European Imperialism In The 19th Century

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The Industrial Revolution is inarguably one of the largest events in human history. It changed working conditions drastically for millions of people, saw the birth of new inventions the likes of which had never been seen before, and made Europe a global economic power for decades to come. The Industrial Revolution was also both a cause of a boom of European imperialism in the 19th century, and was largely possible because of it. The three main factors for imperialism in the 19th century were economical, technological, and cultural/social.
One major factor of 19th century imperialism was economical. “It was therefore argued that each economical country must develop a colonial empire dependent on which the home country would supply manufactured goods in return for raw materials.” (Palmer and Colton, 646-7) Similar to mercantilism from centuries back,
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“Large scale use of quinine as a treatment for malaria...played a significant role in the colonization of Africa by Europeans. Quinine had been said to be the prime reason Africa ceased to be known as ‘the white man’s grave’.” (Connor 95-6) Malaria, native to Africa, is a lethal disease, especially for those who have never been exposed to it (i.e. white men). Vaccinations were a relatively new thing that didn’t become widely used until the Industrial Revolution. Once Europeans got a hold of quinine (made available by mass manufacturing), they would become more able to explore and living on the African continent without fear of dying. Advancements in ship building like steam engines and iron hulls made steamboats the most popular choices for long voyages across the sea (Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade In World History). Inventions like the steam engine, a product of the Industrial Revolution, made sea travel faster, safer, and cheaper, which would make it easier to get to Africa in the first
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