Lecture Fourteen: Technology and the Empire
November 3, 2011
Technologies of Control
Technologies which were instrumental in colonization, bringing people to the
colonies as well as maintaining economic and social control over the colonies.
Technologies that were mainly used to build empires were not necessarily built to
make money. Often, they were not profitable at all.
- Their main goals were not to make money, but to control the people
- These technologies were expensive to create and maintain them. This
became an economic drain on the colonies
- Most of the profits associated with colonization were used to control and
maintain the colonies.
New Methods of Transportation
The use of the steam engine was important in ships because that was the way
that the people wold be transported to and from the new colonies.
The railway and construction of new railways around the world, which is
discussed further below, is also an expensive new technology during this time
which was widely used.
The Use of Medicine
The most important form of medicine at this time is called quinine.
- It is an anti-malarial drug which was given to the Europeans to prevent death
by this disease
- The Europeans often were not accustomed to the climates or germs that
were present in the environments in the colonies. They often got sick and
died due to this fact.
New Military Technologies
The military made huge improvements, mostly in an effort to control the
population, and also to assert their superiority.
- The introduction of gun barrels
- New types of firearms
- Rapid-fire technologies which could kill many natives at once
Why were these not profitable? One of the most important reasons that these were not profitable ventures is
because they were done on such a large scale.
-The railways are a perfect example for this
-Railways were built across land which had been inhabitable by humans
-This required the use of special explosives to level the land and make it
usable for railway construction
-Initially, Europeans were eager to invest in these project.
-As the railways were getting built, people began to realize that they were not
-A reason for this is that the costs often went over the initial estimates
(engineers would often gold-plate the railways, meaning they would build
more elaborate structures than necessary)
-To gain investors, there was a guaranteed rate of return on the building of a
railway. The tax-payers were responsible to pay for these rates of returns.
Industrialization in the Colonies
The colonies were discouraged from becoming industrialized because they would
present a threat to the colonizing countries.
Protective Tariffs - there was a tax on goods which are being produced in
-Britain placed a 3% tariff on goods made in India, which made it harder for
India to sell their goods
New technologies were gaining momentum in Europe, but they were discouraged
in the colonies.
Consequences of Industrialization
The creation of “third world” or “developing” countries
-Countries today are classified according to what degree of industrialization is
present in their country
-The less industrialized, the less advanced and generally more impoverished
the country is
Disregard for safety/fairness in the hopes of making more money
Steamships The main energy source of steamships is of course, steam.
Faster Travel Between Britain and India
Prior to the use of steamships, communication between Ind