Imperialism

"The Sun Never Sets"



In this song, we’re in the Age of Imperialism. British and other European settlers invade Africa and Asia and claim the land for themselves. They called it the White Man’s Burden—but the European “civilizing missions” looked different from the native perspective, just as they seem different from our modern viewpoint. Eventually, the colonized peoples had enough and revolted against imperialism. The say the sun never sets on the British Empire. Or does it?





“Ma’am, ma’am, won’t you tell me why they say the sun never sets on the British Empire?"
“Well that’s because we’ve colonized the entire world.”

It's a big world and it’s ours to have.
We'll even take it from you ‘cause we want it that bad.
India, Africa? We won’t get tired,
‘Cause the sun never sets on the British Empire. (x2)


Who kicked off all industry?
Yup, it was us Brits, you can trust me.
But now our raw materials are looking dusty.
Let's try Imperialism?”
Ahh that's what it must be.

Looks like indigenous peoples are hurting,
“We should help them out, it’s the white man's burden.”
Run up in their land, take their gold,
Get them under control, yo, anything goes!
“I thought it was our mission to civilize.”
They'll give us what we want, but all we’ve got to give is lies.
Social Darwinism says we're more advanced,
And we don't need dark-skinned people as friends.”
Africa, Asia, we'll make them Christians,
And if they don't listen, we'll put them in the kitchen.
“Or perhaps make them Sepoys?”
Yup they need to learn,
We'll claim the South Pole, we're colder than freezer-burn.

It's a big world and it’s ours to have.
We'll even take it from you ‘cause we want it that bad.
India, Africa? We won’t get tired,
‘Cause the Sun never sets on the British Empire. (x2)


“God save the Queen, this jungle’s hot!”
“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
“No, it’s not me! You must have the wrong bloke. It’s too hot for me here. I’m heading back home.”


Africa was too hot to handle,
But let's gamble, everybody scramble!

“Pardon me, but what about Malaria?
Here, I got some quinine that'll take care of you.
Before then it used to be scarier.
“And now everyone in Europe is there.”
The more the merrier.
Ever since trains and the steamboat,
We've been able to further enslave these people.
“It only took two decades,
Now we've all got a guaranteed way to get paid.”
Well OK, but what about Cecil Rhodes?
He was racist and his ego was diesel, yo.
He named countries after himself,
And started mining diamonds, building his wealth.
With only two lands that escaped our hands,
Our conquest of Africa is all going to plan.”

It's a big world and it’s ours to have.
We'll even take it from you ‘cause we want it that bad.
India, Africa? We won’t get tired,
‘Cause the Sun never sets on the British Empire. (x2)


Now- South Africa had its own system,
For years now, that's where the Dutch had been living.
They're the Boers, or Afrikaners,
Thought that their white skin gave them all the honors.
They threw the natives onto reservations,
But Shaka Zulu led a retaliation.
And a little later they were facing,
A war going on for control of their nation.
You can leave it to the Brits,
Who fought the Boer War, they were trying to get rich,
Locked them in camps till they all called it quits,
Took control, made a bunch of laws that were racist. (Apartheid.)
With India they did the same,
Imperialism can be a hate-filled game.
“Well at last, our reign has retired.”
Finally the sun set on the British Empire.

Flocab Spits Facts
Types of Imperialist Rule
Non-British Imperialists

In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, industrialized countries had more people and more factories. But the factories didn't run just on the sweat and tears of underpaid workers. Factory owners needed raw materials like oil, tin and rubber to continue making modern goods. And in Europe, these materials were not so easy to come by. This was especially true in the super-industrialized island nations of Britain and Japan. They needed to go elsewhere to find materials.
What is imperialism?
Europeans decided to claim land in Africa, Asia and Latin America as their own. Like the conquistadors of the sixteenth century, the Europeans just took the land through force. This new era of conquest in the late 1800s was called imperialism. It seems absurd now that Europeans could say to Africans or Indians, "Hey, we are now going to take your land and govern you—all right?" But not only did they do this, they actually believed they were doing something good.
How did Europeans justify imperialism?
During the Enlightenment, thinkers began to consider the rights and freedoms of man. But Europeans did not consider the indigenous, or native, peoples to be civilized, or in some cases fully human. If you don't think your fellow man is actually a man, it is easier to justify actions that you would not do to other men. European imperialists justified their conquests by calling them civilizing missions. Many believed that they were doing the natives a favor by teaching them about Western society, and that it was their mission to civilize the uncivilized.

The writer Rudyard Kipling famously called this "requirement" to civilize others "the white man's burden." The phrase comes from a poem with the same name. In the poem, Kipling called the natives of the Philippines "Your new-caught sullen peoples, Half devil and half child." The idea of the white man's burden was racist and dangerous for native cultures.

A racist advertisment from the Age of Imperialism
What is social Darwinism?
On top of the need for materials, and the lack of respect for native cultures, another cause of imperialism was social Darwinism. Charles Darwin had created the theory of evolution in 1859, which was the idea that all species have descended from a common source. In his theory, he talked about the idea of natural selection. Natural selection suggests that those species that are fit to survive will continue to live, while those that are not fit for survival will die. So for example, an animal that is fast enough to outrun a lion will be more likely to survive than a slower animal.

Social Darwinism applied these theories of survival to civilized society. Europeans saw themselves and their cultures as more fit for survival than the people and cultures in Africa, Asia and South America. So they had no issue taking over native groups that they found to be less fit. The imperialists believed that they had the duty to colonize other lands. And this belief justified actions during the period of imperialism that may seem ridiculous today.

Charles Darwin
What is an example of the imperialists' extreme cultural insensitivity?
When the British were in India, they had both a positive and negative influence on the people there. The British created schools and built railroads, though the schools served only the wealthier upper class. They also took harmful and disrespectful actions. The British told people to grow cotton rather than food, to help the British textile industry. But you can't eat cotton, and people began to starve. Additionally, the British had little respect for Indians and their culture. The Brits held parties at the Taj Mahal, which was a sacred tomb, and generally held the natives in low regard.
What was the Sepoy Mutiny?
One extreme example of British cultural insensitivity was the Sepoy Mutiny. Until the 1850s, the British government had indirect influence in India through the British East India Company. The company had gone so far as to pay Indian soldiers to protect British interests. These Indian soldiers were called the sepoys.

In 1857, the sepoys heard a terrible rumor. Word spread that the British were greasing bullets in cow and pig fat. To open bullets at that time, the sepoys had to bite them. Might sound like a tasty bullet lollipop to you, but to the sepoys, being forced to bite into cow and pig fat was an extreme insult. Cows are considered sacred in the Hindu religion. Many of the people believe that if you eat cows, you will fall in your social class, or caste, and have other penalties in your next life. The sepoys were so angry and offended that they rebelled against the British. This rebellion led to a terrible battle where many women and children were killed. Eventually, the British won. After the fighting, the British government, instead of the East India Company, was in charge of India. Queen Victoria said that India was the "jewel in her crown."

A Sepoy

Stanley and Livingstone's meeting

Why is "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" a famous line?
In the 1860s and 1870s, a British explorer named David Livingstone explored areas of the eastern jungle in Africa that no white man had ever seen before. The tales from his journeys made him an international celebrity, and his stories inspired further travel into Africa. But at one point he got lost, and it took years to find him. When Henry Morton Stanley finally located Livingstone in the jungle, he greeted him with this line.
What was the scramble for Africa?
People in the Americas and Europe had interacted with Africans in the triangular trade during the 1700s. Europe and Asia had traded their goods for slaves. But in 1808, Britain and the United States declared the slave trade illegal. In 1865, slavery became illegal in the United States, and by the 1890s, most major countries had also made it illegal. But Europe was not done with Africa. Far from it.

In 1880, Europeans had a few settlements in West Africa. But suddenly, the countries in Europe realized that Africa was one of the few places in the world that had not been fully colonized. They wanted to have as much land as possible. So they set off on the scramble for Africa.
Conquistadors had already traveled to Latin America. Why didn't they conquer Africa earlier?
Before this time, there were several reasons why European countries didn't venture off the coast. First, they didn't have any way to fight off jungle diseases such as malaria, which is spread by mosquitoes. The drug quinine allowed Europeans to fight off malaria and move into the central areas of Africa. New railroads and steamships also made travel easier.
Which countries scrambled for Africa?
Within a period of 20 years, Africa was suddenly completely under European rule. Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Portugal were the main countries that created colonies. First, England annexed the Gold Coast on the west. Then they made a protectorate over the warring groups in Nigeria. In 1900, France added the large French West Africa. Germany had Togo, Cameroon and German South West Africa.

The Official Medallion of the British Anti-Slavery Society

Cecil Rhodes, on a stamp of his namesake country, Southern Rhodesia

How did Cecil Rhodes impact Africa?
One of the most famous imperialists was Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes was born in England but came to live in South Africa. It wasn't enough for him to simply claim countries in the name of England. After discovering diamonds and gold in the southern areas of Africa, he actually named two countries after himself: Northern and Southern Rhodesia. Pretty egotistical, no? Today, they have been reclaimed by the original people as Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Did any countries escape colonial rule?
During the scramble for Africa, the only major areas that remained free from colonization were Ethiopia and Liberia. Liberia was established as a country for freed American slaves. But eventually, the Africans would fight back for their native land. Stay tuned.
What was unique about imperialism in South Africa?
Imperialism in South Africa held some of the greatest colonization difficulties. When the scramble for Africa began, there were already about 200,000 Europeans living in South Africa. There were called Boers or Afrikaaners. The Boers were white and had descended for the original Dutch settlers in South Africa. The Boers thought that people with white skin were superior to those with dark skin, and so they forced the indigenous Africans onto reservations.

Shaka Zulu

How did Shaka Zulu fight back?
The African Zulu tribe fought back. At the time, Shaka, a powerful and disciplined leader, led the Zulu tribe. Under his leadership, it seemed that the Zulus might be able to overcome the colonizers. His strong military strategy allowed him to fight off modern and powerful British weapons with spears and shields. But when he died, the Zulus lost much of their prowess, and the Boers took power again.
How did the Boer War set the stage for South African problems in the later twentieth century?
In 1899, the British fought the Boers for control of South Africa in the Boer War. The British won, but only after putting 150,000 Boer women and children into forced camps. In these camps, starvation killed 26,000 people. In 1910, Britain formed the Union of South Africa. To appease the Boers, only white people in South Africa could vote. These racist laws would set the stage for intense racial conflict in the later twentieth century.
Where did imperialists travel in Asia?
In 1800, the Spanish Philippines and the Dutch East Indies were ruled by Europeans. By 1900, nearly all of Asia had fallen under Western influence. The British took Singapore and Burma. The French had Vietnam. They had originally entered Vietnam to spread Christianity, but the Vietnamese believed that Christianity went against the teachings of Confucianism, the local religion. The French became nervous that the British would take control of Vietnam and get a monopoly in the area, so the French expanded their Christian mission to take full control of the land.
What was the big irony of it all?
In their efforts to "civilize" the citizens of the colonies, the imperialists introduced Western education. The imperialists wanted everyone to learn about the history of the conquering nations and of Western civilization. The people in the colonies listened, and they learned. They learned about the Enlightenment ideas of freedom. They studied revolutions against unfair rulers. When they put all the pieces together, they realized—why should we continue to suffer under unfair rule? And here's the big irony. Using the lessons of liberty that they learned from their oppressors, the people under colonial rule rebelled.
There were three kinds of rule that imperialists used to control their colonies—direct rule, indirect rule and protectorates. In direct rule, officials from the European country would go to the colony and lead the government. This was done when local people were against colonial rule. The British led like this in Burma. Indirect rule meant that the imperialist country paid local people to keep control. The Dutch East India Company helped the Dutch rule indirectly in Java. Indirect rule was cheaper, but it often led to local leaders who did not exactly follow the desires of the colonizers. In protectorates, the conquering nation owned the land but generally let the local government operate it. Britain had a protectorate over warring groups in Nigeria.
Japan was developing as the big industrial power of the Pacific. But like England, Japan was an island nation and did not have many natural resources. So Japan took control of Korea and Taiwan. Britain and the United States were feeling competitive, and they stopped Japan before the Japanese could take Manchuria.

The United States became involved in the new imperialism by way of Spain. In 1898, the United States fought and won the Spanish-American War. Part of their winnings was the Philippines. The Philippines had previously been a Spanish colony. The United States officials wanted to share their ideals with the people of the Philippines, and the Americans also saw this conquest as a great opportunity to trade with the Chinese.
What nation industrialized first?
England
What did imperialists claim to be their "mission" when they invaded foreign territories?
To civilize the natives
What religion did the European imperialists want everyone to convert to?
Christianity
What disease was common in African territories?
Malaria
What medication was used to treat malaria?
Quinine
What were two newly developed modes of transportation that helped mobilize slavery?
Trains and steamboats
What did Cecil Rhodes begin mining in order to increase his wealth?
Diamonds
What group of foreign settlers first occupied South Africa?
The Dutch (or Boers or Afrikaners)
Where were South African natives displaced to?
Reservations
Which African leader led a retaliation against the Boers?
Shaka Zulu

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