Causes of European Imperialism

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Causes of European Imperialism


  1. Industrial Revolution

    • Allows for the quick consumption & production of goods.

  2. Availability of Raw Materials

  3. Potential for New Markets


  1. Desire to Spread Christianity & Western Civilization


  1. Competition Fueled by European Nationalism

    • Superior weapons of Europeans

    • Internal rivalries & weakness of African governments (result of slave trade)

Actions of Imperialism

  • Economically, Europeans adopted the attitude that they owned the resources immediately upon their colonization of Africa. Railroad systems were designed with only extracting material in mind. Europeans also eliminated native subsistence farming for cash crops. Lastly, Europeans established a money economy that replaced Africans familiar system of barter and used Africans as low-wage labor in harsh conditions extracting primary resources.

  • Politically, the scramble for Africa resulted in a hasty redrawing of boundaries. Europeans ruled their colonies in one of two ways by direct rule (European governor) or indirect rule (selecting an ally indigenous governor). In accordance with European ideals, colonial governments imposed abstract laws that replaced African political methods of discussion and consensus.

  • Socially, Europeans set up social classes that favored whites while building hospitals, schools, and communication systems.

  • Religiously, missionaries used new hospitals, schools, and churches to minister Christianity to the native Africans.

Effects of European Imperialism

  1. Exploitation of local resources

  2. Collapse of local economies

  3. Brutal treatment of local populations

  4. Spread of Christianity

  5. Breakdown of local culture

  6. Improved local healthcare & education systems

  7. Internal rivalries & weaknesses in local governments

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