Imperialism in the
The Dark Side of Empire
Imperialism, the principle, spirit, or
system of empire, is driven by ideology,
whereas Colonialism, the principle, spirit,
or system of establishing colonies, is
driven by commerce. In practice, it is
often difficult to distinguish where one
ends and the other begins.
Pre 19Th Century Trade with Africa
Belgiu Netherla Germany
****1939 Britai France
m nds (1914)
Area in Square
94,000 212,600 11,800 13,200 210,000
45,500,10 42,000, 8,300,0 8.500,00
0 000 00 0
Area of Colonies 940,000 790,000 1,100,000
Population of 470,000,0 65,000, 13,000, 66,000,0
Colonies 00 000 000 00
What is Colonialism?
The Establishment of a Government
Large-Scale Religious Conversion
Forced Economic Dependence
The Creation of a Mass Market
The Building of an Infrastructure (roads,
railroads, hospitals, schools, etc.)
Exploration, Imperialism & Racism
1863: British explorers View of Africans:
Speke & James Augustus "primitive, pre-literate,
Grant, traveling undeveloped” a/c
downstream, & Sir Samuel Eurocentric theories of
White Baker, working
upstream, locate sources evolution of civilized
of Nile culture.
Christian missionaries &
come with European
The point of divergence
Imperialism is a system where by foreign states
impose their will - in a political or economic or
cultural sense - on other countries without
necessarily taking over formal control of
There is no doubt that Imperialism was the
principle vehicle used to spread European
influence throughout the whole
world. Imperialism had profound impact on:
The countries subjected to the imperialism
The growing power of the European nations.
The spread of the western model of governance
and the European state system and all its
The Second Wave of Imperialism
“In 1800 Europeans occupied or controlled 35% of the land surface of the
world: in 1878 that proportion rose 67%: by 1914...the European world
occupied or controlled 84% of the habitable land surface of the globe"
Again motivated by economic and political factors
Major expansion of imperialism during the thirty years 1870-1900
during which the European powers, without the need for a
display of superior military power extended their control over
existing colonies and divided up the rest of the world among
3 types of socio-economic system develop
under colonial rule:
1. settler economy
2. Plantations and mines
3. coastal trade based economy
The “White Man’s Burden”
The White Man's Burden
Take up the White Man's burden-- Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed-- The savage wars of peace--
Go, bind your sons to exile Fill full the mouth of Famine,
To serve your captives' need; And bid the sickness cease;
To wait, in heavy harness, And when your goal is nearest
On fluttered folk and wild-- (The end for others sought)
Your new-caught sullen peoples, Watch sloth and heathen folly
Half devil and half child. Bring all your hope to nought.
Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide, Take up the White Man's burden--
To veil the threat of terror No iron rule of kings,
And check the show of pride; But toil of serf and sweeper--
By open speech and simple, The tale of common things.
An hundred times made plain, The ports ye shall not enter,
To seek another's profit The roads ye shall not tread,
And work another's gain. Go, make them with your living
And mark them with your dead.
The “White Man’s Burden”?
1. Where Is Dr. Livingstone?
Sir Henry Morton
Dr. David Livingstone
King Leopold II:
(r. 1865 – 1909)
For Colonization Bases
Humanitarian Soc. & Eco.
“White Reasons Opportunities
Timeline of Colonisation
1879-87 - Leopold commissions Stanley to establish the king's authority in the
1884-85 - European powers at the Conference of Berlin recognise Leopold's claim to
the Congo basin.
1885 - Leopold announces the establishment of the Congo Free State, headed by
1891-92 - Belgians conquer Katanga.
1892-94 - Eastern Congo wrested from the control of East African Arab and Swahili-
1908 - Belgian state annexes Congo amid protests over killings and atrocities carried
out on a mass scale by Leopold's agents. Millions of Congolese are said to have
been killed or worked to death during Leopold's control of the territory.
1955 - Belgian Professor Antoin van Bilsen publishes a "30-Year Plan" for granting
the Congo increased self-government.
1959 - Belgium begins to lose control over events in the Congo following serious
nationalist riots in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa).
World Opinion Turns Against Leopold
Pattern of Takeover
In many cases Europeans managed to
secure colonial acquisitions by making
alliances with local rulers.
Europeans would promise to sustain the
local ruler against his enemies in exchange
for a degree of control and supply of labour
Serving under European officers was an ethnically-mixed
African soldiery. Many were recruited from warrior tribes in
the Upper Congo. The role required of the Force Publique
was to defend Free State territory and combat Arab slavers.
Under Leopold however a major purpose of the force was to
enforce the rubber quotas, and other forms of forced labor.
Armed with modern weapons and the chicotte — a bull whip
made of hippopotamus hide — soldiers of the FP often took
and mistreated hostages (sometimes women, who were held
captive in order to force their husbands to meet rubber
Impact of colonialism on
population: forms of
petty commodity production
Belgium’s Stranglehold on the Congo
5-8 Million Victims! (50% of Popul.)
It is blood-curdling to see them (the
soldiers) returning with the hands of
the slain, and to find the hands of
young children amongst the bigger
ones evidencing their bravery...The
rubber from this district has cost
hundreds of lives, and the scenes I
have witnessed, while unable to help
the oppressed, have been almost
enough to make me wish I were
dead... This rubber traffic is steeped
in blood, and if the natives were to
rise and sweep every white person on
the Upper Congo into eternity, there
would still be left a fearful balance to
their credit. -- Belgian Official
Punishing “Lazy” Workers
The Casement Report of 1903
Was the single most important
factor in exposing the atrocities in
The Congo. He cabled the foreign
“ I have returned from the Upper
Congo today with convincing
shocking misgovernment and
wholesale oppression “.
Some legacies of colonialism
* Mono-crop economies
* Development of infrastructure but geared mainly to serve
* Very limited industrialisation. Dominance of merchant capital,
with much of the profits repatriated
* ethnic divisions re-enforced through indirect rule
A Question of Perspective?
Marlow’s & Conrad’s (1857-1914)
1889-90 journey into
“Heart of Darkness”