Imperialism is the domination by one country of the political, economic,
or cultural life of another country or region in order to increase its own
wealth and power. Imperialism during the period following the Age of
Exploration, when European countries acquired colonies to support mercantilism,
can be called old imperialism. In the nineteenth century, a new era of
imperialism began, this time spurred on by the Industrial Revolution.
Some reasons for imperialism were political, economic, and social. These
are some political reasons.Feelings of nationalism itensified throughout
Europe during the nineteenth century. Nationalism in the extreme promotes the
idea of national superiority. Industrialized countries therefore felt they had
the right to take control of weaker areas. Countries also tried to increase
their power through the control of more land and people.
Economic causes also led to imperialism. As a result of the Industrial
Revolution, countries needed colonies for Raw materials to feed the ever-
increasing number of factories, Markets for finished products, places to invest
surplus capital, and places to send surplus population. And social causes also
led to imperialism. Many people believed the word of Rudyard Kipling, who said
it was the white mans burden to educate the people of the underdeveloped world,
spread the customs of what they perceived was a superior western culture, and to
convert people to Christianity, since it was believed that the souls of the non-
believers would not be saved.
The new era of imperialism brought about important and farreaching
effects. Through the creation of global empires, the imperial powers helped
spread the Industrial Revolution and the capitalist system around the world.
Christianity, western European languages, and Imperialism benefited
underdeveloped regions through improved transportation, education, and medical
Imperialism also had its negative side. It undermined native cultures
and exploited people and resources in underdeveloped lands. Eventually,
colonial nationalist movements developed to end imperial control. One such
movement was the Boxer Rebellion in China. The most dangerous aspect of
imperialism was competition among the colonial powers themselves. These
rivalries held the potential for conflict and war.
Much of Africa suffers from restrictive trading patterns established
during the age of European imperialism. In the late 1800s and early 1900s,
European nations acquired colonies in Africa in order to take advantage of the
continents raw materials. For example, imperial powers built zi