We was colonised by the European countries. European

We will discuss the
importance of imperialism in world history during the 18th and 19th.
Imperialism was important to the world of history because it was the foundation
of globalization – extending authority over other nations and cultures. This
was the result of attitudes of superiority and nations believing that they were
improving the areas they controlled. The imperialism that will be discussed is
known as high imperialism which took place in the 18th and 19th


Imperialism in Africa
consisted of Europeans trading in Africa and
setting up colonies. By the 18th century only a few colonies existed
along the African coastlines. After the abolishment of the slave trade, active
exchanges took place between Europeans and Africans states. They traded
manufactured goods for gold, ivory and palm oil. Egypt who under the leadership
of Muhammad Ali and his son Ismail, grew into the strongest Muslin state of the
19th century, producing cotton for export and employing western
technology and business methods. In the late 19th century dramatic
changes occurred as Europeans began to explore the African continent and almost
the entire continent was colonised by the European countries. European
imperialist began to build on the information provided by missionaries.

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In Sierra
Leone and Liberia,
the abolition of slavery was tied to the desire to adopt European enlightenment
values of civilisation and imperialism. Missionaries went to Africa
to assist the freed slaves and introduced them to Christianity. Missionaries
learned to speak African languages and acquired in depth knowledge about the
different cultures and customs. Permanent mission stations were set up by the
missionaries that provided the Europeans with the pretext of greater military
presence on the continent.


An important benefit of
imperialism was the development of technologies, like steam – powered ships to
aid in the expansion of European empires. Due to imperialism, exploration was
on the minds of everyone and their motives were to explore unknown territory in
order to conduct scientific experiments and medical searches. European
technology and knowledge about weapons and the use of quinine to combat malaria
and the rapid growth of communication and transport technology made imperialism
possible. Another major motivation for imperialism was nationalism. European
nations competed with each other for other colonies – the greater amount of
territory controlled, the greater the prestige of imperial power.


Europe’s reasons for an interest in colonies varied greatly.
Imperialist wanted colonies for a number of reasons. First, the colonies were a
good source of raw materials for their mother nations, these materials were
needed during the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States.
Industrial Revolution meant that Europeans factories could produce goods
cheaply in large quantities. For example, the Belgians held the Congo for the purposes of extracting ivory and
rubber and abused and brutalized the Congo people for their raw
minerals. Imperialist nations wanted colonies as markets for their manufactured


India the subcontinent was ruled by the Mughals since the
early 16th century. When the Mughal Empire was weakened in the 18th
century the French established trading cities along the Indian coast. The
British and French were able to capitalise on this weakness and gained a grip
on the Indian subcontinent. The British ended up defeating the French and took
control of the subcontinent. The British took advantage of the conflicts
between local rulers and gained allies and restrained groups and eventually
took control of Bengal, one of the wealthiest areas in India. Although the Mughal Emperor
was still on the throne, he had little power and was used as a puppet by the


The British government was
under the control of the EIC – East Indian Company who derived their revenue
from taxes on agriculture production and the taxes were used to purchase Indian
products that were sold in Europe generating
more wealth. The EIC officials became very wealthy and their used their wealth
to enlarge the British army which included Indian soldiers. The British army
grew larger and larger and the EIC needed to expand their search for greater
income and the army was used for further expansion in south-east Asia where
their established bases in Sri Lanka
and Indonesia and created
the city-state of Singapore.



Imperialism also played an
important role in Japan
between the 17th and 19th century. Japan
experienced a period of political stability and great prosperity; it increased
its agriculture production significantly and that meant there was an increase
in population as well. Cities expanded and the economy was monetised and there
was an immense growth in trade and prosperity. The Japanese society was ruled
by an emperor, but the real power was help by military rulers. Cultures were
very isolated because they tried to preserve it against Western influences. The
Westerners thought they could force Japan
into unequal trading relationships and sent missionaries to Japan. In the
end Japan
agreed to some of the demands of Europeans until they were military strong
enough to defend themselves.


A lot of modernisation took
place in the Japanese society, such as education and national military
services. The started adopting the American government system and
industrialisation and through this they were able to maintain a position of
strength when dealing with the Western powers. They also acquired Chinese
territories by capitalising of their weaknesses. The Japanese engaged in a war
with Russia and emerged
victorious, the first Eastern country to do so and they made attempts to build
their own empire in China
and south-east Asia.


As we can see there were many
types of imperialism in the 18th and 19th century that
played an important role in world history. Colonial imperialism which is a
complete take over of an area to the advantage of economical and political
gain. Economical imperialism allowed the area to operate as its own nation and
it was controlled by trade and other business. Political imperialism run the
government and the government had to do as they were told. Socio-cultural
imperialism deliberately tired to change the culture, customs, languages and
religion in some countries. So in fact imperialism is building an empire that can
rule with an iron fist.



















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