An Era of European Imperialism

Last Updated: 06 Apr 2020
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Unit 2: An Era of European Imperialism Imperialism has had its breadth in existence from a very long time ago, even before the Industrial Revolution. Industrialized countries pursed imperialism for many reasons. Imperialism is the creation and maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationship, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, which is based on domination and subordination. Although imperialism was in occurrence before the First and Second Revolution, it impacted the world in the time between these two revolutions.

Europe was facing a new era of imperialism, and the First Industrial Revolution was only its way of beginning. The First Industrial Revolution was occurring from 1750 to 1850. This dramatically changed the economic and cultural conditions of the nation based on advances in agriculture, transportation, mining, and manufacturing. With the cottage industry’s advancement to a textile industry, there were mass productions of textile with the invention of the Spinning Jenny, and there were also migrations to urban centers.

Coal was used as energy during this time. There was population growth throughout this period due to the vast productions, leading people to live longer. Moreover, the invention of the steam boat/ship, in the late 1700s improved travel drastically. The quicker and more reliable steam ships allowed Europe to exploit their colonies. They established colonies in Africa, India, China, the Ottoman Empire, Persia, and South America it was depended that they had a good resource in getting there.

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They were able to sell their manufactured products in the markets they had set up in these places. All these ideas/manufactures were contributions to not only the Second Industrial Revolution, but also on imperialism; which impacted the whole world. Furthermore, the Second Industrial Revolution occurred during the late 1800s to the early 1900s leading onto World War I. This revolution began with the movement of new inventions. Electricity, steel, petroleum, and chemicals were the main new advancements. Electricity replaced coal for energy, and was more efficient.

Steel was the new iron, because it was much more durable and lighter, it was even better on the economy. Other inventions like the light bulb, radio waves, telephones, and the internal combustion engine rapidly spread throughout the world, leading to profit. Trade labor unions arose, as well as women and labor reforms. All these things were impacts on imperialism throughout the world. Warfare was also an impact on the Industrial Revolution. Technological advancements in warfare made conquering undeveloped countries very easy.

This made their power and influence stronger. On the other side of the world, we had countries like China and Japan, which was kept, isolated from the world. These places did not want to adapt western influences because it would drive them from their cultural ways. In China, they were undergoing what was known as the Boxer Rebellion, which allowed the killing of outsiders who were bringing other influences to China. There was also the Opium War happening in Japan, which allowed the country to industrialize itself a bit.

Because of industrialization, China and Japan were able to grow in ways they would have never achieved if they had never adapted western influences. Although imperialism was in occurrence before the First and Second Revolution, it impacted the world in the time between these two revolutions. Capitalism was a key concept that was used to make profit off of laborers that lived in industrialized areas. Capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

Basically, this is an economical system based on all greed in money and power. Capitalism controlled the environment in the First and Second Industrial Revolution. The countries and companies that supported capitalism were eventually going to lead laborers to seek new opportunities and resources of growth. This would lead people to seek and explore new places. Exploration would cause taking advantage of other people, hence, imperialism. The times of the revolutions would lead to imperialism throughout the world because the industries were being operated by capitalism.

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