European Colonialism: The Economic Benefits Of European Imperialism

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Lives of indigenous people were changed immensely during European Imperialism as hundreds of nations were exploited during the time period between 1830 and 1930. “By the early 20th century, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, and Portugal together held sway over almost 84 percent of the earth’s surface.” Colonies developed in these foreign societies benefited the European empire economically in many forms. Henceforth, imperialism was primarily an economic rationale for the empire, which supplied the home country with essential raw materials, a cheap labour force, and a new market for goods in an era of increasing global trade. The economic advantages of imperialism eventually moved to a belief in white
These goods such as oil and rubber had a massive economic advantage for Europe because it supplied them with materials that were not found in the motherland, which then could be produced into a finished product. For example, rubber was used to create tires, hoses, tubes, and etc., all commodities that were becoming popular in Europe. As imperialism grew among European country’s importation of raw materials increased and innovations on how to use them flourished. “ British Museum represented all that was superior about English civilization and culture.” Colonies such as India showed Europeans new ideas how to use the materials they were given and this grew Europe’s economic edge because it allowed them to continue developing along with create new technologies in both their old ways and in a newfound style. One of the most important raw materials was oil. It allowed the railroad to run smoothly and this was immense economically because “ railroads would link the interior to the coast and promote the exchange of peoples, currencies, commodities, and ideas.” Therefore railroads imported raw materials efficiently from the colony to Europe, saving time and money for businesses allowing them to transform the goods and sell in Europe and colonies for a considerable profit. As a result raw materials were a large component for Europe to extend imperialism and gain economic prosperity among businesses,
The idea of a “civilizing mission” was demonstrated amidst the concept of ‘Social Darwinism,’ which stated that stronger nations and races dominated those weaker, either having a nation adapt and survive or subside and die out. A “repulsive degradation of humanity” was reflected upon Africans and furthermore, it was speculated “the native African is not clean enough, physically to make social intercourse with him pleasant or even hygienically safe.” Europeans considered themselves above in every way during a time in which hygiene and appearance were an obsession among whites in colonial society. Transforming colonies into Europeans held as a duty among all administrators because other races were viewed as physically weak with a demand to have a master. “ Inspectors and interpreters would view rates of illness among these workers as proof of their physical weakness, or see acts of resistance like absenteeism or work stoppages as laziness.” These deficiencies perceived by Europeans convinced the powers to civilize Africans and Asians, granting an aid to maintain the survival of outside nations and hopefully one day, in the undetermined future reconstruct indigenous peoples into a European lifestyle.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how european imperialism changed the lives of indigenous people during the period between 1830 and 1930. colonies developed in these foreign societies benefited the european empire economically.
  • Explains that raw materials were one of the reasons for the expansion of europe's empire, as it supplied them with materials that were not found in the motherland.
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