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Content Overview

Unit 6: c. 1750-1900


Causes of Imperialism

Summary: Imperialism was a result of European economic & political supremacy due to the Industrial Revolution

Economic Causes of Imperialism

Raw Materials

Europeans colonized other lands to get their raw materials to use in industrial factories

Markets for Industrial Goods

After making industrial goods (with raw materials from the colonies), Europeans would sell them in the colonies (for a huge profit)

Political Causes of Imperialism


Europeans wanted more land so that their people could migrate there

Military Bases

Colonizers wanted to build military bases throughout the world in strategic locations (often did this in their colonies)

Distraction from Internal Turmoil

Some nations had communist movements creating political turmoil → Nations would colonize other lands to distract their people from this political turmoil

Social Justifications of Imperialism


Europeans wanted to spread Christianity throughout the world (to their colonies)

Racial Ideologies

Europeans believed the natives of the colonies were "uncivilized" and needed the Europeans to "civilize" their gov

Events of Imperialism

British Imperialism in India

In the 1600s, the British East India Company launched in India & started gaining political concessions. After an anti-imperialism revolt by the Indians in 1857-59, the British crown established direct control over India. The British built railroads throughout India & exploited India's cotton

Scramble for Africa

Europeans nations rapidly colonized nearly all of Africa in the late 1800s. The Berlin Conference (1884-85) created rules for the colonization of Africa to make it fair for all colonizer nations

King Leopold II of Belgium created a free trade zone in Belgian Congo (DR Congo) & exploited the local population to extract valuable resources (killing millions of natives)

Britain took over Cape Colony (South Africa) from the Dutch in 1806. Britain also wanted the eastern part of South Africa (which had diamonds), so Britain fought Dutch-Africans (Afrikaners) in Boer War (1899-1902) → Britain won & established Union of South Africa

Liberia & Ethiopia were the only 2 African nations not colonized. Liberia was founded in 1822 by freed slaves from the US. Ethiopia was able to resist Italian conquest

Imperialism in Southeast Asia & Pacific

France colonized Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos (French Indochina). Britain colonized Singapore. Dutch colonized Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) & exploited its spices

Britain colonized Australia and established it as a penal colony, meant for convicted criminals from Britain

Effects of Imperialism

Tools of Imperialism

Communications Networks

Europeans built many railroads & telegraph lines throughout the colonies → easier transportation & governance

Westernized Culture

Europeans westernized their colonies with churches, western schools, and European languages → Allowed them to educate natives to join colonial gov

Situation in Qing China

Opium Wars

Britain traded opium with China → Addiction problems → Chinese gov banned opium → Britain fought 2 wars with China & got trading concessions

Spheres of Influence

Through Opium Wars & other events, many European powers were carving "spheres of influence" in China, causing Qing Dynasty to decline

Taiping Rebellion

A huge anti-Qing Dynasty rebellion that killed millions

Boxer Rebellion

Anti-foreigner rebellion led by Chinese → Chinese lost → Chinese had to pay lots of reparations to foreigners

Because of the above events, the Qing Dynasty was significantly weakened & eventually fell in 1912

Situation in Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire declined for the following reasons:

Didn't industrialize → Couldn't compete with cheap European goods

Many distant regions of the empire declared independence

Europeans found direct sea-routes to Asia → No need for Ottoman intermediaries

The Ottoman Empire then instituted the Tanzimat, a reform movement to Westernize the Ottoman military, economy, and government → This failed, causing Ottomans to decline. Ottomans collapsed in 1923 after WW1


Colonial Migration

Many Europeans migrated to their colonies. Many natives of the colonies also migrated to their European colonizer

Indentured Servitude

Many Chinese migrated to Cuba & Peru to work in guano pits. Many Indians migrated to other British colonies to work on sugar plantations

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