Ideology and Politics of European Imperialism

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Imperialism is a state policy where a particular nation extends its territory and empire onto to other regions or countries there by gaining economic and political control of those areas where there has been use of power such as military force to gain access to that areas as those areas may lack those military resources to defend themselves such countries that imposed imperialism include Britain, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal which some also had power over some African countries and they often regarded themselves as superior. Imperialism have the advantages and disadvantages and the features which were stated by Lenin on his theory of imperialism. There are 4 types of imperialism.

Imperialism takes the form of political control and creating economic dependence. In Europe, the period of imperialism agreed with growing nationalism and union when lately divided political units were united under a single empire. Union allowed for empire building because people were gathered under a single empire that claimed the right to rule them. For instance, German and Italian union. Imperialism became a policy of colonial expansion pursued by variety of European powers which was facing the end of the 19 century.

Imperialism in Africa by European Countries

Imperialism desires in Africa were enhanced by the extension of competitive trade in European countries. The main aim was to protect commercial and trade associations with African societies and protect those associations from other European competitors. Europe established trade relations with African rulers encouraged them to trade with them, then the European traders were at first not interested in expanding into the interior of Africa, where the African rulers assured them of a supply of slaves from the interior and they felt not to expand the interior where now the rapid expansion of industries made European countries looked for cheap raw material and slave labour. The development of industries in Europe were mostly based in west Africa which was very important for the development in Europe. European countries realized that by taking control of African territories they could secure a very cheap supply of raw materials that would ensure industrial success and overall economic prosperity.

The Colonial governments organised agricultural production in the colonies to match the demand for raw materials in Europe. African interior saw many African farmers forced off their land by Imperial expansion of Europe, and turn it into farm labourers on white-owned plantations where they were usually subject to cruel exploitative practices. European government encouraged their citizens to become permanent settlers in African colonies, where they provided them with farming land. The loss of land caused much resentment among African people. Those who remain on their land and plantations found themselves obliged to practice commercial farming, which include crops like coffee, sugar and cotton that were essential for the European industries, instead of their traditional staple food in order to survive. The price they were paid for these harvests was also very low, especially when compared with the selling price of it after processing it in Europe.

Not all European countries have imperial desires for Africa. It was only the major powers in Europe that competed for the control of Africa, which included countries such as Britain, France and Germany, and the weaker powers of Spain, Portugal and Italy which had very small possessions in Africa. Britain and France were at the forefront of imperialism in Africa, these two countries were in competition with each other to dominate European politics and economics. They each aim to beat the other through striving for greater control of Africa and therefore their natural resources and labour supply. They also claimed exclusive trading rights with their colonies. These practices guaranteed them market outside Europe for the sales of surplus goods and led to the practices dumping. Dumping refers to the practice of overloading goods at very low prices to crush local competition for customers. African producers could not match these prices especially in the absence of similar government support and so they were unable to withstand European competition.

This undermined the development of African industries, wealth and locked the continent into an unfair economic relationship with Europe in which Africa producers were barely able to survive by supplying cheap commercial crops and primary goods. Many African countries became depend on European aid and loans which are still practiced today, and they have crippled by the burden of repayment of these loans.

Types of Imperialism

Imperialism as a policy whereby one country extends its authority over other territory has forms or types of imperialist authority which include:

  • Direct Rule
  • Protectorates
  • Spheres of influence
  • Indirect Rule

Direct Rule

Imperialist countries that established a home base in an exceedingly claimed territory used the direct rule technique. With direct rule, subjection nations transplanted their language, culture and system of state into a subordinate territory. the government clearly tried to ‘civilize’ the endemic folks by undermining their ancient establishments. Native inhabitants UN agency needed to succeed beneath direct rule had to adopt the values and style of the ruling power. that they had centralized administrations, typically in urban centres that stressed policies of assimilation. Direct rule conjointly used the strategy of ‘divide and rule’ by implementing policies that designedly weakened endemic power networks and establishments. The folks within the colonies were beneath direct rule of the state. The natives of the colony were like inhabitants of the state. This gave them more opportunities, however the pressure to be ‘civilized’ ruined the initial culture. The French, Belgians, Germans, and Portuguese are thought-about to possess used this model in governing their African colonies.


This is a type of imperialism where a particular country has its own internal government, but under the control of another power or country for protection, where the protecting state has the internal affairs of the country being protected to a status in international law, in which the Permanent Court of International Justice of 1923 stated an advice stating that the extend of powers of protecting state depend on the laws between them and the protected state which is establishing the protectorate. For example, the Britain established a protectorate over Niger River delta in Africa.

Sphere of Influence

This type of imperialism is where an area in which an outside power claims exclusive investment or trading privileges where it may refer to a political claim, where other nations can or cannot recognize it as a fact and in some cases may refer to legal agreement by which another country pledge to catch phrase from interference within the sphere of influence

Indirect Rule

This system of governance used native African rulers inside British colonial administration, were they typically maintained associate inferior role. By this method, the day-after-day running of state and administration of areas was left within the hands of ancient rulers, many gained status and also the stability and protection afforded by British, at the value of losing management of their external affairs, and sometimes of taxation, communications, and different matters, sometimes with a little variety of European ‘advisors’ effectively overseeing the government of enormous numbers of individuals meet intensive areas. As a result, indirect rule increased divisions between ethnic teams and gave powers to bound those that had ne’er had it before in pre-colonial history. The motherland rules the colony from isolated, typically through a native leader. This may appear just like the nicer approach, however it created nice variations between the races. The white treated the inhabitants of the colonies as tools for his or her Business.


Colonial rule

Colonial rule was of the results of competition among the European countries for control of the African resources. At first, the control was limited to colonial authorities, securing their loyalty of African chiefs and kings. This meant that African chiefs will only trade with their colonial government. Colonial government began to play an active role in the affairs of African societies towards the end of the 19th century. Different colonial governments adopted different methods of rule. Colonial rule refers to the conquest and capture of foreign territories in order to extend power. Colonisation of African countries by European powers, like Britain and France, was used to protect their trade ambitions and led to the expiration of Africa. Colonial rule also ensure that European manufactured goods would have ready market in Africa. Countries that have colonies in Africa are, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Britain, Belgium, France, Germany. Each country developed different system of rule. A Britain government was famous for its indirect rule system that it introduced in many of its colonies.

French Colonial Rule

The French colonial rule had or gave a rule in which local African leaders had to take or adopt the system of direct rule, in which the colonies were treated as if they were extension of the other European states in which those colonies were under the French Departments. African rulers were not included on the French governments, were their powers were taken all off and people were ruled by the French colonial officers with the assist of military unit. African rulers were replaced by these colonial officers as many areas were basically divided into departments and districts, but the division did not take into consideration the existing boundaries of various ethnic groups.

The French policy was inclusive, as their policy encouraged African people to become French in every aspect or sense in the world and it can be said that, this policy was to expand the French development or civilization of the African people, but the policy did not mean that the African people were treated equally while in French colonies and this showed that that their inclusion on the French society was mainly based on inequality between the colonised Africans and French people.

British Colonial Rule

The British colonial rule had the indirect rule over its colonies, where power would be work out through aboriginal political units or structures, these structures were preserved and allowed to continue as they are related to customary Law. This meant that local rulers had powers over their people as they were also able to maintain the integrity of their political units or structures and their system of government up to a point where local people did not feel or suffer the impacts of the British colonial rule, but as for others they had a little change due to the rule. This did not mean it was the end of the world for the local African rulers as the British government came new policies to limit the powers of the local rulers when governing their societies which included policies such as that, chiefs have no authority to sentence anyone to death, the rules for crimes that required death penalty were passed by the magistrate who put on the British laws to judge the evidences of the case.

The tribal authorities were allowed to rule the society according to the laws of customary laws according to the British government, but later introduced new law which were forced to be given or passed to people as customary laws, which include the introduction of TAX in order to increase the revenuer of colonial governments and this rule was passed to everyone no matter the person is rich or poor, but we have to know that the law was not a customary law, but portrayed as customary law by the British government.

Colonial Rule in South Africa

South Africa was colonised by the British colony(Dutch) in 1652 where they came with forced labour model and slavery where they took African people to European countries were they will be sold to other European people as they will take them for slavery were they firstly arrived at Western Cape to the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek and the Afrikaner Republics of the Orange Free State were many south African were taken for slavery since 1653 to 1822 which were brought by the cape colony. The man who was behind the Slavery at the cape was the man called Jan van Riebeeck who founded the first colony at Cape Town

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Most slaves were sentenced to a lifetime of slavery, but a few slavery owners made establishment for their slaves to be unregulated after their death. Slaves would do extra work during their spare time to make some money for themselves for the time they get freed. Slaves which were freed at the Cape they often earned a living by, selling vegetables, running small canteens and catching fish

Characteristics of Imperialism

  • The concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life.
  • The merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this ‘finance capital’, of a financial oligarchy.
  • The export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance.
  • The formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves.
  • The territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Imperialism

Advantages of Imperialism

Developed nations brought their technology to the developing or weaker nations that they are influencing through imperialism. This method has allowed the principles of the economic Revolution to unfold to the developing world. it’s helped nations modernize their economies, grow new crops, and build new infrastructures. Over time, this method of development tends to form safer societies as a result of it permits individuals from completely different cultures and ethnicities to speak additional gap.

  • Healthcare improved due to imperialism.

Strong nations develop their strength thanks to the general health of its population. This strength will solely be developed through a proactive system of aid access. once individuals will attend a doctor confidently, knowing that their problems are going to be directly self-addressed, it permits them to continue following their dreams. fashionable aid access, through imperialism, has provided vaccines, medication, and fashionable information to the developing world and this has saved myriad lives.

  • Improvement in agriculture production.

An example of U.S. imperialism provides proof for this profit. With the sugarcane market depressed within the Hawaiian Islands, native farmers and agricultural staff were troubled to create ends meet. The U.S. was victimization tariffs as how to impose their can on the islands. By forcing the individuals to affix the us, the tariff was removed, that then created economic opportunities. Improved irrigation and cultivation ways helped to revive the viability of the crops additionally.

  • Imperialism created defensive network for various countries.

When the planet becomes somewhat borderless, it becomes safer for the common person to pursue opportunities. Acts of imperialism could dominate “weaker” cultures, however they conjointly offer a stronger defense. By making common borders that are ultimately below the possession of the sturdy nation, additional individuals are able to enjoy fashionable defensive technologies. though this profit will come back at a high price, the defensive expenses will then be opened up through additional households, that lessens the per capita price of such a network.

  • Imperialism exposes individuals to new ethnicities and cultures

Forging forward as a powerful nation creates opportunities to seek out new cultures and learn from their ways that. each quality and culture have bound strengths that build them distinctive. The stronger nation will then take these strengths and replicate them on a mass scale. This could scale back the identity of bound cultures over time, though it conjointly creates multiple edges for the total of humanity.

  • There’s higher market access due to imperialism.

Territory acquisition isn’t the sole priority of states engaged within the apply of imperialism. there’s a want to hunt out more markets for product and repair access additionally. By going in the Caribbean, access to tropical agricultural things is feasible, that is why UK, France, European country, and therefore the us have all sought-after to ascertain a presence on the islands within the region.

  • Additional academic opportunities exist.

Imperialism could modification cultures thanks to however the sturdy dominates the weak. It conjointly provides new opportunities for those cultures to be told. fashionable academic curriculums and teaching ways accompany the apply of imperialism, serving to additional individuals gain a basic understanding of core wants, like arithmetic and language. additional individuals have access to higher-level academic opportunities additionally, that creates additional possibilities at long growth.

  • Imperialism helped African countries to become additional international economy of provider of raw materials and therefore the one that purchase factory-made merchandise.
  • Imperialism contributed in shaping African Political and cultural system wherever they’d the economic and technological power were they reshape their country.

Disadvantages of Imperialism

  • Imperialism nearly always creates conflict.

People pride oneself in their nation and culture. they are doing not wish somebody else returning into their home, exigent compliance to a special perspective. several of the conflicts within the twentieth century are supported the imposition of imperialist tendencies and a neighborhood rebellion against them. varied wars are fought by smaller nations for independence against a stronger foe. Even the us became a nation as a result of it rebelled against imperialism within the eighteenth century.

  • Exploitation is far easier through the imperialist method.

Stronger nations should work to make weaker nations up for the advantages of imperialism to happen. so much too typically, associate opposite result happens. The stronger nation goes to the weaker nation, exploits native resources for themselves, and so leaves the native population to argue itself with fewer resources than it had before.

  • It is an elegant method to pursue.

The us centered on imperialism when warfare II for a few time, particularly within the Pacific Ocean. there’s still a network of concerning 800 military facilities round the world that support these past efforts. the price to U.S. taxpayers for this defensive network is quite $600 billion annually. Americans pay additional on defense than the opposite high nine countries within the world combined for defensive disbursal. current aid to native populations is additionally needed to take care of the extension of borders. In total, concerning $1 trillion is spent annually from the U.S. budget to support a worldwide presence.

  • Imperialism creates conflicts amongst the sturdy.

Countries typically contend with each other for resource access. If one sturdy nation moves in on a weaker nation as a result of there’s a wealth of resources obtainable, another sturdy nation may need to challenge that method. Not solely will this method end in political problems which will be tough to resolve, there are times once it will even cause complete war.

  • It changes the religious beliefs of native populations.

Imperialistic nations typically understand themselves to be the simplest at what they are doing. They believe that their culture and society is that the one true commonplace that the remainder of the planet ought to follow. That perspective is usually supported in an exceedingly specific faith. several of the world’s nice atrocities have occurred as a result of one society felt that they were superior to a different and set to prove that superiority in a way. Forcing one’s method of life on somebody will offer bound edges, sort of a higher education. It conjointly strips individuals of their cultural identity within the method.

  • Discrimination is usually fashioned through imperialism.

The efforts at imperialism from the us are terribly evident within the territory of Puerto Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. A representative is electoral in Puerto Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to be sent to the U.S. Congress, however has no selection power on legislation debated there. Delegates is sent to political conventions, however Puerto Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act doesn’t have electoral selection power for a presidential election. That leads individuals to treat the island otherwise, albeit they’re Americans.

  • Imperialism develop slavery

Expansion by sturdy nations nearly always creates slavery of some sort. In past centuries, it inspired the outright possession of others, typically against their can. In fashionable imperialism, governments will force individuals to figure for specific businesses or be concerned in specific enterprises because the solely thanks to earn a cheque. If they opt to do one thing else, they’ll notice themselves troubled to fulfill their basic wants. It ought to be noted that the developed world edges directly from a budget labor of the developing world.

  • It will develop problems.

When Europeans initial came to the New World, the native populations had no immunities against variola major and different diseases. That caused several cultures to be fully ruined. currently the other issue happens. Nations acting in associate imperialist fashion notice that the diseases of the developing world have a prejudices result on their own populations. problems like protozoal infection, T.B., and HIV/AIDS represent quite ninetieth of deaths within the developing world. while not proactive treatment, those from the developed world encounter its problems additionally.

  • It abolishes cultures.

Numerous ethnic teams became extinct over the centuries thanks to the actions of imperialism. The Guanches living on the Canary Islands, the Taino of the Indies, and even the Aborigines in Tasmania were all put-upon as a result of the wants of the sturdy were looked as if it would be additional vital than their own cultural needs. These imperialism professionals and cons show that nations with the simplest interests of others in mind will cause treats to happen through its apply. the matter is that “good” could be a relative term. several cultures don’t wish different nations or cultures intrusive with their own. That want creates conflict, which can ultimately have an effect on the lives of everybody within the world at some purpose in time.


It can be concluded that imperialism had a great impact in other countries and bad impact to other countries as we have heard from the advantages and disadvantages of imperialism as it created economic and academic opportunities such industrial revolution as new technologies were introduced, we got to know that is also came with changes which created a barrier to other people as it changed their religious believes, introduction of slavery to many societies. Most of European countries were the one imposing Imperialism to many other countries which were mostly the African countries those countries include Britain, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal where they introduced slavery, which also spread to South Africa were the man by the name of Jan van Riebeeck was the one to found this method to impose to South African were they were sold to European citizens back at Europe. Colony is another example of imperialism.

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