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What were the motives for 19th century European imperialism?

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What were the motives for 19th century European imperialism?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

Posted (Answer #1)

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There were a number of motives for this imperialism.  The ones that are most commonly cited are:

  • Economic gain.  Countries wanted to gain empires so they could take resources from those empires and so that the empires could be captive markets for their goods.
  • Military power.  The larger the empire, the more the imperial country could project its power around the world.
  • Imperial prestige.  The larger the empire, the prouder the country could be.  Having a large empire was seen as a sign that a country was a major power in the world.
  • The "civilizing mission."  European countries felt that they had a superior civilization and that they had an obligation to spread that civilization to other countries.
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Posted (Answer #2)

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The most common motives for 19th century European imperialism are:

  1. Quest for more power: The most powerful military will have the most colonies and hence a quest for power broke out between european powers.
  2. Quest for raw material to propel their industries: Industrialization was rapidly taking place and to fuel this rapid growth raw material was needed, which was not available in europe.
  3. Quest for new markets to sell their increased production: Rapid industrialization led to higher production of goods, which needed new markets for their consumption and colonies served as an ideal ground for that.
  4. Political considerations: Each powerful country wanted its say in world economics and policy matters and a higher number of colonies simply exerted that power.
  5. Religious motives: Many christians believed people of other countries esp. in Africa and Asia to be religiously inferior and deeply believed it to be their duty to force a european way of education, life and religion on these regions. 

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