10.4 - Imperialism

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Western European interactions with Africa and Asia shifted from limited regional contacts along the coast to greater influence and connections throughout these regions. Competing industrialized states sought to control and transport raw materials and create new markets across the world.

European industrialized states and Japan sought to play a dominant role in the world and to control natural resources for political, economic, and cultural reasons.
  • Students will explore imperialism from a variety of perspectives such as those of missionaries, indigenous peoples, women, merchants/business people, and government officials.
  • Students will trace how imperial powers politically and economically controlled territories and people, including direct and indirect rule in Africa (South Africa, Congo, and one other territory), India, Indochina, and spheres of influence in China.
10.4b Those who faced being colonized engaged in varying forms of resistance and adaptation to colonial rule with varying degrees of success.
  • Students will investigate one example of resistance in Africa (Zulu, Ethiopia, or Southern Egypt/Sudan) and one in China (Taiping Rebellion or Boxer Rebellion and the role of Empress Dowager CiXi).
  • Students will investigate how Japan reacted to the threat of Western imperialism in Asia.
10.4c International conflicts developed as imperial powers competed for control. Claims over land often resulted in borders being shifted on political maps, often with little regard for traditional cultures and commerce (e.g., Berlin Conference).
  • Students will compare and contrast maps of Africa from ca. 1800 and ca. 1914, noting the changes and continuities of ethnic groups and regions, African states, and European claims.

Supporting Materials



Europe in the age of imperialism. International investors try to achieve the greatest influence in Europe. With their bonds, they control the politics of the six imperial nations: Austria-Hungary, Italy, France, Great Britain, the German Empire, and Russia. The nations erect factories, build...

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