February 6th, 2014: Building Empire in Asia and Africa
● Imperialism: the conquest of other states and their people and exercising power over
other people’s trade, taxation and government
● This was “new” because Europeans had already been to Asia and Africa but did not
directly control the affairs of the states.
● In the 1800, there were no colonies in Africa.
● In the 1900s, Africa was dominated by European empires.
Why did it happen?
● The attempts of nationalist ideas resulted in diverse people to diverge
● Empires computed for control of natural resources, strategic palaces, and resources for
● Natural Resources: were used to fuel the already built machineries, and/or build new
machineries. These included:
○ Timber, precious metals, coal, ivory, palm oil to grease the machines, tea and
coffee they became necessities
● Taking over Africa meant that empires don’t have to buy the precious items, they can just
● Industrialized countries need new people to sell and buy things to run their markets
● The 17th and 18th centuries were a time of economic hardships in Europe for capitalists
● Strategic Places:
○ the Suez Canal in Egypt became an important strategic canal for trade; allowing
access to India through the East Africa
○ Countries used military powers and threats to control their colonies. Such
conquests were supported by elites that saw benefits by supporting the
○ The imperialists didn’t just go and conquer, but rather found it hard to control their
colonies due to resistance.
The Scramble for Africa
● Until the 17th century Africa was unknown to Europeans due to potential illness. West
Africa: The White Man’s Grave
● In 1832, there was was an English expedition, but only 9 out of 40 of them survived.
● 94% of death of Europeans in Africa were accounted for diseases.
● Malaria was the number one leading cause of death in Africa. People thought the cause
of the Malaria was bad places
● The second reason Europeans was not able to control Africa before the 1800s was their
lack of knowledge about the rivers and oceans of Africa.
● Three new discoverie/inventions turned everything in favour of Europeans:
○ Steam Engined Ships
■ Europeans designed flat bottomed steam ships, which were perfect for
African rivers: deep waters was not required anymore.
○ Quinine: anti malaria medicine. This helped Europeans survive, but also
encouraged European doctors to abandon traditional practices
○ With these new transportation and medicines, Europeans were able to spread their messages back home as well.
○ Henry Stanley
○ In the 1860s, diamond and gold were discovered in Africa, which attracted
Europeans. It was waited to be exploited.
○ “European countries want a piece of that African cakes”
○ Chancellor Bismarck of Germany believed that this could get out of control, calling
all European countries to discussing how to take the pieces of Africa: Berlin West
○ Instead of braking contine