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The word imperialism is derived from the Latin verb imperare which means to command and from the Roman concept of imperium(expansion). The term imperialism was used first time in the sixteenth century, describing the colonial, territorial, economic and military dominance and influence over smaller countries. The term imperialism is referred to as a domain that can be either political, economic or geographical in nature. A prominent example of such a domain is the Imperialist and Colonist British Empire of the 19th century. Sometimes, it can also be with regard to thoughts, religious beliefs, political beliefs, etc. Communism is an example of such imperialism. The word imperialism is coined from the Latin word imperare roughly translated as 'to command'. It is believed that the word imperialism came into use in the 16th century, and was derived from the Roman concept of imperium. Prominent dictionaries, give three significant definitions to the term imperialism. Every definition of this kind refers to some or the other 'type' of imperialism or domains of imperialism. The first and the most predominant definition of imperialism is "political expansion of rule over foreign countries". This definition refers to conquest, annexation and dominance of one nation over another nation or nations. This definition is normally used in the reference of the expansionist and colonist activities that the European nations carried out after the discovery of trade routes to Asia, Africa and the New World (present day American continent). Initially the concept of imperialism was initiated even before the European nations started their expansion. Imperialism was prominently seen in ancient times in the empires like the Chinese Empire, the Roman Empire, and the golden horde of Genghis Khan. In the late 19th century, the era or 'age of Imperialism' began, where European nations, who happened to be technologically more advanced than the rest of the world, started enslaving the continents of Asia, Africa, and America. Sometimes imperialism is also defined as a "political orientation advocating imperial interests". This definition refers to the promotion of ideologies. One of the most prominent examples is that of promotion of democracy, or the promotion of communism, by the United States and Russia, during the Cold War. Sometimes this definition is also referred to the promotion domain of faith or religious belief. One of the best example is that of Spain's promotion of Catholic faith in England, during the rule of 'Bloody' Mary (1516 to 1558, predecessor of Elizabeth I). Imperialism is also defined as "aggressive extension of authority". This definition of imperialism is considered to be a generalized definition. However, it also refers to any kind of expansion, either political or economic in nature. This kind of imperialism is seen in the modern era, in the corporate world where companies try to monopolize or dominate the market in which they sell their product. The most common means of doing so is resorting to imperialist measures like trying to purchase all the competitors, developing the best possible products and services, reduction of price, excessive promotion, etc. One of the most common type of imperialism seen in the modern era is the Imperialism for the natural resources like oil. Many critics of the Gulf War and the Iraq War claim that these wars were a part of the concept known as 'oil imperialism' where sources of oil were exploited. The wars gave United States control over the sources of oil in the Gulf, making it the third largest oil producer in the world, and also a global super power of the century. Though the phenomenon of imperialism is considered to be immoral by some people, it will tend to exist as long as living beings thrive on this earth.


of Imperialism

The Age of Imperialism was a time period beginning around 1870 when modern, relatively developed nations were taking over less developed areas, colonizing them, or influencing them in order to expand their own power. Although imperialist practices have existed for thousands of years, the term "Age of Imperialism" generally refers to the activities of nations such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japanand the United States in the mid 19th through the middle 20th centuries, e.g. the "The Great Game" in Persian lands, the "Scramble for Africa," and the "Open Door Policy" in China.

The ideas of imperialism put forward by historians John Gallagher and Ronald Robinsonduring the 19th century European imperialism were influential. They rejected the notion that "imperialism" required formal, legal control by one government over another country. "In their view, historians have been mesmerized by formal empire and maps of the world with regions colored red. The bulk of British emigration, trade, and capital went to areas outside the formal British Empire. A key to the thought of Robinson and Gallagher is the idea of empire 'informally if possible and formally if necessary.'"

Europes expansion into territorial imperialism had much to do with the great economic benefit from collecting resources from colonies, in combination with assuming political control often by military means. Most notably, the British exploited the political weakness of the Mughal state, and, while military activity was important at various times, the economic and administrative incorporation of local elites was also of crucial significance. Although a substantial number of colonies had been designed or subject to provide economic profit (mostly through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries), Fieldhouse suggests that in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in places such as Africa and Asia, this idea is not necessarily valid

Modern empires were not artificially constructed economic machines. The second expansion of Europe was a complex historical process in which political, social and emotional forces in Europe and on the periphery were more influential than calculated imperialism. Individual colonies might serve an economic purpose; collectively no empire had any definable function, economic or otherwise. Empires represented only a particular phase in the ever-changing relationship of Europe with the rest of the world: analogies with industrial systems or investment in real estate were simply misleading.

During this time period, European merchants had the ability to roam the high seas and appropriate surpluses from around the world (sometimes peaceably, sometimes violently) and to concentrate them in Europe.

European expansion accelerated greatly in the 19th century. In order to obtain raw materials, Europe began importing them from other countries. Europeans sought raw materials such as dyes, cotton, vegetable oils, and metal ores from overseas. Europe was being transformed into the manufacturing center of the world.

Communication became much more advanced during the European expansion. The invention of railroads and telegraphs made it easier to communicate with other countries. Railroads assisted in transporting goods and in supplying large armies.

Along with advancements in communication, Europe also continued to developed its military technology. European chemists made deadly explosives that could be used in combat, and with the advancement of machinery they were able to create lighter, cheaper guns. The guns were also much faster and more accurate. By the late 19th century (1880s) the machine gun had become an effective battlefield weapon. This technology gave European armies an advantage over their opponents, as armies in less developed countries were still fighting with arrows, swords, and leather shields

TYPES OF IMPERIALISM Europeans began building their empires in the western hemisphere in the early 1500s, but by the 1800s, Spain and Portugal were no longer powerful countries, and the largest British colony had become the United States. Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the Netherlands continued to colonize during this era, but they also devised other ways to spread their empires. In the late 19th century Japan and the United States joined the European nations as an imperialist power. Types of imperialism in the 1800s included: Colonial imperialism - This form of imperialism is virtual complete takeover of an area, with domination in all areas: economic, political, and socio-cultural. The subjugated area existed to benefit the imperialist power, and had almost no independence of action. In this era, almost all of Africa and southern and southeastAsia were colonized. Economic imperialism - This form of imperialism allowed the area to operate as its own nation, but the imperialist nation almost completely controlled its trade and other business. For example, it may impose regulations that forbid trade with other nations, or imperialist companies may own or have exclusive rights to its natural resources. During this era, China and most of Latin America were subjected to economic imperialism. Political imperialism - Although a country may have had its own government with natives in top political positions, it operated as the imperialist country told it to. The government was sometimes a relatively permanent "puppet government," as happened in late Qing China, and other times the control was temporary, as occurred in the Dominican Republic when the United States ran its government until it got out of debt. Socio-cultural imperialism - The dominating country deliberately tried to change customs, religions and languages in some of the countries. A good example was British India, where English was taught in schools, Indian soldiers dressed British-style, and western trading rules were set up. Generally, the imperialist countries assumed their cultures to be superior, and often times they saw themselves as bringing about improvements in the society

IMPERIALISM IN INDIA With the Mughal Empire significantly weakened, the French established trading cities along the Indian coast during the 18th century, but the British East India Company had pushed them out by the early 1800s. The British were still following the model of government support for private companies that they had used in colonizing North America during the 19th century. The company forced the Mughals to recognize company rule first over Bengal, and when the old Mughal Empire was defeated in the 18th century by Iranian armies, the British pushed for economic control over more and more areas. Again India fell into the familiar pattern of decentralized independent states ruled by nawabs, native princes who had nominally supported the Mughal emperor, and the company made agreements with them that were economically advantageous to the British. The British "Raj" - 1818-1857 India was under "company" rule for almost forty years, but they were not actually a British colony during that time because the British East India Company was still private, even though the British government supported it. However, the company administered governmental affairs and initiated social reform that reflected British values. At the same time, they depended on the nawabs to support them, and so they also had to abide by Indian customs and rules as well. The contradictory roles they played eventually erupted in the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857. The Sepoys were Indian Muslims and Hindus who served the British as soldiers in the army that defended the subcontinent. The rebellion took the British by surprise, but they found out that the Indian fury could be traced to a new training technique that the soldiers refused to follow. It required them to put a bullet shell in their mouths that had been greased in either pork or beef fat, with the pork fat being highly offensive to the Muslims and the beef to the Hindu. The British changed the practice, but it was too late because nationalism had reached India, too, and a movement for a country based on Indian identity was beginning. The leaders of the movement would have to wait about 90 years, though, to fulfill their dreams. British Rule - 1857-1947 The Sepoy Rebellion showed the British government how serious the problems in India were, and they reacted by removing the British East India Company from control and declaring India a British colony. British officials poured into India to keep control of its valuable raw materials for industry and trade, particularly cotton and poppies for opium. They expanded production, built factories in India, and constructed huge railroad and irrigation, and telegraph systems. Rising Indian Nationalism With growing industrialization and British controlled trade, a middle class of Indian officials and managers began to rise during the late 1800s. By and large, the British did not allow Indians to own companies or to hold top government positions, but they did provide education for people to fill middle level and professional jobs. Some Indians went to England for higher education, where they absorbed western political values of liberty equality, and justice, and they began to apply those values to their own situations. For example, the Brahmo Samaj movement, led by Rammouhan Roy, advocated unity for Indians by combining traditional and modern ways. The Indian National Congress was formed in 1885, with the goals of promoting political unity and appointing more Indians into higher positions in the British Civil Service. The Congress was controlled by Hindus, and in 1906 another nationalist group was established for Muslims called the All-India Muslim League. Despite tensions between them, by 1914 both groups were demanding Indian independence from the British.

Were the British merely exploiting Indians for profit, or were they trying to "do the right thing" for India? Certainly the profit motive was strong, especially apparent in the takeover in the early years by the British East India Company, a profit-driven company. However, many British people of the time insisted that a major goals for the government was to improve Indian lives through modernization of their country. Perhaps the most famous defense for British motives was The White Man's Burden, a poem by Rudyard Kipling that promotes the vision of a British world leadership idealistically improving the lives of people in the areas they dominated. Of course, the Indian National Congress and the All-India Muslim League did not agree.

Colonialism V Imperialism
The term 'imperialism' should not be confused with colonialism as it often is. Edward Said suggests that imperialism involved the practice, the theory and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan centre ruling a distant territory. He goes on to say colonialism refers to the implanting of settlements on a distant territory. Robert Young supports this thinking as he puts forward that imperialism operates from the center, it is a state policy, and is developed for ideological as well as financial reasons whereas colonialism is nothing more than development for settlement or commercial intentions.

Pros and Cons of Imperialism The term imperialism has a negative sound to it, as it means a forceful or covert expansion into unwilling territories. However, it has also ushered many smaller countries onto the path of development. Following are some pros and cons of imperialism: Pros


Most superpowers brought with them modern technologies and introduced industrialization in smaller nations, boosting the economy. Introduced the concept of a democratically elected popular government to ensure political stability. Education and scientific thinking was introduced and encouraged. Better health care facilities were provided. New transportation systems such as rail, road sea and air were introduced. New languages, religions and a new way of life were introduced. The imperialists countries gained cheap, efficient workforce. Food production increased due to better farming methods.

Nations that resisted growth or expansions in their territory led to widespread genocide and ethnic cleansing. Obtaining valuable natural resources became a bone of contention between the developed countries, resulting in political foul play.

New religions were forced upon and native belief was discredited. Most traditional culture and languages were simply wiped away. Natural resources were exploited, without giving actual due. Labor was discriminated and forced into slavery, and had their basic rights taken away. Many Asians and Africans were shipped to America and England, against their will as plantation slave labor.

Imperialism has its own positive aspects, but in the longer run when greed takes over the reason for helping another nation, it leads to destruction of a nation, and generations to come are severely impacted by the actions of few.