Brief notes on Colonialism and imperialism in Asia and Africa

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One of the outstanding feature of the nineteenth century, according to Dr. David Thomson was an attempt by the powers of “Europe to conquer, colonies or at least to extend spheres of influence over the rest of the world”.

During the nineteenth and early twentieth century the scene of imperialistic rivalry amongst the European states shifted from Europe to Asia and Africa. The European powers tried to promote their interests in two ways viz. through export of their people and carving out of colonies for exploitation.

The Europeans exported their people mainly to America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand etc. where they tried to implant the European culture. On the other hand, in Asia and Africa in the main they set up colonies. These colonies were considered unfit for settlement and were exploited for economic gains.

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Generally the Europeans governed these colonies with the help of a handful of foreign officials and soldiers in the face of opposition from the local people. Despite the opposition offered by the local people the European powers succeeded in partitioning the entire Africa amongst themselves by the end of the nineteenth century.

In Asia, though China remained technically independent, it was practically controlled by the various European powers. India, another large state of Asia fell into the hands of the Britishers. Likewise certain parts of the Ottoman Empire also came under the British control. The only Asian country which managed to keep out of the imperialist net was Japan.

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