A Larger World Opens – A Look at Imperialism and Colonialism

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What made the Europeans so eager for expansion and control? Their vast empires stretched all across the world which led to trade and capitalism as we now it. As early as the 1400s Europe was aware of the high culture in China and overland trade routes to far off continents such as Asia. The only problem was that these trade routes were wholly Muslim enterprises. Not only were Chinese products being brought back but also Indian, as the trade for luxury in The West prospered. Unfortunately, at the time, the rise of the Ottoman Empire led to the curtailing of this trade, which instead of slowing down trade, led to the rise of sea travel and trade routes. European countries now wanted a slice of the profits to be made from the far away countries, not only Asia but also the Americas. Thus the first roots of Imperialism and Colonialism started to manifest.

Seas were precarious places and ships had to battle fierce waters and long distances, but the journeys were still made to be the first to conquer. In 1450, the Portuguese started to sponsor trade routes and in 1488 Bartolomeu Dias made crucial advances around the Cape of Good Hope, as he went looking for African gold and spices.  Vasco De Gama sailed to the Indian Ocean and the West Indies. Also, explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral ended up in Brazil by way of winds and tides from his Portuguese base which led to their claim of the land. These were intrepid voyages but were vital in opening trade and establishing colonies.  It was actually the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in 1492 that coined the phrase the Columbian Exchange which saw the Old World marry up with the New World as all kinds of good were to be transported to the Americas. Also in 1510, the Portuguese had landed in Goa, India, and as far as Macau marking their position as the domineering country. The world was expanding and the Portuguese took the initiative to have the control of most profitable routes.

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2 thoughts on “A Larger World Opens – A Look at Imperialism and Colonialism

    God's Hot Spot said:
    July 26, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Spot on you hit the nail on the head! European domination led to erosion of many traditional values so destroyed many existing social relationships while taking many natural resources. Conversely, imperialism and colonialism might save countries in a lot of ways by way trade, technology, roads, railroads, schools, hospitals and better farming. It was a double edged sword which did more harm than good. Though not in physical chains are in mental, economic bondage due to structures perpetually set up to fuel system. This maintains dominance, control for source of natural resources.God bless for understanding history and awareness of world events. Billy Graham said read Bible and watch news for manifestation of Bible.


      Neil responded:
      July 26, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      It is kind of interesting, also, watching the ‘Commonwealth’ games and thinking how it came about.


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