The imperialism is a political state , practice or advocacy of extending the power and dominion , especially through the acquisition territorial either directly or by the political control and economic to other areas. Always involving the use of power, be it military or in some more subtle form, imperialism has often been considered morally reprehensible , and the term is frequently used in international propaganda to denounce and discredit the foreign policy of a country. opponent.


What is imperialism?

It is the doctrine or action that leads one state to dominate another through the use of military , economic or political force . It was the formation of great empires that constituted a great series of conflicts that caused the First World War .

  • What is imperialism?
  • History
  • features
  • Causes of imperialism
  • Consequences
  • Advantages of imperialism
  • Disadvantages
  • Examples

What is imperialism?

Imperialism is aggressively extending the authority of a nation to achieve territorial conquest or by the establishment of a rule of type economic and policy of other nations who are not their colonies. We can say then that imperialism is the domination of one people over another. It is found in the ancient histories of China , India, the Middle East , Egypt, Africa, and American Indian societies.


Although the practice dates back thousands of years, the 19th century is the ” Age of Imperialism ” and refers to Europeans colonizing other countries. The term “imperialism” was coined in the 16th century , reflecting the imperial policies of Spain , Portugal, Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands in Africa and the Americas.


Colonial imperialism developed during the 19th century and emerged as a consequence of the industrial revolution . The expansion of this revolution in its second phase generated among the countries the progressive need to expand their markets to mitigate the effects of high competitiveness and lower profits .

There was an economic setback affecting the European powers causing under-production and market depletion which made the powers become rivals for the creation of new markets throughout the world.

The expansion of imperialism was regarded as a historical development , and war was then seen as a necessary condition for instituting rule; which added a sense of racial superiority.


The main characteristics of imperialism were the following:

  • It implements the domination of one nation to another through the use of force , militarily intervening , invading the country and totally or partially seizing it.
  • The means of production of the country that has been colonized are in the hands of the industrial and commercial establishments of the imperialist powers, as well as all kinds of capital that the colonized possess.
  • They maintain military or police control within the country, to prevent riots and extinguish riots.
  • The profits from trade go to the dominant side, acquiring raw materials at low prices, and selling materials manufactured by the imperialist power at high prices .
  • There is the monopoly of the market of the dominated nation in favor of the imperialist power.
  • It is intended that products that come from another neighboring country fail to find a market within the colony, in order to maintain the exclusivity of products and basic manufactures of capital importance.
  • It maintains the political power of the dominated country, in the hands of indigenous people related to the imperial power, or by officials chosen from the imperialist capital.
  • People were treated as second or third class persons , to obtain public office and jobs in industry or commerce.

Causes of imperialism

The causes of imperialism were the following:

  • Economic causes that arose as a need for European states to obtain raw materials for industrial production and new markets to be able to sell the products.
  • Demographic causes that occur due to the increase in the European population that caused large migrations to other continents to find work and better life opportunities .
  • Political causes that included the dominion of lands, circulation routes and strategic areas that became a symbol of hegemony .
  • Ideological causes because the powers continued in their defense through the evangelizing mission on the cultures that they considered primitive.


Some of the consequences of imperialism were the following:

  • There was a loss of identity and values in the indigenous population.
  • Behavior , education and mentality patterns of the colonizers were implanted .
  • The language of the dominators, mainly English and French, was imposed, resulting in acculturation .
  • The Christian religion eliminated pre-existing beliefs in many places.
  • Religious syncretism originated .
  • There was an alteration in the political maps due to the creation of artificial borders that had no relation to the pre-existing configuration.
  • They modified or destroyed natural ecosystems .

Advantages of imperialism

Among the main advantages of imperialism we mention the following:

  • A better economy was developed and countries were modernized .
  • The poorest countries advanced economically as they benefited from free trade.
  • New horizons were discovered .
  • New contributions emerged in technology and medicine .
  • After the Second World War most of the empires dissolved and what could be called modern economic imperialism prevailed .
  • Great Britain came to conquer India and the Russian colonization of central Asia occurred .


The main disadvantages of imperialism were:

  • It involved the exploitation of many people causing underdevelopment and economic stagnation in the poorest nations.
  • It is considered destructive because it destroyed many traditions , cultures , religions and ways of thinking.
  • He exchanged the thoughts of cultures for the different customs and mentalities of the Western world .
  • There was a great expansion of Capitalism .
  • Growth of population in large quantities.
  • Search for more raw materials .


  • European imperialism : through imperialism the lordships were formed that subdued many territories and exploited the European economy . The British and French empires were the most important. There was great economic, military and technological superiority.
  • Japanese imperialism : it is considered a dark stage in history because the scarcity of primary resources forced the country to import materials from other parts of Asia and to export manufactured products . The belief that the country had been founded by gods led him to think that his country was superior to all others.

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