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19th Century European Imperialism

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Early European expansion was for the most part, an economic desire of the country to expand its territory and wealth. This new imperialism of the nineteenth-century was a race to control non-European claimed territories to prevent their competition from gaining any advantage. It was also the need to fuel their industrial factories that emerged from the industrial revolution. Europeans needed the raw material from the east and to open new trade markets to move the goods they produced. European imperialism in the nineteenth century saw European countries seize 90% of the continent of Africa. "The overall picture is no less remarkable; between 1870 and 1900, a small group of states (France, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, and the United States) colonized about one quarter of the world's land face." Coffin, Stacey, Cole, and Symes Pg. 681. The vast expansion was profound but imperialism was not new, the nineteenth-century developments were a new stage of European Empire building following the collapse of Europe's early modern empires in North and South America at the end of the Eighteenth century.

European control and power over other nations was not a new ideal prior to 1870; in fact the process was in place as early as the 14th century. Disease and geography are only two of the factors that prevented European colonization until the 19th century. Many factors led to the massive rise in imperialism after 1870, both internal and external. European imperialism stems from the capitalistic greed for cheap raw materials, advantageous markets, and good investments. These ideas motivated the search for new markets because Imperialists would rather invest in new markets rather than raise wages of domestic workers. Not only was the cheap production of goods a motivating factor, but the quest for markets to sell manufactured goods contributed as well. Going along with this greed was the drive to expand authority by land acquisition or economic and political control over other nations and the quest for economic domination and advantage.

Europeans often denied the capitalistic greed as a factor in the cause of imperialism and had other ways of defining the motivation. Many stated that Imperialism was the natural effect of the idea of 'survival of the fittest.' European Imperialism was simply the natural way that stronger nations gained power and those unable to keep up would be taken over. The Industrial Revolution also played a huge role in European imperialism. European nations had ease dominating non-Europeans due, in part, to the power retained from industrialization. The Industrial Revolution provided tools such as guns, railway systems, steamships, and others, making it easier to overcome nations with less technology. The new technology caused overseas transportation to be greatly improved, and masses of Europeans began to immigrate to other parts of the world. The combination



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