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Suen, Christopher
Mr. Jordan Lieser
HIST 3470
12 December 2014
Imperialism & Colonialism Take-Home Final Essays
Through the period known as the Age of Imperialism we see the maritime empires of
Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, France, and the Netherlands dominate in the era of imperialism by
encompassing the globe with their influence. Before the Industrial Revolution however, the
maritime empires were behind the Old World land based empires of the Ottoman Empire and
China. With the maritime empires embrace of the Industrial Revolution and the Old World
empires total disdain and refrained from industrialized modernization eventually changed the
balance of power resulting in the rise of the maritime empire and the fall of the land-based
empires in the power ranking. Maritime empires rise to power with the Industrial Revolution
meant that in order to satisfy the needs of the empire, required the empires to venture out into the
world to discover Old World empires or nation-states that possessed the much needed raw
materials essential for their industries back home and then establish access to these resources.
However, in order to gain possession of the resources the maritime empires had to deal with the
nation-states that controlled the resources. Responding to this obstacle, the maritime empires
through the process of imperialism and colonialism established the nation-state under its control
or sphere of influence within the maritime empire as a colony. As a result, the Age of
Imperialism had begun and the race was on as maritime empires traversed the globe
incorporating nations and its people into the empire in order for access to their raw materials for
the industries back in the mother country. Imperialism and subsequent colonialism by the
maritime empires during the Age of Imperialism had a great magnitude on the entire world
as a result of the profound impact it had on nation-states and its legacy following the end of the

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Age of Imperialism which still resonates into the present modern era.
In order to understand what the Age of Imperialism was we must first learn how it
came to be. Before the Age of Imperialism and the Industrial Revolution the balance of power
was not with the maritime empire of Great Britain nor any other sea-based empire. Instead, the
power laid with the Chinese empire a land based empire. Before the Industrial Revolution,
China surpassed Great Britain and other maritime empires in terms of wealth and technological
advancement. For example, the Chinese dominated via trade as Great Britain and other maritime
empires desired the Chinese goods of tea, silk, and porcelain fine china. These items were
highly valued in the west and the only thing the Chinese were interested from the westerners
including Great Britain was silver in order to have a supply of silver to coin their currency. The
Chinese felt that other westerner goods were inferior to Chinese goods and thus only accepted
silver as an acceptable commodity to trade for tea, silk, and porcelain. Before the Industrial
Revolution, the maritime empires search for gold and silver was ultimately intended to be traded
to China for their luxury goods. Great Britain was the first to obtain the advantage as it was the
country of origin for the Industrial Revolution due to benefits only Great Britain possessed
over other maritime empires. Unlike the other maritime empires, Great Britain comprised of a
society where it was more powerful than the nobles compared to the rest of Europe. What this
meant was that society had more powerful influence and room to navigate the social system. In
addition, Great Britain was an island nation which possessed huge access to sea trade which
helped spread new ideas and technological advances. Furthermore, Great Britain possessed the
commercial infrastructure to support the Industrial Revolution through banks, insurance
companies, and joint-stock companies. Finally, the Industrial Revolution occurred first in Great
Britain because it had the support of the government. With supporting the Industrial Revolution
and its technological advancement the government of Great Britain hoped that it would give
them an advantage in the balance of power concerning the other maritime empires.

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Great Britain initiated the Industrial Revolution and its technological advancement in an
effort to gain an upper hand against the land based empire of China and the nation-state of India.
Pre-Industrial Revolution Britain was at extreme disadvantage in terms of production and trade
deficits with both China and India. Compared to India Great Britain couldnt match it in terms
of cotton textile production. British artisans just couldnt match the quality of their Indian
counterparts cotton textiles. In the case of China, the British were drawn to Chinese porcelain
particular when it was made into Fine China porcelain tea cups. Post-industrialized Great
Britain was soon able to turn the tables around on both China and India. Mechanized machine
production allowed for Great Britain to grow their cotton textiles industry and flood the Indian
market with their cheap mass produced cotton textiles destroying the Indian cotton textile
industry. Destroying Indias cotton textile industry made it much easier for the British East India
Company to establish British control in India. With the case of China, Great Britain was able to
mass produce their own version of fine China porcelain tea cups thus ending the trade deficit
with China concerning porcelain fine China. Contact between a maritime empire and a land
based empire often resulted in cultural exchange and then intertwinement called syncretism. For
example, when the land based Ottoman Empire desired to modernize modeling its military
after the maritime empires military. By adopting a modern military the Ottomans done away
with the old janissary army of the old ways along with the turbans of the old military. However,
the ottomans didnt completely modernize by throwing away all aspects of the old ways.
Maintaining their Islamic heritage, the Ottoman military instead of modern military caps which
would have interfered with their religious prayers instead adopted a fez a special cap that
adhered to Islamic teachings and didnt interfere with their religious prayers. The fez is an
example of syncretism of the cultures of the maritime empires and the land based empires.
An exemption to the concept concerning imperial rule is Latin America. Latin America
is different from other places concerning imperial rule as while they were able to obtain their

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independence from an imperial maritime power they would still find themselves under the
influence of imperialism. Latin America in the early 19th century in a domino effect revolted in a
series of wars of independence from Spain. Inspired by the American and Haitian Independence
from a maritime empire, Latin America followed suit and lead by revolutionary leaders such as
Fr. Miguel Hidalgo, Jose Maria Morelos, Simon Bolivar, and Jose San Martin resulted in all
countries in Latin America obtaining their independence. Unfortunately, that independence
would soon be short lived as Latin America would soon find itself under the sphere of influence
of another emerging imperial maritime empire: America. It all began in 1823 when President
Monroe issued the Monroe Doctrine which dictated to Europe to stay out of the western
hemisphere. It established Latin America as Americas backyard and prohibits European
interference in the countries. In addition, Teddy Roosevelts Big Stick Diplomacy was an
reiteration of the 1823 Monroe Doctrine restating that Latin America and the western hemisphere
was Americas backyard that is free of Europes interference. Furthermore, Big Stick
Diplomacy put into effect of Americas imperial status during the Age of Imperialism
reserving them the right to intervene in Latin Americas affairs when American interest were
threatened. This can seen with Teddy Roosevelts handling of the British-German blockade of
Venezuela in 1902-03 and the Platt Amendment involving Cuba although free was under
Americas sphere of influence. Finally, the establishment of Banana Republics by America in
Latin America during the 20th century is another example of American imperialism during the
Age of Imperialism. During this time, the United Fruit Company had plantations in Costa
Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala where they grew their fruit. When the government of the
countries threatened the United Fruit Companies plantations in the region, America organized
coup dtats to overthrow the governments and replace them with governments that were
friendly to the United Fruit Company and therefore also friendly with America. These countries
became known as Banana Republics as they were installed in order to preserve American fruit

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plantations and other interest in the country. Even though many countries in Latin America won
their independence they still found themselves under the yoke during the Age of Imperialism
just not directly a part of any empire.
Alas, all things come to an end this is even true with imperial maritime empires during
the Age of Imperialism. This is especially true in the case of Great Britain which at the
beginning of the 17th century emerged as the greatest and most powerful maritime empire
spanning across the globe as the empire where the Sun Never Sets. Yet by the 20th century the
British Empire imperial rule all across the globe had come to an end. The cause of the eventual
collapse of the British Empire was the result of the emergence of nationalism in the 20th century.
Nationalism is the main cause for the collapse of the British Empire and the Age of
Imperialism. Nationalism in the 20th century destroyed the Age of Imperialism of the British
empire because the social system of society changed. The system of society was no longer
compatible under the banner of a global maritime empire as the diverse people of the empire no
longer identified themselves with the empire but rather with their own ethnic and cultural ties.
Following the end of WWII, the monumental wave of nationalism all across the globe was too
much for the war-weary British Empire to deal with. The easiest solution was to dealing with the
situation was just to grant the nation-states under their control their independence rather than try
and deal with the troublesome nation-states influenced by nationalism. Great Britain did this
with India, Africa, and in Asia following the end of WWII. Following the end of WWII began
the Cold War between democracy and communism. Simultaneously however, was the
independence of all nation-states from the Age of Imperialism. The emergence of independent
nation states from the old imperialist empires presented a new question: would these nations be
free or communist? The Cold War was a proxy war between America and the Soviet Union
vying to spread their ideology and influence among the new nation-states attempting to
containing the other countrys influence. Although the Age of Imperialism of maritime

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empires was over, a new Age of Imperialism had taken its place with the Cold War and the
fight for influence of the new nation states deciding whether the nation-states would be free or
communist. The de-colonization process didnt mark the end of imperialism, it just began
another chapter in world history.
Maritime empires left their mark on the world with the Age of Imperialism where they
dominated the era by expanding their control and influence all across the world via imperialism
and colonialism. Expanding their reach and control meant incorporating nation-states and land
based empires into the empire. All of this was possible because of the maritime empires
initiation and acceptance of the Industrial Revolution contributed to the technological
advancement that allowed for the maritime empires to turn the balance of power in favor of them
initiating the Age of Imperialism. Legacy of the maritime empires imperialism and
colonization of had an impact on the entire world even after end of the maritime empires as with
the emergence of new nation-states during the Cold War brought forth the question of whether
that nation-state would be free or communist. Even though the Age of Imperialism ended in
the 20th century, its legacy can still be felt to this day permanently leaving its on mark on history.

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Suen, Christopher
Mr. Jordan Lieser
HIST 3470
12 December 2014
Essay #2: How Technology and Nationalism Brought an End to the Maritime Empires
Regrettably, the maritime empires and their Age of Imperialism can be associated with
the Sun. Just as how there is the rise of the sun, so too is there the rise of the empire but
inevitably there is also the setting of the Sun or the fall of the empires. Analogous with the Sun,
the maritime empires both rose and fell in the Age of Imperialism. Maritime empires can
attribute their rise with the Industrial Revolution as the technological advancements allowed
them to overtake the Old World land based empires and smaller nation-states initiating the
maritime empires expansion around the globe through imperialism and colonialism. However,
just as the technological advancements were the cause of the maritime empires Sunrise they
would inevitably also be the their Sunset. Eventually, technological advancements would
contribute to the collapse of all of maritime empires specifically because of the advancement in
technology regarding warfare. Advanced warfare technology that gave the maritime empires the
edge would become too devastating for even them to handle ultimately resulting in previous
unfathomable levels of destruction. In spite of this, it wasnt just technological advancements in
warfare, but also the ideology of nationalism that would cause the fall of the maritime empires.
Nationalism changed the way people saw themselves relating towards the maritime empires and
would ultimately inspire movements that would shake and threaten the stability of the empires as
a whole. Collectively both advanced warfare technology and the ideology of nationalism can be
accredited with the downfall of the maritime empires in the 20th century. Pooled together aspects
of advanced warfare technology and nationalism came be distinguished in three major conflicts
that inevitably resulted in the empires collapse: the Crimean War, WWI, & WWII.

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Between 1853-1856 the Crimean War was fought between the Russian Empire versus the
British Empire, France, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont over
Russian aggression into the territories of the declining Ottoman Empire. While the Ottoman
Empire was in decline Russia tried to expand into Ottoman territories particularly in the Balkans
region. Proclaiming themselves the protectors of their fellow Christian Slavs in Ottoman
territories Russia saw it as their responsibility to protect and intervene if necessary on the behalf
of the persecuted Christians under Ottoman rule. Technological advancements in warfare
however, would make the Crimean War unlike any other war previously fought. Often called the
First Modern War the Crimean War would unveil new technology that would forever change
warfare. New technology would include percussion caps for new rifles that cut reloading times
increasing the rate of fire resulting in an increase in bloodshed and carnage on the battlefield.
Armed with faster reloading rifles infantry became even more deadlier on the battlefield
increasing the casualty rate for both sides in the war. With more troops falling due to the new
deadlier forms of warfare it was very imperative to transport reinforcements to the front lines as
quickly as possible. Railroads and transportation of troops via trains to the front lines came into
general practice in the Crimean War. However, the Crimean War also highlighted the
importance it is to modernize the railroad in times of war. The Russian Empire was still behind
in the industrial modernization process and therefore lacked an extensive rail road transit system
that could adequately transport its troops to the front lines. As a consequence, it would take
Russian troops months to get from their bases to the front lines in the Crimean War arriving late
to the front unable to effectively participate in the war. Furthermore, the use of the telegraph in
the Crimean War meant there was an up to date sense of information being passed around from
the front lines to back to military headquarters removing the delayed passing of information or
orders to troops. Due to the telegraph militaries became far more effective and deadlier on the
battlefield now with the ability to move and strike in quick in coordination with other unites or

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from headquarters without worrying about delays relaying the orders. Advanced military
technology transformed the Crimean War into a Modern War that set the tone for future wars
with the ability due to advanced warfare technology to result in greater bloodshed and death in
wars from now on. With new advanced warfare technology, the maritime empires became
stronger than ever before at the expense of an increase in the number of dead from the conflicts.
Nationalism became a focal point in the Crimean War that eventually contributes for the
downfall of the maritime empires. The Russians use of nationalism concerning their Slavic
Christian kin in the Ottoman controlled Balkans, indentifying Russians with another similar
group sharing similar ethnic or cultural ties. Following the end of the Crimean War nationalism
continued to influence different ethnic and cultural groups in the Balkans such as the Serbs,
Croats, Bulgarians, and etc. These various groups began to steer themselves away from
identifying as part of the empire but rather identifying themselves by their unique ethnic and
cultural heritage. Even after the war had ended nationalist movements began to rapidly appear
and would quickly spread like wildfire in a dry brush. The ideology would spread to all corners
of the globe and begin to create trouble in the maritime empires overseas territories. People
incorporated into the maritime empires began the gradual transformation towards identifying
themselves by their unique ethnic cultural heritage rather than the status as an empires subject.
World War I would occur in 1914-1918 and unveil even more advanced warfare
technology that would forever change the way how we fight wars by the new methods
involved with fighting wars. In addition, nationalism was extremely prevalent in the war in fact
war broke out because of nationalism. It all began in Sarajevo, Bosnia which in 1914 was part of
the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. At this point in history the empire was in decline as the empire
composed of many different ethnic and cultural groups that not only spoke different languages
but also had different religions. Nationalism was threatening the stability of the empire as the
many different groups of people began to identify themselves more with their own ethnic and

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cultural ties rather than identify with the monogamous identity with the Austrian-Hungarian
empire. Many ethnic groups began to identify themselves as a separate entity from the empire
and movements and protest began trying to establish their own sovereign nation-state away from
the empire. Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austrian Hungarian throne and his wife Sophie were
victims of the rising tensions of nationalism. On June 28, 1914 Franz Ferdinand and Sophie
were shot touring Sarajevo in an open hooded car when they were shot and killed by Gavrilo
Princip a Bosnian-Serb nationalist who was a member of the Serb group the Black Hand. The
Black Hand were a Slavic nationalist group that desired independence from the AustrianHungarian Empire and create a Slavic kingdom Yugoslavia. Archduke Franz Ferdinands
assassination at the hand of a nationalist group was the trigger that broke out World War I.
World War I would not be like any previous war fought as a result of the new technological
advancements made warfare even more deadly than it has ever been in human history. New
advanced warfare technology introduced on the battlefield included more destructive artillery,
machine guns, poison gas, dreadnoughts (ships), submarines, airplanes, and tanks. With these
new weapons of destruction warfare transformed the carnage that would be associated with wars
from now on. World War Is carnage resulted in maritime empires relying heavily on their
overseas territories and colonies to provide support in the war. Over 60 million men were
mobilized to fight in World War I, many of whom were mobilized from the maritime empires
overseas territories and colonies. Finally in 1918 on the Eleventh Month on the Eleventh Day
and the Eleventh Hour the Great War finally ended but at cost of 37 million casualties. The
world had never seen such carnage from war before as a result of the new advanced technology
introduced into warfare. In the aftermath of World War I the old system of empires including the
maritime empires where severely weakened nationalism was furthered strengthened with
President Woodrow Wilsons Fourteen Points one of which stressed Self-Determination which
called for the independence of nation-states and their ability to self-rule. Empires fell as the

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result of WWI as the German, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman, and Russian empires all fell and
the creation of newly independent nation-states were formed a great victory for nationalism
inspiring many people under the maritime empires rule to seek their own independence. World
War I introduced new weapons of mass devastation and resulted in further strengthening the
nationalist movement that would continue to push the maritime empires into further decline.
World War II would be the war that would be the fatal blow to the maritime empires and
marked the end of the Age of Imperialism. Technological advancements in warfare and
nationalism in the war caused the inevitable doom of the maritime empires causing the break-up
on the empires and the independence of various nation-states that composed of the empire. Like
its predecessor WWII would be the carnage of war was intensified as the result of new advanced
warfare technology. Airplanes, tanks, and ships, where much more advanced from the WWI that
they were more effective on the battlefield transforming the way war was fought increasing the
range of where the war was fought. Innovations in warfare technology of the airplane, tanks, and
ships, and submarines resulted in astronomical rates of casualties greatly surpassing WWI that
especially affected the maritime empires the most. In addition, the creation of the Atomic Bomb
and its usage in the war on Japan was the momentous occurrence that denoted the destructive
evolution advanced warfare had become and its devastating toll on the maritime empires and the
world itself. Much like in the First World War, WWII caused the maritime empires to mobilize
all across their global empire to participate in the war effort. Over 100 million people
participated in WWII from all over the world many of whom where under maritime empires
imperial rule. At the end of the war in 1945, over 60 million people had died in the conflict
recording it as the most deadliest conflict ever in human history. Colossal loss of life was
extremely felt on the maritime empires and their overseas territories. The war left the empires in
no shape to handle and further conflicts that nationalism was brewing throughout their empire.
Immediately following the war nationalism was ever more prevalent throughout the weakened

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maritime empires that would only continue to gain moment and became an avalanche that could
not be stopped. Severely handicapped in the aftermath of the war the maritime empires were in
no condition to further inhibit the movement of nationalism among the diverse population in
their empire. Rather than attempt to bring down the nationalist movements the maritime empires
decided to just release the troublesome regions of their empire granting them independence at
long last from their imperial masters. At long last the technological advancements in warfare
and nationalism proved too much for the maritime empires in WWII and the its aftermath led to
the final end of the maritime empires. Their Age of Imperialism was finally at end with the
independence of new nation-states taking the place of the former maritime empires.
In the Age of Imperialism the maritime empires were able to overcome the old land
based empires and smaller nation-states and incorporate them into their empire. All of this was
the result of the Industrial Revolution and the subsequent technological advancement that came
from it. With technological advancement the maritime empires were able to surpass all other
smaller entities all over the globe expanding their empire. Unfortunately all things come to an
end and this even applies to the maritime empires. Eventually, technological advancements in
warfare combined with nationalism attributed the Crimean War, World War I and World War II
ultimately spelled doom for the maritime empires. As maritime empires rose with advanced
technology it fell with the creation of advanced technology concerning warfare and the
subsequent nationalist fervor that came with it.