How European Imperialism Affected The Continent Of Asia

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European imperialism affected the continent of Asia greatly. Some of the countries most affected being: China, India, and Japan. Imperialism affected these countries in different ways. Their cultures were affected, their view of foreigners was affected, and their societies were affected. Imperialism did some good for these countries, but most of what they caused was bad.

Imperialism in China started with the First Opium War in 1839-1842 when China’s government tried to stop the British from importing opium. By trying to stop them, they started a war in which Britain’s superior military and industrial strength could’ve easily destroyed the Chinese military forces. In 1842, the Treaty of Nanking opened up five ports to the British and gave them the island of Hong Kong. Britain forced China to pay a large sum of money. From 1870 to 1914, Western nations carved China into spheres of influence, areas in which imperial powers claimed exclusive trading rights. France got territory in southwest China, Germany got the Shandong Peninsula in northern China, Russia took over Manchuria and a leasehold over Port Arthur, and the British took control of the Yangtze Valley. The U.S. didn’t carve because they feared the spheres of influence might hurt U.S. commerce. So in response, the U.S. proposed the Open Door Policy in 1899, which established equal trading rights to China be allowed for all nations and for China’s territorial integrity to be respected. In the 1900s, there was a rising sentiment growing against foreigners because China had been forced to give up so many political and economic rights. This anti-foreign sentiment caused the Boxer Rebellion in 1899-1901. The Boxers were a secret Chinese nationalist society supported by the Manchu government, and their goal was to drive out all foreigners and restore China to isolation. In June of 1900, the boxers launched a series of attacks against foreigners and Chinese Christians. They also attacked the foreign embassies in Beijing. The imperialist powers sent an international force of 25,000 troops to crush the rebellion, which ended within two weeks. Although the Boxer Rebellion failed, it convinced the Chinese that reforms were necessary. In 1911, revolutions broke out across the country and the Manchu emperor was overthrown. Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the father of modern China, proclaimed a republic and was named the new president. He advocated a three-point program of nationalism: freeing China from imperial control; democracy; and livelihood, which means adopting Western industrials and agricultural methods. The Chinese republic faced many problems and for the next 37 years, China would continue to be at war with itself and with foreign invaders.

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In Asia, Britain formed a profitable relationship with India. The rule over India was planted, and London viewed India as the jewel of its empire because of its opium, spices, cotton, and textiles. The British sold opium to China to buy tea. Britain used its military advantage to make sure the routes to India were uninterrupted.

Japan was affected by imperialism, but not badly. Japan was the only Asian country to not have fallen victim to European imperialism. In the 17th-18th centuries, the Japanese expelled Europeans from Japan and closed Japanese ports to trade with the outside world, only allowing the Dutch to trade at Nagasaki. However, in 1853 Commodore Matthew Perry, an American naval officer, led an expedition to Japan. He convinced the shogun to open ports for trade with the U.S. Japan feared being dominated by foreign countries. So, unlike China, they reversed their policy of isolation and began to modernize by borrowing from the Western Countries. In 1867, the Meiji Restoration began, its purpose being to replace feudal rulers, such as the shogun, and increase the power of the emperor. Their objective was to make Japan strong enough to compete with Western countries. The new leaders strengthened the military and transformed Japan into an industrial society. The leaders also built up a modern army based on the draft and constructed a fleet of iron steamships. The Japanese were so successful, they became an imperial power. In 1904-1905, Japan shocked the world by defeating Russia in the Russo-Japanese War because it was the first time an Asian country had defeated a European power in over 200 years.

Imperialism affected not only Western society but its colonies as well. Western countries established the beginning of the global economy in which the transfer of goods, money, and technology needed to be regulated in an orderly way to ensure a continuous flow of natural resources and cheap labor to an industrialized world. It also negatively affected colonies. Under foreign rule, native culture and industry were destroyed, and imported goods wiped out local craft industries. By 1900, Western nations had control over most of the globe. Europeans were convinced they had superior cultures and forced people to accept modern/Western ways, so they pressured colonial people to reevaluate their traditions and to work at discouraging customs such as foot-binding in China and sati in India. Although imperialism abused colonial people, Western countries introduced modern medicine that stressed the use of vaccines and more sanitary hygiene that helped to save lives and increase life expectancy. Imperialism also contributed to tension among the Western Powers. Rivalries between France and Great Britain over Sudan, between France and Germany over Morocco and the Ottoman Empire, contributed to the hostile conditions that led to WWI in 1914.

In conclusion, European imperialism affected Asian countries, such as China, India, and Japan both negatively and positively. It industrialized these countries, which is why they’re modern today. Imperialism also changed their traditions because Europeans looked down on their cultures since they weren’t like their own culture and they believed Western culture was superior to all other cultures. Also, you could say that imperialism had ties to the start of WWI. However, it also sparked the beginning of modern medicine, which has evolved so much over the past centuries. Because medicine started so early, humans now have a longer life expectancy than they would in the early 1900s.

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