Imperialism Essay

Imperialism Essay

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Imperialism was reborn in the West with the emergence of the modern nation-state and the age of exploration and discovery. It is to this modern type of empire building that the term imperialism is quite often restricted. Colonies were established not only in more or less sparsely inhabited places where there were few or no highly integrated native states (e.g., North America and Africa) but also in lands where ancient civilizations and states existed (e.g., India, Malaya, Indonesia, and the Inca lands of South America). The emigration of European settlers to people the Western Hemisphere and Africa, known as colonization , was marked by the same attitude of assumed superiority on the part of the newcomers toward the native populations that prevailed where the Europeans merely took over control without large-scale settlements.
For centuries, numerous European powers have plundered & terrorised the non-European world treating with contempt the people of different skin colour, cultures, philosophies, religions, languages, way of life. The conquered nations had to give up their own culture, their religions, even their languages, and convert to our set of beliefs and values that we defined as “civilized”. Where they didn’t settle, the imperialists carved out colonies across the globe and plundered their natural resources using cheap native labour. Resource rich or strategically located areas were singled out for special attention. Along with this, strict segregation was enforced between the races by living conditions, wages and public services. No country or remotest island was left to develop to its own accord. The Colonial powers of Europe ruled with an iron fist as they slowly consumed the nations of the world.
From the 15th to the 17th century, the Portuguese and the Dutch built “trading empires” in Africa and the East for the exploitation of the resources and commerce with lands already developed. The Spanish and Portuguese established important colonies in the New World in the 16th and 17th cents., hoping to exploit the mineral wealth of the lands they conquered. The British and French imperialists became the foremost exemplars of colonial settlement in Africa and the East. Acting on mercantilist principles (see mercantilism ), the European nations in the 18th cent. attempted to regulate the trade of their colonies in the interests of the mother count...


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...der to lead them to a higher level of civilization and culture. Among the leading critics of imperialism at that time were the Marxists, who saw imperialism as the ultimate stage of capitalism and made much of the connection between imperialist rivalries and war.
After World War I, anti-imperialist feeling grew rapidly throughout the world, sparked by the development of movements for national liberation within subject countries. Nevertheless the major colonialist powers, Great Britain, France, and others, held on to their colonies, while Fascist governments in Italy and Germany, as well as militarist opinion in Japan, fostered even more extreme imperialist aims.
In the years since World War II, most of the countries once subject to Western control have achieved independence. Much of the contemporary debate centers on the issue of neo-imperialism. Many of the less developed countries contend that their economic development is largely controlled and seriously retarded by the developed countries, both through unfair trading practices and by a lack of controls over international business corporations. So to this day there is still a struggle of power between the strong and the weak.

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