Imperialism is when a weaker nation is being taken over by a stronger nation.
There have been many scenarios of regions colonizing other areas for resources and power. Although the results weren’t always the best for the colonial societies, there have only been a few benefits for colonial societies (British Imperialism in India). Essentially, colonists have dragged colonial regions economically, culturally, and politically.Imperialism has resulted in various different outcomes for colonial societies but colonial regions did not benefit economically from imperialism.
Imperialism has always benefited the British in every aspect. They have prospered economically, politically and culturally. For example, after Britain colonized India, they got cheap labor and raw materials like cotton which expanded their market share. European military leaders claimed that a strong navy was necessary in order to become a great power. Thus, naval vessels needed military bases around the world to carry supplies and troops (The Age of Imperialism). Through military and economical advantages, the Europeans developed into a stronger force than any other continent.For example, India’s pre-colonial trade was prevailing. India exported cotton and silks.
They exported foods like rice and sugar. In fact, India’s share of the world economy was more than 23%, that was more than the whole continent of Europe combined and India’s share of exports was 27%. After being colonized, the aggregate growth of India between 1900–1950 was less than 2% and an annual 0.5% growth in per capita (for each person) output per year. Export share fell to 2% (Bejgam).
Emphasizing on this scenario shows that while pre-colonial India was at its peak, British colonizers, with the ideology that they were superior to everyone just chose to colonize India for more power and land. We shouldn’t forget that India wasn’t the only victim of Britain’s forces. There were a handful of regions Britain plucked like flowers whenever they wanted to for their own benefit.Not only has Britain affected India, it has also weakened China culturally. An example of this is the Opium War during the mid-1800s. Opium was an addictive drug which called herion today. Since it was banned in England, the British planned to trade opium for silver with the Chinese as they had used it in traditional medicine.
However, since China was running an independent country, it wasn’t willing to trade with anyone outside the country borders, forcing the British to orchestrate a more tactical approach. Realizing what the drug can do, Chinese officials decided to try it and it skyrocketed across China. This caused many to become addicted and wanting more opium. Despite Lin Zexu, the Imperial Commissioner, banning opium, the British brought in opium by smuggling it and finding loopholes (Roblin). This led to an easy way for the British to colonize China as the Chinese became corrupt. The social effects included massive opium addiction all around the country, leaving the Chinese people with a bad reputation, it changed how everybody else looked at China, and it was used as an excuse for not doing their jobs.After Britain threw a few punches on China’s culture, it affected China politically as well. Their political system unwillingly had to be changed and any ideas or innovations they had in mind for expansion were lost.
When the Qing Dynasty sued for peace in 1842 after the first Opium War, the British could make their own rules. The Treaty of Nanjing stated that Hong Kong would become British territory and that China would be forced to build five treaty ports in which British traders would trade anything they wanted with anybody they wanted to. A later treaty forced the Chinese to formally recognize the British as equals and grant their traders favored status (Roblin).
China was being controlled by Britain like they were rag dolls being thrown around. Even though China had somewhat of a hierarchy, the British were always their superiors. This really took a blow to China’s self-esteem as well. This war was such a huge humiliation for them that they teach schools in China about this event as the “Century of Humiliation”. In conclusion, imperialism is a force which has a majority of negative impacts on its victims. Some colonial societies crumble upon the forces of the powerful imperialists and only a few prosper.
Because of imperialism, innovative regions like China has been held back by colonists economically, culturally, and politically. We could’ve had a more powerful world, there would’ve been innovations, cultures and traditions wouldn’t have been destroyed and governments wouldn’t have been corrupt if it wasn’t for imperialism. Realistically, the imperialists are the only ones who gain from colonization. Imperialism has always been a selfish act.Works CitedBejgam, Saiprasad. “British hegemony in India: pros and cons. – Three much – Medium.
” Medium, Three much, 26 Sept. 2014, medium.com/three-much/british-hegemony-in-india-pros-and-cons-e24f08de1b08.
“British Imperialism in India.” India and British Imperialism | My India, www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/history/british-imperialism-in-india.”The Age of Imperialism.” www.
tamaqua.k12.pa.us/cms/lib07/PA01000119/Centricity/Domain/119/TheAgeofImperialism.pdf (pdf file). 17 Sept, 2018.
Roblin, Sebastien, et al. “The War That Made Asia: How the Opium War Crushed China.” The National Interest, The Center for the National Interest, nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-war-made-asia-how-the-opium-war-crushed-china-1946.