Rise of Colonialism
During the 18th and 19th centuries European countries conquered other countries and reigned over them. This is what is known as colonialism. Colonisers included France and Portugal whereas countries that were colonised were mostly Asian and African. In this essay, issues such as factors leading to colonialism are discussed.
What led to colonialism?
The first motivation towards colonising other countries was existence of huge lands in these countries. In most cases, these lands were discovered by people exploring the world. These explorers included Columbus, Vasco-da-Gama and Livingstone. Columbus discovered American lands and this led to colonisation of the land by Spain and Portugal. On the other hand, Vasco-da-Gama discovered a way to get to India. This route helped Portugal colonise India. Africa was discovered by people such as Livingstone and consequently colonised by different countries including Portugal, England and France. The second reason for colonisation was exploration of minerals. During those times, countries that were colonised were believed to have a great wealth of natural minerals. Therefore, colonising them was seen as an avenue to gain more national wealth for the colonisers. A third motivation towards colonisation was that during that time, the potential colonisers were industrialising. Therefore, they needed two things: raw materials as well as markets for produced goods. For example, England really benefited from her colonisation of Egypt because of cotton available in the country. With the success of industrialisation, countries amassed more wealth. They consequently needed avenues for them to invest the gained wealth. With their colonies, they were able to get these colonies and gain more wealth in the process.
In Asia, there were three main colonies: South-East Asia, India and Central Asia. As earlier mentioned, these colonies were discovered after Vasco-da-Gama discovered a route by sea to the area in 1498. Consequently, countries such as the Holland, France, England, Russia, Germany and Japan established colonies in different parts of these areas. Another continent that was colonised by quite a good number of European countries was Africa. This colonisation happened after Livingstone explored Africa. France was one of the biggest colonisers of this continent. She mainly colonised countries to the North and West of the continent. These countries included Algeria, which was her first colony, Ivory Coast, and Senegal among others.
Colonisation had its positives and negatives. The negatives included reduced freedom of the colonised countries. The positives included infrastructure development and growth of education levels in the colonies.