PinkMonkey Online Study Guide-World History
Various factors contributed to the rise of Imperialism
The foremost were the economic factors.
The Industrial Revolution created a great need for raw materials.
Asia and Africa offered most of the raw materials such as rubber,
tin, petroleum, cotton, silk, vegetable oils and rare minerals.
Owing to the Industrial Revolution, Great Britain,
Germany and other European nations, began to produce surplus
goods for which they required markets abroad. Asia as
well as Africa served this purpose well.
There was excessive surplus capital in the industrialized
countries, which invested it in foreign lands. Political control
over these lands would thus act as a guarantee of security of their
The Industrial Revolution introduced great progress
in the means of transport and communication. Ocean liners could
carry heavy articles like manganese ore from any part of the world.
The telegraph linked the whole world and reduced great distances.
The development of railways speeded the movement of goods between
colonies and to the mother country.
The activities of political groups and intellectuals,
who desired to ensure national security and self-sufficiency, instigated
colonial imperialism. Often, Presidents or Prime Ministers worked
towards colonial imperialism owing to the influence of business
or other interest groups.
A strong motive for imperialism was the spirit
of national pride and prestige. The British Empire had set the
precedent that it was essential to have colonies in order to become
a world power. Hence both Germany and Italy entered the colonial
Some parts of Africa and the Far East served as
valuable naval bases and ports of call, for trade, commerce and
There was an inner urge to spread Christianity
among Christian European nations. Both Catholic and Protestant missionaries
went to the colonies to convert non-believers into Christians.
The activities of explorers and adventurers like
the Frenchmen Du Chaillu and De Brazza in Equatorial
Africa, and the German Karl Peters in East Africa, helped
to promote the new wave of imperialism.
The expansion of population also contributed
to the spread of imperialism. This was further aided by the periodical
recurrence of unemployment, which compelled millions of Europeans
to emigrate, in search of new homes and careers abroad.
There was international anarchy. Every nation
was free to do what it pleased, because of the lack of any international
machinery to enact laws for nations and force them to respect such
laws. This state of affairs encouraged the colonial race.
Thus various factors and forces were working towards
the spread of imperialism in different countries.