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The Impact Of European Imperialism

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Robinson and Gallagher’s article concerning informal empires is correct in claiming that informal empires played a large part in European Imperialism. Before their article was written, the era of imperialism was categorized solely by the effects of colonization. However, the recognition of informal empires allows for historians to more fully understand the prominent role manipulation and greed played in European Imperialism. The relationship between European Powers, especially Britain, and the countries they wished to have in their orbit is crucial in understanding just how Europe became the monopolizing continent. Not only did informal empires provide knowledge of and spread influence for colonizer countries, but it was the knowledge about…show more content…
New Imperialism began in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and was a time when European powers began to pursue a structured (more formal) political control over other areas. Yet it is important to keep in mind that informal empires tend to have an expiration date. As time progresses, history shows us that one of the parties involved will start pushing for change, whether that change is for power or independence is based on the side that provoked the change. In this case, the party that pushed for change was the superior one. The push for power was motivated by greed and an overwhelming desire to control every aspect of valuable foreign areas. One of the biggest moments in the history of colonization was the ‘Scramble for Africa’, as historians (and Professor Hopkins) refer to it as. As slaves were the biggest resource of the time, the banning of slave trade in Africa in the early nineteenth century caused European disinterest in continent that they were once heavily dependent on. Although there were localized replacements, like ivory trading, they were not as effective in keeping Europe’s interest. As a result, Africa was desperate to be relevant again, their economy depended on it. Because of the ban on the slave trade, there was a sudden demographic collapse of middle aged persons, which was also counterproductive to the growth of the continent. Before the scramble, Africa was naturally…show more content…
According to them, the idea of free trade was the foundation for the expansion of influence into foreign areas like Asia and Africa. In essence, informal empires acted as the basis for nineteenth century European Imperialism. Not only did it remind powerful colonizers of the power of economic manipulation, but it instilled a greed within the minds of colonizers that motivated them to seek out more land and resources. The colonizer mindset that was so prevalent in the era of Cortes and Columbus maintained its influence in the 1800s, as well, leading to the formal empirical rule that shaped the modern era. Robinson and Gallagher’s theory holds much significance as it directly affects how territories are divided amongst countries and how government systems are built around the
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