European Imperialism


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By the 1900's, Europe was already underway with its imperialistic conquests abroad. Colonies were forcefully taken and undeveloped nations were carved apart by so-called "racial crusaders", who were on a mission to civilize the barbaric. Along with expansion, however, came abuses from the invading powers. These flaws in European dominance can easily be noted, especially when examining Africa and Asia; the consequences, in some cases, being death by the thousands. Therefore, due to these and other severe actions during their domination of the world, Europeans should be condemned for their abuses of power. The first nation which will be discussed is China, from the continent of Asia. The British had their eyes on China, ever since the restricted population of merchants in Gwangzhou traded with the local monopoly of businesses. England had two major reasons for their interest: first, Chinese silver was desired by the empire because of its high value. Second, Britain had a surplus of Opium, a drug grown in India, and it needed vast numbers of people to purchase it. China traded peacefully although reluctantly with Britain, until the government noticed the negative effects of the drug on its people. The opium trade was then outlawed promptly by the Chinese government. The substance, however, was still smuggled into the country. The Chinese government confronted the British regarding the smuggling and this sparked the Opium War (1899-1902). Britain pummeled the inferior naval force and won the altercation. Now, Britain was not only free to corrupt the Chinese people with their opium, but they added a colony to their empire: the large, rich port city of Hong Kong. This abuse of the people for their own personal gain is a clear demonstration of one of the many flaws in European dominance. The second nation which will be discussed is Sudan, from the continent of Africa. Sudan was not a military, economic, or political threat to Britain. It was blocking, however, British domination of Africa and preventing the gain of more political power for the empire. Therefore, it had to be conquered. The Sudanese population was largely Muslim and resisted English rule. It wanted to be governed by people of the ethnic majority and would fight to the death to "rid the world of evil"(Ahmad*). At first, the rebels were successful. Later, the British incorporated into the war a weapon of mass destruction: the machine gun.

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Estimating its efficiency on tribal warfare where the enemy possessed no guns, the British knew who would be the victor. On September 2nd, 1898, the British mercilessly eradicated the rebel forces, with incredibly small losses compared to the thousands of Sudanese who were slaughtered. This testing of new technology on a primitive people for pride and racial superiority is disturbing. This merciless exploitation of massive power is another clear abuse from the domination of the Europeans. Therefore, due to these and other severe actions during their domination of the world, Europeans should be condemned for their abuses of power. Considering that most of the time Europe was only conquering because of Social Darwinism, which fueled the theory of racial superiority, they should be ashamed for the abuses they bestowed upon powerless peoples. They exploited holes in societies for their own gains, no matter what the consequences were to the entire social well-being. Should imperialism should ever again become present in the world, the Europeans' precedent should not be followed.*Ahmad was the revolutionary leader in Sudan.



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