World History























Before the 1800s, Western nations did business in Africa and Asia within existing trade and political networks. After the Industrial Revolution, Western powers used their superior weapons and powerful iron warships to conquer much of the world, especially lands in Africa and Asia. In 1800, Western powers controlled 35 percent of the world’s land surface; by 1914, they controlled 84 percent. When a nation dominates or controls another land physically, economically, or politically, it is called imperialism. Western imperialism placed millions of black and brown people under the control of white people.

imperialism = a policy of extending your rule over foreign countries.

Imperialism was encouraged by nationalism; European nations wanted to increase their power and pride by adding new colonies. Imperialism was also supported by racist attitudes like social Darwinism. Europeans claimed to be doing “backward” people a favor by conquering their lands and bringing them Western advancements. But the most important force behind imperialism was money. The Industrial Revolution changed Europe from a consumer of manufactured goods to a producer, and Europe’s factories needed places to sell their products. One Englishman said, “There are 40 million naked people [in Africa], and the cotton spinners of Manchester are waiting to clothe them.” Colonies provided Europe’s factories with new markets for manufactured goods, and cheap raw materials to feed Europe’s machines.