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Imperialism in the 19th Century




All major civilizations were subjected to European influence and control in this century, especially after 1850. Between 1850 and 1860 traditional defenses around the world against the west and its influence collapsed rapidly as western power grew.



Reasons for Western success


·        Material and technological superiority

·        More effective mobilizations and utilization of resources



Characteristics of the “New Imperialism”


·        Overwhelming technological superiority

·        Intensive economic penetration- capitalism

·        Europeans exhibit a belief in their cultural superiority

·        Europeans unilaterally declared that they had the right to operate abroad in security

·        Many types of political control were used

·        The speed of the expansion was unprecedented.





·        Economic- the desire or need for new markets and materials.

·        Cultural/religious- to bring superior culture to backward peoples, or to bring salvation to heathens.

·        Social- imperialist activities provided a way to direct public attention away from domestic problems at home.

·        European political and strategic competition.