What were the motives for 19th century European imperialism?

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The quest for colonies in Africa and Asia was a major theme of European history of the 19th Century. The primary motive for colonies was economic. Through the acquisition of colonies, the European countries acquired a vast wealth of resources that could be utilized in their burgeoning industries. These resources included metals, cotton, and gemstones. In Asia, silks and spices were the major commodities that were traded. The colonies also supplied the mother countries with an exclusive market to peddle their finished goods and establish exclusive trade arrangements. The colonies also provided...

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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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