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Unit 3 Part III - Imperialism & International Rivalries

Age of Western Imperialism

The last decades of the 19th century marked the beginning of an increasingly globalized and inter-dependent world due to Western imperialism. Imperialism is the act of one nation dominating another nation's government, economy, and culture. While imperialism is not a new concept (the Greeks, Romans, Spanish, French, and British all had empires throughout Western history), this era was characterized by so-called "new imperialism" because it was driven mainly by industrial and economic expansion and notions of national strength. The last quarter of the nineteenth century saw the nearly complete conquest of the non-Westernized world, including the brutal conquest of Africa, China, Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East. All the main Western powers- Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, and now even the United States, set out to gain colonies in an effort to expand their markets, exploit resources and labor, set up military and naval bases, and convert souls to Christianity. Various tactics were used to create these empires- some inhumane and brutal, others conniving and Machiavellian. Either way, the result was a Western-dominated world that could not be set up for permanent harmony and sustainability, and tensions and resentment reverberated throughout the globe. The effects of European colonization are alive today and continue to be felt, often very deeply, by people around the world. 
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