Lesson 18
• Berlin Conference, Boer War, Boxer
Rebellion, imperialism, Mahan, Meiji’s
Reforms, Opium War, Panama Canal,
Perry, Rape of Nanjing, Roosevelt
Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, RussoJapanese War, Spanish-American War,
Unequal treaties, Western advantages,
• Imperialism
• The Western Advantage
• Imperialism in Asia
Opium War
Opening of Japan
Sino-Japanese War
Boxer Rebellion
Russo-Japanese War
• Imperialism in Africa
– Zulus
– Boer War
• Imperialism in Latin America
– Spanish-American War
– Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
• Imperialism is a term associated with the
expansion of the European powers, and later the
US and Japan, and their conquest and
colonization of African and Asian societies,
mainly from the 16th through the 19th Centuries
• Was effected not just through the force of arms,
but also through trade, investment, and business
activities that enabled the imperial powers to
profit from subject societies and influence their
affairs without going to the trouble of exercising
direct political control
• Many Europeans came
to believe that imperial
expansion and colonial
domination were crucial
for the survival of their
states and societies
• Superior transportation
(steamships and
canals), military
(breech-loading rifles),
and communications
(undersea telegraph)
technologies gave the
West a huge advantage
The USS Monocacy was
used to protect US interests
along the Yangtze River in
Imperialism Against China: The
Opium War
• In the late 18th and early 19th Centuries,
Europeans wanted to trade with the
Chinese much more than the Chinese
wanted to trade with the Europeans
• Since the Chinese had little demand for
European products, the European
merchants had to trade with silver bullion
Imperialism Against China: The
Opium War
• As an alternative,
gradually began to
trade in opium
• The trade was
illegal and created
both an economic
and a social
problem in China
Illustration from an early
19th century book
showing an opium addict
Imperialism Against China: Opium
• In 1839, the
Chinese took
measures to
halt the opium
• The British
protested and
launched the
Opium War
The British shell Guangzhou
Imperialism Against China: Opium
• The war showed the military
differential between China
and Europe
• The British used steampowered gunboats to attack
the Grand Canal, and China
sued for peace
• China suffered other military
setbacks with Britain and
France (1856-1858), France
(1884-1885), and Japan
Cartoon showing China being
divided by the United Kingdom,
Germany, Russia, France, and
Imperialism Against China:
Unequal Treaties
• As a result of these defeats, China was
subjected to what were collectively known as the
“unequal treaties”
• China was forced to
Cede Hong Kong to Britain
Open ports to commerce and residence
Permit the establishment of Christian missions
Legalize the opium trade
Not levy tariffs on imports
Imperialism Against China:
Unequal Treaties
• By 1900, ninety Chinese
ports were under the
effective control of foreign
powers, foreign
merchants controlled
much of the Chinese
economy, Christian
missionaries were
converting Chinese
throughout the country,
and foreign gunboats
patrolled Chinese waters
The Treaty of Nanjing (1842)
ceded Hong Kong to the
British in perpetuity
Imperialism Against Japan: Foreign
• The Tokugawa
Shogunate of Japan was
able to control foreign
interaction until the early
19th Century
• However, beginning in
1844, British, French,
and US ships visited
Japan to establish
– The US in particular
wanted ports where its
Pacific whaling and
merchant fleets could stop
for fuel and provisions
Imperialism Against Japan: Foreign
• The Tokugawas refused
all requests for expanded
relations and stuck to their
policy of limiting European
and American visitors to a
small number of Dutch at
• In the late 1840s the
Japanese began making
military preparations in
case of attack
The artificial island Dejima in
Nagasaki Bay where the
Dutch were allowed to trade
Imperialism Against Japan:
Commodore Perry
• In 1853, Commodore
Matthew Perry led a US
naval squadron into
Tokyo Bay and
demanded that the
shogun open Japan to
diplomatic and
commercial relations and
sign a treaty of friendship
• The shogun had no good
alternative and
acquiesced to Perry’s
Commodore Matthew Perry
Imperialism Against Japan: The
Opening of Japan
• Representatives of
Britain, the Netherlands,
and Russia soon won
similar rights
• Like the Chinese, the
Japanese were subjected
to a series of unequal
treaties which opened
Japanese ports to foreign
commerce, deprived the
government of control
over tariffs, and granted
foreigners extraterritorial
Japan’s Response: End of
Tokugawa Rule
• The sudden intrusion of foreign
powers in Japan resulted in the
collapse of the Tokugawa and
the restoration of imperial rule
• The dissident slogan was
“Revere the emperor, expel the
• On Jan 3, 1868, the boy
emperor Mutsuhito took power
– He later became known as
Meiji (“Enlightened Rule”)
Japan’s Response: Meiji Reforms
• The Meiji government strived to gain parity with
foreign powers behind the motto “rich country,
strong army”
• It looked to the industrial lands of the United
States and Europe to obtain knowledge and
expertise to strengthen Japan and win revisions
of the unequal treaties
– The Meiji sent many students and officials abroad to
learn everything from technology to construction and
hired foreign experts to facilitate economic
development and indigenous expertise
Japan’s Response: Meiji Reforms
• The Meiji transformed Japan by:
– abolishing the feudal order and therefore centralizing
political power,
– revamping the tax system to put the regime on a firm
financial footing
– creating a constitution which gave the emperor
effective power and the parliament the ability to
advise but not control him
– creating a modern transportation, communications,
and educational infrastructure
Japan’s Response: Sino-Japanese
• From 1894-1895 Japan defeated China in a war
over Korea which showed how modern and
powerful Japan had become and how weakened
China had become
– The Japanese navy quickly gained control of the
Yellow Sea and then the Japanese army pushed
Chinese forces off the Korean Peninsula
– In the peace treaty, China recognized Korean
independence which made Korea a virtual
dependency of Japan
• The Japanese victory alarmed European
powers, especially Russia, who shared interests
with Japan in Korea and Manchuria
Japan’s Response: Parity with the
• In 1899 Japan was able to
end extraterritoriality
• In 1902 Japan concluded
an alliance with Britain as
an equal power
• By the early 20th Century,
Japan had joined the ranks
of the world’s major
industrial powers
Toyoda Type-G
Automatic Loom
invented in 1924
China’s Response: Boxer Rebellion
• Eventually an anti-foreign
society called the Society of
Righteous and Harmonious
Fists (called the “Boxers” by the
foreign press) emerged to
protest the increasing Western
presence in China
• In 1899 the Boxers organized to
rid China of “foreign devils”
• They went on a rampage killing
foreigners, Chinese Christians,
and Chinese who had ties to
China’s Response: Boxer Rebellion
• In 1900 they besieged
the foreign embassies
in Beijing
• A heavily armed force
of British, French,
Russian, US,
German, and
Japanese troops
crushed the rebellion
Calvin P. Titus won the Medal of
Honor leading the American
attack over the Chinese City Wall
The Rise of Japanese Imperialism:
Russo-Japanese War
• When Russia refused to
withdraw its troops from
Manchuria after the Boxer
Rebellion, Japan attacked and
defeated the Russian Far
Eastern Fleet anchored at Port
• It was the first time in modern
history an Asian military force
had soundly whipped the army
and navy of a major non-Asian
imperial power
• With the victory, Japan gained
recognition as a major imperial
President Theodore Roosevelt
meets with Japanese and
Russian envoys to discuss peace
at the end of the RussoJapanese War.
The Rise of Japanese Imperialism:
World War I
• On August 23, 1914, Japan entered World
War I on the side of the Allies
• It captured several German-occupied
locations in China and the Pacific
• Building on this momentum, Japan
presented the Chinese government with a
secret list of Twenty-One Demands which
would have reduced China to a
protectorate of Japan
The Rise of Japanese Imperialism:
World War I
• The Chinese leaked the
note to the British who
spoke up for the Chinese
and prevented complete
capitulation, but still China
acquiesced to many of the
• The Twenty-One Demands
reflected Japan’s
determination to dominate
east Asia and served as a
basis for future Japanese
pressure on China
Japanese Prime Minister
Okuma Shigenobu presented
the demands to China
The Rise of Japanese Imperialism:
Naval Power
• Britain and the US began to see Japan as a threat to
their naval dominance
• In 1922 the Five-Power Naval Limitation Treaty
established a ratio of capital ships as
Britain 5
United States 5
Japan 3
France 1.67
Italy 1.67
• In the 1930s, an increasingly militant Japan demanded
parity with the U.S. and Britain.
• When the request was denied, Japan gave notice in
1934 that it would withdraw from the treaty in two years
and did so
The Rise of Japanese Imperialism:
• The increasing Japanese
power and its continued
hostility toward China came
to a head in the 1930s
when for the most part
civilians lost control of the
government and the
military in Japan
• In the 1937 Japan invaded
Manchuria and waged a
brutal war against civilians
and a repressive
The Rise of Japanese Imperialism:
• The Japanese brutality
was epitomized by the
“Rape of Nanjing”
• Over a two month period,
Japanese soldiers
inflamed by war passion
and a sense of racial
superiority raped 7,000
women, murdered
hundreds of thousands of
unarmed soldiers and
civilians, and burned 1/3
of the homes in Nanjing
Chinese man being beheaded
A Chinese baby cries amid the rubble of the Japanese
bombing of Shanghai
The Rise of Japanese
Imperialism: World War II
• Japan continued to see
the US and others as a
threat to its influence in
Asia and in 1940 the
Japanese began
developing plans to
destroy the US Navy in
• On Dec 7, 1941, the
Japanese attacked Pearl
– We’ll discuss this in
Lesson 27
In May 1940, the main part of the
US fleet was transferred to Pearl
Harbor from the west coast
Imperialism in Africa: Sudan
• Muhammad Ahmad
Abdullah declared
himself the Mahdi
(rightly guided one)
and unified
Sudanese tribes
under the banner of
Islam to attack
Ottoman, Egyptian,
and British invaders
Abdullah was both a religious
and a Sudanese nationalist
Imperialism in Africa: Sudan
• After a protracted siege, Abdullah
took the Sudanese capital of
Khartoum and beheaded the
British General George Gordon
– Gordon became a martyr for the
British imperial cause and the British
government vowed to avenge his
• In 1898 General Kitchener
invaded the Sudan and eradicated
the Mahdist movement
• The vast Sudanese territories
were incorporated into the British
Painting of Gordon
facing his death
Imperialism in Africa: Zulus
• In South Africa, the Zulu King Shaka
subdued other tribes in the early 19th
Century and built a kingdom as large as all
of western Europe
• Shaka had the military power to deal with
Western envoys as equals and was
interested in establishing mutually
beneficial ties with the West
Imperialism in Africa: Zulus
• However, Shaka was not a
benevolent ruler and his reign
was called Mfecane or “the
time of troubles”
• When he was assassinated
by rivals there was no
peaceable system of
• The Zulu kingdom was torn
apart by internal disputes
which weakened its ability to
resist Dutch and British
expansion into South Africa
British soldiers show a
Maxim gun to an elderly
Zulu chief in 1901
Imperialism in Africa: South Africa
• The Dutch East India Company had established
a supply station at Cape Town in 1652 and
settlers began expanding outward to take up
ranching and farming
• These settlers were called “Boers” (the Dutch
word for farmer) or “Afrikaners” (the Dutch word
for African)
• During the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), the
British took over the Cape and established
British rule in 1806
Imperialism in Africa: South Africa
• British rule disrupted Boer
society because it brought
in English law and language
• When Britain abolished
slavery in 1833, Boer
financial viability and
lifestyles were further
• Chafing under British rules
the Boer began migrating
eastward where they
established several
independent colonies such
as the Orange Free State
(1854) and the South
African Republic or
Transvaal territories (1860)
Imperialism in Africa: South Africa
• The lenient British attitude
toward this changed when
diamonds were discovered on
Boer-populated territories in
1867 and gold in 1886
• Two “Boer Wars” were fought
from 1880-1881 and 18991902 with the British winning
and putting an end to the Boer
independent republics
• By 1910, Britain had
consolidated the provinces into
the Union of South Africa
Boer guerrillas during
the Second Boer War
Imperialism in Africa: Berlin
• Tensions among the European powers seeking
African colonies led to the Berlin West Africa
Conference (1884-1885), during which
delegates from 14 European states and the US
(no Africans were present) devised the rules for
the colonization of Africa
• The conference produced an agreement that
any European state could establish African
colonies after notifying the others of its intentions
and occupying previously unclaimed territory
Imperialism in Latin America: US
• In 1823 President James Monroe issued the
Monroe Doctrine that warned European states
against imperialist designs in the western
– Any European attempt to reassert control over former
colonies or to establish new ones would be
considered as a threat against the US and an act of
• The Monroe Doctrine served as a justification for
US intervention in hemispheric affairs
US: Spanish-American War
• The US had large
business interests in
Puerto Rico and Cuba,
the last remnants of
Spain’s American empire
• In 1898 the US battleship
Maine exploded and sank
in Havana harbor
• US leaders suspected
sabotage and declared
war on Spain
US: Spanish-American War
• The US easily defeated
Spain and took
possession of Puerto
Rico and Cuba
• In the Pacific, the US
took possession of the
Philippines and Guam
• After the SpanishAmerican War the US
emerged as a major
imperial and colonial
Commodore Dewey destroyed
the Spanish fleet in a single
day at the Battle of Manila.
US: Naval Growth
• Protected by two
oceans, the US at the
turn of the 20th Century
needed only a small
• However, to protect its
expanding overseas
interests it built the
world’s third largest navy
• Men like Alfred Thayer
Mahan argued that the
navy represented the
key to American power
and championed
As Assistant Secretary of the Navy,
future US President Theodore
Roosevelt had been strongly
influenced by Mahan’s writings
US: Imperialism in the Western
• Dating back to the Monroe Doctrine, the US had
a keen interest in dominating the Western
• It had three policy goals:
– Prevent European domination over the Caribbean
– Obtain land for a canal across Central America
– Dominate trade with Latin America and Canada
• US success in obtaining these goals was based
on no nation in the Americas being strong
enough to oppose the US and European nations
being preoccupied with their own imperialistic
ventures in Africa and Asia
US: Imperialism in Panama
• In 1903 the US supported a rebellion against Colombia
and helped rebels establish a breakaway state of Panama
• In exchange for the support, the US won the right to build
a canal across Panama and control the adjacent territory
known as the Panama Canal Zone
US: Imperialism in Panama
• Between 1904
and 1914, the
US built the
Panama Canal
which links the
Atlantic and
Pacific Oceans
without having
to transit Cape
Gatun locks under construction in 1910
US: Imperialism Elsewhere in Latin
• In addition to military ventures, the US
practiced “Dollar Diplomacy” in Latin
America whereby Latin American
governments were pressured to support
US business interests
• By 1913 the US had displaced Great
Britain as the leading exporter to Latin
US: Imperialism Elsewhere in Latin
• To protect their investments,
US businessmen
encouraged compliant, proAmerican governments in
Latin America
• When order was threatened,
the US did not hesitate to
– Between 1903 and 1934 the
US sent armed forces one or
more times to six nations in the
Caribbean, occupying three of
them for more than a decade
Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe
• In 1904 the government of the
Dominican Republic went
• President Theodore Roosevelt
feared that Germany and other
nations might intervene forcibly
to collect their debts
• Roosevelt asserted that “in the
Western Hemisphere the
adherence of the United States
to the Monroe Doctrine may
force the United States,
however reluctantly, in flagrant
cases of such wrongdoing or
impotence, to the exercise of an
international police power....”
Cartoon portraying Roosevelt
as an international policeman
wielding his “big stick”
• Explain imperialism in terms of the DIME
• World War I

Imperialism - The University of Southern Mississippi