Was Queen Victoria highly significant in the promotion of imperialism? I need to know whether she had an impact on imperialism. Thanks so much!!

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kateanswers eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Imperialism was heavily tied up with nationalism for the British, and the Queen was the ultimate symbol of nationalist British identity. Queen Victoria not only represented her people, she supported and came to represent the expansion of the British Empire. She ruled from 1837 to 1901, a time we now call the Victorian Period, which was characterized by booming industrialization and an expanding middle class. 

The motivations for British imperialism were primarily economic. Expanding territories opened up opportunity for profiting off of the transformation and sale of imported resources. Goods from the colonies were both profitable exports and wildly popular among British nationals. Imported goods came to define British society. The working and middle classes grew to rely on the stimulants of tea and sugar, which were made readily available throughout Britain. 

Imperialism was motivated in-part by racist or ethnocentric sentiments- many felt that it was their duty to colonize and shepherd the nations of People of Color. Queen Victoria is remembered for her reign as Empress of India, and indeed felt that imperialism was justified by such Social Darwinist-type beliefs. The British people were fiercely loyal to their Queen and believed her to be both the reason and the reward for expanding British territory.

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