The Causes of Imperialism in Africa

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About this sample


Words: 739 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Words: 739|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021


Imperialism is defined as one country’s domination of the political, economic, and social life of another country. In the late 1800s, Europeans colonized countries, traded slaves, gold, and many other various resources. One of the countries the Europeans colonized was Africa since Africa had an adequate amount of resources and raw materials that the Europeans wanted. Out of all the documents, document C stands out because it talks about all the new technological developments that led to imperialism, and that could have answered the question of, ‘What was the driving force behind European Imperialism in Africa?’. But, we should not judge hastily since there are other reasons for why Europeans colonized Africans. Imperialism had several driving forces behind it including political power and cultural motives. However the most important cause of imperialism was economics.

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One of the driving forces behind European imperialism was political power (nationalism and competition between countries). Evidence of this is in document A, it displays what the Europeans were competing for in a map specifically showing the countries colonized by them. It portrays political power because Europe is striving to succeed and to become more outstanding than the rest, therefore, this trait is what led the Europeans to conquer Africa and the many other lands. Additionally, in document B during the speech of John Ruskin in 1870, he tends to stress the matter of how the new generations of Britain should make the country ‘again a royal throne of kings’ by colonizing as fast and as far as they are able to, to form the most energetic and worthiest men, and to advance their country. Likewise, the other speech spoken by Freidrich Fabri in 1879, signifies a similar fact as Ruskin’s speech , however Fabri talks about how Germany should strive to become like Britain to later on compete with them. Political power helped drive imperialism because money was made, and money was a main factor to improve and advance the act of imperialism.

A second driving force behind European imperialism was cultural motives (humanitarian social Darwinism). Evidence of this is in document F, Rudyard Kipling, a British poet is ordering the people to do things such as ‘Go bind your sons to exile’, ‘To serve your captives’ needs’, and ‘To wait in heavy harness’ and so he is motivating them to do something in order to benefit their culture in some way, or in other words, he is instructing Americans to take pride in conquering the Philippines for the benefit of the colonized. Cultural motives helped drive imperialism because one of the causes for European imperialism was so Europeans can help Africans from what they suffer from. This is the result of Kiplings’ order to the people to help the natives and serve them.

The primary driving force behind European imperialism was economics (usage and formation of money). Evidence of this is again in document C, it shows the different types of technological developments and their use in the 19th century. Also, in document D, it states the economic use of all the resources exported by the African Colony such as cotton, coffee, sugar, copper, and many more other resources. Lastly, in document E, it displays the imports and exports of Great Britain and South Saharan Africa in 1854 and 1900 on a clear bar chart. Economics was the most important force behind imperialism because it led to many brilliant inventions and special advantages that played a major role in the 1800s. For example, the manufacturing and production of rails with the use of money, the abundant supply of fabrics, food, coins, metal alloys, and electrical wiring that was invented from the presence of money, and finally the millions of pounds gained from the imports and exports between Great Britain and South Saharan Africa. Although it was selfish, it was the only way Europeans got what they wanted, and it resulted in them gaining more wealth and power.

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To conclude the essay, although other forces were behind European imperialism in Africa in the 19th century like exploratory, religious, and ethnocentric, the three most important forces were political power, cultural motives, and economics. In my opinion, economics is the most important driving force because it defines consumption and transfer of wealth, and these two features are very crucial in order to develop a modern and advanced country. Also, this driving force helped form numerous inventions such as guns and military artilleries like no other that assisted soldiers in war.

Hook Examples for Imperialism Essay

  • Conquering Nations, Forging Empires: Step into the era of imperialism, where nations extended their dominion across continents, reshaping the world map and altering the course of history.
  • The Dark Side of Empire Building: Delve into the hidden atrocities and ethical dilemmas of imperialism, unearthing the untold stories of oppression, exploitation, and cultural erosion.
  • Explorers or Exploiters? Challenge the notion of imperial explorers as heroic adventurers, and examine their role as agents of exploitation, transforming indigenous societies in their quest for wealth and power.
  • Imperialism’s Legacy: A World Transformed: Trace the enduring impact of imperialism on contemporary geopolitics, economics, and global relations, highlighting the far-reaching consequences of past empires.
  • Resisting Imperial Forces: Uncover the narratives of resistance against imperial powers, where marginalized communities and leaders fought for their sovereignty and cultural preservation.

Works Cited

  1. Gallagher, J., & Robinson, R. (1953). The imperialism of free trade. The Economic History Review, 6(1), 1-15.
  2. Hobson, J. A. (1902). Imperialism: A Study. London: George Allen & Unwin.
  3. Hochschild, A. (1999). King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Mariner Books.
  4. Osterhammel, J. (2014). The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century. Princeton University Press.
  5. Headrick, D. R. (2010). Technology: A World History. Oxford University Press.
  6. Conrad, J. (1899). Heart of Darkness. Blackwood’s Magazine.
  7. DuBois, W. E. B. (1899). The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  8. Cain, P. J., & Hopkins, A. G. (2001). British Imperialism: Innovation and Expansion, 1688-1914. Routledge.
  9. MacKenzie, J. M. (1984). The Empire of Nature: Hunting, Conservation and British Imperialism. Manchester University Press.
  10. Davidson, B. (1991). The Black Man’s Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State. Three Continents Press.
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Cite this Essay

The Causes of Imperialism in Africa. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“The Causes of Imperialism in Africa.” GradesFixer, 18 Mar. 2021,
The Causes of Imperialism in Africa. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
The Causes of Imperialism in Africa [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Mar 18 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:
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