutiny
      • Both sides Britain and India tried to slaughter each others army
      • It took a year for the East India company to regain control of the Country
  • Indians could not unite because of weak leadership and the split between Hindus and Muslims
  • Hindus did not want the Muslims to control India à Some Hindus preferred British rule to Muslim Rule

Turning Point

  • The mutiny marked a turning point in Indian History
    • Result of Mutiny:
      • 1858 the British Government took direct command of India
      • The Raj – referred to the part of India that was under direct British Rule from 1757 - 1947
        • A cabinet minister in London directed policy and a British governor- general in India carried out the government’s orders
      • The Sepoy Mutiny fueled the racist attitude of the English
      • The mutiny increased the distrust between the British and the Indians

Indian Nationalist Movements Begin

  • In the early 1800s, some Indians began demanding more modernization and a greater role in governing themselves
  • Ram Mohun Roy – sometimes called the ‘Father of Modern India’ called for India to modernize
    • He saw to abolish widow suicide, child marriages and the rigid caste separation
    • He founded a social reform movement to change India
  • Besides modernization and westernization, nationalist feelings started to surface in India
    • Indians resented a system that made them second class citizens in their own country
      • Indians were barred from top positions in the Indian Civil Service
      • Indians were paid less than Europeans
    • Two nationalist groups were founded in India: The Indian National Congress in 1885 and the Muslim League in 1906
      • By 1900 these nationalist groups were calling for self government


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