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HIS242 Lecture 1

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Tony Davis

HIS242H1S 09/01/14 1: THE IMPERIAL REVOLUTION – EUROPE AND THE WORLD AROUND 1900 • Imperialism central to Europe in 1900, and throughout the 20th century o Woven into political, social, economical, religious, and above all military • Imperialism: conquest of territory and peoples outside of national borders o Long history of European imperialism • Late 19th-20th c: "Imperialist Revolution (New Imperialism)" o 1880s-90s: states of Europe raced to conquer areas outside of Europe (particularly Africa and Far East) o Rapid increase of European power beyond the continent o Fundamentally changed power relations around the world o World came to appear for one big plot of land that needed to be grabbed on and defended by whoever got there first • 1900: Europe controlled more than 80% of land mass on the globe o 90% of Africa colonized • Imperialism had much support from society • Imperialism as a FORCE • Imperialism took different forms; distinguished between formal and informal imperialism o Of degree rather than kind o Formal: territory claimed as a possession (ex. Britain and India) o Informal: country operates freely as a territory (trade or military interests) and maintains control without formal power (ex. Germans in Persia) o Difference in style - Germans preferred informal, British preferred formal and ultimate authority o France preferred direct rule (especially North Africa) • 1880s: European control in Africa very limited (mostly along the coast) o All of African continent (other than Ethiopia) taken over by early 20th c o European powers managed to avoid conflict through dividing up of Africa ("Scramble for Africa") • Not limited to Africa, but also claimed territories in Asia o Wider variety of imperialism - settler colonies (ex. Dutch Java), new acquisitions for trade and military (ex. Hong Kong) • Imperialism a part of everyday European life - cannot understand 20th century European history without it o What made Europeans devote so much of their lives to this? • 4 primary motivations 1. Economic 1. Trade - colonies had huge economic potentials 2. 1902: imperialism the most powerful factor in the politics of the western world (a product of capitalism) 3. Needed for resources and foreign investment HIS242H1S 09/01/14 4. Everyday items for most people (ex. Coffee, chocolate, tea) now required from the colonies 1. Strategic • Controlling access to key areas • Geopolitical national goals for strategic balance of European power • Suez Canal, 1868 (Egypt and Sudan) • Largely a British project but French also had interests in North Africa; competition between the two • 1898: British and French forces on the Nile River on southern Sudan • French hated the fact that Egypt was a foothold for Britain to Africa • January 1895: British claimed Sudan, French announced Sudan available for all colonial powers and British actions in it will be an "unfriendly act" • No war resulted from the tension; Britain and France each acknowledged that there was enough of
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