Differences Between 16th and 19th Century Imperialism

Topics: British Empire, Colonialism, 19th century Pages: 6 (1888 words) Published: April 24, 2012
The Differences Between 16th and 19th Century Imperialism and their Effects on the World Today.

Name: Mr. Big
Student #: C10539956
Course: INS 201
Professor: Dr. Ventricle

1. What is ‘imperialism’? How did 19th-century colonialism, empire building, high imperialism differ from those of earlier times: in particular from the colonialism of early- modern mercantilism (16th to18th centuries)? -------------------------------------------------






According to John Findling and Frank Thackeray’s “Events that Changed the World in the 19th Century” Imperialism is defined as “the policy of extending a nation’s authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations.” It then goes one step further describing Spain, Portugal, England and France as countries who went on an ‘imperialistic binge’ in the late 1800’s expanding their vast colonial empires “at the expense of native inhabitants.” Although that statement is accurate in many respects, I do not believe it to be entirely true, in particular with the British Empire. The attraction for Europeans in foreign lands was in securing foreign products for trade back home, not possess the natives and their domains for the sake of it. European civilization experienced a period of extraordinary rapid expansion around the globe during the last third of the nineteenth century. European nation-states had become very influential because of industrialization and because of the organizational efficiency of the nation-state itself. “European global expansion had actually begun in the fifteenth century, but the process greatly accelerated in the nineteenth century.”(Sauer). Native Americans were liquidated or thoroughly subjugated to European rule. “Most Latin American descendants of the Spanish conquerors gained independence from Spain by the early 19th century, while many indigenous peoples remained subject.”(Chaliand). Although the initial settlements were sometimes bloody massacres (ironic because the imperialists maintained that they were bringing peace to the world), eventually some settlements became prosperous. Without these empires nation building and trying to spread their ideals throughout these years I feel the modern world would be much different, this truly was one of the major cogs in the start of globalization. How was early imperialism different to that of the imperialism the world experienced at the end of the nineteenth century? How did each imperialistic state differ? Is imperialism still going on today? How has it shaped the world, as we know it?

19th Century Imperialism
I do agree that imperialism finally got out-of-hand by the 1800’s, when the Western world seemingly had to control and dominate every continent populated whether it held even a morsel of value or not e.g. ‘The Scramble for Africa’. Millions of young people of working age were taken away from Africa and made into slaves; great social conflict has ensued ever since and still lingers to this day. “Slavery has taken a heavy toll on African development ever since the 16th century but finally stood a chance to develop properly once it was abolished throughout the globe during the twentieth century.” (Headrick). Even though the reputation of these nations was aggressive and callous they never allowed new, promising settlements to decay, rather they opened them up as valuable trading ports that flourished with all the global trade taking place at the time. “They invested heavily in their colonies and occasionally built impressive infrastructure ranging from schools to judicial systems.” (Headrick). This often benefitted the native inhabitants; old systems of command were thrown out with new, more...

Citations: Chaliand, Gerard and A. M. Berrett. “Mirrors of a Disaster: A Chronology of the Spanish Military Conquest of America.” Blue Crane Books, 12 Nov. 1994. Hardcover. 21 Nov.2011.
Erlichman, Howard J. “Conquest, Tribute and Trade: The Quest for Precious Metals and the Birth of Globalization.” Prometheus Books, 7 Sept. 2010. Hardcover. 21 Nov. 2011.
Foster, John Bellamy. “Naked Imperialism: The US Pursuit of Global Dominance.” Monthly Review Press, 1 May 2006. Paperback. 19 Nov. 2011.
Headrick, Daniel R. “The Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century.” Oxford University Press, USA; 3rd Printing edition, 26 Mar. 1981. Paperback. 17 Nov. 2011.
Headrick, Daniel R. “Power over Peoples: Technology, Environments, and Western Imperialism, 1400 to the Present (Princeton Economic History of the Western World).” Princeton University Press, 9 Nov. 2009. Hardback. 20 Nov. 2011
Quilligan, Maureen and Margaret R. Greer. “Rereading the Black Legend: The Discourses of Religious and Racial Differences in Renaissance Empires.” University of Chicago Press, 30 Jan. 2008. Paperback. 21 Nov. 2011.
Thackery, Frank W. and John E. Findling. “Events that Changed the World in the Eighteenth Century.” The Greenwood Press, 9 Sept. 1998. Course Document. 5 Sept. 2011.
Sauer, Elizabeth. Rajan Balachandra and Anthony Pagden. “Imperialisms: Historical and literary Investigations 1500-1900.” Palgrave Macmillan, 7 Oct. 2004. Hardcover. 20 Nov. 2011.
Smith, Tony. “The Pattern of Imperialism: The United States, Great Britain and the Late-Industrializing World Since 1815.” Cambridge University Press, 1 edition. 30 Oct. 1991. Paperback. 20 Nov. 2011.
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