What is Imperialism and Neocolonialism?

Imperialism, also known as  neocolonialism  , was the policy of expanding power and dominating one state over others in the 19th and 20th centuries. imperialism and neocolonialism

Imperialism is called as a set of geopolitical actions characterized by the establishment of power relations in geographic spaces located in Asia, Africa and America.

The imperialist practices were carried out by the great industrial powers, from the second half of the 19th century.

The great countries, such as  England, France, the German Empire, the United States, Belgium  and  Japan  , had as their main objective the conquest of new territories.

For that, they created a power relationship in the political, economic and cultural sphere with the dominated countries.

Imperialism and neo-colonialism: what is the difference? imperialism and neocolonialism

Contrary to what many think,  the terms neocolonialism and imperialism have the same meaning  and both are used to describe the practices adopted by the great imperialist powers over other nations, in the period of the XIX / XX centuries.

Geopolitical actions in imperialism

The concept of geopolitics is strongly linked to that of imperialism, since it refers to power relations in the world demographic territory. imperialism and neocolonialism

These relationships were aimed at establishing dominance over strategic territories, to guarantee the supply of  raw materials  ,  consumer markets  ,  labor  and other natural resources. imperialism and neocolonialism

Mastering all these resources was essential to sustain the economic growth of the country itself, guaranteeing political and social stability, as well as the military defense of its own State.

Furthermore, in the second half of the 20th century, imperialism sought to ensure control of the transportation system for the benefit of the major world powers.

This system was used mainly for the movement of people, objects and food, in addition to facilitating access to new locations. imperialism and neocolonialism

See more about the meaning of  imperialism  .

Colonialism and Neocolonialism

Imperialism is also known as neocolonialism  because it has the same motivation as the colonial phase: the exploration of new territories.

However, neocolonialism took place in places other than the territories colonized in the 16th and 17th centuries. Their objectives were also different. imperialism and neocolonialism

The main differences between colonialism and neocolonialism were: imperialism and neocolonialism

  • Dominated territories:  while colonialism spread through North America, the coast of Africa, South America, among others, neocolonialism began after the Industrial Revolution, when European countries began to conquer areas of Africa and Asia, especially the areas around China, Japan and India;
  • Historical Contexts   : Colonialism developed in the context of European maritime and commercial expansion, between the 16th and 18th centuries, during the period of great navigation and the integration of the continents through maritime transport in the oceans. Neocolonialism, on the other hand, began in the second half of the 19th century, during the second phase of the Industrial Revolution;
  • The method of domination  : the conquest of America in colonialism, for example, developed through alliances with rival indigenous peoples, with broad cultural domination, mainly with the imposition of the Catholic religion and the Spanish and Portuguese language. In neocolonialism, the domination established by the Europeans was made mainly with the use of military superiority, showing its warlike force to the dominated territories. Unlike classical colonialism, we have less State intervention in neocolonialism, since economic liberalism predominated; imperialism and neocolonialism
  • Objectives of domination  : in the period of classical colonialism, the fundamental objectives were the obtaining of spices, tropical products of high commercial value in the European market and precious metals, such as gold and silver. Imperialism, on the other hand, had as its main objective the obtaining of raw materials, consumer markets and area for the surplus of capital and population. All of these objectives were strategies designed to sustain the industrial growth of the nations involved in the conquest of new territories.
  • Religious doctrine  : the Protestant / Anglican church was interested in evangelizing the dominated territories, just as the Catholic church did in the colonial phase.
  • Use of labor  : while colonialism was marked by a great use of slave labor, imperialism was marked by the use of labor with exchange of goods or even local currency.

Cartoon about the extensive rule of one of the largest empires of the imperialist phase: the British. imperialism and neocolonialism

The Motivation of Imperialist Development and Social Darwinism

The greatest justification given by the great world powers to imperialism was industrialization. imperialism and neocolonialism

The countries that went through the process of industrialization during the Industrial Revolution, mainly England, needed raw materials, a consumer market and places to invest in strategic areas. imperialism and neocolonialism

The big states wanted to expand their empires to carry out the population flow. For this reason, they sent some people to the countries dominated in the imperialist era, since their large urban centers were experiencing great population growth.

Throughout this phase, the imperialist countries affirmed that the process of territorial domination was a “humanitarian” cause. Thus, they brought civilization to other peoples, considered less developed and not yet industrialized.

This whole idea was also justified due to the work of Charles Darwin on the evolution of species, where the author stated that there are species more evolved than the others.

Although Charles Darwin did not direct his theory to the social context, the great powers used it as an excuse to create  social Darwinism  , justifying that some peoples were more evolved than others. imperialism and neocolonialism

From this interpretation, they were able to present or teach their knowledge and industrialization, indoctrinating the places that they considered less developed.

Within Social Darwinism, Europeans divided humanity into three races:  Caucasians  : White Europeans; the  Mongoloid  : American Indians and Asians; and  the Negroid  : and Black Africans.

In the context of this theory, Europeans called themselves more genetically evolved and more powerful, and they segmented into the Caucasian group. imperialism and neocolonialism

According to speculative theory, they had the mission of bringing civilization and industrialization to the peoples they considered less developed: the Mongoloids and the Negroid.

Colonial structures in imperialism imperialism and neocolonialism

Unlike colonization, the territories dominated by the imperialists were structured in a unique way, with different objectives. The basic structure was:

  • Colonies  : they were governed directly by the metropolis, by the European country. The States appointed a ruler for the place, who consequently would be part of the imperialist empire or country. An example is the British empire that conquered 1/3 of the world; imperialism and neocolonialism
  • Protectorate  : the place dominated by the empire maintained its original government, but this government was totally allied with a European state;
  • Area of ​​influence  : dominated areas that had a formally autonomous government, but that were subject to an unequal treaty or agreement with some European country. This agreement was uneven because it favored the imperialist country and not the dominated country, or because a forced agreement was reached. imperialism and neocolonialism

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