text 9 economic instructions .
Document – Economics and Imperialism in Africa
Captain F.D. Lugard, The Rise of Our East African Empire, vol. I (London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1893), pp. 379–382, 473.
THE NEW IMPERIALISM: THE RACE FOR AFRICA AND ASIA
In the 1880s, this mass migration of individuals was paralleled by an expansion of Western power into non-Western parts of the world. European nations raced to gain control over Africa and Asia especially. They subdued local opposition and reshaped the existing societies to fit their own purposes. They brought Western culture and institutions to Africa and Asia whether those peoples wanted them or not. By 1914, imperial powers had seized most of Africa and much of Asia, taking direct or indirect control over almost half a billion people.
Imperialism was not new. Since the fifteenth century, Europeans had been extending their influence over the globe. Increasingly during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Western nations developed and mobilized the ships, weapons, and finances that gave them advantages over other civilizations. Spurred on by competitive rivalries among themselves for power and wealth, European states used these advantages to impose their will again and again in Asia and Africa. But the burst of expansion between about 1880 and 1914 was so rapid and extensive that historians call it the new imperialism.
Money and Glory
Economic causesThere were many forces driving this wave of imperialism. For one thing, as Document 20.1 indicates, people thought they could make money from it. “It is in order to foster the growth of the trade of this country, and to find an outlet for our manufacturers and our surplus energy, that our far-seeing statesmen and our commercial men advocate colonial expansion,” concluded a British colonial administrator. Industrial nations hungered for new markets, cheap raw materials, and juicy investment opportunities. Western manufacturers, merchants, financiers, shippers, investors, adventurers, and settlers thought they would find all these things in Africa and Asia, and European workers believed that the guaranteed markets would keep them employed. Political leaders, egged on by other pressures as well, usually agreed.
Politics of imperialismYet the race for riches often proved more difficult than people expected. Many colonies cost European governments far more to acquire and maintain than riches received. The colonizing process got complicated politically as well. Imperial powers took some colonies not because they saw them as money-makers but because they wanted to protect the borders of other, more lucrative colonies. In many such buffer colonies, loans were never paid off, mines never yielded enough minerals to cover their expenses, and markets proved not worth the cost of building railroads to reach them. But in the beginning, people hoped for great profits or at least security for money-making ventures in distant lands. Competition and the optimistic taking on of risks were at the heart of capitalism, and this led many Westerners and their nations into Africa and Asia.
Nationalism and imperialismA different, probably more powerful competition—the drive for international prestige—also drove governments, cheered on by millions of their citizens, to snap up colonies. The renewed burst of imperialism came at precisely the time when nationalism was on the rise in Europe. As Document 20.2 suggests, nationalistic sentiment easily translated into a new struggle for imperial conquest—for remote islands, barren deserts, and impenetrable jungles as well as for more lucrative prizes. Governments used such conquests to display their muscle, especially when such a display was lacking at home. France’s expansion, for example, helped French citizens feel compensated for losses suffered in the Franco-Prussian War. Italian conquests overseas promised to make up for Italy’s failure to acquire first-rate power status on the Continent. Gaining colonies became a measure of status, proof of a nation’s political and economic prowess. To be left behind in the imperial race marked a nation as second class. “[A]ll great nations in the fullness of their strength have desired to set their mark upon barbarian lands, and those who fail to participate in this great rivalry will play a pitiable role in the time to come,” the nationalist German historian Heinrich von Treitschke announced. People in the West avidly followed the race for colonies. Newspapers reporting on incidents and conquests in Asia and Africa framed these developments as adventures and patriotic causes. Thrilling stories about action overseas sold countless papers. In books and classrooms, people could see their national colors spreading across oceans and continents.
This competition for economic gain and international prestige gained a life of its own, a momentum that became hard to curb. When one nation moved into a new area, others followed, for fear of being left with nothing. To protect established colonies, imperial powers seized adjoining territories. To ensure supply lines to distant colonies, nations grabbed up islands, ports, and bases. To form alliances and collect bargaining chips for when disputes arose, imperial powers made colonial claims.
JustificationFinally, people found ways to justify imperialism. Westerners saw themselves as bringing “blessings” of their civilization to “backward” peoples. The British writer Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) expressed the belief of many Westerners when he wrote of the “white man’s burden” to civilize the “lesser breeds” of the earth. Missionaries took to heart the injunction to “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Figure 20.7, a cover illustration from a French Catholic magazine, The Pilgrim, reveals Westerners’ idealized views of imperialism. Here a member of the White Sisters, a Catholic order, teaches already converted Ugandan girls how to use a sewing machine. The image plainly contrasts the devoted, beautiful European woman and the humble, well-behaved children. The implied promise is that the West will bring the benefits of its technology, faith, and civilization to a new generation of thankful Africans.
A European Vision of Imperialism This pro-imperialism publication depicts a member of a Catholic order teaching Ugandan girls how to improve their lives. thinking about sources DOCUMENTS
DOCUMENT 20.2 Economics and Imperialism in Africa
With new conquests made in the scramble for Africa, many people expected commerce to accelerate and new markets for manufactured goods to emerge. This attitude shows up in Lord Lugard’s account of his experiences in colonial service. A British soldier and administrator, Lugard helped bring large parts of Africa into the British Empire.
The Chambers of Commerce of the United Kingdom have unanimously urged the retention of East Africa on the grounds of commercial advantage. The Presidents of the London and Liverpool chambers attended a deputation to her Majesty’s Minister for Foreign Affairs to urge “the absolute necessity, for the prosperity of this country, that new avenues for commerce such as that in East Equatorial Africa should be opened up, in view of the hostile tariffs with which British manufacturers are being everywhere confronted.” Manchester followed with a similar declaration; Glasgow, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and other commercial centres gave it as their opinion that “there is practically no middle course for this country, between a reversal of the free-trade policy to which it is pledged, on the one hand, and a prudent but continuous territorial extension for the creation of new markets, on the other hand.” …
This view has been strongly endorsed by some of our leading statesmen. Space forbids me to quote extracts from speeches by our greatest politicians, which I might else adduce as proof that they held the opinions of the Chambers of Commerce, which I have quoted, to be sound and weighty….
The “Scramble for Africa” by the nations of Europe—an incident without parallel in the history of the world—was due to the growing commercial rivalry, which brought home to civilised nations the vital necessity of securing the only remaining fields for industrial enterprise and expansion. It is well, then, to realise that it is for our advantage—and not alone at the dictates of duty—that we have undertaken responsibilities in East Africa. It is in order to foster the growth of the trade of this country, and to find an outlet for our manufactures and our surplus energy, that our far-seeing statesmen and our commercial men advocate colonial expansion….
There are some who say we have no right in Africa at all, that “it belongs to the natives.” I hold that our right is the necessity that is upon us to provide for our ever-growing population—either by opening new fields for emigration, or by providing work and employment which the development of over-sea extension entails—and to stimulate trade by finding new markets, since we know what misery trade depression brings at home.
While thus serving our own interests as a nation, we may, by selecting men of the right stamp for the control of new territories, bring at the same time many advantages to Africa. Nor do we deprive the natives of their birthright of freedom, to place them under a foreign yoke. It has ever been the key-note of British colonial method to rule through and by the natives, and it is this method, in contrast to the arbitrary and uncompromising rule of Germany, France, Portugal, and Spain, which has been the secret of our success as a colonising nation, and has made us welcomed by tribes and peoples in Africa, who ever rose in revolt against the other nations named. In Africa, moreover, there is among the people a natural inclination to submit to a higher authority. That intense detestation of control which animates our Teutonic races does not exist among the tribes of Africa, and if there is any authority that we replace, it is the authority of the Slavers and Arabs, or the intolerable tyranny of the “dominant tribe.” …
So far, therefore, as my personal experience goes, I have formed the following estimate: (1) No kind of men I have ever met with—including British soldiers, Afghans, Burmese, and many tribes of India—are more amenable to discipline, more ready to fall into the prescribed groove willingly and quickly, more easy to handle, or require so little compulsion as the African. (2) To obtain satisfactory results a great deal of system, division of labour, supervision, etc., is required. (3) On the whole, the African is very quick at learning, and those who prove themselves good at the superior class of work take a pride in the results, and are very amenable to a word of praise, blame, or sarcasm.
from: Captain F.D. Lugard, The Rise of Our East African Empire, vol. I (London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1893), pp. 379–382, 473.Analyze the Source
How does Lugard connect nationalistic and economic motives for imperialism?
How does he respond to arguments against imperialism?
Sherman, Dennis. The West in the World, Combined Volume, Edition 5, McGraw-HiIl, 2015, pp. 609-611
d9 discuss the origins instructions
Discuss the origins and development of the Dahomey Warriors. Why women warriors? For what purposes? How does this change with the arrival of Europeans? In which ways were they a form of resistance to the imperialist expansion?
Watch the documentary: The Legendary Battles of the Dahomey Amazons by HomeTeam History (14 min 30 sec): https://youtu.be/gWMbPuzeIMc (Links to an external site.)
Read the article: Dahomey’s Women Warriors by Mike Dash, Sep. 23, 2011, in the SmithsonianMag.com
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/dahomeys-women-warriors-88286072/ (Links to an external site.)
In your replies incorporate elements from both sources, and cite them.
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