What factors contributed to European imperialism in the 1800's?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were several factors that contributed to European imperialism in the 1800s. European countries were looking to expand their economic opportunities. They realized that if they could get colonies, it would be cheaper for them to get raw materials from their colonies than by having to purchase them from other countries. They also understood that having colonies would allow them a place to sell their products that were made in their factories. Colonies would allow for an opportunity for their economy to grow.

The Europeans were also competing for political power. They understand that the more land they controlled, the more powerful they would be. They would be able to get ports around the world where their ships could resupply and refuel. They could use the colonies as military bases if it was necessary to do that. It would make it easier for them to protect their world trade.

Europeans also had an interest in spreading their religion and way of life. Some European countries wanted to spread Christianity. Getting colonies would be a way to do this. Europeans believed their way of life was superior. Therefore, they felt they had an obligation to spread their way of life to people who were less fortunate.

There were many factories explaining the European interest in imperialism in the 1800s.

saintfester eNotes educator| Certified Educator

European Imperialism during the 1800 had much to do with the economic benefits that came with creating colonies and plundering them. Many European nations wanted to maintain some sort of edge over rivals, and as nationalism increased, the pressure to be “the best nation” spurred many countries on to establish colonies in African, Asia and the South Pacific.

In order to obtain raw materials needed for production, European countries began exporting them from their colonies. Many of these colonies were held in place by puppet regimes loyal to the European power that really ran the show. These materials helped transform Europe into the manufacturing center of the world in the 1800’s.