Discuss Western imperialism in Algeria. How did it differ in key ways from that exhibited in Shanghai?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Both French imperialism and British imperialism in Shanghai resulted in horrific consequences for the indigenous populations. However, the two systems of imperialism could not have been more different.

The land now called Algeria had been ruled by foreign powers since ancient history. The Carthaginians, Romans, the Vandals, the Arabs, and the Ottomans had all ruled the Mediterranean Coast of Africa between Morocco and Tunisia. By the time the French had assumed direct control of Algeria in 1847, the majority of the population were Muslim and spoke Arabic.

In the name of progress and development, the French set up banking systems and industries to extract the wealth, such as oil, from the country. The French language was taught and government attempted to eradicate the Islamic religion from society. French culture was violently imposed upon the people of Algeria. Algerians were French subjects but did not have the full rights of a French citizen.

The British did not directly control Shanghai as the French ruled Algeria. After the conclusion of the first Opium War in 1842, Britain won exclusive trading rights in Shanghai. Since Britain did not control the land, this meant that the British would use economic imperialism to maintain their control over the resources of mainland China. By using an unfavorable balance of trade and flooding the Chinese markets with the addictive drug opium, Britain was able to secure valuable commodities, such as tea and silks, at a fraction of their true economic value.

Both types of imperialism allowed the European powers to exploit the resources of another country while offering little of value in return.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial