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Period 8 Time of citizens and steam engines

Modern imperialism

History gives you many answers to questions about today's world. Does it even make sense that English is the most important language in the world?

Have you ever wondered how english is the most important language in the world? As many as 329 million people speak Spanish. This is because of imperialism. European countries began to explore and conquer the world in the 15th century. In the history books you will also find stories about Dutch conquests. For example, there are 6 countries where Dutch is the official language. This includes, of course, the Netherlands and Belgium. But also Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Suriname. These countries still belong to the kingdom of the Netherlands. But, of course, that hasn't always been the case.

The Netherlands, England, Spain, but also Portugal had several colonies overseas. These colonies used them for the production of, for example, tobacco, sugar, cotton, tea and coffee. But they also acted in slaves and spices. These colonies were mainly located along the coast. The Europeans either dared or did not want to move into the country. But from 1870 this attitude changed.

This was mainly due to the industrial revolution. It is the most important event in the era of the citizens and steam engines. Because many inventions were made in the 19th century, the farmland yielded more. There was more food than ever and the population was growing. Many people from the countryside moved to the city. There was a lot of work in the new factories. These factories worked at full power thanks to a new invention: the steam engine. But these factories needed raw materials and not all raw materials were found in Europe.

In Europe in this era there was enough iron ore and coal to be found. But there was very little gold, copper ore, rubber, cotton and jute. Europe's growing population was increasingly in need of all these raw materials. So they expanded their colonies and went in search of new colonies. Looking for resources.

As early as 1776, the United States had become independent of its motherland. Before that, it was a British colony. But the settlers felt increasingly alienated from the British motherland and demanded independence.

The United States also has a history of imperialism. Africa, Oceania and large parts of Asia were conquered by Europe. The African continent was even divided among the countries. A special conference was organised at which the United States and 15 European countries were all assigned part of Africa.

The countries were not only conquered because of the raw materials. They also wanted to sell all the products they had made in as large an area as possible. Europe and the United States had become too small for this. Yet countries were also conquered where people were very poor. So they couldn't sell products here. There were also no raw materials in some conquered areas. So there seemed to be no reason to conquer these territories. But european countries also simply wanted to increase their power. The more land they had, the more power they had.