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Imperialism in the late 19th and early 20th century essay sample


By the early 20th century, Western Europe concentrated on the policy known as New Imperialism. It was a new turn of the Imperialism that started yet in the 16th when the New World was first explored. In the late 19th century, European industrialized nations direly needed cheap labor, plenty of raw materials, and new markets to sell their products. That is why they set more colonies in Africa and Asia. Despite the vast expansion, the economic gains of new colonies were limited. Instead, possessing colonies was a sign of greatness and gross power of the countries like Britain or France.


Being the “dark continent” poorly explored by the 20th century, Africa became the main place for setting new colonies. African landscapes always discouraged explorers, but Europeans rushed after African land after Great Britain had taken Egypt and Belgium penetrated Congo. The Berlin Conference (1884-1885) established that no single European country can take entire Africa, and the division has started. France has taken the largest part of the continent; the Sahara Desert comprised the half of the lands. Britain’s colonies were more populated areas of South Africa that also contained plenty of diamonds and gold. Germany, Italy, and Portugal also took some lands that remained.


Besides Africa, European superpowers still had Asia as a land of opportunities. Yet in 1763, Britain took India, which became the crown jewel of the monarchy in a century. France, Germany, Russia, and the US also divided China into spheres of interest. In the Middle East, Britain took control of the Suez Canal and Russia obtained several Balkan states. Japan became the only country to escape the imperialism.


New imperialism positively affected Western countries and hit colonies. They were drained of raw materials with their economies destroyed by global superpowers. By 1900, Western countries controlled most of the world, which caused confrontation between superpowers. Eventually, this rivalry has led countries to World War I.