• Overview: Imperialism

    Sources: “Statistics on the Extent of European Colonialism,” – link here

    What is Imperialism?

    • European powers interested in acquiring overseas possessions since the 1500s; foreign land colonization had also been happening since that time.
    • 19th century Imperialism differed from earlier colonialism in that European nations were more interested in gaining exclusive access to an area’s resources than obtaining land for settlements.
    • By 1900, Europe and the United States controlled more than 90% of Africa, more than half of Asia, and most of Polynesia.


    • For a while, Europeans has considered themselves superior to the “dark peoples” of the world. Intellectually, culturally and spiritually.
    • Many Europeans justified Imperialism  by claiming that it was their “duty” to “civilize” the people who they considered to be “primitive”(people of color).


    • Industrial revolution began
    • Factory system led to an increase in the production of goods.
    • Europe had a limited supply of materials.
    • Europeans thought that Imperialism would be the way to have access to all these needed materials.

    The Missionary Impulse:

    • Christian missionaries sent to distant regions to “save” indigenous souls.
    • Converting Job shifted to charity groups in 19th century
    • Ideas of Christian Salvation reshaped 

    Imperialism and Build-Up to WWI

    • Nationalism becomes more virulent
    • Militarism increases
    • Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated in 1914


    (Question to self. Did I leave anything out?)

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