To what extent was 'the new imperialism' a reflection of developments in 19th century Europe?

Authors Avatar

1) To what extent was ‘the new imperialism’ a reflection of developments in 19th         century Europe?

        The term “new imperialism refers to an  of   expansion which was adopted, by a number of , during the  and  ; approximately from the end of the  to the beginning of  (c.  - ). It was during this period of imperialism that the European powers ended up physically controlling almost the rest of the world. The reasons and causes of “new imperialism” had long been debated by scholars and one could argue that the basis of “new imperialism” was generally due to the various developments that Europe was undergoing in the 19th century. The developments of Europe in the 19th century could be broadly categorized into the following aspects: social, economic and political developments.

         One of the major economic developments in Europe in the 19th century was the Industrial Revolution. It could be argued that the “new imperialism” was to a large extent, a reflection of such a development. The Industrial Revolution inevitably led to several results—an increase in population, increased demands for food supplies and raw materials, and an excess of home-produced goods arising from the mass production through the use of technology. All these factors meant that the European nations had to look for territories outside the European continent to solve their problems such as shortages of living space, land and supplies.This inevitably intensified the search for colonies, culminating into what was known as the “Age of High Imperialism”, as the Europeans thought that the acquisition of colonies would solve these problems. As Murphey had written, the “new imperialism” was the work of advanced industrial capitalist nations rather than of mercantilist economies that were prominent in the centuries before 1800. This indeed is true.

The European powers, which included Spain, Portugal, Britain and France, had always been involved in the contest for new colonies. The advances in technology arising from the Industrial Revolution had enabled the European powers to travel further and faster, facilitating the quest of overseas colonies, which was previously impossible due to the long distance involved and the lack of advanced technology.

Join now!

Colonised areas such as the Africas and South East Asia, did provide an avenue for the Europeans’ products while raw materials such as tin, rubber, which were in abundance and of extreme importance to the Europeans, were extracted. Ironically however, facts and data showed that economic benefits and importance of colonialism to the European powers were doubtful and insignificant. It had been reported that colonies were also insignificant as outlets for goods and capital, and as centers of emigration. Although the colonies provided the European powers with valuable resources, raw materials, and that trade did exist with the colonies, especially in ...

This is a preview of the whole essay