7.7 Imperialism’s Global Effects

4 min readfebruary 11, 2023

Jillian Holbrook

Jillian Holbrook

AP European History 🇪🇺

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Responses to European Imperialism

Rebellion ⚔️

China: The Boxer Rebellion

The Boxer Rebellion was a violent anti-foreign and anti-Christian movement that took place in China between 1899 and 1901 to oppose European imperialism. The movement was led by a secret society known as the Boxers, who were angered by the presence and influence of foreigners in China and sought to drive them out. The Boxers targeted foreign missionaries, diplomats, and Chinese Christians. In response, a coalition of foreign powers, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and Japan, sent troops to China to suppress the rebellion.
The foreign intervention resulted in the defeat of the Boxers and the signing of the Boxer Protocol, which imposed a large indemnity on China and further opened up the country to foreign influence.

India: The Sepoy Mutiny

The British originally dominated India through the East India Company. The Sepoy Mutiny, also known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857 or the First War of Indian Independence, was a widespread uprising against British colonial rule in India. The rebellion began in May 1857 when Indian sepoys (soldiers) serving in the British East India Company's army rose up against their British officers in Meerut, near Delhi. The mutiny quickly spread throughout northern and central India, with rebels seizing control of several cities and massacring European civilians.
The Sepoy Mutiny was driven by a range of factors, including resentment of British rule, pay disparities, economic grievances, and religious tensions. However, the rebellion was eventually suppressed by British forces after several months of brutal fighting and resulted in the transfer of the East India Company's rule over India to the British Crown.

Africa: Zulu Resistance

The Scramble for Africa during the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 divided the continent of Africa into colonial holdings for European countries. Great Britain and France dominated the negotiations over resources and access to ports. Other European nations involved included Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, and Spain. The resources and advantageous geographic locations, including harbors and ports, were divided among the European countries without any regard for the Africans currently living there.
In Southern Africa, Zulu resistance mounted against colonialism and imperialism (particularly by the British) during the 19th century. The Zulu Kingdom, led by King Shaka and later King Cetshwayo, was a powerful and centralized state that resisted British expansion into their territory. In response, the British launched a series of wars against the Zulu Kingdom. Despite the initial military success of the Zulus in the conflict, the British had more advanced military weaponry and subjugated the Zulu Kingdom under their rule. However, Zulu resistance still exemplifies an important marker of resistance to exploitation.
Europeans siphoned resources from Africa until territorial rivalries broke out before and during World War I. After the Treaty of Versailles, most colonial holdings were released.

Effects on European Societies

Imperial endeavors significantly affected society, diplomacy, and culture in Europe and created resistance to foreign control abroad!

Diplomatic Tensions 🤼‍♀️

Diplomatic Tensions arise between European nations in colonial holdings.

The Moroccan Crisis

France had previously established a protectorate over Morocco, which was seen as a threat to Germany's economic interests in the region. In the Moroccan Crisis of 1905, Germany supported a Moroccan Independence movement in French Morocco to diminish French influence in Africa.
The Moroccan Crisis was significant because it demonstrated the growing tensions and rivalries between the major European powers, particularly between Germany and France. It also highlighted the fragile nature of the international system, as a localized dispute over a small North African country had the potential to escalate into a major war between the European powers.

Artists and Writers 🎨 🎭

Many artists and writers in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries debated the morality and impact of European new imperialism, which involved the colonization and exploitation of non-European territories and peoples.
Some artists and writers, such as Rudyard Kipling, saw imperialism as a moral and civilizing mission, arguing that European powers had a duty to "civilize" and uplift the "inferior" peoples of the world. Eurocentrism under Social Darwinism developed as a complex that claimed Western society, government, economics, religions, and any other aspect of life in Europe was superior to other institutions around the world, making it the responsibility of Europeans to spread their influence to native populations of non-Western areas.
Others, such as Joseph Conrad, expressed a more critical view of imperialism, highlighting its violence, exploitation, and moral corruption. Conrad's novel "Heart of Darkness" depicted the brutal treatment of African peoples by European colonizers and criticized the self-serving justifications of imperialism.
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