European Imperialism
War on Iraq
• The government of Iraq, and
• Our armies do not come into your
the future of your country,
cities and lands as conquerors or
will soon belong to you. ... We
enemies, but as liberators. ... It is
will end a brutal regime ... so
[not] the wish of [our] government to
that Iraqis can live in
impose upon you alien institutions. ...
security. We will respect your
[It is our wish] that you should
great religious traditions,
prosper even as in the past, when
whose principles of equality
your lands were fertile, when your
and compassion are essential
ancestors gave to the world
to Iraq's future. We will help
literature, science, and art, and when
you build a peaceful and
Baghdad city was one of the wonders
representative government
of the world. ... It is [our] hope that
that protects the rights of all
the aspirations of your philosophers
citizens. And then our
and writers shall be realized and
military forces will leave.
that once again the people of
Iraq will go forward as a
Baghdad shall flourish, enjoying
unified, independent, and
their wealth and substance under
sovereign nation that has
institutions which are in consonance
regained a respected place in
with their sacred laws and their
the world. You are a good and
racial ideals.
gifted people -- the heirs of a
• -- General F. S. Maude to the people
great civilization that
of Mesopotamia, March 19, 1917
contributes to all humanity.
• -- President George W. Bush
to the people of Iraq, April 4,
• Imperialism: process through which a state
attempts to control the economic and/or political
and cultural makeup of another state.
• Between 1815-1914 the West (Europe and
America) increased their control of the world’s
land mass from 35%-85%.
Source for
Markets for
Do something
no one has
Reasons for
End Slavery
Causes of Imperialism
• Economic
• Industrialization gave the
West the ability to
conquer other parts of the
world, but more reasons to
do so, too.
• Large-scale industrial
production made Western
factories demand more
raw materials, which
could be seized from less
powerful nations.
• Also, Western nations
needed markets for goods
• Colonies would serve
as potential markets.
• Immense wealth allowed
Western world to conquer
far-flung places.
Causes of Imperialism
• Political
• Power- What better way to
show the world that you
are a power than by
taking over other
• Nationalism- If my
country has a huge
empire, we must be
• Territory- The more
territory we have the more
powerful we are and the
more resources we control
Causes of Imperialism
• Religion
• Christians feel it is their duty to
convert others and show them
the way to heaven.
• By this time most European
countries had outlawed slavery
on the belief than men were
equal under God.
• Slavery still existed in other
parts of the world and in Africa.
• The only way to enforce the ban
was to control Africa.
Causes of Imperialism
• Ideological
• Social Darwinism- Application of
Charles Darwin’s “Theory of
Survival of the Fittest” to humans.
• The Lion eats the Gazelle. Lion
lives to pass on its fast genes.
Gazelle dies, doesn’t pass on
• This was natures way of
improving the species.
• Therefore, the stronger humans
(Whites) should take over the
weaker ones (Natives).
• This was natures way of
improving the species.
Causes of Imperialism
• Ideological
• White Man’s Burden
• Named after a poem by
Rudyard Kipling.
• It was the duty of the
superior race (Whites)
to help bring culture
and civilization to the
lesser races.
• Get rid of your ways
and do it like us.
• Well meaning, but
racist at the same time.
• A lot of good was done,
but at the same time
many natives lost their
culture and heritage.
Causes of Imperialism
• Ideological
• Racism
• Created a sense that
Western nations were
entitled to conquer &
colonize areas that
appeared “backwards” or
• White European culture is
best and should be spread
throughout the world.
• Wear clothes, speak
language, act like the
• Cecil Rhodes, British
imperialist, “I contend
that we are the finest
race in the world, and
the more of it we
inhabit, the better.”
Causes of Imperialism
• Exploration
• Since the beginning of
time humans have
wanted to do something
that no one else has
done before and explore
their world.
• Follow in the footsteps
of Columbus.
• Dr. Livingstone goes to
Africa. No one hears
from him
• Newspaperman Henry
Stanley finds him and
writes about it.
• Creates interest in
Western advantages
Strong economies
Well-organized governments
Powerful armed forces
Superior technology and medicine
Maxim gun
• 1880, Europeans
controlled 10%
of Africa
• 1914 Europeans
controlled all
except Liberia &
Africa: Berlin Congress 1884-85
• Established the "rules" for conquest of
• sought to prevent conflict over imperialism
• Congress coincided with Germany's rise as
an imperial power
• Agreed to stop slavery and slave trade in
• Germany took control of Cameroon, Togo,
southwest Africa, & East Africa
• France took control Tunisia, Algeria,
French West Africa (including Morocco,
Sahara, Sudan, Congo basin)
• Italy: took control of Libya
• Belgium: Took control of the Congo
The Congo
"I do not want to risk...losing a fine chance to secure for ourselves a slice of this
magnificent African cake.”--Leopold II
King Leopold II of Belgium
• King Leopold II of Belgium was a
figurehead without any actual say in the
governement from 1865–1909.
• He had great ambition to make Belgium,
a relatively new and small nation, one of
the great imperial powers of Europe.
• He thought that colonization was the
best way to do this.
• “Since history teaches that colonies are
useful, that they play a great part in that
which makes up the power and
prosperity of states, let us strive to get
one in our turn."
Leopold’s Attempts at Acquiring Colonies
• He launched several unsuccesful schemes
to buy colonies, but all of his attempts at
aquiring territory were blocked by the
Belgian government, which viewed
colonization as a bad investment.
• Leopold decided that if the Belgian
government would not support him, then
he would do it himself.
• He set his sights on the Congo, a piece of
land in the heart of Africa that had
remained uncolonized by “civilized” society.
The African International Association
• In 1876 Leopold, using his own vast wealth, and acting
completely independent of the Belgian state, sponsored a
humanitarian conference as a front for his ambition to
colonize, which resulted in the formation of the African
International Association, of which he was the sole
• The Association was given internation support in its quest to
“civilize” the natives, through promises to end slavery in the
Congo, protect the rights of the natives, and guarantee free
trade, none of which he actually intended to do.
Stanley’s Takeover of the Congo
• Leopold hired Henry Morton
Stanley, a famous explorer who
understood the customs and politics
of the tribes and peoples of the
Congo, to organize the takeover
• Stanley used guns and other modern
weapons, cheap European goods to
win over 450 local chiefs and their
people and take over their land.
Cheating the Natives
Chiefs of Ngombi & Mafela, in return for "one
piece of cloth per month to each of the
undersigned chiefs, besides present of cloth in
hand," they promised to "freely of their own
accord, for themselves and their heirs and
successors for ever...give up to the said
Association the sovereignty and all sovereign
and governing rights to all their
territories...and to assist by labour or
otherwise, any works, improvements or
expeditions which the said Association shall
cause at any time to be carried out in any part
of these territories....All roads and waterways
running through this country, the right of
collecting tolls on the same, and all game,
fishing, mining and forest rights, are to be the
absolute property of the said Association.”
Henry Morton Stanley in his
--Treaty handing over land to Leopold
“Stanley Cap” which he designed
for exploring the tropics
The Congo Free State
• Through deceit and diplomacy, international
conferences, and false promises to various nations,
Leopold, who still did not formally own the land,
was able to convince the international community
in 1885 to allow him absolute control over a 90,000
square mile piece of land at the heart of the Congo,
which was named the “Congo Free State”.
• He now officially owned 30 million people,
“without constitution, without international
supervision, without ever having been to the
Congo, and without more than a tiny handful of
his citizens having heard of him.” (Wikipedia)
Women kept hostage to force their husbands to
go and gather rubber. Rubber was harvested
by climbing the rubber tree, tapping into it and
letting the sap run all over the slave’s body,
where it would congeal. Later he would peel
the rubber off his body, taking any body hair
with it. Rubber harvesters were given
impossible quotas to fill each month.
Two victims (l.) who lost their hands, one
because his wrists were tied too tightly, the other
because company militia cut it off to claim him
as killed and get a reward. Below, a father looks
at the severed hand and foot of his daughter.
5-8 Million Victims!
(50% of Popul.)
It is blood-curdling to see them (the
soldiers) returning with the hands of
the slain, and to find the hands of
young children amongst the bigger
ones evidencing their bravery...The
rubber from this district has cost
hundreds of lives, and the scenes I
have witnessed, while unable to help
the oppressed, have been almost
enough to make me wish I were
dead... This rubber traffic is steeped
in blood, and if the natives were to
rise and sweep every white person on
the Upper Congo into eternity, there
would still be left a fearful balance to
their credit.
-- Belgian Official
Punishing “Lazy” Workers
Hands collected if rubber quotas not met…
• In practice, soldiers
sometimes "cheated" by
simply cutting off the
hand and leaving the
victim to live or die.
More than a few
survivors later said
that they had lived
through a massacre by
acting dead, not moving
even when their hand
was severed, and
waiting till the soldiers
left before seeking help.
Leopold Tries to Maintain His Image
• Despite his cruelty as a leader, ironically much of
Leopold’s success rested on his international
image as a philanthropist, who was dedicated to
improving the lives of the African people.
• In order to maintain this image, Leopold bribed
many journalists and outlawed his employees from
leaving the country
Belgium’s Stranglehold on the Congo
The Reign of Terror Ends
• Leopold was ultimately unsuccessful in dispelling
rumors about the awful conditions of life in the
Congo Free State. By 1908 criticism of his rule and
lobbying by the American Congo Reform
Association forced his withdrawal as sovereign
and the region was annexed to Belgium. Its name
was later changed to Zaire and is now known as
the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Europe’s Overseas Empire
• Western Approaches
• Britain’s was the largest and most
powerful colonial establishment.
• France, Belgium, and the
Netherlands also had sizable
• Various approaches to governing
• British considered to have most
“enlightened” approach to
• Did take their colonies by
force & exploited them
economically-and were
prone to the same sense of
racial superiority as the
Europe’s Overseas Empires
• Egypt
• Perhaps most important territory
was Egypt.
• Became a British
protectorate in 1880’s.
• France & Britain both vied
for Egypt, mainly b/c of the
financing of the Suez Canal
• Control over the canal-a
vital link between Med. And
Red Sea/ Indian Ocean-was
• British used eco. pressure to
gain more political control
over Egypt.
British Imperialism
European Interest in India
• Europeans need and have a high demand for
spices, cotton, and other goods
• Europeans trade by land over what route?
India was a major
supplier of raw
Indians must
produce raw
materials for
Jewel in the Crown
Tea, indigo, coffee,
cotton, and jute,
Indians must
buy finished
goods from
British in India
• Set up trade in India
• Corrupt Mogul Empire in India
• ignores British gains
• British soon control India
• Export cotton from India to Britain
• Machine cotton spinning in Britain
• starts industrial revolution
• British empire expands
• Africa, Asia, Australia
British Rule in India
• The East India Company, a British owned
company, established trading post in
1. Establish colonies
2. Make laws and collect taxes
3. Have an army
• They fought with France as well as India
over control of the sub-continent. Britain
• By 1857 the British were hiring Indian
allies to protect British interest.
Problems of British Rule
• 1- Indians bought cheaper cloth from Britain
which destroyed Indian textiles.
• 2-The British collected taxes from the Indians to
keep the army in India. This caused some farmers
to lose their farms.
• 3-Britain convinced many farmer to grow cotton
instead of food which led to starvation.
• Educated Indians, predominantly Hindu,
demanded increasing equality & self-gov't
• India became independent in 1946 (just
after WWII)
Why were the Indians so angry??
Brits had changed traditional practices
Indians Forced to buy British stuff
Indians were treated as second class
Not allowed to have best jobs
Paid less for the same jobs as British
Even educated people discriminated against
Indian economy became dependent on Brits!
How do you think some Indians feel about this??
I object to
because when it
to do good,
the good is only
the evil it does
is permanent.
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
- Gandhi
British Empire
At its peak controlled one sixth of humanity
• Other European countries
scramble to set up colonies
all over world
Great Britain- Opium
Impact of Imperialism
Positive Results
-Negative Results
Spread of Western thought, government,
and ideas (end to slavery)
-Became dependent on parent
Improved infastructure (Roads, Dams, etc)
Improved Sanitation and public health
Improved Education and Literacy
End to local warfare
-Cash crops led to famine
-Indians treated like second class
-Loss of traditional languages and
-# of dead??????
-Problems with independence when
colonial powers leave (Mid-East,
Africa, SE Asia)
When India achieved independence in 1947, it was separated from East
and West Pakistan.

European Imperialism