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The colonising country could prevent competitors from trading with its colonies. This is known as a trade monopoly. The exploitation of mineral and other resources provided great wealth for the colonising country. Gold, in particular, was a highly sought-after commodity.

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Individual investors saw opportunities to make personal fortunes by helping to finance the establishment of colonies. Both slavery and colonisation provided cheap labour which increased profits and added to the wealth of the colonisers. Humanitarian reasons Europeans believed that it was their duty to spread Christianity among 'heathens' non-believers in other countries of the world.

Both Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries were sent to remote areas in order to convert people to Christianity. Missionaries also offered the indigenous people Western education and medical care, which they believed were better than those offered by traditional teachers and healers. They believed they were doing God's work and helping to 'civilise' the rest of the world.

They were known as humanitarians because they were concerned about the welfare of their fellow human beings. Unfortunately, many greedy and ruthless people hid behind religion to disguise what they were actually doing - destroying whole cultures and civilisations so that they could have control over the people and their land. Prestige Countries with large empires were respected and admired. Increased wealth resulted in greater military and political power. A small country like England became one of the most powerful empires in the world by taking over large areas of land and dominating international trade.

European colonial activity (1763–c. 1875)

Competition and rivalry among the colonial powers often resulted in war, as they tried to take over each other's colonies. Strategic reasons Certain colonies were acquired for their strategic importance. This means that they were well positioned in times of war. They also enabled the colonisers to control trade routes. The settlement at the Cape is a good example of a strategic reason for acquiring a colony. As long as the Dutch controlled the Cape, they controlled the sea route to the East.

The Dutch built a fort on the Cape peninsula to defend the colony against attack from rival colonial powers. Source: wikipedia. He built a fort and left behind Spanish soldiers to hunt for gold on Hispaniola, while he returned to Spain These men were later murdered by the inhabitants of the island for mistreating them. On his second voyage, Columbus took a thousand Spanish colonists to settle in Hispaniola.

This was the first European colony in the 'New World'. These colonists fought among themselves and with the inhabitants of the island. They were greedy and complained that there was not enough gold to make them all rich. They were given land and allowed to force the indigenous people to work for them, but they were still not satisfied. The colonists were also responsible forintroducing foreign epidemic diseases such as influenza, smallpox, measles and typhus, which drastically reduced the indigenous population in the Caribbean within 50 years.

In the early s the Spanish began to conquer the mainland of Central and South America. Balboa is best known as the first European to see the Pacific Ocean. However, his expedition did not end well as one of his rivals, the newly appointed governor of Darien Panama had him executed. Today, Panama honours Balboa by naming its monetary unit, the balboa, after him. You learnt about the wealthy and powerful Aztec Empire in the previous section. The following case studies will tell you more about how this mighty empire was destroyed by the Spanish.

He arrived with five hundred men wearing armour. They brought with them cannons, mastiff dogs and sixteen horses. When the Spaniards saw large amounts of gold and other treasures, they captured the emperor and began to rule the empire.

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With the assistance of the Tlaxcalans, and after many bloody battles, the Spaniards eventually defeated the Aztecs in August The Spaniards conquered the remaining Aztecs and took over their lands, forcing them to work in gold mines and on Spanish estates. The city was looted of all its treasures and then the buildings were blown up with barrels of gunpowder.

The city's present-day cathedral rises over the ruins of an Aztec temple and the palace of the Mexican president stands on the site of the palace of Montezuma. The Spanish called their new colony in Mexico 'New Spain'. This is a portrait of Atahualpa, drawn from life, by a member of Pizarro's detachment, Francisco Pizarro was the Spanish conqueror of Peru. He left Spain for the West Indies in and lived on the island of Hispaniola. He was also part of Balboa's expedition to the Pacific Ocean. Pizarro heard tales of a southern land rich in gold. During the s Pizarro led two expeditions down the west coast of South America and saw the golden ornaments worn by Native Americans of the Inca Empire of Peru.

He got permission from the emperor of the King of Spain, Charles V to conquer this land and become its governor. Pizarro raised an army of men to take with him to Peru. Atahualpa, the Inca, or emperor, was captured by the Spaniards, who held him hostage. His followers were tricked into paying a large ransom of silver and gold.


  • Imperialism and Colonialism: Essays on the History of European Expansion by H.L. Wesseling.
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Instead of sparing his life as promised, Pizarro executed Atahualpa on 29 August and took control of the town of Cajarmaca. Pizarro then marched south and captured the Inca capital at Cuzco. After looting Cuzco, the Spaniards went on to establish control over the rest of the land of the Incas. Without an emperor to lead them, the Incas found it hard to resist the Spanish invasion.

They were divided among themselves and their weapons were no match for the guns of the Spaniards. Only one Inca community, which was high up in the mountains and difficult to reach, held out against the conquistadors. In , Pizarro set up a new capital at Lima and, as governor, was responsible for bringing many settlers to Peru. Most settlers were involved in mining the vast amounts of silver and gold that existed in Peru. The Spanish were allowed to force the Incas to work for them for low wages.

They used forced labour in the army, to build new cities and to mine silver and gold. You have already heard that conquistadors often fought among themselves. Diego de Almagro, Pizarro's former partner, fought with Pizarro over Cuzco. Almagro was executed, but his son, known as Almagro the Lad, continued the war.

Pizarro was murdered in his palace in Lima by followers of Almagro in The Aztec and Inca Empires covered very large areas and consisted of millions of people. It was only after long and bloodied battles that they gave up their capitals to the invaders. The European diseases that reduced the population of the indigenous people of the Caribbean islands also affected the Aztecs, and to a lesser degree the Incas. The Spanish were less successful against the people who occupied other areas of Central and South America. These people attacked unexpectedly and took advantage of the fact that they outnumbered the Spanish.

The biggest part of the peninsula was still ruled by Mayan communities. The Spanish encountered particularly fierce resistance from the Auracanian tribes. After the conquest of the Inca Empire, a Spanish force moved southward to found the city of Santiago in They gained control over the fertile central region of present-day Chile.

The Araucanians lived in the southern part of Chile, and resisted Spanish control until well into the nineteenth century. The Spanish built a line of forts to defend their settlements against continuous Araucanian attacks and raids. The Araucanians adapted to the European style of warfare by making spears to fight the Spanish while they were on their horses.

The Araucanians were finally defeated at the end of the s and forced to live in reservations. A distinct type of resistance in exploitation colonies was the slave revolt. The revolt, lasted from the early s until , when Haiti received its independence. There were many other slave revolts throughout the Caribbean and Brazil.

Some of these revolts failed and many slaves who had participated in revolts were brutally tortured and executed. Early colonialism in Africa, Portuguese trading stations in West Africa. The Congo River. Source: dlynnwaldron. Portuguese expansion into Africa began with the desire of King John I to gain access to the gold-producing areas of West Africa. The trans-Saharan trade routes between Songhay and the North African traders provided Europe with gold coins used to trade spices, silks and other luxuries from India. At the time there was a shortage of gold and rumours were spreading that there were states in the south of Africa which had gold.

This news encouraged King John's son, Prince Henry, to send out expeditions to explore these possibilities. At first, the Portuguese established trading stations along the west coast of Africa rather than permanent settlements. They built forts at Cape Blanco, Sierra Leone and Elmina to protect their trading stations from rival European traders. In this way, the Portuguese diverted the trade in gold and slaves away from the trans-Saharan routes causing their decline and increased their own status as a powerful trading nation.

During the s the Portuguese came into contact with the kingdom of the Kongo, situated south of the Congo river in what is today northern Angola. The Kongo became powerful through war and capturing and enslaving the people they defeated. The Portuguese did not conquer this region but chose rather to become allies of the Kongo king. The king was eager to make use of Portuguese teachers and craftsmen to train his people.

He also allowed Catholic missionaries to work among his people. The Portuguese traded guns for slaves captured by the Kongo in wars against rival kingdoms in the interior.

Other than small amounts of copper and raffia cloth, the area did not provide any profitable trade in gold or silver, which was disappointing for the Portuguese. The traffic in slaves more than made up for this disappointment. The Portuguese settlers on these islands used slaves bought from the Kongo traders to work on these plantations. When Brazil became a Portuguese colony in the s, the demand for slaves to work on the sugar plantations established there increased.

Wars fought in this region provided a constant supply of slaves. In exchange for slaves, the Portuguese provided the Ndongo and Lunda kings with guns, cloth and other European luxuries. The guns enabled the kings to defeat their enemies and maintain a dominant position in the region. In , the Dutch seized the slave trade in Angola away from the Portuguese and they were able to control it until when the Portuguese took back control again. Angola only became a Portuguese colonial settlement after the decline of the slave trade in the nineteenth century.

A map drawn in Spain dated , showing the king of Mali holding a gold nugget. Source: British Library. Well-established gold and ivory trade network existed between African kingdoms in the interior and cities on the east coast of Africa.

Imperialism: Crash Course World History #35

The Arab settlers intermarried with the indigenous African people living along the east coast. They introduced Islam and influenced the development of the Swahili language. A new coastal society emerged that was a mixture of African and Islamic traditions. This prosperous society built beautiful cities along the coastline from where they conducted trade with Arab merchants. In the sixteenth century the Portuguese drove the Arabs away from the east coast of Africa and established their own trade monopoly in the region.

They arrived with heavily-armed ships and demanded that the Muslim sultans or rulers accept the authority of the king of Portugal by paying a large tribute. If they refused to do this, the cities were looted and destroyed. Wesseling ISBN. Comparative Perspective. MICHAEL is the tendency to equate colonialism with European expansion Chicago, and his essays on global history collected in and industrialization, thus all but nullifying the most cogent contributions.

Contributions in Comparative Colonial Studies Westport. Imperialism and Colonialism: Essays on the History of European Expansion, are valuable contributions to the literature on imperialism and colonialism, but in. Imperialism and Colonialism by H. Wesseling Contributions in comparative colonial studies, ; no. Imperialism and colonialism: essays on the history of European expansion.

Responsibility: H. Series: Contributions in comparative colonial studies no. Wesseling: Imperialism and colonialism: essays on the history of European expansion. Series: Contributions in comparative colonial studies, no. This collection of essays on European expansion focuses on colonialism, the. Migration and Disease in Africa during European Imperialism Essay Because of this colonization many African natives migrated eastward, inadvertently There are many examples throughout European history of nations enveloping there was a growing desire for European countries to expand and control their rule.

Empire and Globalisation: from ‘High Imperialism’ to Decolonisation

The economic, social, and military evolution Europe was going through at There are many reasons that contributed to the expansion and colonization by Imperialism Essay The Age of Imperialism was an age of colonization for European countries. In historical contexts, New Imperialism characterizes a period of colonial expansion by European finished goods so efficiently that they could usually undersell comparable, locally manufactured goods in foreign.. The erosion of Chinese sovereignty contributed to a spectacular anti-foreign outbreak in June , when.

Contributions in Comparative Colonial Studies Westport, Conn. Colonial Encounters in the Age of High Imperialism. By scott b. Harper Collins World History Series. New York: Harper Collins, These two books are valuable contributions to the literature on imperialism and colonialism, but in very different ways. Wesseling's Imperialism and Colonialism brings together a dozen essays he has published over the past twenty-two years. These essays have two strengths. The first is to emphasize the continuity of the relations between Europe and the tropics, from precolonial encounters to postcolonial political, cultural, and demographic interactions.

Thus, in chapter 3 "Knowledge Is Power: Some Remarks on [End Page ] Colonial Science" the author identifies what was once known as colonial science or oriental studies as the precursor of postindependence development schemes. Likewise, in chapter 10 "Post-imperial Holland" he traces the unexpected aftereffects of colonialism on a once great colonial power. The second and most important contribution of this book is that it brings the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies into the history of imperialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This may seem surprising, since everyone knows that the Netherlands had an empire and that Indonesia was among the largest, richest, and most populated colonies.