Imperialism refers to the policy of using a country's influence and power to acquire colonies outside of its own borders. This can be done through political manipulation or through military means. Imperialism leads to the exploitation of the colony for the betterment of the imperial power. Typical motives of imperial powers can be economic, military, religious, or ethnocentric. Sometimes this involves the settlement of vast numbers of colonizers in the colonized land.
New Imperialism refers to the wave of colonial expansion that began in the late nineteenth century and continued until World War I. During this period, many European countries, the United States, and Japan snatched up an unprecedented amount of land around the globe. The competition for overseas territories was fierce. New oceangoing vessels, quicker communication, and improved manufacturing technologies meant that the world was even more interconnected than ever before. It was important for the great powers to snatch up more territory before their rivals could. The Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 kicked off this period of imperialism by establishing common imperialistic practices among the European powers and literally dividing up the world map between them. By the end of the nineteenth century, nearly all of the African continent was colonized by European powers, and much of Asia was as well. The period of New Imperialism ended with World War I and the restructuring of several European nations. By the end of World War II, most of the colonies had achieved independence, and the age of imperialism was over.