The Western Experience Imperialism

Draw World Map



At the end of the 15th century Europe was tiny.They were lucky to have thrown the muslims out.


By 1800, European and america controlled 35 percent of the earthís land surface.

By 1914 they controlled 85%.


For four hundred years intercivilization relations consisted of the suibordination of other societies to Western Civilization.


And the west won the world, not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few of other civilizations were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.


In 1900 civilization meant western civilization.


Why Europe? Ans: Fighting


In the 15th century the west starts to take over the world.This is called imperialism or colonialism.This is when you take over another place and make it part of your empire.


Why the west?Brainstorm with class.Why were we the first ones to circle the earth?Why did we take over the world?We have lost our forests, we are fighting amongst eachother (protestant v. Catholic)we were surging economically (maybe because the black death has ended), The spirit of the vikings compelled us?We were less advanced technologically than the asians, our rulers werenít as rich as those of india or china.


Chinas system was perfect and stable.Islam and Catholic too.Europe was fighting.



Europeans fought over king v. religios control, and protestant against Catholic and In the process they created nation states, and beginning with the French Revolution the principal lines of conflict were between nations rather than princes.


The Motive

God - Christianity (be it Catholic or Protestant) is a prostheletizing one.It must seek converts.Also, our religion and greece is a fight againts nature and god combined.It stresses the heroic and active.Henry the Navigator had wanted to find a lost Christian Empire.That would have probably been the one in Ethiopia.


Glory -The Fighting Spirit

They wanted it for themselves-

This is the legacy of the renaissance: the search for fame.They wanted to be the first that went around the earth.And this worked: Colubus is still famous.

It is significant here that most of the big early navigators were italian.From the people who brought us the colossus of Michaelangelo came the men who sailed the globe.


For sometime now there had been a battle over who would rule.This created a tension that wasnít present in China and other countries where it was assumed that all was figured out and stable.This created a battle mentality in the persons present.


GOLD - The third reason was economic. We had created a system that encouraged merchants to go for the gold.Other cultures, as we had seen, were less tolerant of merchants.They were something tainted with this worldlyness in India and Not thought scholarly in China.We considered them the new heroes.


The Third Necessary condition was the rise of Financing Fighting governments that only appeared in the three main exploring nations; The French, The Spanish and the English.


The Method

Mercantillism:An economic system where all economics were to enrich the mother country.


The number one goal of mercantillism is to have a favorable balance of trade for your government.


Overall Imports minus overall exports make a net gain.

It seemed obvious to the merchants rulers and thinkers that the accumulation of money must be the natural job of national policy.



The mother country government manufactures, the colonies provided raw materials.


The word comes from the idea that the country behaves just like a merchant.It sees others as competitors and does what it can for its advantage.


Main features of Mercantillism:


So money could come in but only goods could go out.

The nations themselves went into the shipping and trading business.

1) The colony can only trade with the mother country.Only buy from your countries people. This made sense as it was usually the mother country that launched and underwrote these expeditions.


Better to import from colonies than to buy from competitors.


Colonies trade with eachother had to go through the mother country.


2) No industries were permitted to be started that competed with the mother country. Ex. Clock

And industry should be encouraged, not agriculture.It makes a rarer and higher value product.


3)Tax imports with other mother countries, and donít tax exports.


No taxes on things brought in to be exported, but taxes on things brought in to be sold locally.


The Chronology of Imperialism

Do European Map

divide the north from the south


1500 to 1700 was largely Spanish and Portuguese expansion.


1) Portugal got it started and they just set up trading ports like Macau.Again the man who wanted to get it rolling took italians and said lets find the lost christian kingdom and people who wanted money were all upon it.


2) The spanish hit less occupied lands and were larger and therefore really started colonization.They, of course, financed the most famous colonizer: Christopher Columbus.He was filled with a belief that god had chosen him.


After kciking out the Muslims.There was less the military nobles to do. And as younger sons could not inherit property, they became conquistadors.


The second phase went from 1650 to 1850 and saw the British defeat the French for the indian sub-continent, growing trade between Europoe and China and the Settlement of Australia and New Zealand.


3) English got going next, but hit america 100 years after the Spaniards.

††††††††††† a) Protestantism

††††††††††† b) businessmen get independent of king

Look at the index of the book and go over what weíve done so far in the course.


Compare with the overheads on asia and africa in 1900.


In the 100 years betweeen the spanish and English the was a lot of change.


4) Imperialism slowly takes over the world.


Read here from The Peoples History by Zinn on Spanish and english parts.


Draw the map of the Western Hemisphere

Results of Imperialism in Europe


Again the great thing the spanish found were minerals: Gold and Silver.This meant that cash trickled down to lower levels.This also made credit available.It meant that average folk could start businesses.Capitalism was possible.


After a century and a half of hard times things started improving.Governments with money stay stable.†††† Government treaties were backed by governments that would last.People could plan things.




Europe starts thinking they are the smartest in the world and create tons of stuff.

We get into different philosophies and create our modern way of thinking.Rationalism and Math and science take off.


People thought about global persuits.


Merchants were more inclined to risk long-distance trading under strong government.People with more money could invest more widely.Not just in things they could see.


Volume of trade and therefore, customs receipts shot up.


Confidence that Europe is the greatest and can and should dominate the world.

Nobles Oblige:noble obligation to better the world.


Europe produced palaces and symphonies.the rest of the world (except china) tee pees and banging on drums.

Results of Imperialism in the rest of the world

-Core effect-

the effects of imperialism depends on the imperialist and imperialee.

Countries with strong core stave off europeans

The story of China and its strong Core


The story of Africa and its weak core


1)Preview:There are two kinds of imperialism: cultural and economic.


Cultural response

Countries reacted differently.Africa became a creation of states by the Europeans.The Asians made us go away.The Indians got taken over at the top.The Indians got wiped out.


1)The world got smaller.

Before there were millions of religions and very different languages and tribes.Now there are 4 major regions and Maybe 5 religions acount for 95% of the religious peoples.

languages get fewer.††

clothes get fewer.

We now have stuff from all over the world because of this.

We live better than ever because of this.


Ask the number of foods eaten and then the number of countries they come from




Do a map of Africa and Latin America these never existed before.


3) Good art :

Jazz is a mix of European instruments and african rythms and sounds.


Foods and different color clothes and dances and arts got passed around.


Picasso and modern art.


economic results


Write on the differences between Mexico and the USA.


Again a strong core is very important (example china)


So Why is there a difference?


Natural Resources


Ifnatural resources was the answer then why Japan, taiwan, south Korea and switzerland are so well off.Costa Rica is in central america and it is democratic, but not rich.



But Much of mexico and argentina dn chile and paraguay are in temperate zones.†† And australia for one is in our weather pattern and is wealthy.


Economics - Democrats - Leftists


As we saw the colonizers did very different things economically,The British colonist started using the land.These are not rich people that get there, and they start farming the land and trying to survive for the long run.†† And the Spanish started doing what was common in their country, setting up large tracts of land farms with slaves and extracting wealth.None of them farming at all.


Dependency theory: The USA was imperialist to South America.


To start with people in the country were subsistence farmers:They grew everything for themselves.†† But the US wants people to grow what it wants them to grow.So they buy the land of the subsistence farmers and then the farmers have to work for them.They are thereby dependent.They must join the money economy to survive because they are growing food for an international market.A cash crop:This is a crop grown for export exchanged for money.

ďbanana republic ďmeans a country who is controlled by the US and sells a cash crop.


Now, US businesses build the major industry or control the major industries in the country.

They want profit so they pay the employees, perhaps, very little.

The companies are so powerful that they have control of the government.

The fear is that nations will nationalize:The government takes the business from the owner and runs it for the people of the country.


If there appears to be a threat of nationalization we use the CIA: central intelligence agency. To overthrow the government and put in a government that is favorable to us.

In many countries, the US helped overthrow the government and put one in that was friendlier to the US and our Corporations.

We would overthrow a democracy to stop communism.ďHe may be a sonof a bitch, but heís our sonof a bitch.Ē


EX:Guatemaleís Government was overthrown by the US in 1954.

In 1950 in Guatemala, leftiest Jacobo Arbenz was elected president.He set land reorm as a central goal, because 2 percent of the population owned 70% of the land.


The communist government of Arbenz took 400,000 unused acres of UFCís(United Fruit Company) 550,000 acres.†† They offered to pay 2 million, but UFC wanted 15 million.


We, at the time were locked in a war against communism, and UFC hired lobbyists to convince the US government that he was a communist.


The CIA was given 6 million dollars to train Guatemalans in Nicaragua and HOnduras to invade Guatemala.They picked Castillo Armas, who went to military school in the US, to become the new president.

Arbenz knew we wanted to get rid of him.He bought weapons from Communist countries.We caught a ship with the arms and used this as an excuse.The US bombed and Armas attacked and became the new president.He returned the land to UFC and jailed those that went against him.


He was killed in 1957, but leaders of guatemala after that were friendly to UFC and killed many of their own people.


This happened most recently in Nicaragua, under President Reagan and happened in many other countries.


EX. Tell of Agusto Pinochet.†† Salvador Allende took power in 1970.He was an unabashed marxist.We usedhundreds of thousands of dollarsto try to make the election go against him.†† We and ITT backed a right wing candidate.But it didnít work.†† He was also talking of nationalizing American owned copper mines.


We cut off aid.We stopped loans.But spent millions backing people and newspapers that didnít agree with him. Their economy was in chaos.


In 1973, the military, led by Pinochet, overthrow that government.Allende was killed.The new government gave everything back to the companies that it took them from, ended freedom of speech and press, and killed and tortured thousands that disagreed.


EX. El Salvador.In El Salvadorís capitol San Salvador things escalated because of a Pepsi plant.The workers went on strike and the government killed many people.


There 14 families that run El Salvador.This meant that most of the land was owned by very few peole.When people started to organize against them the army started to kill people.


We didnít overthrow this government, but supplied it with 40 billion dollars of arms over 7 years.70,000 people were killed and tortured, but the people didnít give up.Eventually we stopped giving them arms and they actually had elections and the killing has stopped.


Argument against this:

1 - But this intervention was to defeat communism, not to stop economic growth.Our investments in canada are greater than in all of Latin AmericaOur economicinterests in central america are miniscule.


2 - These countries had a 100 year lead on us.Why are they not ahead and doing it to us?


3 - How about Asia?Why did they not fall into this plot to overcome the world.


4 - How about Mexico?They nationalized in 1910 and its been poor ever since.


5 - UFC was great to their employees.The exchangecontributed to the local economies where the UFC work was 62% of their total exports.It supplied ports and roads, railways communication facilities and electric power...hospitals and schools.It introduced lots of equipment , modern agricultural methods and equipment and trained hundreds of thousands of local in their use.


UFC is now owned by Chiquita Brands International (the worlds largest producer of bananas).It is in Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Colombia and Guatemala.It grows half of its bananas on land it owns and half by arrangement with national producers (as in Guatemala).UFC has made possible and industry that has produced tens of billions of dollars of benefits for Latin America (benefits that would have been a lot smaller without the fortitutde of the pioneers and Zemurray, who also left a legacy of social responsibility.


Pinochet is a hero to many.He has turned Chile into one of the success stories of S. America.


Culture - Republicans - Rightists?


Protestants came from England and were into reading and writing.

They made sure that all could read.

They set up universities very early on.


Catholics were into art and anti reading.

They made books illegal and didnít invest in educating the young.


Low education(Catholic priest interpret Gods scripture to the faithful)Protestantism and Judaism stress the importance of literacy so that each can read the bible. The feeling that one must read to get to a truth that is important to you and others.††


In Mexico, in 1995,25 million Mexicans over the age of 15 (1/3 rd the population) hadnít finished elementary school.Only 18 percent finished High School.


In America Latinos are twice as likely to drop out of school as whites.†† 62% of latino adults have finished high school, 91.5% of whites and 83% of blacks.


Again reading and self responsibility before the lord make a different feeling than Art and the Catholic church having responsibility for you.


Education has always been a great sign of status in Confucianism.In asia if you are not educated you are not human.


b) Authoritarianism

Again the Catholics are lead by the POPE.


Again the catholic lead was from the top down.The protestants according to their own intense struggle with god and their conscience.



Why does South America have such governmental instability?

Top down authority over bottom up authority.


In 1822 Iturbe was made emporer, the next year he was overthrown and a government a year started)Catholicism had the ideal of authority.Protestantism had the ideal of the individual conscience.


Now there is the zapatistas movement.The people and government are taking up arms.There isnít a real culture of democracy in many latin american countries.


English monarchs were notoriously poor.The people resisted taxation.So for exploration we created other institutions (royal charters).This made for independence.


Spain relied on the royal coffers.We had charter companies.


Traditionally latinos vote very little.With proposition 187 that is changing.In prior elections 85% of voters were white upper class.



Catholic system of values includes having many children.The Pope, who replaces the conscience of many, says so.This is a symptom of authoritarianism.


Indeed Mexicoís population is huge and booming.They have 190 million poeple.††† This is in a much smaller country than the US.Mexico city is the most crowded city in the world with 18 million people.

China has been able to enforce a birth control policy because they have a high level of social responsibility and social consciousness.

South Korea had aproblem with population.They started an advertising campaign to lower it.The ads explained why.People voluntarily brought the birtyh level down to about 2.1 %.


The United States has had zero population growth for a while.We have an average of 1.8% children per family.Our only population growth for a while has come from immigration.




Respect for law

Our laws were passed by local councils and 95% approved by the crown.


We thought of laws as good and to be obeyed.


The Spanish system demanded tight central control by the mother country. The Spanish government set up territories by having representatives of the throne, viceroys, sent to administer the area under central control.Each had a small council that was a bit of a local court, but the ultimate authority was in Spain.


People didnít agree to the laws and saw laws as something that were horrible and imposed upon them.


In the 1700s spain began to exercise tight, centralized control over the colonies through extremely detailed laws and decrees.Those that were to enforce the laws for spain were mostly bribed, starting a culture of bribing.


This would lead to people not trusting or putting much hope in the government .Instead youíd turn to family forsome relief.


Work Ethic


a - Merit vs. Connections being seen as what gets people ahead is another factor.This gets us back to Catholic (connections ) vs Protestants (merit)

Confidence in abiliity: Time and space lead to high savings rate and trying.


b - Cortes wanted gold which took intensive manual labor. Cortez and his followers were military people and largely uneducated. So indians were enslaved for the purpose. When the Spaniards ran out of indians (died due to abuse and disease (smallpox) they began to import slaves from Africa.


The conquistadores devalued work; wealth came from exploiting those you conquored.


And the idea that pleasure comes from outside work.†† People donít work because it is good, but because they are looking forward to leisure.


In Others it is seen as a necessary evil, and real satisfaction and pleasure are attainable only outside the workplace.Attitudes towards work are, of course, closely linked to economic development.


In Protestant, Jewish and confucian ethics, work is seen as noble and an obligation to yourself and the broader community.


Protestanism demanded of his believers not single good woriks, but a life of good works combined into a unified system.


The god of calvinismThere was no room for the very human cycle of sin repentance, atonement, release and renewed sin.All behavior was part of a consistent method of conduct sharpening.Hence the name methodist stuck.Only life guided by constant thought could achieve freedom.It was a monastic ideal applied to the outside.


The catholic ethic was an ethic of intentions.Beyond his minimum of duties, good works didnít form a consistent rationalized system of life. The single good or bad action is credited to the doer.The world of the Catholic features the priest as magician and is not as thoroughly rationalized as calvanism or jewish works.




Write 10 lines on whether you think that countries are poor because of economic reasons or cultural issues.


Culture†††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† Economics

Republicans†††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† Democrats

Do Nothing†††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† Government programs


Another is

;†† treat women as lesser.††† Low savings rates indicate a low view of the future.



They came at the heigth of fuedalism and catholicism.We came at the outbreak of capitalism and protestism.All of South America was Catholic, so there was no fighting and discussion of world order. (Unlike the deeply divided America)