What attracted European imperialism to Africa & to Asia in the late nineteenth century.

Essay by vybzdanielleCollege, UndergraduateA, December 2007

download word file, 6 pages 3.0

Downloaded 46 times

Mortimer Chambers et al define imperialism as a European state's intervention in and continuing domination over a non-European territory. During the 'Scramble for Africa' in the late nineteenth century, the most powerful European nations desired to conquer, dominate and exploit African colonies with the hope of building an empire. According to Derrick Murphy, in 1875 only ten percent of Africa was occupied by European states. Twenty years later only ten percent remained unoccupied. There were several factors which attracted European imperialists to Africa. There were opportunities for profitable investment and trade. Raw materials, which Africa possessed in abundance, were also desired. A cheap source of labour was required as it would result in higher profits. In addition, there was international rivalry among European nations. Domestic political interests and social Darwinism may also be blamed for attracting European imperialism to Africa.

European imperialists were lured to Africa by the potential economic benefits she possessed.

Industrialization caused a mass productivity and there became an artificial need for foreign markets to invest in. According to Brian Levack et al, with the onset of economic decline in 1873 industrialists were faced with a declining demand for their products in Europe. Imperial expansion, it was thought, would provide a solution with annexed territories seen as captive markets. It was believed that the unfavorable balance of trade that Britain and other industrial countries were experiencing could be counterbalanced by the income from overseas investments. Also, surplus capital could be profitably invested in Africa where cheap labour and limited competition would result in higher profits. Prominent European imperialists decided to use the public resources of their country to find lucrative means of using their capital. The English radical economist J.A. Hobson, argues that the intention was to level out inequalities of wealth to increase domestic...