Britain's Imperial Expansion: the Scramble for Africa

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Submitted By jules24k
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"Was the ‘Scramble for Africa’ typical of the way Britain pursued imperial expansion from 1800-1900?"

During the period 1800-1900, Britain rapidly expanded its formal Empire to occupy an area of 4 million square miles. However, there is no simple elucidation as to the exact factor that motivated the British to pursue imperial expansion – rather, there are several aspects to consider. The ‘Scramble for Africa’ was part of the ‘New Imperialism’ period, an era of colonial expansion involving the major powers of the World: European Powers, the Empire of Japan, and The United States of America – and involved new concepts and ideologies that made it different from the way Britain usually pursued imperial expansion.

Britain was the first country to majorly expand in terms of new technologies, known as the period of the Industrial Revolution, and thus along with this came economic power and a more threatening factor: Competition. As other countries began industrialising too, Britain had to stay dominant in the Power hierarchy, and the current global affairs sector offered a resolution – Colonisation and free trade. The first era of British Empire building (1583 – 1783) had previously had an idea of just discovering and conquering other countries, but this would soon change. From as early as 1830, the ‘New Imperial’ period began taking full effect, the major powers hunting for new sources of income, and Britain began paying more attention to its Chartered Companies (companies that were managed by private stockholders but granted charter by the queen, purely made for the purpose of trade, colonization and exploration.) These Chartered Companies allowed Britain to build its ‘Informal Empire’ by indirectly ruling countries first through military influence and economic supremacy and then assuming direct rule. It was this that made the Scramble for Africa different from the…...

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