Why Did Suleiman Embark on New Conquests

Why Did Suleiman Embark on New Conquests

Affiliate 6: Imperialism

“Imperialism” in the context of modern history refers to global empire-building past modern states – to distinguish it from the earlier expansion of European states (due east.g. the Spanish empire in the Americas), it is sometimes referred to every bit “neo-imperialism.”  Specifically, imperialism refers to the enormous growth of European empires in the nineteenth century, culminating in the period before Globe War I in which European powers controlled over 80% of the surface of the globe.  The aftershocks of this menses of imperialism are still felt in the present, with national borders and international conflicts alike tied to patterns put in identify by the imperialist powers over a century ago.

Modern imperialism was a product of factors that had no direct parallel in earlier centuries.  For a brief menstruation, Europe (joined past the United States at the end of the century) enjoyed a monopoly on industrial production and applied science.  The scientific advances described in the terminal chapter lent themselves directly to European power likewise, most obviously in that modern medicine enabled European soldiers and administrators to survive in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa that had been deathtraps for them in the by because of the prevalence of tropical diseases.  In improver, ideological developments similar the emergence of Social Darwinism and the obsession with race inspired Europeans to consider their conquests as morally justified, fifty-fifty necessary.  Information technology was, in short, a “perfect storm” of technology and ideology that enabled and justified Europe’southward global feeding frenzy.

While Europeans tended to justify their conquests past citing a “civilizing mission” that would bring the guiding lights of Christianity and Western Civilization to supposedly benighted regions, ane other factor was at work that provided a much more tangible alibi for conquest: the rivalry between European states.  With the Congress System a dead letter in the aftermath of the Crimean War, and with the wars of the Italian and German unifications demonstrating the stakes of intra-European conflict, all of the major European powers jockeyed for position on the earth phase during the second half of the century.  Perhaps the about iconic example was the personal obsession of the King of Belgium, Leopold II, with the creation of a Belgian colony in Africa, which he idea would elevate Belgium’s status in Europe (and from which he could derive enormous profits).  In the finish, his personal fiefdom – the Congo Gratuitous State – would become the nearly horrendous demonstration of the mismatch between the high-minded “civilizing mission” and the reality of carnage and exploitation.


Engineering science made the new imperialism possible.  It vastly increased the speed of communication, it armed European soldiers with advanced weapons that overwhelmed resistance, and it protected Europeans from tropical diseases.  Simply put, applied science explains how European authority grew from virtually 35% of the globe to over 80% over the form of the nineteenth century.  In hindsight, European technological dominance was nothing more than or less than a historical blow, the coexisting evolution of tools and techniques that originated with the Industrial Revolution.  At the fourth dimension, however, most Europeans and Americans considered their technology as proof of their “racial” and cultural superiority.

For example, for the first time cities in Europe caused the means to communicate virtually instantaneously (via telegraph) with their colonies.  Before telegraphs, it could accept upward to two years for a message and answer to travel between England and India, but after telegraph lines were constructed over the form of the middle decades of the nineteenth century, a message and respond could make the circuit in simply ii days.  This, of course, vastly increased the efficiency of governing in the context of global empires.

Europeans were not simply able to communicate with territories thousands of miles away thanks to engineering – they could survive there as well.  Africa had never been colonized past Europeans before the nineteenth century, except for relatively pocket-size territories forth the coasts.  The continent was largely bulletproof to Europeans thanks to its geography: at that place were few harbors for ships, the interior of the continent had no rivers that were navigable by sail, and nigh chiefly, there were numerous lethal diseases (especially a especially virulent form of malaria) to which Europeans had trivial resistance.  Until the 2nd half of the century, Africa was sometimes referred to every bit the “white man’s graveyard,” since Europeans who travelled there to trade or

to conquer territory often died within a year.

That started changing even earlier the development of bacteriology.  In 1841, British expeditions discovered that daily doses of quinine, a medicine derived from a Due south American plant, served as an effective preventative measure against the wrinkle of malaria.  Thus, since malaria had been the near dangerous tropical disease, Europeans were able to survive in the interior of Africa at much higher rates following the quinine quantum.  In one case Pasteur’s discoveries in bacteriology did occur, it became feasible for large numbers of European soldiers and officials to take upwardly permanent residence in the tropical regions of Africa and Asia.

Advances in medicine were joined by those in transportation.  The steamboat, with its power to travel both with and confronting the flow of rivers, enabled Europeans to push into the interior of Africa (and many parts of Asia too).  Steamboats were soon armed with small cannons, giving ascent to the term “gunboat.”  In turn, when Europeans began steaming into harbors from Hong Kong to the Congo and demanding territory and trading privileges, the term “gunboat affairs” was invented, the quintessential example of which was in the unwilling concession to western contact and trade on the office of Japan, considered below.

A typical small and, in this case, unarmed steamship on the Congo River in Primal Africa.  “Steamers” as they were called varied greatly in size and armaments.

In improver, major advances in weapons technology resulted in an overwhelming reward in the ability of Europeans to inflict violence in the regions they invaded.  In the 1860s, the first breech-loading rifles were developed, beginning seeing widespread apply in the Austro-Prussian State of war of 1866 in which Prussian infantry utterly overwhelmed Austrian soldiers armed with older muskets.   Breech-loaders were incredibly accurate and quick to reload compared to earlier muzzle-loading firearms.  A European soldier armed with a modernistic rifle could fire accurately up to virtually half a mile away in any weather, while the inhabitants of Africa and Asia were armed either with older firearms or paw weapons.  Likewise, the first machine gun, the Maxim Gun, was invented in the 1880s.  For a few decades, Europeans (and Americans) had a monopoly on this technology, and for that relatively brief menstruation the advantage was decisive in numerous conquests.  Smug British soldiers invented a saying that summarized that superiority: “whatever happens, nosotros have got, the Maxim Gun, and they have not…”

British soldier aiming a maxim gun.
A British soldier with a saying gun in South Africa.

The 2d Industrial Revolution

Technology thus enabled imperialism.  Information technology also created a

for imperialism, because of a miracle referred to by historians as the “Second Industrial Revolution.”  The Second Industrial Revolution consisted of the development and spread of a new generation of technological innovation: mod steel, invented in 1856, electrical generators in 1870 (leading to electric appliances and home wiring past 1900 in wealthy homes), and both bicycles and automobiles by the 1890s.  The American inventor Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, and thousands of phones, carrying millions of calls annually, were in performance already by the early on 1880s.  These advances created a huge demand for the raw materials – rubber, mineral ores, cotton fiber – that were components of the new technologies.

In the initial phases of the Industrial Revolution, the raw materials necessary for production had been in Europe itself: coal deposits and fe ore.  The other raw fabric, cotton, that played a key role in the Industrial Revolution was bachelor via slave labor in the American south and from weaker states like Egypt (which seized virtual independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1833).  The raw material of the Second Industrial Revolution, even so, was mostly located exterior of the older areas nether European control, which meant that European business interests pressured their respective governments to seize as much territory overseas as possible.  For example, when oil fields were discovered in Persia in 1908, European involvement in Middle Eastern imperialism reached a fever pitch, with European powers cultivating contacts among Arab nationalist groups and undermining the waning unity of the Ottoman Empire.

Mines and plantations were crucial to this stage of imperialism in Africa and Asia, equally they had been to the early European exploitation of the Americas.  Mining in particular offered the prospect of huge profits.  In that location were Canadian nickel deposits for steel alloys, Chilean nitrates, Australian copper and gold, and Malaysian can, just to name a few mineral resources coveted by Europeans (of grade, in the example of Canada, the people being colonized were Indigenous Canadians, and the colonists were themselves of European descent).  Thus, while the motives behind imperialism were ofttimes strongly ideological, they were likewise tied to straightforward economic interests, and many of the strongest proponents of imperialism had ties to industry.

While the United States was not one of the major imperial powers per se (although it did seize control of the Philippines from Espana in 1898 and exercised considerable power in Central America), it played a major office in imperialism notwithstanding.  The US eclipsed Europe as the major manufacturing power and the major source of exports in a shockingly short period – from about 1870 into the early on 1900s – driving Europeans to sometimes-hysterical levels of fearfulness of being rendered economically obsolete.  The response of European politicians and businessmen alike was to focus on territorial acquisition overseas to counterbalance the vast natural resources of the United states, which had achieved its say-so thanks to the enormity and richness of American territory (seized past force from Native Americans).  Thus, fifty-fifty though the US did not join in the Scramble for Africa or assert directly control of Eastward Asian territories, fright of American economic strength was a major factor driving European imperialism forward.

Graphs depicting the coal and steel production levels of different Western countries from the late 1800s into the early 1900s. The USA dwarfs all of the other countries by the twentieth century.
American resource production and industrial output vastly outpaced European production over time; already past the 1870s astute European observers correctly anticipated the rapid acceleration of American production.

The British Empire

The best known phrase associated with the British Empire from the heart of the nineteenth century until the early twentieth was that “the sun never set up” over its dominions.  That was, quite literally, truthful.  Roughly 25% of the surface of the globe was directly or indirectly controlled past the British in the aftermath of World War I (1918).  Enormous bureaucracies of “natives” worked under white British officials everywhere from the South Pacific to North Africa.  The ultimate expression of British imperialism was in India, where just under 100,000 British officials governed a population of some 300,000,000 Indians.

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Until 1857, Republic of india was governed by the British E India Company (the EIC), the state-sponsored monopoly established in the seventeenth century to turn a profit from overseas trade and which controlled a monopoly on Indian imports and exports.  Through a long, boring pitter-patter of territorial expansion and i-sided treaties with Indian princes, the EIC governed virtually all of the Indian subcontinent past 1840.  Republic of india produced huge quantities of precious bolt, including cotton fiber, spices, and narcotics. In fact, the EIC was the single largest drug cartel in world history, with the explicit approving of the British government.  Most of those narcotics consisted of opium exported to China.

Past the 1830s, 40% of the full value of Indian exports took the form of opium, which led to the outbreak of the first major state of war between a European power, namely Britain, and the Chinese Empire.  In 1840, Chinese officials tried to stop the ongoing shipments of opium from Bharat and open war broke out between the EIC, supported by the British navy, and Prc.  A single British gunboat, the Nemesis, arrived subsequently inconclusive fighting had gone on for five months.  In short order, the Nemesis began an ongoing rout of the Chinese forces.  The Chinese navy and imperial fortresses were nearly helpless before gunboats with cannons, and steamships were able to penetrate Chinese rivers and the Chinese Grand Canal, ofttimes towing sailing vessels with total cannon batteries behind them.

Painting of a British naval victory during the first Opium War, with Chinese ships being destroyed by cannon fire.
A British commemoration of victory in the Opium War.  The Nemesis is in the background on the right.

In the finish, the Majestic Navy forced the Chinese state to re-open their ports to the Indian opium merchandise, and the British obtained Hong Kong in the bargain as function of the British Empire itself.  In the backwash of the  Opium War, other European states secured the legal correct to carry on trade in China, administrate their ain taxes and laws in designated port cities, and support Christian missionary work.  The authorization of the ruling Chinese dynasty, the Qing, was seriously undermined in the process.  (A second Opium War occurred in the late 1850s, with the British joined by the French confronting Red china – this state of war, too, resulted in European victory.)

Problem for the British was brewing in India, however.  In 1857, Indian soldiers in the employ of the EIC, known every bit
sepoys, were issued new rifles whose bullet cartridges were, according to rumors that circulated among the sepoys, lubricated with both pig fatty and cow fat.  Since part of loading the gun was biting the cartridge open, this would entail coming into direct contact with the fatty, which was totally forbidden in Islam and Hinduism (note that there is no evidence that the cartridges actually

greased with the fat of either animate being – the rumors were enough).  Simultaneously, European Christian missionaries were at work trying to convert both Muslims and Hindus to Christianity, sometimes very aggressively.  This culminated in an explosion of anti-Christian and anti-British violence that temporarily plunged India into a civil war.  The British responded to the uprising, which they dubbed “The Mutiny” by massacring whole villages, while sepoy rebels targeted any and all British they could find, including the families of British officials.  Eventually, troops from Britain and loyal Sepoy forces routed the rebels and restored order.

Cartoon illustration of the sepoys, depicted with racial caricature, dividing up loot during the revolt.
A British depiction of the Sepoy Rebellion, attributing the uprising to greed rather than its bodily causes.  Note also the use of racial caricatures in depicting the sepoys.

After this Sepoy Rebellion (a term that has long since replaced “The Mutiny” amongst historians), the East India Company was disbanded by the British parliament and India placed nether directly rule from London.  India was henceforth referred to as the “British Raj,” meaning British Rulership, and Queen Victoria became Empress of India in addition to Queen of Smashing United kingdom of great britain and northern ireland.  She promised her Indian subjects that anyone could take the civil service examinations that entitled men to positions of authorisation in the Indian government, and elite Indians chop-chop enrolled their sons in British boarding schools.  The first Indian to pass the exam (in 1863) was Satyendranath Tagore, but white officials consistently refused to accept orders from an Indian (even if that Indian happened to exist more intelligent and competent than they were).  The result was that elite Indians all too oftentimes hit a “glass ceiling” in the Raj, able to rise to positions of importance merely not real leadership.  In plow, resentful elite Indians became the first Indian nationalists, organizing what later became the Indian independence movement.


While Republic of india was the most of import, and lucrative, part of the British Empire, it was the conquest of Africa past the European powers that stands equally the highpoint of the new imperialism as a whole.  Africa represents nearly a quarter of the land surface area of the entire world, and every bit of the 1880s it had about i-fifth of the world’due south population.  There were over 700 distinct societies and peoples beyond Africa, simply Europeans knew so trivial virtually the African interior that maps generally displayed huge blank spots until well into the 1880s.  Likewise, as of 1850 Europeans only controlled minor territories on the coasts, many of them little more trading posts.  The about substantial European holdings consisted of Algeria, seized by France in the 1830s, and Southward Africa, split betwixt British command and two territories held by the descendents of the first Dutch settlers, the Boers.  The rest of the continent was about completely gratuitous of European say-so (although the Portuguese did maintain sparsely populated colonies in two areas).

That changed in the last few decades of the nineteenth century because of the technological changes discussed to a higher place.  The results were dramatic: in 1876, roughly 10% of Africa was nether European control.  Past 1900, just over twenty years subsequently, the figure was roughly 90%.  All of the factors discussed above, of the search for profits, of raw materials, of the ongoing power struggle betwixt the great powers, and of the “civilizing mission,” reached their collective zenith in Africa.  The sheer speed of the conquest is summed upwards in the phrase used ever since to depict it: “the Scramble for Africa.”  Even the word “imperialism” itself went from a neologism to an everyday term over the grade of the 1880s.

In 1884, Otto Von Bismarck organized the Berlin Conference in order to make up one’s mind what was to be washed with a huge territory in central Africa called the Congo, already falling under the domination of Belgium at the time.  At the Congress, the representatives of the European states, joined by the United states of america and the Ottoman Empire, divided up Africa into spheres of influence and conquest.  No Africans were nowadays at the meeting.  Instead, the Europeans agreed on trade between their respective territories and stipulated which (European) land was to get which slice of Africa.  The impetus behind the seizure of Africa had much more to practise with international tension than practical economics – in that location were certainly profits to be had in Africa, only they were more often than not theoretical at this indicate since no European knew for sure what those resources were or where they were to be found (over again, fright of American economic power was a major factor – Europeans thought information technology necessary to seize more territory, regardless of what was really

that territory).  Thus, in a collective land take hold of, European states emerged from the Conference intent on taking over an entire continent.

The Berlin Conference was the opening salvo of the Scramble for Africa itself, the explosion of European land-grabs in the African continent.  In some territories, notably French North Africa and parts of British West Africa, while colonial administrations were both racist and enormously secure in their own cultural dominance, they usually did embark on edifice at least some modernistic infrastructure and establishing educational institutions open to the “natives” (although, equally in the Raj, Europeans jealously guarded their own dominance everywhere).  In others, however, colonization was equivalent to genocide.

Amidst the worst cases was that of Belgium.  King Leopold II created a colony in the Congo in 1876 under the guise of exploration and philanthropy, challenge that his purpose was to protect the people of the region from the ravages of the slave trade.  His acquisition was larger than England, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy combined; it was lxxx times larger than Kingdom of belgium itself.  The Berlin Conference’s official purpose was authorizing Leopold’s already-existing control of the Congo, and at the Briefing the European powers declared the territory to be the “Congo Free State,” essentially a royal fiefdom ruled, and endemic, by Leopold straight, not by the government of Kingdom of belgium.

Leopold’south existent purpose was personal enrichment for himself and a handful of cronies, and his methods of coercing African labor were atrocious: raids, floggings, hostages, devastation of villages and fields, and murder and mutilation.  (This is the setting of Joseph Conrad’s brilliant and disturbing novel,
Middle of Darkness.
)  Belgian agents would enter a village and take women and children earnest, ordering men to go into the jungle and harvest a certain corporeality of condom.  If they failed to reach the safety quota in time, or sometimes even if they did, the agents would hack off the arms of children, rape or murder the women, or sometimes just murder anybody in the village outright.  No attempt was made to develop the country in any way that did not behave directly on the business of extracting ivory and rubber.  In a flow of 25 years, the population of the region was cut in half.  It took until 1908 for public outcry (after decades of dangerous and incredibly brave work by a few journalists who discovered what was happening) to prompt the Belgian Parliament to strip Leopold of the colony – it so took over direct administration.

Photo collage of children in the Belgian Congo with severed hands and limbs.
A few of the millions of victims of Belgian imperialism in the Congo.

One comparable instance was the treatment of the Herero and Nama peoples of Southwest Africa by the German ground forces over the course of 1904 – 1905.  When the Herero resisted German takeover, they were systematically rounded upward and left in concentration camps to starve, with survivors stalked across the desert by the German ground forces, the Germans poisoning or sealing wells and water holes equally they went.  When the Nama rose up shortly afterwards, they as well were exterminated.  In the end, over two-thirds of the Herero and Nama were murdered.  This was the first, just not the final, genocide carried out past High german soldiers in the twentieth century.

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Almost without exception, the economic science of imperialism tin can be described as “plunder economies.”  This entailed three tendencies.  First, colonial regimes expropriated the state from the people who lived there.  This was accomplished through force, backed by pseudo-legal means: unless a given person, or group, had a legal title in the western sense to the country they lived on, they were liable to have it seized.  Likewise, traditional rights to hunt, gather fabric, and drift with herds were lost.  Second, colonial regimes expropriated raw materials like rubber, generally shipped back to Europe to be turned into finished products.  Tertiary, colonial regimes exploited native labor.  This was sometimes in the form of outright slavery like the Congo, the Portuguese African colonies, and forced labor in French and German colonies.  In other cases, information technology consisted of “semi-slavery” as on the island of Java where the Dutch imposed quotas of coffee and spices on villages.  In other areas, like near of the territories controlled by Britain, it was in the form of subsistence-level wages paid to workers.

In addition to the forms of labor exploitation, European powers imposed “borders” where none had existed, both splitting up existing kingdoms, tribes, and cultures and lumping dissimilar ones together arbitrarily.  Sometimes European powers favored certain local groups over others in order to better maintain control, such as the British policy of using the Tutsi tribe (“tribe” in this case beingness something of a misnomer – “class” is more authentic) to govern what would subsequently go Rwanda over the bulk Hutus.  Thus, the furnishings of imperialism lasted long afterward former colonies achieved their independence in the twentieth century, since well-nigh all of them were left with the borders originally created by the imperialists, frequently along with starker indigenous divisions than would accept existed otherwise.

In a somewhat ironic twist, only sure specific forms and areas of exploitation ever turned a profit for Europeans, specially for European governments.  Numerous private merchant companies founded to exploit colonial areas went bankrupt.  The unabridged French colonial edifice never produced significant profits – one French politico quipped that the but French industry to do good from imperialism was catering for banquets in Paris, since French colonial interests hosted and then many conferences.  Since governments mostly stepped in to declare protectorates and colonies afterwards merchant interests went under, the cost of maintaining empire grew along with the territorial claims themselves.  Thus, while economical motives were ever present, much of the impetus behind imperialism boiled down to jockeying for position on the world stage between the increasingly hostile cracking powers of Europe.

The Decline of the Ottoman Empire

While it is not always considered equally part of the history of European imperialism, not least because the cadre of its empire was never conquered by European powers, information technology is notwithstanding appropriate to examine the decline of the Ottoman Empire aslope more conventional expressions of European empire-edifice.  Just put, while the Ottoman Empire suffered from its fair share of internal problems, European imperialism played the single most significant role in undermining its sovereignty and coherence until it finally collapsed in Earth War I.

By the late nineteenth century Europeans casually referred to the Ottoman Empire every bit the “sick human being of Europe” and debated “the eastern question,” namely how Ottoman territory should be divided between the great powers of Europe.  That mental attitude was a microcosm of the mental attitude of Europeans toward nearly of the world at the time: strange territories were prizes for the taking, the identities of the people who lived there and the states that ruled them of piddling consequence thanks to the (short-lived, every bit it turned out) superiority of European arms and technology.  The slap-up irony in the instance of the Ottomans, however, was that the empire had been both a European great power in its own right and had once dominated its European rivals in war.  How did it become so “sick” over time?

Some of the reasons for Ottoman refuse were external, nearly plainly the growth in European power.  The Ottomans were never able to make headway against European powers in the Indian Ocean, and every bit European states build their global trade empires the Ottoman economy remained largely landlocked.  Also, the European Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had no analog in Ottoman lands; it took until 1727 for a country-approved printing business firm printing secular works and in that location were no meaning technological breakthroughs originating in the later on Ottoman Empire.

The land that proved the greatest threat to Ottoman power was Russia.  Russia went from a backwards, politically fractured region to a powerful and increasingly centralized land under its Tsar Peter the Cracking (whose reign is described in the previous book of this textbook).  Peter launched the offset major Russo-Ottoman state of war and, while he did not achieve all of his armed forces objectives, he did demonstrate the growing force of the Russian military machine by seizing Ottoman territory.  In 1744 the empress Catherine the Great’s ground forces crushed Ottoman forces and captured the Crimean Peninsula, securing the Russian dream of warm water (i.e. it did non freeze during the wintertime) ports for its navy.  Catherine also forced the Ottomans to agree to the building of an Orthodox cathedral in Constantinople and the “protection” of Orthodox Christians in Ottoman lands – this was a massive intrusion into Ottoman sovereignty over its own subjects.

Other issues that undermined Ottoman forcefulness were internal. Notably, the

(who had once been elite slave-soldiers who had bested European forces during the meridian of Ottoman power) that had played such a key function in Ottoman victories under sultans similar Selim I and Suleiman the Magnificent were nil more than parasites living off the largess of the state by the mid-eighteenth century, concentrating their time on enrichment through commerce rather than military training.  In 1793 a reforming sultan, Selim III, created a “New Force” of soldiers trained in European tactics and using up-to-engagement firearms, but information technology took until 1826 for the Janissaries to be eliminated completely (they were slaughtered by members of the New Force under the side by side sultan, Mahmud II).

Meanwhile, the Ottoman economic system was largely in the hands of Europeans by the plough of the nineteenth century.  “Capitulation Agreements” that had begun equally concessions to religious minorities had been extended to European merchants over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  By the tardily eighteenth century, both Europeans and their local (i.eastward. Ottoman) agents were basically above the constabulary in Ottoman territories and they besides enjoyed liberty from virtually forms of revenue enhancement.  The country was helpless to reimpose command over its own economy or to restrain European greed because of the superiority of European armed services ability, and European trading companies reaped huge profits in the process.

The nineteenth century was thus an era of crisis for the empire.  In 1805 the Ottoman governor of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, seized power and governed Egypt every bit an indepedent country despite being (on newspaper) an official working for the Ottoman regime.  In 1839 Resid Pasha, a high-ranking official serving the sultan Abd al-Macid, instituted a broad reform motion, the
, that introduced sweeping changes to Ottoman governance and law, culminating in a liberal constitution and the starting time coming together of an Ottoman parliament in 1876.  The aforementioned year, however, the reactionary Sultan Abdulhamit II (r. 1876 – 1909) came to power and shortly did everything he could to roll back the reforms.  Abdulhamit heavily emphasized the empire’s Muslim identity, inviting conservative Sunni clerics from across the Islamic world to settle in the empire and playing up the Christian vs. Muslim aspect of European assailment.  In the process, he moved the empire away from its traditional identity equally religiously diverse and tolerant.

Function of Abdulhamit’south emphasis on Muslim identity was due to a simple demographic fact, still: much of the not-Muslim territories of the empire seized their independence either before or during his reign.  The Greek Revolution that began in 1821 garnered the support of European powers and ultimately succeeded in seizing Greek independence.  Serbia became completely independent in 1867, Bulgaria in 1878, and Bosnia passed into Austrian hands in 1908.  Simply put, the Christian-dominated Balkans that had been office of the Ottoman Empire for centuries slipped away thanks to the strength of modern nationalism and the armed services support they received from sympathetic European powers.

Meanwhile, while Abdulhamit hoped in vain that doubling down on his ain office equally sultan and caliph would somehow see the empire through its period of weakness, other Ottoman elites reached very different conclusions.  High-ranking officers in the Ottoman military educated in the (European-way) State of war College established during the Tanzimat formed a conspiratorial social club known as the Committee for Marriage and Progress (CUP) in 1889.  Disgusted by what they regarded as the hopelessly primitive arroyo of Abdulhamit, they launched a successful coup d’etat in 1909 and set out to remake the empire as a modern, secular, and distinctly

(rather than diverse) land.  World War I, however, began in 1914 and ultimately dealt the empire its decease blow as European powers both attacked the empire directly and encouraged uprisings amidst its indigenous and religious minorities.

When the grit settled, one of the leaders of the CUP, Mustafa Kemal, led a Turkish army to expel European forces from the geographic core of the erstwhile empire, namely Anatolia, and grade a new nation in its place.  Presently known as Atatürk (“Begetter of the Turks”), Kemal pushed through a constitution that explicitly rejected the state’due south Muslim identity, adhering instead to the secularism of European and American countries.  It besides, still, represented a nation of indigenous Turks, with minority groups either expelled or slaughtered outright.  The almost horrific violence of the Turkish revolution was directed at the Armenian minority, with over a million Armenians forced on expiry marches into deserts or murdered outright.  While the country of Turkey refuses to admit it to this twenty-four hour period, historians accept long recognized that the Armenian massacres amounted to a full-calibration genocide.

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To sum up, the Ottoman Empire was beset by external pressures in the form of growing European military might and European intrusion into its economy.  It besides suffered from internal issues, near notably the abuse of the Janissaries and the intransigence of reactionaries like Abdulhamit.  Its reform movements culminated in the CUP revolution of 1909, but world war tore the empire apart before those reforms had time to accept result.  And, while Turkey entered the world phase as a modern nation, it was a mod nation with the blood of over a million people on the hands of its leaders.  In that sense, Turkey was similar European imperialism in reverse: Western European states left a trail of bodies as they

empires around the earth while Turkey’south genocidal crime came about during regal collapse.

Qajar Persia

Along with the Ottoman Empire, the other major Middle Eastern ability had long been Persia (Iran), a state whose ancient history stretched back to the Achaemenid dynasty begun by the legendary Cyrus the Great in 550 BCE.  Past the modern period, however, Persia was in many ways a shadow of its glorious by.  A ruling dynasty known as the Qajars seized power in 1779 but struggled to maintain control over the diverse tribal groups that had long competed for power and influence.  As well, the Qajar shahs (kings) were unable to resist the inroad of European powers equally the latter expanded their influence in Cardinal Asia.  Similar the Ottoman Empire, Persia was non formally colonized past a European ability, but Europeans were still able to dictate international politics in the region.

For virtually of the nineteenth century, Britain and Russian federation were the two European powers that most often competed confronting ane some other for power in Persia, with the Qajar shahs repeatedly trying and failing to play the European rivals off against each other in the name of Persian independence.  Russian federation seized control of the Caucasus region from Persia (permanently, as it turned out) in 1813, and subsequently imposed capitulation agreements on Persia that were a direct parallel of those that and then hobbled the Ottomans to the west.  In the following decades succession disputes within the Qajar line were resolved by Russia and Great britain choosing which heir should concur the Qajar throne, an obvious violation of Persian sovereignty.  Persia was spared actual invasion largely considering of what a British diplomat referred to as the “great game”:  the battle for influence in the region in the name of preserving the British concord on India on the one hand versus the expansion of Russian power on the other.  Neither European ability would allow the other to actually take over in Persia as a result.

One consequence of European domination in Persia was the growth of Iranian nationalism.  The key regime proved utterly incapable (and generally uninterested) in economical development, with the fruits of industry technology arriving at a glacial footstep beyond the country.  Instead of trying to expand the state’due south infrastructure directly, the Qajar state handed off “concessions” to European banks, companies, and private individuals to build railroads, issue banking company notes, and in i notorious example, monopolize the production and auction of tobacco.  Public outcry frequently forced the cancellation of the concessions, but strange meddling in the Western farsi economy remained a constant regardless.  Reformers, some of them religious leaders from the Shia ulama (Muslim clergy), others members of the commercial classes familiar with European ideas, demanded a more effective government capable of protecting national sovereignty.

Mass protests finally forced the event in 1905.  The ruler Muzaffar al-Din Shah signed a “Fundamental Constabulary” on his deathbed that created a parliamentary government, and in 1907 his successor Muhammad Ali Shah signed a supplement to the constabulary that introduced civil equality and recognition that national sovereignty is derived from the people.  The period of reform was short-lived, still, with a near civil war followed by the dismissal of the parliament in 1911.  The dynasty limped toward its stop in the years that followed, losing practically all authority over the country until a Russian-trained armed services officer, Riza Khan, seized ability in a insurrection in 1925.

In sum, the Qajar dynasty coincided with a dismal catamenia in Farsi history in which European powers called the shots both politically and economically.  Reform movements did sally around the turn of the twentieth century, but modernization did not begin in hostage until after the Qajar catamenia finally came to an stop.  The dynasty that began with Riza Khan, known as the Pahlavis, sought to radically reform the very nature of governance and society in Islamic republic of iran, inspired by the ane meaningful achievement of the try at reform in the late Qajar menses: the idea that Iran was a
that should assert its national identity on the world phase.

The Counter-Examples – Ethiopia and Nippon

Even the (in historical retrospect, quite temporary) European and American monopoly on advanced technology did not always translate into successful conquest, as demonstrated in the cases of both Ethiopia and Nippon.  As the Scramble for Africa began in hostage in the 1870s, the recently-united nation of Italy sought to shore up its condition as a European power by establishing its own colonies.  Italian politicians targeted E Africa, specifically Eritrea and Federal democratic republic of ethiopia.  In 1889, the Italians signed a treaty with the Ethiopian emperor, Menelik 2, simply the treaty contained different wording in Italian and Amharic (the major linguistic communication of Ethiopia): the Italian version stipulated that Ethiopia would go an Italian colony, while the Amharic version just opened diplomatic ties with Europe through Italy.  Once he learned of the deception, Menelik Ii repudiated the treaty, simultaneously directing the resource of his government to the conquering of modern weapons and European mercenary captains willing to train his regular army.

Open up war broke out in the early on 1890s between Italy and Federal democratic republic of ethiopia, culminating in a battle at Adwa in 1896.  There, the well-trained and well-equipped Ethiopians decisively defeated the Italian regular army.  The Italians were forced to formally recognize Ethiopian independence, and soon other European powers followed conform (as an aside, it is interesting to annotation that Russia was already favorably inclined toward Ethiopia, and a small contingent of Russian volunteers really fought
against t
he Italians at the Boxing of Adwa).  Thus, a non-European power could and did defeat European invaders cheers to Menelik II’southward quick thinking.  Nowhere else in Africa did a local ruler and then successfully organize to repulse the invaders, but if circumstances had been different, they certainly could have done and so.

In Asia, something comparable occurred, but at an even larger scale.  In 1853, in the quintessential example of “gunboat diplomacy,” an American naval admiral, Matthew Perry, forced Japan to sign a treaty opening information technology to contact with the west through very thinly-veiled threats.  Every bit western powers opened diplomacy and then trade with the Japanese shogunate, a period of chaos gripped Japan as the centuries-old political guild roughshod apart.  In 1868, a new government, remembered as the Meiji Restoration, embarked on a course of rapid westernization afterwards dismantling the old feudal privileges of the samurai class.  Japanese officials and merchants were sent away to learn about foreign technology and practices, and European and American advisers were brought in to guide the structure of factories and train a new, modernized ground forces and navy.  The Japanese land was organized along highly authoritarian lines, with the symbolic importance of the emperor maintained, but practical ability held past the cabinet and the heads of the military.

Westernization in this case not only meant economical, industrial, and military modernization, it also meant reaping the rewards of that modernization, ane of which was an empire.  Just as European states had industrialized so turned to foreign conquest, the new leadership of Japan looked to the weaker states of their region every bit “natural” territories to be incorporated.  The Japanese thus undertook a series of invasions, virtually chiefly in Korea and the northern Chinese territory of Manchuria, and began the process of edifice an empire on par with that of the European not bad powers.

Japanese expansion, yet, threatened Russian interests, ultimately leading to war in 1904.  To the shock and horror of much of the western earth, Nippon handily defeated Russia past 1905, forcing Russian federation to recognize Japanese control of Manchuria, along with various disputed islands in the Pacific.  Whereas Ethiopia had defended its own territory and sovereignty, Japan was now playing past the same rules and besting European powers at their own game: seizing foreign territory through force of artillery.

Japanese painting of troops assaulting a beachhead during the Russo-Japanese war. The Japanese troops are wearing European-style uniforms and are armed with rifles.
Japanese depiction of an attack on Russian forces.  Note the European-style uniforms worn by the Japanese soldiers.


It is easy to focus on the technologies behind the new imperialism, to marvel at its speed, and to consider the vast breadth of European empires while overlooking what lay behind it all: violence.  The cases of the Congo and the genocide of the Herero and Nama are rightly remembered, and studied by historians, equally iconic expressions of imperialistic violence, simply they were only two of the more than extreme and shocking examples of the ubiquitous violence that established and maintained

of the majestic conquests of the time.  The scale of that violence on a global scale vastly exceeded any of the relatively piffling squabbles that had constituted European warfare itself up to that point – the merely European war that approaches the level of bloodshed caused past imperialism was probably the 30 Years’ War of the seventeenth century, but imperialism’s death cost was nonetheless far higher.  Until 1914, Europeans exported that violence hundreds or thousands of miles abroad as they occupied whole continents.  In 1914, however, it came habitation to roost in the First World War.

Image Citations (Wikimedia Commons):

Steamer on the Congo
– Public Domain

Proverb Gun

– Public Domain

Opium War

– Public Domain

Sepoy Rebellion

– Public Domain

Mutilated Children in the Congo
– Public Domain

Russo-Japanese War
– Public Domain

Why Did Suleiman Embark on New Conquests

Source: https://pressbooks.nscc.ca/worldhistory/chapter/chapter-6-imperialism/