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The Era of Imperialism: Part I. Emergence of the New Imperialism European history has been one of expansion. In the 1500s and 1600s it was rush for colonialism,

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Presentation on theme: "The Era of Imperialism: Part I. Emergence of the New Imperialism European history has been one of expansion. In the 1500s and 1600s it was rush for colonialism,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Era of Imperialism: Part I

2 Emergence of the New Imperialism European history has been one of expansion. In the 1500s and 1600s it was rush for colonialism, a period of settlement and trade. We saw the exploration, conquest, and settlement of many areas of the world. European influence over the rest of the world grew as European nations industrialized, expanding world trade. Industrialization created the new imperialism as Europeans struggled for raw materials, markets for their manufactured goods, and places to invest their capital for higher rates of return.

3 New Imperialism: Markets In the late 1800s, many politicians and industrialist believed that annexing overseas territories was the only way for their nations to ensure economic success. So, one reason for the new imperialism was economic. European Expansion Worldwide

4 New Imperialism Contradiction: Many of the areas claimed by Europeans and Americans, however, were not profitable sources of raw materials or wealthy enough to be good markets. The economic justifications for imperialism cannot be separated from intensely nationalistic ones.

5 Nationalism: The Sacredness of the Nation Definition – Nationalism is a common bond shared by a group of people who feel strongly attached to a particular land and who possess a common language, culture, and history, marked by shared glories and sufferings. Nationalists contend that one’s highest loyalty should be given to the nation. They exhibit great pride in their people’s history and traditions and often feel that their nation had been specially chosen by God or history.

6 New Imperialism: Nationalism Policymakers hoped that possession of empires would unite together disparate social groups with pride in national power. This was especially important to newly unified countries such as Germany and Italy. In other words, nationalism led to imperialism. Many leaders hoped that imperialism would win them the loyalty of their own people. The nationalistic competition among Europeans led them, for a time, to extend their power struggles to Africa and Asia, acquiring territories for strategic reasons or sometimes just to keep competitors from doing so.

7 New Imperialism: Social Darwinism The most extreme ideological expression of nationalism and imperialism was Social Darwinism. The theory of evolution justified the exploitation of “lesser breeds” by “superior races.” Europeans (and Americans) would repeatedly suggest that they had evolved more than Africans and Asians, and that hence nature itself gave them the right to rule others.

8 Charles Darwin, 1809-1882 Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) Darwin’s theory of evolution holds that environmental effects lead to varying degrees of reproductive success in individuals and groups of organisms. (Natural Selection) Descent of Man (1871) Applied Evolution to the social order (people).

9 Herbert Spencer, 1820-1903 Spencer coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” to describe the outcome of competition between social groups. In Social Statics (1850) and other works, Spencer argued that through competition social evolution would automatically produce prosperity and personal liberty unparalleled in human history.

10 Social Darwinism Social Darwinists were blatantly racist. They applied evolution to the social order. Ideas of racial superiority associated with Social Darwinism gave Europeans the conviction that natural laws destined them to lead “the civilizing mission.” Missionaries sought to convert “heathen” unbelievers in faraway lands. “The white man’s burden” – introducing civilization to the “colored” races of the world. In their view, war was nature’s way of eliminating the unfit. Using terms such as “survival of the fittest” Social Darwinists insisted that nations and races were engaged in a struggle for survival in which only the fittest survive and deserve to win.

11 Social Darwinism: Lasting Implications Social Darwinism had long-lasting implications. It promoted the military build-up that led to World War I. It would become the core doctrine of the Nazi party. Provided a “scientific” and “ethical” justification for genocide in the 20 th century.

12 The Scramble for Africa The most rapid European expansion took place in Africa. As late as 1880, European nations ruled only a tenth of the continent. By 1914, Europeans claimed everything except Liberia (a small territory for freed slaves from the U.S.) and Ethiopia (who defeated the Italians). Only Russia, Austria-Hungary, and the U.S. did not scramble for African soil.


14 Conquest of Africa Britain occupied Egypt in order to build the Suez Canal (1859-1869), linking them to India. Britain and France were brought to the brink of war after they both claimed the Sudan. Britain fought the Boer War (1899-1902) to maintain control of South Africa. Germany had some of the most efficient colonies. The tensions over the conquest of Africa contributed to the alliances that the Great Powers made in the decade before World War I.

15 Berlin Conference A scramble threatened European stability. Bismarck called an international conference in Berlin in 1884 to lay some ground rules for the development of Africa. They made the Congo a free trade zone Outlawed slavery and the slave trade that the Arabs and Africans were still practicing.

16 Conquest of Africa The consequences of European partition of the continent for Africa were devastating, as the newly drawn borders failed to correspond to older demarcations of ethnicity, language, culture, and commerce. In the decades before World War I, opposition to European colonial rule in Africa gathered strength.

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