What is Imperialism: Definition, History, and Significance?

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What is Imperialism

Imperialism isn’t just about kings and conquests. It’s a bit like a grand adventure where strong folks aim to grab more land and goodies. In this blog, we’ll talk about imperialism in plain language, its real meaning, and a its example.

Imperialism is an important part of the UPSC IAS exam syllabus. This topic is covered in the World History section of the Mains General Studies Paper 1 syllabus and the General Studies Paper -1 section of the UPSC Prelims syllabus.

What is Imperialism in Simple Terms?

Simply put, imperialism is the attempt by a powerful nation to subjugate and rule over weaker nations or areas.

Strong nations seek to assemble as many pieces of imperialism as they can, like pieces to a huge puzzle. These puzzle pieces are not ordinary ones; rather, they represent different lands, nations, and even individuals. 

What Does Imperialism Mean?

Take, for example, chocolate chip cookies, which are one of your favourite snacks. Consider these cookies now as priceless resources, such as gold, spices, or land. In history, powerful nations like Britain, France, and Spain wanted more of these “cookies” (resources) than they had. They then set out to steal them from other nations.

Imperialism can manifest in a variety of ways. Sometimes it involves deploying armies to conquer uncharted territories, as was the case when European nations colonised Africa in the 19th century. Other times, it is more covert, like when a powerful country subtly dominates a weaker country’s politics and economy without formally taking control of it.

Also Read: The Disintegration of USSR | World History Notes 

What is an Example of Imperialism?

The British Empire and India are a well-known example. The British desired to have control of wealthy India for themselves. As a result, they began to gradually take over India in the 18th century.

First, they established trade and built forts. Then, they took over the whole nation,by gaining control of India’s government. They made the rules and decided how the future of india would look like.

But here’s the catch: the British weren’t just after the power. They made the Indian people grow spices and food items and sell them to the British at low prices. It’s like the British not only took the salad but also the recipe and the kitchen!

India was greatly impacted by this. Our culture, economy, and even fashion were all altered by it. It’s like the British not only ate the salad but also rearranged all the ingredients.

Imperialism may have advantages as well as disadvantages. While some claim that it introduced modernity and technology to colonised lands, the local population frequently paid a high price for it by losing their freedom and resources.

In a nutshell, imperialism can be compared to a powerful country’s effort to snag more cookies from the jar, frequently by appropriating their neighbours’ kitchens and culinary traditions. It’s a complex and controversial part of history, showing how powerful nations can reshape the world for better or worse.

Hope you have gotten all the relevant information about the Imperialism! If you want to know more about topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! Alternatively, you can also read our blog on general knowledge for competitive exams!

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