COSTP World History Project/Global change in the era of New Imperialism
19th & 20th century western imperialism was not the first example of the attempt by powerful nations to completely subjugate the peoples of a variety of ethnicities, nationalities and cultures. Numerous civilizations dating back to and even before ancient Mesopotamia sought territorial expansion and the cultural assimilation of conquered peoples. However, beginning in the mid-19th century, a combination of factors led western Europe, the United States and Japan to engage in global territorial conquest on a scale never before seen. Competition for territories in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Rim region and, to a much lesser extent, South America brought about as complete a domination of the globe's resources and peoples such that the ancient Greeks, Romans and Mongols could only have dreamed of, let alone achieved. The examination of this era of "New Imperialism" requires consideration of not only the causes and effects of western empire building. It also requires an examination of the responses by the various peoples from around the world who saw their land, their culture and their society completely altered by the demands of their new imperial overlords.
Causes of "New" Imperialism
Britain in India & China
Britain Conquers India
India and China were key trading destinations for Europeans for centuries prior to the mid-19th century. Spices, opium, indigo and, tea were high-priced, highly-prized trading commodities for the British, Dutch, French and Portuguese, all of whom established trading posts in both countries during the 17th and 18th centuries. However, by the mid-18th century, Britain broke away from the "pack" and established hegemony over large swaths of India as the result of several European wars whose reach extended to the Indian sub-continent.