Imperialism

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Imperialism is the process in which one state imposes its control upon another through military force or political action in order to exploit the area for raw materials and strategic purposes. The period of 1870 until the beginning of the Great War in 1914 marked a time of “New Imperialism” for the European powers. Much like that of the first “wave” of imperialism that took place from the sixteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century, the European powers started to expand their control over much of the globe. It is during this time when several European countries once again start to exploit and conquer areas, shifting their focus from the Atlantic world, to the lands of Africa and Asia. At the start of the seventeenth century the European powers controlled 35 percent of the world’s land. Due to the resurgence of imperialism, the European powers controlled 84 percent by the start of the First World War in 1914. The aptly named “scramble for Africa” was amongst the most dramatic instances of division by the Europe powers in the late nineteenth century. Several factors drove the new age of imperialism within Europe. Although the desire to become the strongest empire was perhaps the most important explanation put forth by the European powers, many other justifications were given for the exploitation brought about by the new age of imperialism. “Take up the White Man’s burden- / Send forth the best ye breed -” is the call to action put forth by Rudyard Kipling in his 1899 poem “The White Man’s Burden”. In his poem, Kipling expresses a common belief among the bourgeoisie during his time. It is the burden of the “White Man”, the superior race, to take care of those “inferior” people beneath them in society. Kipling’s poem provide... ... middle of paper ... ...rialism, and indeed it may have been. But it was not the only factor. There were many different ideologies and policies which helped to fuel the European conquest which occurred during the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. The age of New Imperialism brought tensions among the European powers to a point not seen before in history. The ultimate result of these imperialist conquests was a war which enveloped the entire world, and would subsequently lead to a second war which would do the same. The effects of the era of New Imperialism are still being felt in many of the countries taken over by the European powers. The devastation caused the “scramble for Africa” still exists today. The exploitation of these lands in the pursuit of empire often stripped the lands and have contributed to the political and economic underdevelopment still occurring to this day.

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