Imperialism in the 19th century: the distribution of the world –

Imperialism has been a constant in the history of humanity, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, all of them have managed to create great empires and that idea has not abandoned contemporary man. There are two fundamental types of imperialism, the regressive and the progressive. Regressive imperialism is the pure conquest and exploitation of resources, while Progressive Imperialism promotes the expansion of civilization to supposedly backward societies in order to raise the standards of life and culture in the conquered territories. Let’s learn more about this exciting time of Imperialism in the XIX Century: The Division of the World.

Imperialism in the XIX Century | Definition

It is difficult to give a simple and limited definition of imperialism, since it is a very complex historical process, but we could describe it as the process through which, Powerful states subjugate weaker peoples to satisfy certain interests. Within this meaning we could identify different similar processes at very different times in history, but here we will focus on the so-called Modern Imperialism of the 19th century.

From 1870 -approximately- until 1919 (after the end of the First World War) there is what some historians have called the “era of imperialism”. This period is characterized by a intense colonial expansion in which the most powerful countries go out to territorially dominate huge regions giving rise to great colonial empires.

Imperialism involved not only business expansion and new sources of resources for the colonizing powers, but also political domination, military occupation and systematic exploitation of the colonies, which totally lost their sovereignty. Today there is a tendency to define the imperialist period as a form of economic expansion that had practically become a necessity, especially in the last third of the 19th century, a process of expansion that was called Free trade imperialism.

The bourgeoisie represented by companies, bankers and investors expected great profits from this movement. During this period, many European countries, especially Great Britain, expanded, first unofficially and later annexing territories and forming colonies in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

The 5 Characteristics of Imperialism

We are going to know many important facts about Imperialism but for you to better understand everything we want to tell you what they are the 5 characteristics of imperialism. here they go

One nation will dominate the others

Imperialism defends that one nation can dominate another by imposing its own criteria, norms and gaining absolute control, including its means of production.

use of force

The use of force to achieve that control is justified if it is necessary to resort to violence even. Anything goes for the submission of states.

Controlled means of production

The imperialist powers can control the means of production of the subject states.

military control

The dominated territory will be controlled by the military, who will ensure that the expectations and demands of the Empire are met.

police control

Not only the army, but also the police will be present controlling the territory, imposing fear, order and making it clear that freedom is restricted.

Causes of imperialism – outline

So that you better memorize everything that we have explained to you and that we are going to explain to you along the following lines, we share with you this explanatory scheme about the causes of imperialism. Later we will break down each of these causes.

Imperialism in the XIX Century | Causes

The facts that facilitated imperialist expansion were:

  • ECONOMIC: The European states need to obtain raw materials for their industrial production and new markets to sell their products. The imperialist powers tend to force their colonies to trade exclusively with their mother country.
  • DEMOGRAPHICS: The rapid increase in the European population at the end of the 19th century caused intense migratory movements to other continents in search of job sources and greater opportunities.
  • POLITICIANS: The domination of large territories, roads and areas considered strategic became a symbol of hegemony of the powers, at a time when nationalism was on the rise in Europe.
  • IDELOGICAL: The powers defended their domain, stating that they had an evangelizing and civilizing mission over cultures considered primitive and barbaric.

Imperialism in the XIX Century | Economic Causes

The price drop caused by the crisis of 1873, recording them with taxes and the tariffs that practically prevented the entry of foreign productsforced them to search for new markets, far from their control.

The Netherlands, England or France, they needed to invest in countries outside Europe to be able to move the excess money, finding ways such as loans or investing in transport such as the railway, ports or communication routes.

Europe’s flourishing new industry, a consequence of the Second Industrial Revolutiondemanded raw Materials that were now becoming scarce in old Europe. Raw materials such as gold, rubber, copper and of course oil.

Imperialism in the XIX Century | Demographic Causes

With a flourishing industry and with the economic expansion that as we have seen, responded to different reasons, Europe underwent a great transformation especially at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, demographic increase.

In a few decades, Europe’s population doubled, something that at first was good news, soon became a problem. Resources began to become scarce and to be insufficient to supply so many people. The solution was migration, change place of residence in search of a better life or at least better conditions.

Medical advances, new technologies and new drugs Thanks to the discovery of new species of trees and plants with healing properties, as well as research on deceased bodies, it facilitated human knowledge in medicine.

Imperialism in the XIX Century | Political Causes

The geostrategic reasons were the result of the competition for dominance of naval routes, necessary stops for the coal refueling de steamships and key continental spaces, such as the so-called pivot area of ​​Central Asia or the continuous empire in Africa (the territorial continuity between naval bases on opposite seas).

The arrival of steam ships represents a great advance and a great revolution, since they are now able to cover greater distances and with a constant speed. There is only one small problem, the need to have different points to coal supply. These coastal ports should be spread all over the world to be able to reach from one sea to another.

When these supply points fell into state hands, problems began because who had the political domain it also had the property of the products, therefore in economic control. strategic points.

But it was also at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th when Europe experienced one of the few periods of Peace, it was the time of the economic boom, the Belle Epoquewhere the economy was flowing, with a demographic expansion that was beginning to fill the ships in search of land on the other side of the ocean, caused an expansion at all levels in Europe both economically and business and colonial.

Imperialism in the XIX Century | ideological causes

There was a strong interest in the discovery and study of new species of animals and plants, discover new territories and carry out all kinds of research. This makes many scientists want to progress, embarking on an adventure, achieving great advances in fields such as biology and botany in return.

after knowing Darwin’s theories On the evolution of species by natural selection, they argued that, like the different species or races, the most advanced societies had the right to impose themselves and continue to grow, even at the expense of the most inferior or backward ones.

Imperialism in the XIX Century | The various empires

The British empire was the most powerful and widespread in the worldreaching a quarter of the world population and a fifth of the planet’s territories in the first decades of the 20th century.

France, Germany, Italy and Russia They also set out to conquer colonies. But not only the European powers intervened in the colonizing imperialism of the late nineteenth century, but also United States and Japan they also launched themselves in search of new conquests.

Now that we know the causes and the protagonists of this process, let us briefly see how its historical evolution took place. First of all, it should be clarified that from previous centuries there were colonial domains in Asia, Africa and Oceania. During the 1870s, there were a series of annexations by different countries, but the process happened quite spontaneously.

However, for the 1880sthe dispute over certain territories and the rivalry between the powers that sought to surpass their opponents in power led the colonizing effort to the war conflict. In 1880-1, the war between the English and the Boers (former settlers of Dutch origin), in what is now South Africa.

This situation led the imperialist states to sign agreements among themselves to establish certain “rules” in the appropriation of colonial territories.

The conflicts continued latent throughout the following years, until they surfaced again with all their crudeness on the eve of the First World War. In the following years of the “Age of imperialism” the colonization process was accentuated and accelerated. In less than a generation, the so-called “split of Africa” took place.the populations of Central and South Asia, and the colonization of the aboriginal tribes of Oceania took place. Despite the multiple resistance movements of local communities, the military and economic power of the powers managed to suffocate them. Below you will find two videos in which you will see exactly which areas were under the influence of which powers.

Imperialism in the XIX Century | Consequences of Imperialism

Imperialism had numerous consequences, on the one hand for the capitalist and colonizing countries but above all for the colonized territories.

Demographic Consequences

the new medicine was getting the population to reach very advanced ages, with a high birth rate and a very low mortality, caused a population growth difficult to sustain. The great imbalance between resources and populationforced many Europeans to look for new territories where to start a new and better life, in most cases, outside of Europe.