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European History


Imperialism 1800–1914

European nations gain territory or domination in Asia and Africa through piece-by-piece conquest

  • 1700s–1800s: Britain slowly acquires India

  • 1830: France conquers Algeria

  • 1857:Sepoy mutiny: Indian soldiers revolt against British

  • 1869:Suez Canal connects Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean

  • 1870s–1880s: Britain controls much of Africa

  • 1898: British, French armies meet in a standoff at Fashoda, Sudan; war averted when French back down

  • 1899–1902:Boer War: British defeat Boers (farmers of Dutch descent) in South Africa

  • 1900:Boxer Rebellion: Chinese revolt against European presence; China remains independent, but European powers carve it into different spheres of influence

Reasons for imperialism:

  • Economic: Colonies provide new markets, raw materials; colonies are rarely profitable, however

  • Religious: Christian missionaries convert indigenous peoples

  • Nationalistic: New territories bring glory to the nation; empire becomes part of national identity

  • Racial: European powers view indigenous peoples as inferior, in need of civilization

Empires inspire European cult of masculinity celebrating ruggedness, bravery, the outdoors; Boy Scouts founded in Britain to train young men to fulfill this ideal