Part-1: IMPERIALISM  AND COLONIALISM

IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi

IMPERIALISM AND COLONIALISM

IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindiThe term imperialism means the practice of extending the power, control or rule by a country over the political and economic life of the areas outside its own borders. Imperialism  refers  to the process of capitalist development, which leads the capitalist countries to conquer and dominate pre-capitalist countries of the world. The imperialist country or Metropolis (literal meaning mother country), subordinates another country / colony for its own economic and political interests. This may be done through military or other means and particularly through colonialism. Colonialism means the practice of acquiring colonies by conquest (or other means) and making them dependent. The country which is subjugated by a metropolitan capitalist country is described as a colony, and what happens in a colony is colonialism. In other words, Colonialism is the total system of imperialist domination of a pre-capitalist country. Occupation / direct rule over a country by another country is not always an essential feature of imperialism. The essential feature is exploitation, with or without direct political control. Until recent years, most countries of Asia Africa and other parts of the world were under the control of one or another imperialist country.

The story of modern world is of trade, expansion, migrations, settlements, imperialism, colonialism and challenges to it. Modern World  is the product of a unique type of trading chain   in which Western Europe was clearly at the centre. This interconnected global trade was carried on, and was dependent upon, three major developments of these centuries: 1. mining of silver with the help of forced labour in the Americas; 2. forcible transfer of millions of African slaves across the Atlantic Ocean; and 3. levying of tribute by the European powers on Asian  shipping  and land.



Columbus’s discovery was followed by the exploitation of the silver mines of the     Americas with the help of local manpower. Population of Mexico dropped from 25 million to about half a million during the course of the 16th century, on account of small pox, influenza and other diseases. This necessitated the search for new labour which was forcibly acquired from the African coast. As a result full-fledged plantation colonies of African slaves began to be established in Brazil and the Caribbean islands. The mining of silver brought unprecedented wealth to Europe. Asian spices, textiles, silk and indigo were in demand in the West. Europe’s trade with Asia was greatly facilitated by the availability of silver obtained from mines in Americas with the help of African slave labour. But the trade with Asia  was  also  not  of  an  equal nature.

Between 1500 and 1800, Western Europe acquired 35% of the globe’s land surface. This is despite the fact that in 1800, Europe’s population was only 190 out of 900 million living on the planet earth. Great Britain was the  architect  of the biggest overseas empire, an empire over which “the sun never set”. The population of Great Britain in 1838 was only 19 million but this country acquired large chunks of Asia and Africa with many millions of inhabitants. The scholars  of European expansion agree on the superiority  of European political organization and Western warfare over the various types of non-Western people. Gunpowder arms and modern state infrastructure of the West Europeans aided expansion in the extra-European world. Initial technological edges were transformed into huge political advantages. The superiority of the Western navies especially as regards long-range bulk transport was one of the principal factors behind the successful establishment of maritime empires in the extra-European world. The unlimited oceanic range of the Western ships gave them what could be termed as global reach. Afro- Asian states could not challenge the maritime supremacy of the Western naval powers. The passing of control on the Indian Ocean from Asian to European hand was a matter of great political and economic importance. The Arabs  lost control over the spice trade between South East Asia, India, Egypt and Arabia. The maritime powers also enabled the European trading companies to establish coastal enclaves in most   of the territories whose shores lapped the Indian Ocean. These coastal enclaves became the bases from  which  the  Europeans  expanded.

In 1839, two British frigates defeated 29 Chinese war junks near Hong Kong. Besides technology, in theory also the Afro-Asians were lagging behind the maritime European powers. One of the characteristics of the theoretical works produced during Renaissance was the application of geometrical figures and symbols. Diagrams were used for elucidating theories as well as for analyzing the different stages of particular great battles. The eighteenth century European states established naval schools where mathematics along with Newton’s Principia was taught. The Mughals had a riverine navy which conducted marine warfare against the Zamindars of Bengal and the Magh pirates in the Chittagong region during the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. But these ships were no match against the European men of war. In 1498, Vasco da Gama arrived at Calicut on the Malabar Coast.   In the same year, eight ships sent by Zamorin encountered a single Portuguese caravel. A caravel had a triangular sail and weighed about 200 tons. The bronze cannons of the Portuguese ship made mincemeat of the Indian ships which tried to fight with arrows, swords and lances. Shivaji set up the Maratha navy in 1659. The  most famous Maratha admiral was Kanhoji Angre (1669-1729). For modernizing his fleet, Kanhoji  hired  Portuguese deserters.

In 1739, a single Portuguese frigate defeated Sambhaji Angria’s squadron of 17 vessels. Gheria, the Maratha naval headquarters finally  fell  to  the  bombardment  of  British battleships.



While the Royal navy protected the  British sea lines of communications, the Company’s marine took care of coastal security. By 1934 it had been rechristened as the Royal Indian Navy. When Ceylon and Pondicherry were lost, the French Navy found that Mauritius was too far away for operating around the subcontinent. The lack of a maritime base near Indian hampered French maritime operations. This in turn choked the supply of men and materials to the French Army under Count de Lally. After the defeat of Lally in the late  eighteenth  century,  there  was no European military competition to the East India Company’s army in the Indian subcontinent. The British naval supremacy in the coastal waters of India also shaped land warfare in favour of the Company. Tipu’s attempt to get aid from France was unsuccessful. And, the Mysore navy could achieve little against British sea power. After the defeat of Tipu, there were   no more naval challenges from the indigenous powers. In 1848 when Mulraj the Diwan of Multan revolted, the Second Anglo-Sikh War broke out. And then the Company’s navy practiced what could be categorized as ‘Littoral Warfare’. Naval power came to the aid of the British during the crisis of 1857 Mutiny. Towards the end of May 1857, steamers brought white troops from Madras to Calcutta. The Royal Navy also brought reinforcements from Britain and Crimea into India during 1857-58. Sea power enabled the British government in India to project power in various parts of Asia. The  company  was able to put together a bureaucracy  capable  of launching distant amphibious operations. During the Dutch War of 1795, it was decided      to send troops from India to Malacca.  Burma teak was highly valued by the Royal Navy and the British merchantmen. And this was a contributory factor for the Second Anglo-Burma War during 1852-53. The emergence of shallow draft steamboats equipped with guns enabled European penetration into the interiors of Africa though the rivers. The British penetration into southern Nigeria through the Niger delta involved use of naval vessels. Bruce Lenman claims that    in the early eighteenth century, the  Dutch  and the French by introducing gunpowder among the American tribes raised the level of organized violence. The original inhabitants of the New World did not use iron. Most of them employed Stone Age technologies. Hence, Hernan Cortes with 500 Spaniards and 14 cannon was able to defeat the Aztek Empire repeatedly between 1519 and 1521. At the siege of Cuzco in 1536, 200,000 Inca soldiers were defeated by 190 Spanish soldiers. The French towards the end of the seventeenth century realized that without Indian allies it was impossible to conduct colonial warfare successfully in North America. In 1712, the French allied with the Ottawa and Potawatomie attacked the Fox tribe. The Indian tribes of North America, who were allied with   the European powers during the seventeenth century,  taught  the  Europeans  several  tactical lessons like marksmanship, scouting, looking for cover  and  concealment  in  the jungles. Cooperation with the Indians was essential even in Central and South America. Economic potential and demographic resources did not necessarily generate great military power. For explaining European military superiority over Afro-Asia in general and India in particular, most of the historians followed Edward Gibbon’s emphasis on gunpowder weapons. Geoffrey Parker asserts that the military balance changed  in favour of the West because of the Military Revolution which unfolded between 1500 and 1750. The military revolution on land actually  was an amalgamation of two revolutions. The first involved a Revolution in Siege Warfare due to the emergence of trace Italians (star shaped scientific fortress architecture) and siege artillery. Then a Revolution in Field Warfare occurred due to the rise of firearms equipped infantry supported by field artillery. Another characteristic of the Military Revolution was sustained growth in the size of the European armies. Artillery was so costly that only the monarchy could maintain it. The Europeans were well advanced in the field of international finance. The international credit network sustained the Western military activities across the globe. The Afro-Asia armies lacked any regular cohesive organization. Soldiering was a part time occupation of the cultivators and pay was irregular. Professional standing armies were absent in pre-colonial Afro-Asia. Hence, the Afro- Asian soldiers were indisciplined. In battles, the Africans and the Asians fought as aggregates of individuals and not as cohesive bodies of soldiers. Warfare in South-East Asia was also lagging behind the type of organized violence practiced by the West. Bloody conflict resulting in total destruction of the enemy force and permanent conquest were trends introduced by the Europeans.

While by the 1850s most of Asia was under the Europeans, even as late as 1876  less  than  10% of Africa was under the Europeans.  This  was due to lack of surface communication in the jungle-filled continent and the prevalence of diseases which hampered operations of the European armies in the ‘dark continent’. In West Africa, half of the white soldiers died within three months of their arrival. While the eighteenth  century  witnessed  the  conquest  of Asia, European expansion in Africa really gathered speed during the late nineteenth century. Structural contradictions prevented the Mughals, Persians and the Chinese from modernizing their army. They also did not possess the sea faring culture of the Western maritime nations. All these factors resulted  in  the passing away of the big Asian land empires. Then the culture of warfare in America and Africa also aided European conquest. State organization was virtually non-existent in most parts of the new World and in Africa. All the non-European polities were fragile entities and characterized by divisible sovereignty. This made possible playing off various ethno linguistic and religious groups against each other by the Europeans. It in turn facilitated not only conquest but also consolidation of imperial rule over the two American continents as well as in Afro-Asia. Thus it was a combination of social, technological, strategic and cultural factors that gradually brought about the entire world under European  domination.

Along with human beings, this migration also involved movement of animals, plants and diseases. Long before Columbus, the Vikings in their long ships discovered Greenland and also made a landfall in Newfoundland. The Germans attacked the Western Roman Empire due to rising demographic pressure and the riches that could be obtained by plundering the rich Roman provinces  of  Gaul  (France),  Spain  and Italy.



The lure of fertile land, pillage and plunder  as well as prospect of trade also encouraged migrations and settlements. The gradual desiccation of Central Asia pushed the steppe nomadic tribes into Southern Asia and Eastern Europe. Due to the drying up of the heartland of Eurasia and falling water table, the horse riding nomads attacked the sedentary civilization. Increasing cold in Scandinavia also encouraged Viking migration in the late medieval age. The Vikings settled in Denmark, England, Normandy province in France and also in south Italy. Besides economy, climate, demography and technology, culture has also been an important determinant of migration and settlement. The era of mass migration of the Europeans in the extra- European world was preceded by what could be categorized as the ‘Age of Discovery’. The latter term refers to intensive maritime exploration of the  oceans  by  the  European  mariners.  For  the first time, Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigated the  globe  during  1519-22.

The principal motive behind Europe’s expansionist drive was the search for trade. Africa and Asia exported gold, jewel, silk, carpets, spices and porcelains to Europe. All these created the notion among the Europeans about luxury, wealth, skilled artisans and thriving craft industries in Afro-Asia. Instead of the Italian cities which were most interested in maritime trade, it was the West European powers which took the lead in oceanic voyages. Initially the European enclaves in the newly discovered lands were forts and ports. In Asia the indigenous potentates were quite powerful. The Ottoman Empire, the Ming Empire and the Mughal Empire were formidable entities. In such a scenario, the Europeans found themselves in the role of supplicants and observers rather than as conquerors and settlers. Since indigenous resistance in the New World was weak, the European coastal enclaves quickly expanded into big territorial empires. Columbus found gold in Hispaniola which in turn attracted more European settlers. The search for labour resulted in the conquest of Puerto Rico in 1508, Jamaica    in 1509, and Cuba in 1511. The North American tribes practiced rudimentary hunting and fishing. The British in North America after settling down became fishermen, farmers, traders, etc. The early English settlements in Americas were at Jamestown and Virginia. In 1760 fight broke out between the British and the Cherokee whose hunting land in east Tennessee and west North Carolina were under pressure due to the advancing frontier of British American control and settlement. The rise of European population in British North America was greater than in New France because the British were willing to accept people of all religious backgrounds. By contrast, the French colonial policy was to establish  catholic  colonies  in  North America.

Among the early migrants there were more men than women. So, many Spaniards and Portuguese took Indian women as wives or concubines. Their offspring were known as mestizos and they settled mostly among the coastal regions. The Germans and the Dutch were minor players. The Russians unlike the West European maritime powers expanded the frontiers of Europe in East Asia by overland migration.

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IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi

IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi

IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi

IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi
IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindiIMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi
IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi
IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi
IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi
IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi
IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi
IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi
IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi
IMPERIALISM, COLONIALISM, World History, Notes for UPSC, updated notes for UPSC, Updated notes for IAS Exam, World history notes in hindi, notes in hindi

 

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