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The Age of Imperialism. (1850 – 1914). Causes:. Nationalism – to Gain Power for their countries, European nations compete for colonies & trading rights More colonies = More Power

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the age of imperialism

The Age of Imperialism

(1850 – 1914)

  • Nationalism – to Gain Power for their countries, European nations compete for colonies & trading rights
    • More colonies = More Power
    • Berlin Conference – European leaders met to divide the African continent like a “Birthday Cake” – by 1914, independent countries in Africa were Liberia & Ethiopia
  • Economic Competition
    • The demand for raw materials & new markets for goods encourages the search for new colonies
  • Humanitarian (caring) Spirit
    • Europeans believe that they must spread their Christian beliefs & teachings to the world
    • Dr. David Livingstone – explored Africa & encouraged the end of the slave trade, disappeared and was “found” by newspaper reporter Henry Stanley, who went on to work claiming colonies for the Belgian King
  • Exploration of the “Dark Continent”
    • New technology allowed Europeans to travel extensively into the interior of Africa for the 1st time – Steamships, Machine Guns, Quinine
      • Famous Explorers included:
        • David Livingstone
        • Dr. Mungo Park
        • Richard Burton and Speke
  • Social Darwinism
    • The “White Man’s Burden” – The theory that Europeans were superior to (or more evolved) than the peoples of Africa & Asia and therefore the Europeans had no choice but to take them over and take care of them since they were unable to care for themselves (How Nice of Them!!!)

Take up the White Man’s burden

Send forth the best ye breed

Go send your sons to exile

To serve your captives' need

To wait in heavy harness

On fluttered folk and wild

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,

Half devil and half child

Take up the White Man’s burden

In patience to abide

To veil the threat of terror

And check the show of pride;

By open speech and simple

An hundred times made plain

To seek another’s profit

And work another’s gain

  • Colonization
    • Europeans (and later the U.S.) control land & people in areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
    • “The Sun Never sets on the British Empire!”
  • Colonial Economies
    • Europeans control trade in the colonies and set up dependent cash-crop economies
      • Imperial powers do not set up any kind of infrastructure or industries in their colonies, they just take as many natural resources as possible
  • Christianization
    • Christianity is spread to Africa, India, and Asia
  • Colonial Governments
    • Imperial powers always sent in their own government officials to rule rather than relying on native peoples, rarely used indirect rule, where they left natives in charge of religion.
    • This causes massive problems when the era of colonialism ends (ex. The civil wars that are still going on in Africa Today)
nationalism in the 1800s
NATIONALISM in the 1800s
  • the Unification of Italy
    • In the early 1800s, Italy was divided into numerous principalities. Many of these states were controlled by outside powers, mainly Austria
    • It took nearly 40 years for nationalists to achieve unification of the Italian states
    • The state that led the way to Unification was Piedmont-Sardinia
    • Victor Emmanuel I became the first king of a unified Italy
movement was led by the following people
Movement was led by the following people:
  • Giuseppe Mazzini – “the Heart”
    • Formed “Young Italy,” a group of Italian patriots dedicated to a free Italy
  • Camillodi Cavour – “the Head”
    • prime minister of Piedmont-Sardinia
    • Made an alliance with France to drive out Austria
  • Giuseppe Garibaldi – “the Sword”
    • He & his “red shirts” invaded other states

& forced them to join Italy

the unification of germany
The Unification of Germany
  • In the period between 1861 & 1871, Prussia used either diplomacy or force (“blood & iron”) to make 39 other German principalities join them in a German confederation
    • Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of Prussia
  • The only country standing in Prussia’s way was the Austrian Empire, which Prussia fought in the Seven Weeks’ War (Prussia won)
  • Then Prussia fought France (Franco-Prussian War) to show its military strength to the other German principalities
  • 1871 – Germany became an official

country with Wilhelm I as the king


the crimean war 1854 1856
The Crimean War (1854- 1856)

The war began as a battle between the Turks and the Russians – Czar Nicholas I claimed that he wanted to protect the Greek Orthodox Church. His real reason was the acquisition of land

Shortly after the war began, the British got involved (they feared growing Russian power)

1854- Britain & France declared war on Russia

The loss of life was great during the war. Greatest single loss of life was the Battle of Balaklava, more commonly referred to as the “Charge of the Light Brigade”

Total loss of life for the war was 250,000

Russia was forced to surrender when the British captured the Russian port of Sevastopol

No real territory changed hands during the war, but the Ottoman Turks were guaranteed safety from future Russian attacks


You'll take my life but I'll take yours tooYou'll fire your musket but I'll run you throughSo when you're waiting for the next attackYou'd better stand there's no turning backThe bugle sounds as the charge beginsBut on this battlefield no one winsThe smell of acrid smoke and horses breathAs you plunge into a certain deathThe horse he sweats with fear we break to runThe mighty roar of the Russian gunsAnd as we race towards the human wallThe screams of pain as my comrades fallWe hurdle bodies that lay on the groundAnd as the Russians fire another roundWe get so near yet so far awayWe won't live to fight another dayWe get so close near enough to fightWhen a Russian gets me in his sightsHe pulls the trigger and I feel the blowA burst of rounds takes my horse belowAnd as I lay there gazing at the skyMy body's numb and my throat is dryAnd as I lay forgotten and aloneWithout a tear I draw my parting groan