Free Essay. Factors That Made the Inhabitants Cooperate With the European Empires

Published: 2023-07-10
Free Essay. Factors That Made the Inhabitants Cooperate With the European Empires
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Multiculturalism Christianity Europe
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1154 words
10 min read

New Imperialism is characterized by colonial expansion by the United States, different European powers, and Japan. It took place between the 19th and 20th centuries. At this period, states were focusing on expanding their territories overseas and building their empires through new and advanced technology. For instance, European countries like Britain, France, and Germany established their empires in Africa and Asia. This essay explains the key factors which made the indigenous population cooperate with the Europeans and how it shaped the European empires overseas.

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Alison (1578), states that one of the ways the European empires made the inhabitants cooperate was through the attempt to imprint their culture onto the inhabitants (Alison 2008). Since the European empires conquered most of the territories of the world, this made them think that they were not only militarily superior but also culturally superior. Europeans believed that it was necessary to replace the inferior culture of the inhabitants and their own claiming to be "civilizing" them. Interestingly, the process of homogenization and cultural assimilation also was practiced in Europe Clendenin (1529), gives an example of cultural imperialism like in the case of British India. This kind of imperialism had two main characteristics; firstly, it acted as a means of control; secondly, it exemplified the desire of the British to make Indian people more civilized, for instance, the introduction and development of the English language in India. The British controlled the access to the English language since Indians wanted to master the language because it was desirable, and they wanted to succeed and be like the British. This impact is still evident in India since English is still an official language in India.

Another way was through religious and humanitarian goals (Defoe 23). Many Westerners had a belief that the Europeans had to civilize other people beyond the seas. In return, non-whites were to receive the blessings of these Europeans, including law, Christianity, and medicine. The most successful one of the three was through the use of Christianity. Most inhabitants cooperated with the European empires to get Christianity, and this helped in expanding European's overseas empires.

For instance, the Spanish Empire, which was the most powerful monarchy in Europe, wished to enrich itself with their inhabitants' natural resources. After the Spanish enslaved the indigenous people in southern Americans and the Caribbean's, to practice farming, mine for silver, gold, and other variable minerals, they then moved to the southeastern and southwestern United States. Catholic missionaries tried to convert some Indians to Christianity. However, they only successfully managed to baptize and transform the Timucuan people.

Most Indians continued following their culture and religion, and these made most of the priests to term Indians as inferiors and were not capable of understanding Christianity. The French catholic missionaries converted a large number of Huron since these priests had learned the language of the Native Americas and also proved to be brave when there was danger. Another reason which made Hurons to convert in large numbers is that those Hurons who converted to Christianity were allowed to trade and purchase French muskets.

According to Clendenin (1526), improved medical knowledge and superior technology helped in shaping European empires overseas. For example, Quinine helped Europeans to not only venture and survive tropical diseases in the mosquito-infected interiors of Asia and Africa but also made the inhabitants cooperate since they will be given medicine. Since the Europeans had advanced technology, these made indigenous people believe that they were superior, and some of them had a quest for this education.

As noted by Clendenin (1530), the interaction between the European empires and the inhabitants varied from one place to the other (Clendenin 2003). This relationship/cooperation was driven by either political, social, or economic factors. However, only a few Europeans treated the indigenous peoples as their equals, especially the Native Americans. Another key to cooperation between the indigenous population and the European empires was through bringing up inter-tribal rivalries and alliances among the native population. The French Empire mostly used this method. Instead of enslaving the inhabitants like the case of the Spanish empire, the French empire exploited the already existing inter-tribal rivalries and alliances among the Native Americans to establish a trade relationship with the other tribes.

As captured by Defoe (24), the French exploited inter-tribal rivalries and alliances to get trade relationships with Montagnais, Algonquins, and Huron along with St Lawrence and towards Great Lakes (Defoe 2003). These American tribes were competing for status between the French and other Indians. Even though the Native Americans were the ones doing the most work, including; tracking, trapping, killing, and skinning the animals and then transporting the pelts to the French traders. In exchange, the French traders gave them weapons, metal goods, and textiles for the fur from different animals like bears, wolves, and beavers. This trade strengthened the clan leaders' position since they were the ones to distribute these traded goods to their clan members as they saw it fit. Unlike the Spanish and the French, the Dutch had no involvement with Christianity. They only build their relationship with Native Americans through trade. The Dutch established a fur trade alliance in New Jersey and New York (Clendenin 2003).

Clendenin (1555), not that technology, was among the main reasons which made the inhabitants cooperate with the European empires and also shaped the European empires (Clendenin 2003). There could have never been European empires, were it not for the technology. Firstly, the Europeans used technology to invent sea vessels and everything which will be used in navigation, for example, compasses, astrolabes, and caravels. All these innovations made European colonization very easy.

As mentioned earlier, the innovation of medicines like Quinn helped in making the Europeans heal from malaria when visiting the tropical forests of Africa. Other innovations like guns made the European empires to be feared by the indigenous people. Europeans used this fear to make them cooperate and enslave the inhabitants like in Africa. As noted by Defoe (30), this fear made some clans/people collaborate with the Europeans, and they were favored or made to be in charge of their fellow rebels who were working as slaves. Moreover, innovations like the railway made it easier for the European empire to extract and transport minerals from Africa back to their countries hence developing Europe and marginalizing Africa (Defoe 2003).

In conclusion, technology, trade, medicine, Christianity, and religion, and the attempt to imprint European culture into the indigenous population are some of the key factors which made the inhabitants cooperate with the Europeans and shaped the European empire. Most of the inhabitants adopted this culture and it became a part of their life.

Works Cited

Alison Games. The Web of Empire: English Cosmopolitans in an Age of Expansion, 1560-1660. Oxford University Press, 2008.

Defoe, Daniel. "Robinson Crusoe, rear. end., edited by John Righetti." London and New York: Penguin Classics (2003).

Clendenin, Inga. Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570. Vol. 61. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

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