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Imperialism And Its Negative Impacts In The 19th And 20th Century

2216 words - 9 pages

As the age of exploration began, European dominant powers stumbled upon great regions across our globe ranging from Africa to Asia. At first, the continents offered phenomenal trading posts along the coastlines, but eventually European empires realized the exotic territories had much more potential. These great foreign lands represented a feeding source of incredible possibilities that could fuel the great industrial revolution that ignited across Europe during the 1800’s. European powers quickly began to crave precious resources that helped propel the newfound industries to new heights.
Unfortunately for the European empires, most of these rare resources did not exist in their homeland. This resulted in the creation of distant colonies operated by the ‘Mother Land’ European empires. The sole purpose of the colonies was to secure the resources necessary to continue running the new economic powers. In addition to securing resources, the colonies were designed to be effective trade posts to boost economic standings, spread European religions, and of course be an outlet for Nationalism. Many consider colonies as a symbol of national pride and a way to establish a sense of power abroad while simultaneously protecting national interests. The European powers sought after the establishment of colonies to secure resources, particularly cotton, iron, copper, and rubber (Andrew Clemming, Effects of The European Imperialism In Africa).
Industrialized nations pressured economic integration upon developing regions, like many African, Asian, and Indian regions in the 1800’s, and then quickly extracted as much value as possible from the developing nations. These resources that were extracted was the tinder that helped spark and continually drive the European economies. In the nineteenth and beginning of twentieth century, European nations began influencing much of the known world such as China, while nearly dominating all of Africa and India setting the tone for a new imperialistic age, particularly between the period of 1880 to 1914 (Snyder, p. 141.)
When imperialism struck Africa, the movement began to spread at rates never seen before. Ancient tribes, entire cultures, and invaluable lives disappeared in the fog of domination and greed. The fatal flaw imperialism caused in Africa could be traced to the failed infrastructure designed by the invading forces. The Western empires failed to establish stable and reliable systems primarily because that wasn’t the primary objective at hand; the primary objective being resources. With an unfamiliarity of the lands, there was a severe division in the rich and deep African culture. As a result, once rivaling groups were now forced together, and former prosperous relationships were now split as the artificial boundaries began to take effect. Tensions began to brew within the regions as these instigated years of future bloodshed. A particular brutal example would be the Tutsi and Hutu populations in Rwanda.

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