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Imperialism - Imperialism in India and China
Imperialism - Imperialism in India and China
Imperialism: In the late 19th century and early 20th century there was a great upheaval in Europe in their political and economic systems. These European upheavals forced the European nations to extend their authority over the political and economic life of other nations which we call it as imperialism. The word imperialism derives from the Latin word 'Imperium' meaning 'Power'.
The term imperialism refers to the policy of extending a country's rule over the others (or) the aggressive behaviour of one state against another (or) a country's dominant over the political and economic interest of another nation to exploit its natural resources.
Difference between Colonialism and Imperialism:
The policy adopted by the European countries from AD1492- AD1763 is known as Colonialism. During this period England, France, Spain and Portugal established their colonies in the Asian and American continents.
Colonialism refers to the policy of acquiring and maintaining colonies especially for exploitation. It also means that it is a relationship between an indigenous majority and a minority foreign invaders.
Imperialism is a state policy and is developed for ideological as well as financial reasons. Imperialism is the concept while colonialism is the practice.
Between A.D 1763-A.D 1870 the European countries were involved in a number of wars and unification movements. After the unification, Italy and Germany began to establish their political and economic powers in Africa and Asia. This policy of imperialism followed by European countries from A.D.1870-A.D 1945 is known as New Imperialism.
The major forms of Imperialism:
Imperialism took two major forms in the 19th century. It was typically enforced with either direct military intervention (total control by the mother country) or indirect control by establishing a protectorate (where the mother country served as a 'guide').
The USA's invasion against Iraq with its military power, forced it to have another sort of government favourable to the USA. This is called military imperialism.
British conquered territories in India and appointed their own officers and changed the existing political structure. This is called political imperialism.
China was politically independent under the Manchu rule, but it was economically controlled by the European and American countries. This is called economical imperialism.
Causes for the rise of imperialism:
Industrial Revolution: Industrial Revolution in European countries resulted in a great increase in production. So it created a great demand for raw materials and new markets in Asian and African continents where the industrial revolution had not yet spread. They could not find market in Europe as they followed 'Protective Trade Policy'. The purchasing power of the people was also less due to capitalism. It also introduced a great progress in the means of transport and communication.
The telegraph system linked the whole world and reduced great distances. The development of railways speeded up the movement of goods between colonies and the mother country. So it was easier to bring raw materials and to take the finished goods to the markets in the interior parts of the colonies in Asia and Africa.
The sense of national security and self -sufficiency among the European political groups instigated colonial imperialism. Often Presidents or Prime Ministers worked towards colonial imperialism owing to the influence of business or some other interest.
The later part of the nineteenth century saw extreme nationalistic ideals in Europe. Germany and Italy were unified. Many nations developed pride over their race, culture and language and started feeling superior to other countries. They felt that acquisition of colonies would enhance the prestige of their nations. Imperialism became the fashion of the age. The Europeans felt that it was 'White Man's burden' to civilize the backward and uncivilized native people of Africa and Asia. This was another cause for Imperialism.
Balance of power
The concept of Balance of Power was one of the driving factors. European Nations were forced to acquire new colonies to achieve a balance with their neighbors and competitors.
Discovery of New routes
The discovery of new routes to African and Asian continents promoted the spirit of imperialism. The discovery of sea routes paved the way for the traders and soldiers to exploit the abundant wealth of the countries.
Growth of Population
The population growth and its impact-unemployment, forced the Europeans to emigrate in search of new lands and careers abroad.
State of Anarchy
There was no international organization to enact and enforce laws for nations to maintain peace and security among countries before the First World War. This state of anarchy supported the colonial race.
Techniques of Imperialism:
Several techniques were adopted by the imperialists in order to establish themselves.
Conquest and Annexation: In the early modern times, the Spaniards, the Frenchmen and the British used to send soldiers to distant lands. They overpowered the native chiefs, conquered their lands and established colonies. This is the method of Conquest and Annexation.
Concession or Franchise
Sometimes an aggressive agency, would acquire an exclusive right to exploit some economic resources, in a "backward" region and it was called a concession or franchise. A group of German bankers and engineers got a concession to build a long railroad called Bagdad Railway in Turkey.
Leasehold: When an exclusive right to exploit some economic resources was accompanied with the grant of lease of a stretch of territory and the actual exercise of political control over it, it was called leasehold. The German Empire acquired such leasehold of ninety-nine years over a part of the Shantung Peninsula in China.
Sphere of Influence: In some instances a state would acquire an exclusive or even a preferential right to exploit and develop a backward region economically, and not allow other states to establish any form of control over it. This technique was called'Sphere of influence.' Thus in 1907, Great Britain and Russia, divided Persia into three zones:
- British (southern) sphere of influence., Russian (northern) sphere of influence, and
- Central or neutral sphere of influence.
This method was also adopted in China by the European countries.
Protectorate: It means an indirect exercise of political control of a powerful nation over a weak and backward region through a native puppet ruler. Example in 1912 France established a protectorate over Morocco.
Economic or Tariff Control: In some other cases the powerful nation could take over the complete charge of the finances of a weak and backward region, or its tariff system. This method was called Economic or Tariff control. For example before World War I, the Turkish economic system was actually controlled by the Ottoman Public Debt Administration. This was an organization composed of mainly European officials.
Mandate System: This was the last form of the new imperialism. It emerged at the Paris Peace Conference(1919), at the suggestion of General Jan Smut of South Africa. Most of the former colonies and other backward regions were assigned to the League of Nations. The League delegated its authority, subject to some restrictions, to various states as its agents or “mandatories”.
Effects of Imperialism
Positively speaking the powerful nations developed the transport and communication facilities in the weaker nations. The former gave the latter education. They improved medical care, and better methods of sanitation. They introduced new farming methods, to get increased food production. These changes meant less death in the colonies, and overall improvement in the standard of living. It promoted order and discipline and unity in countries.
- Negatively speaking, the colonies had no freedom. They were exploited and treated as slaves.
- Imperialism led to the exploitation of the natural resources of the colonies.
- The colonies were used as the suppliers of raw materials and markets for finished products.
- The colonies plunged into poverty and unemployment due to the disappearance of indigenous industries.
- The traditional pattern of agriculture was completely changed as the natives were forced to cultivate raw materials than food crops.
- The introduction of western culture and education led to the loss of traditional culture of the colonies.
- It also led to the extinction of some native races of Africa due to slave trade.
- The policy of racial discrimination was practiced in some colonies.
lmperialism in India
It is true that the political condition i.e. the rivalry among the native rulers rather than the motive of the British that instigated imperialism in India. The English East India Company was formed in 1600 in England and later it set up a trading post at Surat with the permission of Mughal Emperor, Jahangir. In the next few years the Mughals granted Britain the right to trade and establish factories in exchange for English naval protection to the Mughal Empire, which faced Portuguese sea power.
In 1664, the French East India Company was established by Colbert, a minister of Louis XIV of France and opened trading centres in India. There started rivalry between France and Britain. It led to Carnatic wars resulting in the uproot of French influence in India.
In 1757, the Nawab of Bengal Siraj-Ud-Daulah, opposed the British attempts to use Duty free Trade in Bengal. It resulted in the Battle of Plassey in 1757 led by Robert Clive. The East India Company was granted undisputed right to trade free of tax in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa and the 24 parganas near present Calcutta. The Company acquired the civil rights of administration in Bengal from the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II after its success in the battle of Buxar in 1764. It marked the beginning of Company's formal rule in India. Lord Wellesley conquered number of states in India by his Subsidiary Alliance. Lord Dalhousie annexed many more states by his Doctrine of Lapse. In 1857, the Great Indian Revolt against the English East India Company's rule broke out and later it was suppressed. In 1858, the administration of India was passed to the British Crown by Queen Victoria's Proclamation. India continued to be under the rule of British Government till her independence in 1947.