Imperialism is the action of a country extending their power by taking over territories, usually colonies. Imperialism has shaped the customs and culture of multiple places around the world. However, two specific areas of the world in which they were affected by imperialism would be Africa and India. During 1899, a poet wrote a poem explaining the burdens that white people had to deal with when trying to civilize non- white people. This poem was used to justify European imperialism and it was intended to imply that imperialism should be supported and done. Another concept highly mentioned during this time was social Darwinism. Social Darwinism was the theory that groups of human races and other groups had the same laws of natural selection. This means that the strong were the ones that survived. Due to the ” survival of the fittest”, Social Darwinism showed that during the time of imperialism, the strong were the one in control of the colonies, while the weak worked for them. Imperialism is a positive Foreign policy because it introduced a successful running government. Imperialism occurred in multiple countries, however, one main country was Africa.
During the late 1800’s Africa was imperialized by European powers such as Britain, France and Germany. The colonization of Africa was due to the European countries that competed for the highest power. Africa also flourished in the production of valuable natural resources. However, the main purpose was to gain control of a weaker colony. This allowed them to show that their country has the strongest power. As the European countries all competed for Africa, there was also the scramble for Africa. The scramble for Africa was the process in which the European power invaded African Territory. It was the division and colonization of Africa by the Europeans. During the scramble for Africa there was also the Berlin Conference in 1884. The Berlin Conference was a meeting between Europeans nations, creating regulations on the proper way to divide Africa for colonization in which conflict won’t occur. The conference was led by Otto Von Bismarck, who was the chancellor of Germany. The result of the conference was the banning of the slave trade, nonetheless it also encouraged the Europeans countries to colonized exploit African People and land. Someone who was highly supportive of colonization and exploitation would be Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes was a British businessman in South Africa who had taken over many African territories making them British. For example, “Africa is still lying ready for us, it is our duty to take it. It is our duty to seize every opportunity of acquiring more territory and we should keep this on steadily before our eyes” (Cecil Rhodes). This quote is relevant because it explains the way Europeans looked upon imperialism. This quote shows that Britain is there to take over more territories in Africa. This is due to the abundance of valuable resources there. The Europeans wanted raw materials such as oil, rubber, and manganese which was used for steel. After the Berlin conference, Africa had attempted to resist from colonization. For example, “as they resisted European invasion they confronted both Europeans and African soldiers” (African resistance to Colonial Role, Talton). This association shows that the Africans resisted, however some sided with the Europeans. The Europeans country that imperialized Africa were Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Italy. Africa was an easy target because they were weak and defenseless as they lacked the proper machinery. As Cecil Rhodes said, ” Africa is still lying ready for us” (Cecil Rhodes). meaning that Africa was defenseless and was such an easy target that the Europeans were able to “take Africa”. While these Europeans countries colonized Africa they tried to simulate the French lifestyle. The French created french laws and they wanted Africans to learn how to speak French in order to become “official French citizens”. Imperialism is a positive foreign policy because although it harms the Africans, it also benefits them by having a more modern country and laws. Nonetheless the Africans weren’t the only country dealing with colonization and assimilations. India dealt with imperialism and had many similarities to Africa.
In the 1600’s India was imperialized by the British because they were charmed by India’s immense potential for profit because of their prosperity in trade and market. Due to these interests, the East India company set up three trading posts. It started as a monopolistic trading body and it was formed to share in the East Indian spice trade. From early 18th century the British East India company actual as an agent of British imperialism in India. However, the company changed as they began to trade cotton, silk and other goods from South India. When the industrial revolution came about, it was a threat to the Indians textile market. Before the industrial revolution, India was flourishing in the textile industry, however, the introduction of steam power made the market for cotton more competitive, which the British took the lead. This was a negative effect because it harmed India’s economy since cotton was their main commodity. The industrial revolution also lead India’s colonials workers to set laws that lead to the agreement in which the crops that were grown in India by Indians farmers had to give to the British for their British industries. The British rule of India led an impact on the caste system. The Indian caste system had been changed by the British. Positioning the British as more superior than the Indians. During this time the Indians didn’t assimilate, instead, the British did. The British assimilated and adapted themselves to India lifestyle, to increase the East India company’s business. To explain how the British leaders viewed the Indians Gandhi said a quote “The Indian struggle is not anti-British, it is an anti-exploitation, anti-foreign rule, not ant-foreigners” (Gandhi). This quotation from Gandhi shows that the British were cruel when ruling India, treating them as less superior. Imperialism led to the sepoy mutiny by sepoys wanting to rid foreign rule. The sepoys were furious with their low salary and the British were rude towards the sepoys by targeting them through religion. For example, “when rumors spread among the Indian troops at Meerut that cartridges and bullets were greased with pork and beef fat. They were outraged… When ordering to load their weapons for giving drills the sepoys refused ” (Dodging a bullet: the Indian Rebellion, Soodalter). This example shows that the British didn’t respect the Indians or their religions. Imperialism is still a positive foreign policy because even though they didn’t respect the Indians they still bough modernization to them.
Imperialism has had many implications on Africa and India, resulting in many advantages and disadvantages. For instance, imperialism had a positive effect on the continents of Africa and India because in Africa slave trade ended, education was introduced, while schools were being built along with hospitals, roads, and bridges. Some negatives were that in both Africa and India they lost their independence. Whereas in Africa they lost their culture and identity as the French wanted to transform the country, making it look like a replica of Europe. In India, it was more reversed whereas the British wanted the country to keep its Indian appearance another disadvantage is that there was a rise in conflict and many wars broke out like the Boer wars and the sepoy mutiny. Labor had also increased due to the demand for goods. A demand for goods meant a demand for labor, so the Indians had to suffer in working more and harder.
In conclusion, imperialism is a positive foreign policy despite the negatives. Imperialism allowed their countries to modernize and flourish even though they lost their identity and independence as a country. Europe was a very powerful country as it constantly colonized more and more colonies.
Works cited page
“TOP 20 QUOTES BY CECIL RHODES.” A-Z Quotes, www.azquotes.com/author/12265-Cecil_Rhodes.
African Resistance to Colonial Rule, exhibitions.nypl.org/africanaage/essay-resistance.html.
“Dodging a Bullet: The Indian Rebellion.” HistoryNet, 15 May 2017, www.historynet.com/dodging-a-bullet-the-Indian-rebellion.htm.