What was the most decisive factor in the ability of European powers to overcome previous limitations and dominate the globe in the last two decades of the 19th century?

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larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

European dominance of other parts of the globe is best understood by understanding European geography. Europe is the only continent in which numerous countries are in close proximity to each other. This proximity caused Europe to be the most belligerent of the continents, with wars engaged almost constantly. As a matter of pure survival, European nations developed weapons and technologies which were far superior to that used in other areas of the world. They were forced to in order to maintain sufficient defenses against their belligerent neighbors.

At such time as European nations began expanding into Africa and other areas, employment of the telegraph, steam ships, machine guns, etc. gave Europeans a substantial advantage. This technological and military advantage, together with the perceived attitude of European superiority was a substantial factor in European domination of other areas. A prime example of this situation is the Battle of Omduran where British forces under Gen H.H. Kitchener fought Muslim soldiers armed only with crude weapons. Eleven thousand Africans were killed compared to twenty eight British soldiers. Winston Churchill, then a soldier in the British army described the situation as

a pantomime scene. These extraordinary foreign figures…march up one by one from the darkness of Barbarism to the footlights of civilization…and their conquerors, taking their possessions, forget even their names. Nor will history record such trash."

kinyuagreg | Student

In view the most decisive factor, was the drive for economic revival and success. The European powers have had the basics of success and dominance over years that is industry, Education, and investments spreading to rest of the world. As seen during colonization of the African countries, the European powers had the intent to get labour, raw materials, and new markets for their goods.this among other factors necessiates the dominance of the globe.Even after world wars brought Europe to loss,the basic aspects of dominance such as a lengthy histories of elite classification of society, industrialization and economic power held it strong to dominate the globe in the last two decades of the 19th century.