The Height of IMPERIALISM 1800-1914

The Height of
Industrialization stirred ambitions in
many European nations. They wanted
more resources to fuel their industrial
production. They competed for new
markets for their good. They looked
to Africa and Asia as sources of the
raw materials and as markets for
cloth, plows, guns, an other industrial
The 19th century Europeans have
access to steam engines and medical
advance. They have the technical
know-how to develop the resources to
make themselves great profits. Many
believe they also have the right and
the responsibility to develop the lands
and cultures in less advanced areas of
the world.
During this era, countries began to compete
for world power. To be a major player
during this time, a country had to
subjugate (control) weaker countries
(colonies). Great Britain and Germany
controlled some countries in Africa, Great
Britain controlled all of India. France
controlled some countries in Southeast
Asia. Spain controlled Mexico, and the US
became an empire when it acquired the
Philippines and territory in the Caribbean.
American influence in Central and South
America grew as the US took a more
active role in Latin American affairs.
economic and political domination of a
strong nation over other weaker
nations; gaining a worldwide empire by
gaining colonies
---- greed for colonies
This “new imperialism”, as historians
have called it, was not content to
have trading posts & agreements, as
the old imperialism was, but wanted
DIRECT RULE over territories.
At the same time, almost all of
Western Europe had industrialized
and began looking overseas for
places (Africa & Asia) to sell their
products. Some areas became
Imperialistic Motives
1. desire for new markets - expanding
trade need for natural resources,
need for markets, place for growing
populations, place to invest profits.
2. feeling of superiority (Social
to spread Christianity, to share
western civilization customs
“white man’s burden”: the belief that
Europeans had a moral responsibility
to civilize primitive peoples
3. Need for strategic military bases
Bases for trade & navy ships, power
& security of global empire, spirit of
4. European competition:
Science/Invention: New weapons,
new medicines, improved ships.
Look at maps on pages 649 and 655
Identify the most imperialistic countries:
Great Britain
“life line
to India”
built in
Scramble for Africa
It began in 1880s. The discoveries of
diamonds in 1867 and gold and other
valuable resources in 1886 in South Africa
increased European interest in colonizing the
land. NO European power wanted to be
left out of the race. The competition was
so fierce that European countries feared
war among themselves. To prevent fighting
14 European nations met and to lay down
rules for the division of Africa at the Berlin
Conference in 1884-85: Any European
country who wanted to claim any African
land had to prove they could financially
control the area.
Legacy of Imperialism in Africa
Lost of traditional African
Africans were treated as
Europeans divided Africa
ignoring tribal, ethnic and
cultural boundaries
Improved Medicine and Nutrition
leads to explosion in population
Modern Transportation (railroad)
Communications (telephones)
Improved Education
Greater Economic Opportunities
The only free states remaining in
Africa by 1914 were:
Ethiopia and Liberia
British Rule in India
India became economically valuable to the
British after they had established a
railroad network.
Plantation crops included tea, indigo,
coffee, cotton, wheat, and opium (which
was shipped to China and exchanged for
tea and then sold in England).
The Sepoy Mutiny in 1858 caused the
British gov’t to take direct command of
India until 1947.
Positive and Negative Effects
British rule in India brought order and
stability to a society that had been
badly divided by civil war. The British
built railroads and roads. They
improved communications: they
brought telephones, telegraph, postal
service; built schools
Imperialism caused racism, economic
hardships, and it contributed to the
growth of nationalism and a desire to
Mohandas Gandhi
Gandhi protested British laws by using methods
of civil disobedience (refusal to obey laws
considered to be unjust). In 1919, the
protest led to violence and British troops
killed 100s of unarmed protesters.
To protest British laws, Gandhi told his people:
“Don’t pay your taxes or send your children
to an English-supported school . . . Make
your own cotton cloth by spinning the thread
at home, and don’t buy English salt, and do
not buy gov’t made salt.”
Gandhi’s movement led to Indian independence.
Spanish-American War
1898 – US declares war on Spain
Cuba – Spanish colony; Cuba wants
•Americans support Cuban rebels
•Spain sends troops to Cuba and appoints
Gen. Valeriano Wyler (El Carnicero) to
serve as Governor.
•Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and
William Randolph Hearst’s New York
Journal competed fiercely to increase
circulation through exaggeration of
Spanish atrocities in Cuba.
1. Yellow Journalism: type of sensational,
biased, and often false reporting for the sake of
attracting readers
2. Pres. McKinley sends the Maine to Havana in
case Americans had to be evacuated
•February 1898 –Maine explodes and Americans
blame Spain (252 men died)
-- Americans blame it was external; Spanish say
it was internal (spontaneous combustion)
• “Remember the Maine! And to Hell with Spain!”
April 1898 – US declares war on Spain
-- Congress declares Cuba independent, demanded
that Spain withdraw from Cuba.
Chief battle
* Santiago de Cuba
Results of the war
• Cost $250 million
• 2,000+ men killed (only 15% died during
• Treaty of Paris signed Dec. 10, 1898
-- Spain granted Cuba its freedom
-- Spain ceded Guam, Puerto Rico, and the
Philippines to the U.S. (U.S. paid Spain
$20 mill. For the Philippines Islands)
• anti-imperialists opposed the annexations
Diplomacy in Asia: **1899 the US was a
major power in Asia, w/naval bases all
across the Pacific – The US Navy became
3rd largest in the world – and was able to
exert power anywhere in East Asia
** Balancing power in east Asia – T.
Roosevelt wins the Nobel Peace Prize in
1906 for negotiating peace between Russia
and Japan
Expansion in the Pacific
As ships traveling between China and the US
stopped in Hawaii to allow their crews to
rest and to take on supplies, settlers
noticed that the climate and soil in Hawaii
were suitable for growing sugarcane.
The US Senate ratified a trade treaty that
exempted Hawaiian sugar from tariffs after
Hawaii was struck with severe recession.
Meaning Higher Profits! When the treaty
came up for renewal, the senate insisted
that the Hawaiians grant the US exclusive
rights to a naval base at Pearl Harbor.
In 1891 Queen Liliuokalani ascended the
throne and unsuccessfully reasserted her
authority as ruler of the Hawaiian people
and the monarchy was overthrown by a
group of planters supported by the US
marines. They overthrew Queen
Liliuokalani because she wanted to
restore the political power to native
1898 – US annexed Ha waii
Nation Building in Latin America
Mexico gains independence from Spain in
1810 (p. 672)
• Batalla de Puebla, 5 de Mayo, 1865
• 1860s; Benito Juárez brought
reforms to MX, including land
distribution to the poor
Mexican Revolution:
• Porfirio Diaz becomes president of
MX 1876-1911
• Francisco I. Madero overthrew Diaz
to gain control of Mx (1910)
The Panama Canal
It took 10 years to build, finished in
1914; stretches 50 miles across,
required 40k workers, cost $390 mill.
-- the construction of a canal through
Central America was viewed by many as
vital to American power in the world
** the canal would save time and money
for both commercial and military
The End:
Panama Canal, how it works 2:38