Imperialism • History of Imperialism

Imperialism

1. Imperialism as defined by the Dictionary of Human Geography, is “an unequal human and territorial relationship, usually in the form of an empire, based on ideas of superiority and practices of dominance, and involving the extension of authority and control of one state or people over another.”

2. It is often considered in a negative light, as merely the exploitation of native people in order to enrich a small handful.


3. The term as such primarily has been applied to Western political and economic dominance in the 19th and 20th centuries.

4. Some writers, such as Edward Said, use the term more broadly to describe any system of domination and subordination organized with an imperial center and a periphery.

5. According to the Marxist historian, Walter Rodney, imperialism meant capitalist expansion.


6. It meant that European capitalists were forced by the internal logic of their competitive system to seek abroad in less developed countries opportunities to control raw material, to find markets, and to find profitable fields of investment.

7. It’s mostly accepted that modern-day colonialism is an expression of imperialism and cannot exist without the latter.

8. The extent to which “informal” imperialism with no formal colonies is properly described as such remains a controversial topic among historians.

 

History of Imperialism

1. Imperialism has been found in the histories of Japan, the Assyrian Empire, the Chinese Empire, the Roman Empire, Greece, the Byzantine Empire, the Persian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, ancient Egypt, and India. Imperialism was a basic component to the conquests of Genghis Khan during the Mongol Empire, and other war-lords.

2. Historically that recognized Muslim empires number in the dozens. Sub-Saharan  Africa has also had dozens of empires that pre-date the European colonial era, for example, the Ethiopian Empire, Oyo Empire, Asante Union, Luba Empire, Lunda Empire, and Mustapa Empire.

3. Although normally used to imply the forcible imposition of a more powerful foreign government’s control on a weaker country, or over conquered territory that was previously without a unified government, “imperialism” is sometimes also used to describe loose or indirect political or economic influence or control of weak states by more powerful ones.


4. If the dominant country’s influence is felt in social and cultural circles, such as “foreign” music being popular with young people, it may be described as cultural imperialism.

5. Imperialism has been subject to moral censure by its critics, and thus the term is frequently used in international propaganda as a pejorative for expansionist and aggressive foreign policy.

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