History of Europe and the World!
Even before the nineteenth century, the Europeans had expanded in various parts of the world. Spain and Portugal were foremost in this matter. They had not only trade in various parts of the world but also had established their colonies.
Portugal acquired a foothold in India in the beginning of the sixteenth century and established her control over Goa and other places.
She also had her colony in Brazil in South America Spain had a big colonial empire in Central and South America. The Dutch set up their colonies in the Far East. The French set up their colonies in North America and also acquired some territory in India. In the straggle for supremacy, the French were defeated by the British in India.
The French colonies in North America were conquered by Britain in the Seven Years’ War Britain lost the American colonies during the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Spain also lost her colonies in Central and South America during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. In 1882, Portugal lost Brazil.
- European Expansion during Nineteenth Century
- Revival of Imperialism
- Russian Expansion in Asia
- Russian Expansion in China
- Russian Expansion in Japan
- French Expansion
- Expansion in Africa
- French Expansion in Africa
- British Expansion in Africa: South Africa
- British Expansion in Egypt
- British Expansion in Sudan
- Belgian Expansion in Africa
- German Expansion in Africa
- Italian Expansion in Africa
- New Zealand
- The Pacific Islands
- South and Central America
- The United States
- Contraction of Europe
- The Mandate System
- British Empire
- The French Empire
- The Belgian Empire
- The Dutch Empire
- Colonies during World War II
- Trusteeship System
- Independence of India
- Independence of Burma
- Independence of Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
- Independence of Ireland
- Independence of South Africa
- Independence of British Colonies
- Egypt and Sudan
- Portuguese Colonies
- Belgian Congo
- End of Italian Empire
1. European Expansion during Nineteenth Century:
During the second half of the eighteenth century, the Physiocrats preached in France the doctrine of freedom from restrictions. They made the old French colonial system with its monopoly regulations their target.In England, Adam Smith asserted in his book entitled “The Wealth of Nations” (1776) that the burdens of the British colonial system were undeniable but the benefits were purely imaginary. Bentham advocated the emancipation of the colonies.
There was an aggressive and vocal opinion in England against colonies. One group known as “Little Englanders” of which Gladstone was a member, even believed that time was not far distant when the British Empire would dissolve completely.
In 1852, Disraeli wrote to the British Foreign Secretary, “These wretched colonies will all be independent m a few years and are millstones around our necks”.
There was a similar sentiment in France. Most of the French statesmen of that period believed that colonies were an unjustifiable luxury. It is true that during the period from 1815 to 1870 France had more than doubled her possessions outside Europe by securing footholds in Algeria, Senegal and Indo-China, but those ventures were launched by a small group and were not a part of a wider policy.
In 1861, the French Government expressed its idea of empire by throwing open the trade of her colonies to all nations. In Germany, neither the Government nor public opinion showed much interest in colonies before the 1880s. Bismarck observed thus in 1868. “All the advantages claimed for the mother country are for the most part illusory. England is abandoning her colonial policy; she finds it too costly.”
2. Revival of Imperialism:
However, during the last decades of the nineteenth century, the pendulum swung in the other direction. Books and pamphlets were written to show that colonies were a necessity and not a burden. Colonial societies were organised to stimulate interest in imperialism. Britain gave up her policy of free trade and set up protective tariffs. Disraeli himself announced his conversion to imperialism in 1872.
In France, the movement in that direction was led by a number of prominent statesmen including Gambetta and Jules Ferry. Ferry was the arch-champion of French imperialism. To quote him, “Every fragment of our colonial domain, every tiny morsel should be sacred to us…. It is not a question of tomorrow’s future, but the future of fifty or a hundred years from now. In 1882, Leroy-Beaulieu, the economist, asserted that “colonial expansion must occupy me first place in our national consciousness” because it “is for France a question of life or death; either France will become a great African state or she will be in a century or two but a second rate power. In Germany imperialist sentiments became fashionable in the early eighties. In 1882, a colonial society was set up in Germany and it enrolled more than 10,000 members within three years.
There were many factors which were responsible for the revival of imperialism. Some of them were political ambition, military adventure and missionary enterprise. The argument of over-population in Europe was also given but it was pointed out that actual over-population in Europe did not exist m any serious degree until near the end of the nineteenth century. Another factor was national prestige. There was a belief that the acquisition of colonies reflected the glory of the mother country.
Some defenders of imperialism attributed true altruism as the cause of imperialism. Their contention was that European imperialism bestowed on “backward” nations the blessing of civilisation, law and order and Europeans should be ready to sacrifice their ease and comfort to bring those blessings to the backward people. This theory was called “The White Man’s Burden”.
Rudyard Kipling was one of the advocates of this theory and he wrote thus:
Take up the White Man’s burden,
Sends forth the best ye breed,
Go bind your sons to exile.
To serve your captive’s needed.
Regarding White Man’s Burden, Lord Oliver wrote, “No nation has ever colonized, annexed or established a sphere of influence from motives of disinterested philanthropy towards a native people”. It is rightly pointed out that the assertion of high principles by statesmen and imperialists was a pretext for acquiring colonies. Sentimental, moral and altruistic considerations were convenient justifications of imperialism. Of themselves, they could not have set imperialism in motion.
As regards the actual motives behind this imperialism, J.A. Hobson, a famous British economist, attributed the colonial expansion of this period to special new economic forces at work in the most industrialised nations of Western and Central Europe.
Whatever political religious or idealistic excuses might be made, the real impulse was always one of capitalistic greed for cheap raw materials advantageous markets, good investments and fresh field of exploitation.
The argument is that what Hobson called “the economic taproot of imperialism” was excessive capital m search of investment and that excessive capital came from the savings made possible by the unequal distribution of wealth. Hobson maintained that the remedy was internal social reform and a more equal distribution of wealth.
To quote him, “If the consuming public in this country raised its standard of consumption to keep pace with every rise of productive powers, there could be no excess of goods or capital clamorous to use imperialism in order to find markets.” It cannot be denied that the search for lucrative and secure overseas investment played a very, great part in the European urge to acquire colonies at the end of the nineteenth century.
In his pamphlet on “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” (1916), Lenin elaborated the argument to emphasize the importance of finance capital rather than industrial capital, and the priority of the desire to find new outlets for investment rather than new markets. His thesis was that imperialism was “a direct continuation of the fundamental properties of capitalism in general and that “the War of 1914 was on both sides imperialist.”
The view of Dr David Thomson is that imperialism was not entirely or even basically an economic phenomenon. Howsoever important the economic forces were, they cannot explain why France one of the least fully industrialised countries of Western Europe, was the one which had already set the pace of expansion by more than doubling her colonial possessions between 1815 and 1870 when she got firm footholds in Algeria, Senegal and Indo-China.
It is not mere thirst for exporting surplus capital which can explain the new shape given to the British Empire by the grant of Dominion status to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa. This also does not explain the increase in British commercial and capitalist interests in the United States after her independence or the migration of Englishmen to the United States or British interest in the construction of railways in Argentina as compared with the construction of railways in India. German economic penetration of Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire was without any of these territories becoming German colonies.
This new imperialism spread mainly in Africa and Asia. Those areas of Africa and of Asia had not been brought under European influence before 1870. This expansion took place at a time when the European nations were competing with one another.
Among the economic forces behind it, the urge to find new outlets for the “glut of capital” and fresh markets for industrial output were more important than the quest for raw materials or the factor of overpopulation. Africa and Asia offered many of the raw materials needed by the multiplying factories of Europe such as cotton, silk, rubber, vegetable oils and rare minerals. Many of those raw materials could be and were, got by trading without political control.
The pressure of population in Europe was becoming great by the early twentieth century, but it still found free outlet in migration to the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Neither Africa nor Asia offered climatic or economic conditions strong enough to attract large-scale white settlements and the pressure of population within Japan, China and India was so great that there was hardly any scope for immigration. The main impediments to European migration came only after 1918.
The search for markets to sell manufactured goods was an important factor, but here also the political factor was not less important than the purely economic factor. Upto 1870, British manufacturers of textiles, machinery and hardware found good markets in other European countries. After 1870, Germany, France, Belgium and other nations were able to satisfy their own home markets which they began to protect against imports from Britain by tariff barriers.
They even produced a surplus for which they wanted markets abroad. With increasing saturation of European markets, all started looking for more open markets overseas. They found their Governments responsive to national needs to undertake the political conquest of undeveloped territories. The vast undeveloped areas of Africa and Asia offered the most inviting opportunities provided they could be made safe for investment by conquering them.
The ports of Africa and the Far East were valuable as naval bases and ports of call and also for trade and investment. The international anarchy prevailing at that time gave an impetus to the general race for colonies. Normally, the co-existence of economic interests with political aims made a country imperialistic. In some countries like Russia and Italy, political considerations predominated.
Neither Italy nor Russia had a surplus of manufactures or capital to export, yet both of them joined in the race for colonies. Although Norway had a large merchant fleet, she did not join the race. The Dutch were active in colonialism before the more industrialised people of Belgium. What determined whether a country became imperialistic or not, depended more upon the activity of small groups of people, often intellectuals, economists or patriotic publicists or politicians who were anxious to ensure national security and self-sufficiency, than the economic conditions of the country itself Moreover, nations that had traditions of colonialism were more prompt to seek colonies than those nations which had no such traditions.
In addition to the above, there were many other considerations which created the desire for colonies. One of them was the activities of the explorers and adventurers. The names of Du Chaillu and De Brazza are associated with explorations in equatorial Africa. The name of Stanley is associated with explorations in the Congo basin, and of Karl Peters in East Africa. Men of initiative and energetic enterprise who wanted money and power also played their part. Such was the role of Cecil Rhodes in South Africa.
Christian missionaries also played their part in the spread of colonialism. The most famous among them was David Livingstone. He was originally sent to Africa by the London Missionary Society. Later on, he returned to Africa under Government auspices as an explorer “to open a path for commerce and Christianity”.
When he disappeared for some years in search of the source of the Nile, Stanley was sent to find him and he met him in 1872 on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. When Livingstone died in Africa in 1873, his body was taken to London under naval escort to be buried in West minister Abbey as a great national hero. France also sent many missions to Africa to convert the natives of Africa to Christianity.
The Catholic missions of France were exceptionally active. They were spread all over the world, including the near and Far East. In 1869, Cardinal Lavigerie founded the Society of African Missionaries who came to be known as “White Fathers”. By 1875, they spread from Algeria into Tunisia and set up a religions protectorate that preceded the political protectorate. Gambetta said of Cardinal Lavigerie that “his presence in Tunisia is worth an army for France” There were other French missions which penetrated into all the parts of Africa. They set up schools and medical services in Africa for the benefit of the natives. Belgian missionaries were active in the Congo.
Another element responsible for the growth of imperialism was the administrator and soldier who was not a missionary but welcomed an opportunity to bring order and efficient administration in the new colonies. To this category belonged Lord Cromer in Egypt, Lord Lugard in Nigeria, Lord Milner at the Cape, Marshal Lyautey in Morocco, and Karl Peters in German East Africa. Without their help, it would not have been possible to consolidate European control over Africa.
The sources and nature of the urge to imperialism were many and they varied considerably from one country to another. Sometimes trade followed the flag. Sometimes the flag accompanied the botanist and buccaneer, the Bible and the bureaucrat, the banker and the businessman. The unexplored and unexploited parts of the world offered temptations which could not be resisted in the modem world of competition. Those opportunities were availed of by the Europeans.
The acquisition of colonies was not connected with any one political party. The colonies of Belgium were mostly the personal achievement of the King of Belgium. In Germany and Britain, colonies were mainly the work of conservative Governments. However, former radicals like Joseph Chamberlain and Liberals like Lord Rosebery supported them. In France, they were the work of radical Europeans like Jules Ferry and Gambetta.
In Italy, colonies were the work of Liberals like Depretis. In Russia, colonization was mainly the work of official military class and bureaucracy. The beneficiaries of imperialism were not always those who initiated the same, although King Leopold of Belgium Cecil Rhodes and many other empire-builders made fortunes and got power. Men like Jules Ferry in France and Crispi in Italy earned a bad name for themselves for their achievements.
In Great Britain, Disraeli committed the Conservative Party to a general policy of imperialism m 1872. He bought the shares of the Suez Canal in 1875 and conferred the title of “Empress of India” upon Queen Victoria in 1877. In 1882, a colonial society was formed in Germany. In 1883 was set up a Society for German Colonisation. The Primrose League was set up in 1883 by the Conservatives m England. The Liberals also founded the Imperial Federation League. The British League was set up in 1894. The German Flottenverein was set up in 1898.
3. Russian Expansion in Asia:
There was a considerable power vacuum in Asia at the beginning of the nineteenth century and into that vacuum the energetic Europeans were bound to expand. Russia was the European power nearest to Asia and the Russians annexed vast areas of Asia. The Russians had been on the offensive in Asia since the sixteenth century. They had reached the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea before the end of the seventeenth century.
The region in which they made the advances now was Central Asia This region was occupied partly by primitive but settled agricultural people. Most numerous of the nomadic peoples were the Kazakhs who were Muslims. The Kirgiz were the close relatives of the Kazakhs. The Turkmen were settled farmers.
Fresh advances were made in the reign of Nicholas I. In 1839, the Russians attacked the independent Muslims principality of Khiva. In the 1840s and 1850s, the Russians built forts deep in country outside the original Russian borders in that region. Russian expansion in Central Asia continued unnoticed arid without protest. Only the British were alarmed at the advance of Russian forces towards India.
In the reign of Alexander II, the Russian advance continued more rapidly. The Czar and his Chancellor, Gorchakov, were anxious not to antagonize Britain but they were unable to control those elements in Russia who were eager for expansion. There were active local Governors like Muraviev (who was the Governor of Eastern Siberia from 1847 to 1861) and active military officers.
The army realised the ease with which vast new territories could be secured in Central Asia. The result was that while expansion was not the determined policy of the Russian Government, the officers on the spot could not be restrained from the kind of energetic action which was rewarded subsequently by promotion and military honours.
The Department dealing with Asia in the Foreign Ministry was also reluctant to be restrained by the Chancellor. Businessmen were anxious to secure concessions for exploiting the mineral wealth of Central Asia.
In the Far East, the forward policy of Muraviev secured the founding of Vladivostok in 1860. The policy of Ignatyev carved the Russian Maritime province out of the Chinese empire in the regions of the rivers Amur and Ussuri. For this acquisition, the approval of Alexander II had been obtained.
The same was the case with the conquest of the Caucasus region from 1857 to 1864. Gorchakov was opposed to Russian advance southwards, along the Eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, towards Persia. However, he could not prevent the establishment of a Trans-Caspian military district in 1874. Work was started on a Trans-Caspian railway in 1879. Farther to the East, earlier advances had been made.
The capture of Tashkent in 1865 was the work of a mere army colonel named Chemiaev who had no real authority from the Czar. In. 1866-67, the Governor-Generalship of Turkestan was formed from the conquests of the previous twenty years. The new post of the Governor-General was given to General Kaufman. It was under Kaufman that Russian expansion continued. Bokhara and Samarkand fell in Russian hands in 1868.
Russian imperial expansion in Turkistan East of the Capsian Sea brought her into contact with Afghanistan and Persia, just as her earlier spread southwards to the West of the Caspian had led to encroachment upon Persia.
Britain was afraid of Russian designs upon India and she supported the Afghans and Persians as buffers against such pressure. In 1885, they settled by arbitration details of the Russo-Afghan frontier in the Pendjeh area. By 1894, they reached an agreement about the frontiers between the Russian and Indian empires in the Pamir Mountains.
In 1890, the Persian Government was given a loan by Britain. Ten years later, Persia got a similar loan from Russia. In 1907, Britain and Russia signed a convention defining their spheres of influence and erecting neutral zones between them. The northern part of Persia, adjoining the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus, became a Russian sphere of influence.
The south-eastern part of Persia, adjacent of Afghanistan and India, became a British sphere of influence. Central Persia, including the Persian Gulf was to be a neutral zone. Russia renounced direct contact with Afghanistan. Tibet was made a neutral buffer state. In spite of that, the relations between Britain and Russia were strained till 1915 when Russia agreed to British control over the original neutral zone.
In the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, China was defeated and forced to sign the Treaty of Shimonosheki in 1895. By that treaty, China gave to Japan the Liao-Tung Peninsula, Port Arthur and the Island of Formosa. However, Russia, France and Germany forced Japan to return to China the Liao-Tung Peninsula and Port Arthur.
The Russian imperialists felt that Korea and Liao-Tung Peninsula were of vital importance to their country. If Japan dominated Korea, she would be able to control both sides of the Southern outlets of the Japan Sea on which was situated the Russian Port of Vladivostok, the intended terminus of the Trans-Siberian railway. If Japan annexed the Liao-Tung Peninsula, there would be no possibility of Russia getting an ice-free port in the South. Hence, Russian interests demanded that Japan must be ousted from those regions. Having deprived Japan of her spoils of victory, Russia started her influence in China by the establishment of the Russo-Chinese Bank. She also got Port Arthur from China.
Japan did not forgive Russia for the part played by her against her. Japan attacked Russia in 1904 and defeated her in 1905. By the Treaty of Portsmouth of 1905, Russia agreed to transfer to Japan the lease on the Liao-Tung Peninsula and Port Arthur and to cede to Japan the southern half of Sakhalin Island. Shortly afterwards, Japan and Russia agreed to delimit “spheres of influence” between themselves. Japan annexed Korea in 1910 and acquired railway concessions in Manchuria. In 1913, Russia established a virtual protectorate over Outer Mongolia.
4. Russian Expansion in China:
China was being ruled by the Manchu dynasty in the nineteenth century. However, the authority of the Manchu Emperors was somewhat shadowy. For all purposes of administration, the heads of the 18 provinces into which China was divided were largely independent. She was not only disunited but also militarily weak. The Chinese hated the foreigners. To keep the foreigners out of their country, the Chinese Government had restricted foreign trade to the port of Canton. However, the Government lacked the military force to resist foreign encroachments. They were forced to open more and more ports to foreign trade.
The first ports were opened as a result of the Opium War (1840-1842). In addition to cotton, the British East India Company was selling in Canton considerable quantities of opium produced in India. For some years, the Chinese took no action. However, when the opium trade grew to such proportions that it caused widespread demoralisation, the Chinese officials tried to stop the import of opium into China.
When other measures failed, the Chinese Imperial Commissioner in 1839 confiscated the opium held by some British merchants who at once called on the British Government to avenge the insult to the British flag. The British fleet smashed the forts at the entrance to the Canton River. British troops took possession of Canton and other maritime cities.
The first Opium War was concluded by the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 by which the Chinese Government agreed to pay the British a large indemnity, cede the Island of Hongkong to them and open four additional ports of Amoy, Fuchow, Ningpo and Shanghai to foreign trade. France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States also signed similar treaties giving them the same commercial rights.
These concessions did not satisfy the European nations and the United States for long. In 1843, the British signed a commercial treaty which extended their privileges by setting land aside for their residence. Similar advantages were secured by France and the United States from China.
These treaties marked the beginning of “the right of extra-territoriality”, i.e., the right which gave foreigners immunity from Chinese jurisdiction. Thereafter, a provision was incorporated in the treaties which all the Western nations signed with China. The result was that no foreigner residing in China was subject to Chinese law as regards his person or property. Any charge or claim against him had to be presented before the Consul of his own country and was judged according to the law of his nation.
The Treaty of Nanking which ended the first Opium War did not settle the opium question. During the succeeding period, its sale was extended to other ports. When the Chinese authorities in 1857 seized a small Chinese boat engaged in opium smuggling which was flying the British flag, the second Opium War broke out.
By the Treaty of Tientsin (1858), the Chinese Government agreed to open 14 additional ports to British trade, to open the Yangtse River to British ships, to allow British subjects to travel freely in China and to permit trade in opium. Other nations also succeeded in getting the same privileges from China.
Up to now, European efforts were restricted to obtaining commercial and extra-territorial rights. During the succeeding decades, many European powers proceeded to establish their domination over large sections of Chinese territory. Through the conquest of Cochin China, Cambodia, Tonking and Annam, France virtually laid claim to Southern China. The British also compelled China to recognise British sovereignty, over Burma in 1886. Japan forced China in 1895 to give her the Liaotung Peninsula together with Port Arthur, acknowledge the independence of Korea and surrender to Japan the Island of Formosa.
With the support of France and England, Russia forced Japan to give up her gains. Russia got from China Port Arthur. She also got permission to run a branch line of the Trans-Siberian railway (which had been built in 1892 with French help) through Manchuria. The British got a lease on the harbour of the Weihaiwei. France got several rail-road concessions and the control of the Bay of Qwang-Chow-Wan. Using the murder of two German missionaries as an excuse, Germany got a lease of Kiaochow Bay for 99 years.
The result was that by the end of the nineteenth century, the Chinese found that their best ports were leased to foreign nations and their coastal and inland trade was controlled by foreigners. Almost two-thirds of Chinese territory was marked out in “spheres of influence”. In 14 of her important ports, foreign settlements were established which were not subject to Chinese law.
All this created a feeling of humiliation and resentment among the Chinese. Kuanghsu, the Chinese Emperor, issued a series of reform edicts for the introduction of Western methods of education. He encouraged the building of rail-roads, the establishment of a bureau of mines and the translation of foreign technical and scientific literature into the Chinese language.
These measures created an alarm among the reactionaries in China. Tzu-hsi, the Dowager Empress, led the reactionaries, seized the reins of Government, dismissed the members of the reforms cabinet, revoked most of the reform edicts, suppressed the Chinese newspapers and persecuted all the progressive people. She encouraged the formation of societies whose object was to oppose the foreigners and everything foreign.
The most important of those societies was called Iho-chaun which is translated as “Righteous Harmony Fists”, popularly known as “Boxers”. Their aim was to exterminate all foreigners and destroy all traces of Western civilisation. Their main targets were the missionaries, churches and mission stations.
There were instances of looting, arson and murder in the spring of 1899. Bands of Boxers made widespread raids in which foreigners were murdered and their homes were looted and burnt. Many missionaries and thousands of Chinese Christians were killed. In Peking and other cities, the Boxers laid siege to the foreign legations.
A relief expedition consisting of British, French, and German, Russian, Japanese and U.S. troops was sent to China. The besieged foreign legations were rescued. The Boxer movement was stamped out with cruelty. By a treaty of 1901, China agreed to pay an indemnity of 325 million dollars, to punish the leaders of the Boxer rising and grant further commercial advantages to the foreign powers.
5. Russian Expansion in Japan:
Up to 1853, Japan was sealed against all foreign influences. However, in that year a squadron of US ships under Commodore Perry sailed into Yeddo Bay. The Commodore presented to the Japanese Government a friendly letter from the American President along with certain demands, one of which was that Japan be opened to foreign trade. The Japanese authorities accepted the demand and a treaty was signed in March 1854 which terminated the Japanese policy of exclusion. Similar treaties were made with Great Britain, Russia and France.
Up to 1867, the real power in Japan was in the hands of the Shagun, a great feudal lord. In that year, the Shogun was forced to resign and all power came into the hands of the Emperor of Japan. In 1871, feudalism was abolished in Japan. In 1889, the Emperor promulgated a constitution providing for a Parliament or an Imperial Diet of two Houses. That constitution was a gift from the Emperor to his people and did not limit full sovereignty in any way. Cabinet ministers were responsible only to him.
After 1868, changes were introduced in every phase of Japanese life. The laws of the country were revised on the basis of the Code Napoleon. A new educational system was introduced for all levels from elementary school to the university. Rail-road construction was started in 1870 and by 1900; there were more than 4,000 miles of rail-roads in operation in Japan.
By 1901, Japan had more than 5000 vessels built on the European pattern. French officers were called in 1866 to give military training. German officers replaced them after the Franco-Prussian war. The Japanese army was based on a combination of French and German tactics. A navy was also built and British experts were invited to organise it. Heavy industries were set up in the country. The Japanese imitated the European nations in the matter of imperialism.
In 1894, Japan attacked China and defeated her. By the treaty of 1895, China had to acknowledge the independence of Korea. She was to give Formosa to Japan and transfer to Japanese control the Liaotung Peninsula together with Port Arthur.
The Japanese were not prepared to forget that they were forced to give up their gains by Russia. Japan entered into an agreement with Britain in 1902. Japan launched a surprise attack on the Russian fleet at Port Arthur in February 1904 and inflicted heavy losses. The Russian fleet was destroyed bit by bit whenever Russian ships ventured out into the open.
On land also, the Japanese were successful against the Russian troops. The war ended in Russian defeat. By the treaty of 1905, Russia agreed to transfer to Japan the lease on the Liaotung Peninsula and Port Arthur and to cede to Japan the Southern half of Sakhalin Island. Japan annexed Korea in 1910. In 1931, she annexed Manchuna.
6. French Expansion:
France already possessed Pondicherry, Mahe and Chandranagar in India. She now extended her sphere of influence in China and South-East Asia. In 1844, she acquired the right to intervene on behalf of the Christian people in China. In 1858, France virtually got a protectorate over the Chinese Catholic converts. In 1860 she completed the conquest of Indo-China. In 1867, she annexed Cambodia and conquered Annam.
In 1885, the Chinese Government went to war in a vain effort to retain Tonking and was compelled to make a formal cession of both Tonking and Annam. The population of Indo- China was not very great but its area exceeded that of France. In 1893, when the French tried to extend their influence from Indo-China to Siam, Britain objected to a French naval blockade of Bangkok and the result was an agreement which preserved the integrity of Siam.
7. Expansion in Africa:
For a long time, Africa was regarded as the Dark Continent and not much was known about its people and natural resources. However, recent explorations revealed the unlimited industrial potentialities that lay hidden and buried in Africa. The Industrial Revolution demanded their exploitation and hence a scramble for colonies in that Continent.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were only a few European settlements in Africa. There were some English, French and Dutch trading stations on the North coast. In the South, England owned the Cape Colony and Natal.
It was the cherished desire of traders and statesmen to connect the Mediterranean with the Red Sea by means of a canal so that the sea route to the East might be cut down by several thousand miles. That desire was realised by Ferdinand de Lesseps, a French engineer, who conceived the plan of constructing a canal in 1854 and got concessions from the Khedive of Egypt.
In 1859, a company was floated for that purpose. The Suez Canal was completed by Lesseps in 1869. France scored a victory over the other European powers. It was realised that the country which controlled the Suez Canal would also control the new sea route to India. Prime Minister Disraeli realised the importance of the Suez Canal and wanted to have a share in its control. The Khedive Ismail Pasha owned 176,000 shares of the Suez Company. He was heavily in debt and hence was eager to sell his shares.
In spite of opposition from the Foreign Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Disraeli bought all of those shares in 1875 for £ 4,080,000. The result was that England became a dominant partner in the Company and her influence became supreme in its operation. The opening of the Suez Canal increased the importance of the Continent of Africa and a race started among the European powers for expansion in that Continent.
8. French Expansion in Africa:
The first movement of imperialism in Africa was the French conquest of Algeria. From the early sixteenth to the nineteenth century, the Algerian coastline was known to Europe as the home of the Barbary pirates. Algiers was nominally a part of the Ottoman Empire, but actually it was being ruled by one of the pirate chiefs who had taken up the title of Dey.
In 1827, the Dey believed that the French Consul was involved in dubious financial dealings in Algeria and he struck the Consul with his fan. An expedition was prepared by the Government of Charles X of France in the last weeks of its existence. Algiers was occupied by the French three weeks before the July Revolution of 1830 in Paris.
The British Government insisted that French interests in Algeria should not spread to Tunisia or Morocco. However, the British Government was happy that the French had found an outlet for their energy outside Europe. The French merely occupied the city of Algiers and a few other points along the coast.
In 1837, they occupied the city of Constantine. However, Abdel Kader, an Algerian nationalist leader, fought brilliant guerrilla wars against the French throughout the 1830s. Abdel Kader surrendered in 1847. By 1848, the conquest of Algeria was complete. The French Government organised Algeria into three Departments represented in the French Assembly in Paris.
During the reign of Napoleon III, the generals in Algeria succeeded in re-asserting their authority. Further campaigns had to be fought against the tribesmen in the interior It was only in 1879 that Algeria was placed under civil Government. Meanwhile, the economic development of Algeria was thorough and rapid. Roads were built and much land was cultivated. The French started settling in Algeria on a large scale. By 1847, there were already 109,000 Europeans in Algeria. Algeria doubled its population from 1841 to 1846.
Tunisia was coveted by both the French and Italians. The sea passage separating the African port of Tunis from Sicily was very brief and hence Italy was attracted towards it. France was interested because Tunis bordered Algeria and formed a part of the same geographical zone. The Bay of Tunis was under debt to France and the administration was very inefficient and corrupt.
There was no hope of the repayment of the French debt. France and Italy intervened in the internal affairs of Tunisia to set the administration in order. Bismarck suggested to Italy that she might annex Tunisia. At the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Bismarck hinted to France that she could establish her protectorate over Tunisia. Bismarck had three objects in mind. It would make the French forget the loss of Alsace and Lorraine for some time. It would stir up ill feelings between Italy and France. It would also throw Italy into the lap of Germany.
The relations between Algeria and Tunisia were not cordial. Tunisian tribesmen had aggressive designs on Algeria. In order to suppress them; the French attacked Tunisia in 1881, occupied and declared it a protectorate. “England was surprised, Italy was indignant but Germany approved” the French action. By the Treaty of Bardo of May 1881, the French protectorate over Tunisia was accepted by the Great powers. However, Italy was alienated for good.
The early beginnings of French and British empires in West Africa had already been made by 1830. At the most westerly point of the Continent of Africa, the French had been established in Senegal, on mouth of the Niger, since the early seventeenth century. In the late 1870s, they started moving up the Niger. By 1914, France held most of the territory in the North-West including French Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Dahomey and the French Congo.
There was a clash of interests between Britain and France. In 1890, an agreement was signed which recognised a French protectorate over the Island of Madagascar. It also recognised French ownership of the huge but barren area between Tunisia and Senegal (The Sahara Desert and French Sudan). In return, France accepted British claims in the region between the lower Niger Valley and Lake Chad.
The Sultan of Morocco gave refuge and assistance to Abdel Kader in 1841 and hence incurred the displeasure of France. A brief war was waged against Morocco in 1844 but the Sultan retained his independence until the twentieth century.
By the Entente Cordiale of 1904, France accepted the position of Britain in Egypt and in return Britain agreed to support France in Morocco. It was after 1904 that France started actively penetrating into Morocco. There were three Morocco crises in 1905-6, 1908 and 1911 and on all the three occasions, Britain supported France with regard to Morocco. France established her protectorate over Morocco.
9. British Expansion in Africa: South Africa:
The Europeans had been settled for many decades in South Africa. The Dutch had planted a calling station at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652 for the benefit of their East Indies trade. The Cape colony was occupied by the British during the Napoleonic Wars and was formally annexed in 1814.
The relations between the British and the old Dutch settlers known as the Boers were strained from the very beginning. They became worse on account of the restrictions imposed on slavery by the British Government. The Boers left the Cape colony and trekked to the Transvall and Orange Free State. By the Sand River Convention of 1852, Britain recognised the independence of the Transvaal in 1852 and of Orange Free State in 1854.
The British occupied Natal from 1824 to 1843. It remained a part of the Cape colony upto 1856 when it was separated. In 1893, it was granted responsible Government.
Moshesh, the Basuto tribal leader, made a treaty with the British in 1843 and Basutoland was placed under British protection. In 1868, his request “Let me and my people rest under the large folds of the flag of England” was accepted and British sovereignty was established over Basutoland.
There were terrible disturbances in the Transvaal by the tribal chiefs and the Boers were faced with complete destruction at their hands. The British Government intervened and suppressed the rebel chiefs. The Transvaal was annexed and the Boers were promised complete self-Government under the British. In 1879, the Zulus under Cetewayo declared war on the British. After an initial reverse Sir Garnet Wolseley decisively defeated the Zulus at Ulundi. Cetewayo was captured and deported to Cape Town. Order was restored in the Transvaal.
The Boers were now free from the Zulu danger and were in no mood to reconcile themselves to British conquest of the Transvaal. They raised the standard of revolt under the leadership of Kruger. The British were taken unawares and were defeated at Majuba Hill in February 1881. Before General Roberts who had been sent with large forces, was able to take any action. Sir Evellyn Wood, the British High Commissioner, had signed an agreement with the Boers granting them self-government under the Queen. The agreement was ratified by the Convention of London in February 1884.
Trouble broke out again in the Transvaal. There were a large number of foreigners, mostly English who were interested in gold mining. Their relations with the Government of the Transvaal were strained They were further worsened in 1896 when Dr. Jameson organised a raid on the Transvaal m the hope of overthrowing the Boer Government but failed. The British Government tried to intervene and negotiated to procure full citizenship rights for the foreigners. The British proposal was rejected by Kruger, President of the Transvaal.
Another war broke out between the Boers and the English in 1899 and continued upto 1902. The Boers fought heroically and inflicted several defeats on the British forces. Their courage and determination evoked sympathy in France, Germany and Russia but those countries were not able to intervene actively. The war dragged on. It was with great difficulty that General Roberts and Kitchener succeeded in wearing down the Boer opposition. The British Government accepted the proposal of Kitchener for a negotiated peace as against unconditional surrender of the Boers.
The Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in 1902. The Transvaal remained within the British Empire but no indemnity was imposed on the Boers. They were compensated for the burning of their farms. When General Botha, the Boer leader, visited England, he was given a hero’s welcome. In 1909, the English and Dutch colonies were united together as Union of South Africa.
10. British Expansion in Egypt:
Both France and England had their interests in Egypt and they got an opportunity to intervene in Egypt. Khedive Ismail was extremely extravagant and heavily in debt. His administration was corrupt and tyrannical. The English and French creditors were alarmed and in May 1876 was established an International Commission to safeguard their financial interests. Gradually, their joint control extended to other spheres also. Ismail was forced to abdicate in 1879 and his son Tewfik succeeded him. He was merely a puppet in the hands of the French and the English.
There was discontentment in Egypt. Arabi Pasha, an army General, staged a coup and demanded reforms. Tewfik surrendered and Arabi became a Minister. The demand of “Egypt for Egyptians” was raised. Law and order collapsed. Tewfik was helpless. Some Europeans were massacred at Alexandria and England decided “to act, if necessary alone”. The French refused to cooperate and thus Britain was left in sole control of Egypt.
Arabi Pasha was defeated in that battle of Tel-El Kabir. Cairo fell in the hands of the British. Arabi was tried and sentenced to death but later on deported to Ceylon. Bismarck supported British action but Turkey and Russia condemned it. France was terribly indignant. Prime Minister Gladstone assured the Great Powers that as soon as order was restored in Egypt, British forces would be withdrawn. Order was never restored and hence the British protectorate over Egypt continued. France continued to be hostile till 1904.
11. British Expansion in Sudan:
Sudan was politically a part of Egypt. However, in 1883, the people of Sudan revolted under their Mahdi, Muhammed Ahmed. The Khedive sent General Hicks to suppress the revolt but he was outnumbered and killed.
In January 1884, General Gordon was despatched against the rebels but he was besieged by the followers of Mahdi at Khartoum. As he got no help, he was killed and Khartoum was captured by the rebels. The British withdrew their forces from Sudan.
Britain made it clear that she would look upon any advance of the French into the Upper Nile valley as a hostile act. In 1895, Sir Edward Grey declared in the House of Commons that the advance of a French expedition from the other side of Africa towards the Nile “would be an unfriendly act and would be so viewed by England.”
In March 1896, Britain decided to reconquer Sudan and assembled a strong Anglo-Egyptian force in Egypt under Kitchener. From Uganda in the South, the rail-road was pushed northwards and some began to dream of one continuous Cape to Cairo territory all under British control. At that time, the Frenchmen tried the completion of one continuous belt of French territory stretching from Dakar to the Gulf of Aden, from the basin of the Congo and French West Africa right across the upper reaches of the Nile and joining on to Abyssinia and French Somaliland in the East.
The missing link was the gap between the southern-most limits of effective Egyptian power in the Sudan and the northern-most bounds of British power in Uganda. The strategic point in this gap was Fashoda. There began in 1896 a great race. The French leader was Captain Marchand. His march across Africa was an epic adventure. After more than a year, Marchand reached Fashoda on 16 July 1898 and hoisted the French flag over the fort.
A fortnight later, two messengers arrived from Kitchener announcing that British forces had destroyed the Sudanese rebels at the battle of Omdurman and Kitchener himself would soon arrive at Fashoda. A few hours later, Kitchener arrived with 5 gunboats and about 2000 men. The French had won the race in time but Kitchener was there with superior force, firmly based on the Nile and on British sea power in the Mediterranean. Marchand’s garrison was no match for him.
There was a danger of a war between Britain and France. Both the officers agreed to refer the matter to their respective Governments. An agreement was reached in March 1889. The watershed of the Nile and the Congo was made the dividing line between British and French spheres of influence. Though France was totally excluded from the Nile valley, she secured all her gains west of the watershed. She consolidated the whole hinterland of French West Africa. Delcasse, the new French Foreign Minister, played a crucial role in this matter.
The early beginnings of the French and British empires in Africa had already been made by 1830. At the most westerly point of Africa, the French had been established in Senegal, on the mouth of the Niger, since the early seventeenth century. In the late 1870s, they started moving up the Niger. British footholds existed in 1830 at Sierra Leone, the Gold Coast and Gambia. In 1847, Liberia became in independent republic. The nucleus of what was to be Nigeria was formed in 1861 when the British signed treaties with native chiefs on the Lagos cost where missionaries had been active for about 15 years. Britain occupied Somaliland which faces the entrance to the Red Sea at its southern end.
12. Belgian Expansion in Africa:
In the last years of the eighteenth century, Mungo Park explored the Niger valley until his death in 1805. Barth covered immense distances between 1849 and 1853 by crossing the Sahara from Tripoli to the Niger and Lake Chad. David Livingstone (1813-1873) originally left England in 1840 and did not return for 16 years. Between 1841 and 1853, he explored the Zambesi basin.
In 1855, he discovered what he called Victoria Falls. In 1859, he discovered Lake Nyasa. In the late 1860s he disappeared in Tanganyika. Stanley found him at Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika in 1871. Livingstone died two years later.
Impressed by the potential wealth to be drawn from Africa, Stanley returned to Europe to raise capital. He eventually secured the financial backing of King Leopold II of Belgium who had also been impressed by the possibility of exploiting the wealth of the Congo. Foreseeing a scramble for Central Africa, Leopold called an international conference at Brussels in 1876 to draw up regulations for the exploration and colonization of Africa.
The International African Association was founded at Brussels, with considerable sums from the private fortune of Leopold invested in it and branches in several countries. In 1878, Leopold and Stanley joined forces. When Stanley returned to Africa in 1879, it was to establish posts in the Congo Basin as an agent of the International African Association. The main object was to have quick financial returns and while doing so, the natives were oppressed.
As the territorial claims of the International African Association based on the explorations of Stanley clashed with those of the French, British, Portuguese and Germans, a conference of the interested powers was held in Berlin near the end of 1884. The United States and all the European states, with the exception of Switzerland, were represented.
At that conference, Leopold succeeded in obtaining recognition of the claims of the International African Association to the Congo territory and a new state embracing an area of 900,000 square miles was organised. It was called Independent State of the Congo, but was also known as the Congo Free State. Before long, the venture originally conceived as an international undertaking, was transformed into a strictly Belgian affair.
In 1887, Leopold paid back all the contributions the Association had received from non-Belgians. By 1890, all the important officials of the new state were Belgians. Although the promoters had promised at Berlin to look after the moral and material well-being of the natives, they were treated mercilessly and with great difficulty, their condition improved. The new state was put under full Belgian sovereignty in 1908.
13. German Expansion in Africa:
To begin with, Bismarck was against any colonial enterprise. After the Industrial Revolution in Germany, Germany began to feel the need of raw materials and foreign markets and suitable settlements for her increasing population. Germany felt “too cribbed, cabined and confined” and demanded “a place in the Sun.” Bismarck now followed a forward colonial policy. As expansion in America was not possible on account of the Monroe Doctrine, he turned his attention to Africa.
Von der Decken, a German, had already explored East Africa and suggested to the German Government the desirability of establishing a German colony there. In 1882, the German Colonial Union was formed. Within two years (1884-85), Germany established her protectorate over German South-West Africa, Togoland, Cameroon and Tanganyika. These were very profitable possessions acquired “without a fleet and without moving a soldier”. The British did not oppose German expansion in Africa. As a matter of fact, Gladstone welcomed it.
When after the Entente Cordiale of 1904 between France and Britain France tried to penetrate into Morocco, Germany resisted it. William II went to Tangier in 1905 to show that Germany was interested in Morocco and would not allow France to swallow the same. The dispute was referred to the Algeciras Conference in 1906. Britain supported France against Germany. In the Casablanca case of 1908, Britain again supported France against Germany and the latter had to keep quiet.
In 1911, the Panther, the German gunboat, was sent to Agadir and Germany refused to withdraw the ship unless her own interests were safeguarded. Britain again supported France against Germany and the latter had to give way. Later on, a Franco-German agreement provided for German consent to the occupation of Morocco by France and Spain in return for a section of the French Congo.
14. Italian Expansion in Africa:
The ambitions of Italy were thwarted in Tunisia by France and she felt frustrated. However, she also had her share of the scramble in Africa. In 1882, she occupied Assab which finally led to her acquisition of Eritrea in 1885.
By the Treaty of Ucciali of 1889, the Emperor of Abyssinia was believed to have recognised an Italian protectorate over his country. However, Italian forces were defeated by Abyssinia at Adowa in 1896.
In 1911, Italy began the process of dismembering the Turkish Empire. Many Italians felt that the territories of North Africa which touched the Mediterranean rightfully belonged to Italy since they had been a part of the old Roman Empire. However, the other European powers had taken all the North-African territories except Tripoli. For some years, there was a gradual occupation of Tripoli by Italians.
When Italy found chaos in Turkey in 1911, she decided that time had come to occupy the province. Italian troops occupied the coastal towns, but their hold on the interior was precarious on account of native opposition instigated by Turkish agents. In order to compel the Turkish Government to release its hold on the province, the Italian force seized the Dodecanese in the Aegean Sea. Harassed by internal troubles, Turkey was forced to open peace negotiations with Italy. On 15 October 1912, a treaty was signed by which Turkey gave Tripoli to Italy.
It is clear from above that Britain got the lion’s share in Africa she got all the principal areas which were climatically suitable for White settlers. She nearly completed her all-British route from
Cairo to the Cape Colony, Except for Dakar, she held each of the key points for the strategic control of Africa from Gibraltar to Simons-town, from Alexandria, to Durban. She bestrode three out of the four great African rivers on which the share of trade and civilisation largely depended. However, the French share was the largest in area, though not in population.
It included a portion of the fourth river basin, the Congo and Madagascar, the third largest Island in the world. In the North, her African colonies were ideally situated for the French colonial policy of assimilation. The experience of the Germans in Africa was disappointing. Not one of their colonies there ever paid its way. None of them proved attractive to German emigrants who were flocking to America.
In 1914, there were more Germans earning their livelihood in Paris than in all the German colonies put together. Serious native wars cost money and damaged prestige. The Germans were rightly accused of cruel treatment of the native population. As a market for German goods, the German colonies proved negligible.
However, in 1914, the Germans were just turning over their colonies to an alternative use as plantations which could supply all the needs of German industry for rubber, oilseeds, cotton and other raw materials. In 1911, the acquisition of two considerable portions of the French Congo, which might have paved the way for larger acquisitions from Belgium, made those schemes feasible.
The opening of Africa to European influences was one of the most important enterprises in European history. Four of the six Great Powers took part in it. Considerable shares were also allotted to Belgium and Holland. They worked in rivalry with each other but accepted common rules of procedure and a system of peaceful bargaining within the general framework of the Concert of Europe. It was indeed an important achievement for Europe to divide the entire Continent of Africa without a European war.
Australia was discovered in 1606 by Captain Jansz, a Dutchman. In 1788, the British made their first settlement in Australia. At that time, Australia was inhabited by about 200,000 natives whose way of life had probably not changed for thousands of years. The civilization which, was built up in Australia in the nineteenth century was simply the result of strange geographical conditions playing upon an English community.
The first settlement in 1788 was of 717 convicts at Port Jackson where the city of Sydney was built later on. Over the years, some 60,000 or 70,000 more convicts were transported to Australia from Britain until the practice was ended in 1840. By 1840, the convicts were already a small minority of the population. Six separate colonies were founded by settlers in Australia between 1825 and 1859.
It was almost certain that the whole of Australia would become British. During the succeeding years, there was rapid development of sheep-breeding and corn-growing. In 1851, gold was struck in Australia, and that attracted many settlers.
By 1859, there were six states in Australia and each state had a Government like that of Britain. The advancement of a federal Australia came slowly. In 1881, the project was temporarily laid aside. However, negotiations were resumed. In 1897, an agreement was reached on a plan which the British Government embodied in the Australian Commonwealth Act of 1900.
17. New Zealand:
New Zealand was discovered by Captain Cook in 1770. After that, the Island was left to sealers, whalers and traders of various kinds. There were rumours of French designs on New Zealand and that moved the British Government to sign an agreement in 1840 with the Maoris, the natives of New Zealand. That agreement put New Zealand under British protection. British settlers began to migrate to New Zealand. In 1867, self-Government was given to New Zealand. In 1907, New Zealand became a Dominion. She also became a separate nation of the British Empire.
18. The Pacific Islands:
The Dutch Empire of the East Indies had been founded as early as the seventeenth century. New Guinea was added in 1828. Under the harsh regime of the Dutch Governors, the East Indies were exploited with ruthlessness for the economic advantage of Holland.
The ownership of Ceylon, the coastal regions of Burma and the Straits Settlements of Singapore, Malacca and Penang put Britain in a strong position for further expansion. The French had been established in Tahiti since 1843 and had recently taken possession of New Caledonia. To Germany, the impulse to expand in the Pacific came in 1884.
In 1874, the British annexed the Fiji Islands. In 1884, the Germans took North-Eastern New Guinea. There was opposition from Australia but without any result. The Germans also secured the Offshore Islands which they named after Bismarck and within two years the neighbouring Solomon Islands and the Marshall group Islands.
In 1888, Britain set up a protectorate over North Borneo where a chartered British North Borneo Company had been active since 1881 and where in Sarawak, Rajah Brooke had established a remarkable personal power as an independent sovereign. By the end of the century, Britain also took the South Solomon, Tonga and Gilbert Islands. France occupied the Marquesas, the Society Islands and other small groups adjoining Tahiti which she had held since 1843. After her war with Spain, the United States annexed Puerto Rico and set up a protectorate over Cuba in the Caribbean Sea and also took the Philippines and the Hawaiian Islands.
American trade interests required the maintenance at least of coaling stations. That brought the Americans to Samoa. In 1889, a hurricane dispersed the warships of the three Great Powers. Friction continued. After the defeat of Spain in 1899, the United States divided Samoa with Germany and Britain. The Philippines was put under direct American control. The United States also annexed Guam. The rest of the Marianas and the Caroline Islands were sold by Spain to Germany. In 1899, Hawaii was annexed by the United States.
19. South and Central America:
In the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the mixed people of the Spanish and Portuguese Empire in Central and South America secured their independence. By 1825, only the small colonies of British, French and Dutch Guiana were being ruled from Europe. By the end of 1830, revolutions against Spain and against the heirs of Spain had transformed Spanish America into 11 independent states.
These states were Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile and the United Provinces of La Plata (which became Argentina) in South America, and Mexico and the United Provinces of Central America. From Colombia Panama seceded in 1903. In the 1840s, Central America broke up into the five separate republics of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Salvador and Costa Rica. Santo Domingo became a state distinct from Haiti. Cuba became an independent republic in 1899.
The largest and the most important state of South America was Portuguese-speaking Brazil. Its area exceeded that of the United States.
Its economic resources and development were remarkable. By 1914, it was furnishing almost three-fourth of the world’s coffee, exporting large amounts of timber, minerals and meat and producing manufactured goods worth half a billion dollars. Monarchy was set up in Brazil in 1822 by a branch of the Portuguese royal family.
There was a movement against Pedro I of Brazil and he was forced to abdicate in 1831 in favour of his five-year old son, Pedro II. Pedro II ruled from 1831 to 1889. He was proclaimed of age in 1840. He was an enlightened prince and inveterate reformer. The slave trade was abolished in 1853. Negro slavery was ended in 1888.
The link between Brazil and Europe in the reign of Pedro II was mainly an economic one. British investors, in particular, preferred Brazil to the other South American states, partly because of its comparatively stable regime. The Rothschilds of London provided considerable sums for the development of Brazil, especially for the building of the railways.
However, Pedro II was overthrown in 1889 by influential landlords who resented the loss of their slaves and army officers who did not approve of the subordinate position in which they were kept by Pedro II. Marshal Fonseca proclaimed republic in Brazil in November 1889. Pedro II offered no resistance and he and his family were exiled.
Marshal Fonseca was a military dictator. He was accused of corruption and overthrown in 1891 by Marshal Peixoto. Peixoto retired in 1894 and the republic passed into civilian hands and gradually gained stability and respect.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, Argentina was a prey to civil war and military dictatorship, but from 1862, under a more orderly republican Government, it gained in population and material well-being. In 1829, Juan Manuel de Rosas became the Governor of Buenos Aires and in 1835 seized power as dictator of Argentina.
He remained dictator until 1852. His bad treatment of French subjects in Buenos Aires led to a blockade of the city by the French in 1838. The French were allied with Uruguay which Rosas had tried to annex.
The British also sympathised with Uruguay and joined the blockade in 1845. The French and British were persuaded to lift the blockade without toppling Rosas from power. However, he fell in 1852 as a result of internal rebellion rather than external pressure. Rosas went into exile in England where he spent the rest of his life.
After the fall of Rosas, the constitution for the Argentine confederation was drawn up and finally accepted by the whole country in 1861. The constitution followed the pattern of the United States. Argentina enjoyed considerable economic development in the 1860s. The railways were built and immigration from Europe started. British investment played an important role in the development of Argentina.
Francisco Solano Lopez was the dictator of Paraguay. He made war on a triple alliance of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. In the six years of bitter fighting from 1864 to 1870, more than half of the population of Paraguay and some nine-tenths of her men were exterminated. From this war of mass slaughter and destruction, the European states kept aloof. Napoleon III was busy in Mexico and the rest of Europe was fully occupied by the German Question.
Chile had greater political stability than her neighbours. She had close trade links with Britain. The rich nitrate industry depended heavily on British capital. Chile received immigrants from Europe, particularly from Germany. Peru and Bolivia, with their acute poverty, corrupt Government and political instability, did not attract European immigrants or capital. As a result of a war with Bolivia and Peru in 1879-1883 Chilean rule was extended northward over the provinces of Tacna and Africa, with their rich nitrate deposits.
Mexico was the most populous of all the Spanish American states. Though exceeded in area by Argentina, it had twice its population. Mexico was relatively backward. Most of the country’s basic agriculture was conducted on extensive plantations. The condition of the lower classes was deplorable.
Before the intervention of Napoleon III in Mexico in the 1860s, Mexico had been the battlefield for a struggle between the forces of the church and the landowners on one hand and the anti-clericals and the working class on the other. The civil war was won in 1860 by the radical leader, Benito Juarez, who as President inherited a land disorganised and hopelessly impoverished by the fighting.
In 1861, he suspended payments on foreign loans. France, Britain and Spain signed a treaty in London by which they agreed to combine efforts for an intervention in Mexico for the specific and only object of securing the financial interests of their subjects. Napoleon III had more ambitious plans than the Governments of Britain and Spain. A group of Mexican exiles in Europe hoped to establish a monarchy in Mexico.
In order to please the French Catholics, Napoleon III decided that the civil war in the United States provided an opportunity for a major French intervention in Mexico. If a liberal Catholic prince could be put on the throne of Mexico, the spread of “Anglo-American barbarism” in North America could be halted. Napoleon did not want to colonise Mexico for France, but merely wanted to create a zone of political influence as a base for economic exploitation.
The Anglo-France-Spanish expedition arrived in Mexico and occupied Vera Cruz in December 1861. When Napoleon tried to restore monarchy in Mexico, the Governments of Britain and Spain protested and they withdrew their forces in April 1862. Napoleon III was left alone in the field.
He decided to put Archduke Maximilian, brother of Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria-Hungary, on the throne of Mexico. As the Governor of Lombardy, Maximilian had acquired a reputation as a liberal and effective administrator. In June 1865, the French army entered Mexico City. An assembly of notables was called to prepare the way for monarchy.
In 1864, Maximilian assumed the title of Emperor of Mexico. For two years, he reigned in Mexico City while Juarez maintained his authority both to the North and to the South. As soon as the Civil War ended in the United States in 1865, the Government of the United States demanded the evacuation of the French army whose presence in Mexico was against the Monroe Doctrine.
In 1866, Napoleon began to withdraw his troops from Mexico. By the spring of 1867, the last of Napoleon’s troops left Mexico and Maximilian found himself without support. Napoleon advised Maximilian to escape back to Europe, but Maximilian resisted to the end. He was taken a prisoner and was executed by a firing squad on 19 June 1867. Juarez again became the President of the republic of Mexico and for the remaining five years of his life stayed at the head of a reforming Government.
Both the United States and Britain were interested in the construction of a canal which connected the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Besides her West Indian colonies, Britain had for some years claimed a protectorate over the Indians of the so-called Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua and Honduras.
In 1841, the British occupied the Bay Islands, off the coast of Honduras and established a naval base at Belize. During the war between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848, the British occupied the Port of San Juan and renamed it Greytown.
This shows that Great Britain did not care for the Monroe Doctrine in the 1840s. However, as soon as the United States freed herself from the Mexican war, she followed a policy of strong diplomatic pressure to prevent Britain from dominating the potential canal routes.
The United States and Britain signed the Clayton-Bulwer treaty in 1350 by which both powers agreed that any future canal would be free from the exclusive control of either of them and would be a neutral waterway, without fortifications on its banks and neither power would in future extend her sovereignty into Central America.
By the Treaty of 1901, Great Britain surrendered her rights in favour of the United States. The Panama Canal was to be constructed, maintained and protected by the United States but to be opened to the vessels of all nations. The Canal was eventually constructed and opened in 1914.
25. The United States:
From the time of her getting independence, the United States was becoming more and more powerful. The famous Monroe Doctrine of 1823 was an assertion of the right of a strong nation which was prepared to go to war to save America from intervention of European powers. By the 1850s, the United States had become a force to be reckoned with throughout the American Continent.
The long and terrible Civil War from 1861 to 1865 weakened her. When the Federal Union of the North established a naval blockade of the Confederate states of the South, it became clear that the war would have grave economic effects in Europe, particularly in England. The cotton industries of Europe depended very heavily for their raw cotton on the Southern states of the United States.
By far the largest cotton industry in the world was in Lancashire. By 1860, 72 per cent of the cotton required in Lancashire came from the Southern States of the United States. The blockade of the South led to an acute cotton famine in Lancashire with the resulting slump, unemployment and widespread suffering. French cotton industries also suffered, particularly those in Normandy.
The Confederacy of the South hoped for European intervention in the form of pressure to stop the blockade and also in the form of friendly mediation. They hoped that the European powers would at least grant them recognition as an independent country. The Confederacy assumed that Britain and France were bound to come to their aid on account of cotton famine and for that reason the South was inclined to withhold cotton even when it was possible to break the blockade.
When Englishmen first heard of the differences between North and South in the United States, they interpreted them as simply a defence of the institution of slavery by the Southern states and its rejection by the Northern states.
Palmerston, the Prime Minister of England from 1859 to 1865, was inclined to sympathise with the struggle of the Confederacy as one of national independence.
He had an ulterior motive as the split between North and South would become permanent and would forever weaken a growing rival to British power. However, he had no intention of intervening unless forced to do so by some issue of British prestige. Mainly because of the condition of Lancashire, Gladstone tended to sympathise more overtly with the South. Disraeli made no secret of his sympathy for the North. However, all Englishmen were concerned about the defence of Canada.
Both Britain and France followed a policy of neutrality, but they were reluctant to recognise the South or even to protest at the blockade. In November 1861, the Confederate states of the South sent two agents. Mason and Slidell aboard a British steamer, the Trent, across the Atlantic to negotiate with Britain and France.
A warship of the United States intercepted the Trent and removed Mason and Slidell. The British Government protested strongly and seemed to threaten war against the North. President Lincoln and his Secretary of State had not authorised the removal of Mason and Slidell from the Trent.
The result was that the Federal Government released Mason and Slidell. By the spring of 1862, the French Government was more willing to intervene in favour of the South either by breaking the blockade or at least giving diplomatic support to the South by mediation. Palmerston was reluctant to abandon neutrality and Napoleon would not act without Britain. In January 1863, the French Government offered its good offices to both sides but the same were rejected by President Lincoln.
During the nineteenth century, all those who were in trouble in Europe migrated to the United States. Most of them were from Western and Central Europe. The largest number of emigrants came from Ireland. Many came from Germany, England, France, Switzerland, Scandinavia and the Low Countries. Many of the emigrants from the mainland of Europe were Jews. A few Italians also went to the United States. There was a lot of work in America in the ambitious projects of canal, road and railway-building.
After the conquest of Canada by the British, an irresponsible Government was set up in Canada by the Act of 1791. The British colonists had a majority in Upper Canada and the French colonists had a majority in Lower Canada. Led by a young Frenchman named Louis J. Papineau, the French party in Lower Canada raised the standard of revolt in 1837. A party in Upper Canada led by William Lyon Mackenzie followed suit.
The rebellion was more violent in Upper Canada than in Quebec. The risings were put down. In 1838, Lord Durham, a distinguished member of the Whig cabinet, was sent to Canada as the Governor of the whole of Canada. He remained in Canada for about five months. He resigned on account of his criticism in the British Parliament.
He was the victim of party and personal politics of England. On his return to England, he submitted his famous report to the Parliament known as Durham Report. The Report “arrested men’s attention throughout the Empire in 1839 and has kept its pages fresh and influential to the present day”.
The Report contained a full description of the situation in Canada and the proposed sweeping changes in colonial policy. Examining the history of six provinces of Canada, Lord Durham declared that “the natural state of Government in all these colonies is that of collision between the Executive and the representative body.” He declared that the situation in Canada “was the unavoidable result of a system which stinted the unpopular branch of the legislature of necessary privileges of a representative body.”
The Assembly in Lower Canada had been conducting “a constant warfare with the executive for the purpose of obtaining the powers inherent in the representative body by the very nature of representative Government.” Durham recommended complete home rule by an elected and responsible government, with the imperial Government retaining control only over the drawing up of the constitution, foreign affairs, and the regulation of trade and disposal of land. Upper and Lower Canada were to be integrated into a single colonial state.
The Durham Report has been called “the Magna Carta of the colonies”, “the most valuable document in the English language on the subject of colonial policy”, and the “textbook of every advocate of colonial freedom in all parts of the globe”. The Report is asserted to have “broadened, once for all, the lines of constructive statesmanship in all that relates to the colonial policy of England.”
The Union Act of 1840 incorporated much of the Durham Report, but did not introduce responsible Government in the sense intended by Durham. The Governor-General was still to remain responsible to the Government in London and not to the Assembly in Canada. Full responsible Government was achieved in the time of Lord Elgin, the son-in-law of Lord Durham who was the Governor-General of Canada from 1847 to 1853.
The two provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were granted responsible Government in 1847. The British North America Act was passed in 1867. It created a Confederation of Canada out of the two parts of united Canada (Quebec and Ontario), Nova Scotia and Brunswick.
The westward expansion of Canada over the Rocky Mountains led to the establishment of the colony of British Columbia in 1858. The province of Manitoba was founded in 1870. The British North America Act of 1867 continued to be in force till 1982 when it was replaced by a new constitution of Canada.
27. Contraction of Europe:
If there was expansion of Europe during the nineteenth century, it contracted during the twentieth century. There were many factors which were responsible for this. Colonial ambitions and rivalries played little or no part in the policy of Hitler who was pre-eminently continental and racialist in outlook. He concentrated upon power in Europe.
He thought of the Balkans and South-Western Russia as a richer field of colonial gains than overseas territories. Though he never gave up German claims to overseas colonies, he was prepared to subordinate them to conquests in Europe. Colonial issues became prominent only after the entry of Italy and Japan into the War.
The reverses of the Western powers, particularly those of the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Britain exposed to revolutionary forces the overseas possessions of those powers in Africa and Asia, the Near East and the Far East. A few years of Japanese invasion and occupation of parts of Indo-China, Malaya, Burma and Indonesia transformed those countries into more self-conscious, naturalistic and psychologically detached people.
Both the Soviet Union and the United States after the World War II were in sentiment and in policy hostile to colonialism. The predominance of left wing sentiment throughout Europe after 1945, whether socialist or Catholic democrat, militated against the old-fashioned spirit of imperialism. Public opinion in Western Europe was now more responsive to the principle that colonial peoples should be encouraged to seek independence and helped to win rights of self-determination.
This change was not a sudden by-product of the World War I. Its roots lay deeper. Upto 1914, the relationship between the colonies and the colony-owners was that of political dependence, racial inequality and economic subservience. Politically, the colonies were governed by decisions taken in London or Paris, Brussels or Berlin, Lisbon or Amsterdam. Socially, the members of the imperial power resident in the colonies established for themselves a position of racial superiority and influence.
They were mostly concerned in administering, developing and generally running the country. They acquired much of the best land, the best houses and social amenities of a ruling group. Economically, the main functions of the colonies were to supply raw materials for use in the manufactures of the governing country, to provide markets for its manufactured goods and to be secure places of investment for commercial enterprise and surplus capital.
The relationship varied from one empire to another. Even in 1914, it was modified here and there by limited participation of the native inhabitants in running their own affairs or by the development of certain native industries and enterprises. Such a policy was followed by Britain in Nigeria.
The colonial revolution of the twentieth century was much more than a colonial revolt. One of its roots was the growth of population, wealth, literacy and national awareness among the peoples of the colonial territories. There was a demand for ending political dependence, racial inequality and economic subservience.
The demand grew with the spread of Westernization itself it was nourished by the liberal ideals of freedom, equality and industrialism within the colonies. The demand was greatly accelerated and intensified by the two World Wars. There was also a change in the policies, attitudes, circumstances and needs of the colonial powers.
They were too weak to preserve colonial relationships of the old pattern. They were compelled to discover new relationship as tutors, trustees, partners or allies and not conquerors, rulers, administrators, or exploiters. This important change took place mainly after 1919.
28. The Mandate System:
The World War I produced the first major change. The extent of colonial empires was not diminished in any way The British, French, Belgian, Dutch and Portuguese empires lost none of their territories. Italy gained by additions to Libya and Somaliland. Japan gained more than Italy Germany alone lost all her overseas possessions.
Those were administered after 1918 by the powers which had seized possession of them during the World War I. However, they were administered under the new principle of Mandates, whereby the administering powers undertook specific obligations towards the inhabitants of those territories. For the fulfillment of those obligations, they became accountable to the Permanent Mandates Commission and had to report annually to the Council of the League of Nations.
This acceptance of a code of behaviour by the colonial powers was an important event. Great Britain was appointed the mandatory power for Iraq and Palestine. Iraq became in 1937 an independent sovereign state. She also became a member of the League of Nations. Syria and Lebanon were put under the mandate of France. During World War II, France agreed to recognise their independence on certain conditions.
Those countries were recognised as independent states and became the original members of the United Nations. Great Britain was given class B mandate with regard to British Cameroon, the British Togoland and Tanganyika. France was given Class B mandate with regard to French Cameroon and French Togoland. Belgium was appointed mandatory for Ruanda-Urundi. South-West Africa was put under Class C mandate of the Union of South Africa, Samoa under New Zealand, Nauru under Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and north of the Equator under Japan and those South of the Equator under Australia.
29. British Empire:
Important changes took place within the British Empire and the Commonwealth. They set a new standard of principles and aims in colonial administration. The autonomy and independence of the Dominions was formally recognised in the Statute of Westminster. Separate representation was given to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa and India at the Paris Conference in 1919. They were also made members of the League of Nations.
As regards India, the Government of India Act was passed in 1919. It introduced dyarchy in the provinces. Many other changes were made giving more scope for participation in the Government by the Indians. As the reforms of 1919 did not satisfy the Indians, a new Government of India Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1935. It granted provincial autonomy and also provided for a sort of dyarchy in the Federal Government. The Act separated Burma from India.
As a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, the Irish Free State was set up in 1922 with the status of a British dominion. The six northern provinces of Ulster were to remain separate as Northern Ireland which was to send representatives to the British parliament at Westminster. In 1932, de Valera came to power as the Head of a new party called the Fianna Fail (Soldiers of Destiny). Bit by bit, he demolished the provisions of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and promulgated a new constitution in 1937. He severed all formal links with the United Kingdom and made the Irish Free State (Eire) an independent sovereign state. Between 1939 and 1945, Eire remained neutral.
30. The French Empire:
There was a tendency in the British Empire to concede increasing measures of independence and responsibility for self-Government. However, such a tendency was less conspicuous in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal. In France, the theory of colonial rule shifted officially from that predominant before 1914 of assimilation, spreading French culture and civilisation throughout her territories and making Africans not better Africans but better Frenchmen.
It changed officially to the theory of association, greater respect for native traditions and ways of life, but a strengthening of their economic and political links with France. However, the change in French policy by 1939 was more apparent than real, more theoretical than substantial. Strong economic interests linked France with her overseas territories. By 1939, France was drawing nearly one-third of her imports from her own colonies and sending nearly one-third of her exports to them.
Those economic links strengthened the tendencies to assimilation. The general distinction between French citizens and French subjects was also maintained. Most of the French colonies were economically subservient. Madagascar was obliged to have the same high tariff walls as France although the free import of cheap textiles would have helped the people of Madagascar.
31. The Belgian Empire:
The Belgian Congo, together with the mandatory territory of Ruanda-Urundi, was more than 78 times larger than Belgium. The Netherlands East Indies were 54 times bigger in area than the Netherlands. Portuguese West Africa was 23 times larger than Portugal. Each power had its own policy towards her colonies.
The Belgian Government adopted a paternalist policy of progressive social and economic development. There was no question of any partnership in responsibility or attainment of self-Government in the long run. The economic growth of the Congo was shaped according to the needs of Belgium. By 1939, the Congo was shipping more than 80 per cent of its exports to Belgium and got from Belgium nearly half of its imports.
The Congo administration concentrated on improving conditions in agriculture, transport, education and public health. It treated its colonial dependants as primitive and backward. Nothing was done to allow the participation of the people in the administration of their country. The result was that when the Congo was granted independence in 1960, it was absolutely unprepared for it.
31. The Dutch Empire:
Dutch colonial policy was traditionally firm and paternalistic. There was a growth of Indonesian nationalist movement beginning in 1908. Various concessions were made to the people for their participation in politics and public life. There was also a tendency towards assimilation. In 1922, the constitution of the Netherlands was amended to make Indonesia a part of the Dutch Kingdom. The people of Indonesia complained of racial discrimination and gross economic inequality. There was virtually no middle-class in Indonesia.
As regards Portugal, the Colonial Act of 1933 centralised colonial Government in Lisbon. It aimed at strengthening the economic and political inter-dependence of Portugal and her colonial empire. Portuguese colonies had their trade mostly with Portugal. The tendency towards integration continued uninterrupted. In 1921, the Portuguese colonies were made “oversea provinces”.
33. Colonies during World War II:
During the World War II, French Indo-China, Dutch Indonesia, British Malaya and Italian East Africa were conquered and occupied by the enemy. The result was that they were virtually cut off from contact with their normal governors. The African possessions of Belgium and Britain and most of the French colonies were found very valuable in the war against the Axis Powers.
The French colonial empire was divided between those areas like French Equatorial Africa which became the mainstay of the Gaullist Free French movement and those areas like French North Africa and West Africa or Madagascar that remained under the rule of Vichy. In the territories occupied by Japan during the World War II, there was great political tension. Opportunities were offered for every sort of separatist agitation and intrigues.
The necessities of the War obliged every power to encourage economic development and industrialisation in its colonies. The combination of political upheaval with economic expansion strengthened both the demand for national independence and concession of greater self-Government in colonial relationships.
During the last years of the World War II, ideals opposed to the restoration of old imperialism were spreading throughout the world. At Brazzaville was held in January 1944 the first imperial conference of free France presided over by General de Gaulle. It recommended the development of local assemblies to voice colonial opinion, employment of natives in the public services and direct representation of all the colonial peoples of France in the French Parliament.
In May 1946, the French Constituent Assembly proclaimed unanimously that “from 1 June, 1946 all subjects of overseas territories, including Algeria, possess the quality of citizens with the same rights as French citizens in the home country and in the overseas territories”. Thus the distinction between citizens and subjects was ended in France. The International Labour Organization met at Philadelphia in 1944. It was attended by delegations from 41 member countries. The meeting adopted a declaration of its purposes and principles which included universal equality of rights and status. French representatives fully endorsed the Philadelphia Charter.
34. Trusteeship System:
The United Nations Charter adopted in 1945 created a system of colonial trusteeship which replaced the system of mandates. The Trusteeship Council was put incharge of the trusteeship system. The Council was to consider reports submitted to it by the administering authority.
It was to examine the petitions in consultation with the administering authority. It was to visit the territory under the trusteeship system to see how the administration was going on. It could send a questionnaire to the states concerned with the object of getting information regarding the political, economic, social and educational progress of the mandated territories.
The trusteeship system is not the “old wine in new bottles”. It is better than the mandate system. It is considerably broader in scope and involves a more extensive international supervision of the territories given to countries under the trusteeship system.
The nations with colonies such as Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and others have agreed “to recognise the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of those territories are paramount and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories.”
The Pacific Islands formerly mandated to Japan, were put under the trusteeship of the United States. Italy held Italian Somaliland under trusteeship for 10 years as from 1950. The Union of South Africa refused to accept the trusteeship system and continued to administer South-West Africa under the old class C mandate. Provision was made for states voluntarily to place any of their own colonial territories under the new trusteeship system, but none showed its willingness to do so.
35. Independence of India:
As regards the contraction of Europe, it is rightly pointed out that when the San Francisco Conference was held in 1945 to shape the United Nations, some 600 million people in the world were not self-governing, but by the end of 1963, the peoples who had not attained full national equality and sovereignty were merely a handful.
In this connection, the most important event was the independence of India in August 1947 and the creation of two independent states of India and Pakistan. The Indian National Congress was not satisfied with the Government of India Act, 1935. In August 1942, it started the Quit India movement.
All the Congress leaders were arrested and they remained in jails upto 1945. In 1946, the Cabinet Mission submitted its scheme for the solution of the Indian problem but the same did not work. In June, 1947, Lord Mountbatten got his scheme accepted both from the Congress and the Muslim League and the same was given effect to by the Indian Independence Act passed in July 1947 and on 15 August 1947 India achieved independence.
36. Independence of Burma:
Burma was separated from India in 1937. It was the scene of bitter fighting between the Allies and the Japanese during World War II. The Japanese set up a puppet Government in Burma and proclaimed it an independent state. After the surrender of the Japanese, the British tried to re-establish their rule but the independence movement continued to assert itself.
There were lengthy negotiations which resulted in British recognition of “a free and independent Burma whether within or without the British Empire”. For a year, Burma was to remain a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations and at the end of that period, she was to be free to withdraw if it so desired. The Burmese decided to become an independent country outside the British Commonwealth. The new order took effect on 4 January 1948.
37. Independence of Ceylon (Sri Lanka):
In 1927, the Donoughmore Commission prepared a constitution for Ceylon which came into effect in 1931. In 1943, Britain promised to grant Ceylon a considerable degree of constitutional reforms and “full internal civil administration”. The Soulbury Commission of 1945 provided for limited self-Government. In December 1947 the Ceylon Independence Act was passed. In February 1948, Ceylon became a free Dominion. She is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
38. Independence of Ireland:
In December 1948, the Dail of the Eire passed the Republic of Ireland Act which cut the last link with the British Crown and the Commonwealth of Nations.
39. Independence of South Africa:
General Smuts was defeated in the elections of May 1948. The new Nationalist Government of Dr. Malan pursued a racialist policy and showed its determination to leave the Commonwealth. When Malan resigned in 1954, he was succeeded by J.C. Strijdom as the Head of the Nationalist Party. After 1958, Dr. H.F. Verwoerd pursued the policy of apartheid (racial segregation) with more vigour and ruthlessness. In 1960, a referendum was held which resulted in a small majority for declaring South Africa a republic. South Africa left the Commonwealth of Nations in May 1961.
40. Independence of British Colonies:
During the 1950s, many British colonies got independence. In 1951, the Gold Coast and Nigeria got new constitutions. In March 1957, the Gold Coast and the trustee territory of Togoland joined to establish the independent state of Ghana. Dr. K. Nkrumah, Prime Minister of Ghana, had an ambition to make Ghana the nucleus of a future African federation and to this end, combined with the former French colony of Guinea in 1958. The people of Nigeria clamoured for independence. The Federation of Nigeria developed regional self-government and in 1960 attained complete independence as a dominion.
The Fereration of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was formed in 1953. The main object of the Federation was to retain the supremacy of the Whites over the Blacks. However, the Federation did not enjoy the confidence of the Africans. In March 1963, it was decided to give independence to Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland on 31 December 1963. It was decided not to give independence to Southern Rhodesia.
In spite of that, Southern Rhodesia declared herself independent on 11 November 1965 and refused to owe any allegiance to the British Government. There was a demand on the part of the African states that Great Britain should take military action against Southern Rhodesia. There was a stalemate for many years. In February 1980, elections were held in Southern Rhodesia and in April 1980, Southern Rhodesia became independent as Zimbabwe.
Tanganyika was formerly a Trust territory. She won her independence in December 1961. Uganda got her independence in 1962. Kenya became independent in December 1963. The people of Kenya had to pay a very heavy price for their freedom. They suffered terribly under the leadership of Jomo Kenyatta. Kenyatta became the first Prime Minister of Kenya. Mauritius attained independence in 1968. Cyprus became an independent sovereign state in August 1960.
The constitution of Malta set up in 1947, proved unable to reconcile the interests of United Kingdom in the Island as a defence base, with the interests of the people of Malta. In 1958, attempts to improve the arrangements failed. Self-Government had to be temporarily replaced by the interim constitution of April 1959.
In Malaya, with its plural society of Chinese, Malayas, Indians and Europeans, there appeared terrorist organisations led by the Malayan Communist groups. Guerrilla fighting and acts of terrorism continued after federation in 1948 until full independence in 1957. In Cyprus, independence was preceded by a decade of civil war between the Greeks and Turks.
England was caught between Zionist demands that the Jews persecuted in Europe should be free to immigrate into Palestine and Muslim Arab insistence upon protecting the economic rights of the Arabs in Palestine. Britain tried to devise a scheme of self-Government for Palestine which she held under “A” mandate. Her proposal in 1937 to partition Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state was rejected by the Arabs. Another proposal of 1939 was rejected by both sides.
The matter remained in suspense until 1947. In February 1947, the British Government declared that as it had become impossible for her to carry on the mandate she was going to place the issue before the United Nations. In August 1947, a special Commission of the United Nations on Palestine submitted its report.
A majority of its members recommended the partition of Palestine. The partition plan was accepted by the General Assembly in November 1947. The plan provided for separate Jewish and Arab states in Palestine. It was accepted by the Jews, Soviet Union and the United States but opposed by the Arabs.
In the midst of confusion and chaos prevailing in Palestine and the parties not coming to any mutual agreement, the British Government declared its intention of withdrawing completely from Palestine on 15 May 1948. It was on the night between 14 May and 15 May 1948 that the Jewish state of Israel was proclaimed with Dr. Weizmann as its first President. The new State was recognised both by the Soviet Union and the United States.
After the World War I, Iraq was put under the mandate of Great Britain. The latter invited Feisal to assume the Crown of Iraq and entered into a number of treaties with that country. The Treaty of 1922 gave England control over the army and foreign affairs of Iraq. In 1930, Great Britain signed another treaty of alliance and announced the termination of the British” mandate from the date Iraq became a member of the League of Nations. In October 1932, Iraq became a member of the League of Nations.
43. Egypt and Sudan:
In 1936, the Anglo-Egyptian treaty was signed. It pledged Great Britain to defend Egypt from external aggression. The defence of the Suez Canal Zone was also taken over by the British Government.
The treaty was to last for 20 years. During the World War II, British troops were stationed in Egypt. Germany and Italy were busy in North Africa and Egypt felt that her security was threatened. Air attacks were made on the Canal Zone.
However, the United Nations were able to push back the Germans and the Italians from their bases in Egypt. When the World War II ended in 1945, there was a demand for the cancellation of the Treaty of 1936 which was considered as a symbol of the slavery of the people of Egypt. The British Government was asked to withdraw her troops from the Suez Canal Zone.
There was rioting all over Egypt. By a coup d’ etat General Naguib and his colleagues like Colonel Nasser seized power in Egypt. The people of Egypt were not prepared to tolerate the continuation of British troops in the Suez Canal Zone and the British were not willing to withdraw. On 26 July 1956, President Nasser declared the nationalisation of the Suez Canal and froze the funds of the Suez Canal Company.
The United States and France applied economic sanctions against Egypt. Great Britain ordered general mobilisation of her forces and despatched troops to an unknown destination. The United States and France stood behind her. A conference was held in London to solve the problem.
On 29 October 1956, the forces of Israel attacked the Egyptian positions in the Suez Canal Zone. On 31 October, 1956, Great Britain and France joined the attack on Egypt. Fighting was stopped only when the Soviet Union gave a warning to Great Britain and France that in case they did not stop fighting in Egypt, she would also join the war.
The Sudan was governed jointly by Great Britain and Egypt from 1899 to 1 January, 1956 when she became a sovereign independent republic.
Morocco was a dependency of France. There was a vigorous agitation for the liberation of Morocco from foreign yoke. Ultimately, an agreement was reached and Sidi Mohammed returned to Morocco in November 1955 and was recognised as the Sultan of Morocco. In April 1956, the Spanish regime in Morocco was also ended. In May 1956, an agreement giving Morocco the right of full diplomatic representation as a sovereign state was signed in Paris. In December 1956, Morocco became a member of the United Nations.
Tunisia was a dependency of France. The French treated the people of Tunisia with contempt and indifference and hence there was a vigorous agitation against foreign rule. There was a lot of violence. Ultimately, the French Government was forced to come to terms with the people of Tunisia. By a Joint Protocol signed in Paris on 20 March 1956, France recognised the independence of Tunisia and she became a member of the United Nations the same year.
Algeria was also a dependency of France. There was also agitation for the liberation of their country from foreign yoke. The problem was complicated because a large number of Frenchmen had settled in Algeria and considered Algeria as their motherland. They opposed the demand for Algerian independence. Algeria won independence in 1961 after a lot of trouble.
47. Portuguese Colonies:
The Portuguese colonies in Africa consisted of Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde Islands, Portuguese Guinea, Sao Tome and Principle. President Salazar of Portugal treated the African colonies as the provinces of Portugal and refused to give them freedom. For years, Portugal used Angola as the source of the supply of three million slaves to run the Portuguese coffee plantations of Brazil.
The Portuguese exchequer was enriched with diamonds and uranium from Angola. In March 1961, the people of Angola started their guerrilla campaign against Portugal who retaliated by airlifting more than 20,000 troops to Angola. The revolt was mercilessly crushed and more than 50,000 Africans were killed.
In 1962, the Angolans were successful in getting the support of Congolese Premier Adoula. Military training camps were set up. The General Assembly called upon Portugal to grant the right of self-determination to her colonies. Ultimately, the Portuguese withdrew from Angola on 11 November 1975 unilaterally without setting up a successor Government.
Traditional Portuguese ties with Angola were snapped. The result was internal disorder which gave an opportunity for outside intervention. Both the Soviet Union and the United States tried to have a Government of their choice in Angola. However, the Soviet Union came out successful in that race.
48. Belgian Congo:
The Belgian Congo was a dependency of Belgium. It was abruptly given independence and a new constitution on 30 June 1960. A Round Table Conference of the representatives of Belgium and the Congo had been held in Brussels at the beginning of 1960. It accelerated the process of granting independence although Belgium had done nothing to prepare the people of Congo for independence.
Elections were held and Joseph Kasavubu was made President of the Republic of the Congo and Patrice Lumumba became Prime Minister. There was a mutiny and intervention by Belgian troops. The Congolese Government appealed to the United Nations which sent an international force to maintain order. Katanga province declared its independence and welcomed Belgian troops.
The Soviet Union supported Lumumba and the Western powers supported President Kasavubu. There were massacres and outrages. The Secretary-General of the United Nations and Lumumba were killed,it took a lot of time to restore law and order in the country.
49. End of Italian Empire:
When Mussolini joined the World War II in 1940, Italy had an overseas empire of a million and a quarter square miles with a population of more than 14 millions. In 1941, British and Allied forces overran Eritrea. Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland and during the next two years also occupied Libya. This left Albania and the Italian Aegian Islands, both of which were occupied by either Allied troops or German troops. The result was that when the War ended in 1945, Italy was without an empire. The Communists and socialists opposed the restoration of any colonies as the colonies had always been a serious drain on Italian economy.
By the terms of the peace treaty signed in 1947, Italy was obliged to renounce her sovereignty over her former colonies. Independence had already been restored to Ethiopia and the ties which bound Albania with Italy had already been cut. The General Assembly of the United Nations decided in November 1949 that Libya comprises Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and the Fezzan be given independence not later than 1 January 1952.
The General Assembly also decided that Italian Somaliland be given independence at the end of 10 years. Italy was to be the administering authority for that period. The General Assembly also decided in December 1950 that after an interim period, Eritrea be federated with Ethiopia.
Before the World War I, Syria was a part of the Turkish Empire. After the War, she was placed under the mandate of France. There were clashes between the nationalists of Syria and French authorities. In 1936, France agreed to give freedom to Syria after three years. The time-table was upset due to the outbreak of the World War II in 1939. When France fell in 1940, the danger from the Axis Powers became very great. In July 1941, the Allied forces occupied Syria and Lebanon. In 1945, France tried to reoccupy Syria but Great Britain intervened. In 1946, all French troops were withdrawn from Syria.
Lebanon was placed under the mandate of France alongwith Syria and she won her independence alongwith Syria in 1946.
In 1923, Trans-Jordan was put under the control of Abdullah who was granted a large measure of autonomy. Full independence was given to her in 1946 and Abdullah assumed the title of King.
Indonesia is a country of about 80 million people covering an area of about 57,600 sq. miles. For more than 300 years, it was under the Dutch rule. It was in December 1949 that it became independent.
The people of Indonesia had to struggle very hard to win their freedom. In 1910, they started a party known as Sarekat Islam. It stood for political and social reforms. In 1920 was started the Indonesian Communist Party. In 1927 was started the National Indonesian Party whose founder was Soekamo who later on became the first President of Indonesia. In 1939, the first all Indonesian Congress was held in Batavia. Its object was to bring all the nationalist groups on one platform.
In 1940, Holland was defeated by Germany. The Dutch authority in the Dutch East Indies also collapsed. The Japanese established their control over the Dutch East Indies. During the five years of Japanese rule, the Indonesian leaders played a double game. They accepted offices under the Japanese with a view to moderate the policies of the Japanese towards the native people.
At the same time, they kept themselves in constant touch with underground movements of resistance. During the War and particularly when they saw that defeat was inevitable, the Japanese encouraged the nationalist movement in every way. They even supplied weapons to the Indonesians. Only two days after the Japanese surrender, a group of nationalists led by Soekamo declared their determination not to revert to a colonial or semi-colonial status. Insurgents in Java, Sumatra and other Islands of the Dutch East Indies organised a union, proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia and adopted a national flag.
The leaders and people of Indonesia had to fight very hard against the Dutch Government which tried to re-establish its authority. In March 1947, the Dutch Government extended de facto recognition to the Republic of Indonesia. In spite of that, there were periods of truce or armed hostilities or police action.
One such truce agreement was made in January 1948 and broken in December of the same year. In January 1949, the Security Council asked the parties to stop hostilities. On the request of the government of the Netherlands, the Security Council asked the Commission of the United Nations to make arrangements for a round table conference for the transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia.
The Round Table Conference met at the Hague. The Charter of the Transfer of Sovereignty dated 2 November 1949 transferred the sovereignty to the Republic of Indonesia. The new republic established its capital at Batavia on the Island of Java and that capital was renamed as Djkarta.
After her independence, Indonesia claimed the territory of West Irian. The Dutch Government had made huge investments there and considered that place as an outlet for her surplus population and hence was not willing to transfer it to Indonesia. In December 1961, Soekamo gave an ultimatum to Holland either to hand over West Irian by 31 December 1962 or Indonesia would be forced to use force to recover the same. There was a danger of a war but the same was averted. Holland transferred her control over Irian to the United Nations on 1 October, 1962 and Indonesia got West Irian on 1 May, 1963.
Before the World War II started, Indo-China was divided into five states Annam, Cambodia, Cochin-China, Tongking and Laos. Viet-Nam consists of Annam. Tongking and Cochin-China. The French rule in Indo-China was similar to that of the Dutch rule in Indonesia. The Government was ran for the benefit of French investors. All jobs were reserved for the French officials and nothing was done to improve the lot of the people.
When France fell in 1940, the Japanese moved into Indo-China. At first, they did not make radical changes in the French colonial administration existing at that time. The French in Indo- China were cooperative until they realised that the Japanese were doomed to defeat. After that, they organised resistance movements. This caused the Japanese early in 1945 to set up their own colonial administration in Indo-China and to encourage the nationalists of Indo-China in their demands for independence.
In 1941, the Viet-Minh or League for the independence of Viet-Nam was formed in China. Its main constituent was the Indo-Chinese Communist Party. During the World War II, the Vichy Government of France headed by Marshal Petain had allowed Japan to occupy Indo-China.
When after the liberation of France in 1945, de Gaulle came to power the Japanese deposed the French Governor-General of Indo-China, disarmed the French troops and interned all the French civilians. This happened on 9 March, 1945. When the Japanese found that their defeat was approaching, they established closer contacts with the Viet-Minh. Just before the surrender of Japan, the Viet-Minh ordered a general revolt in the country and no attempt was made by the Japanese to suppress it.
The result was that the rebels were able to capture Hanoi. On 20 August, 1945, the Republic of Viet-Nam was declared. The Viet Minh formed a Government for the whole of Viet-Nam on 28 August 1946. Dr. Ho Chi-Minh became the first President of the Republic of Viet-Nam.
Under the Potsdam Agreement, the Japanese troops in the North of Indo-China were to surrender to China and those in the South to Great Britain. The French Government was to take over the administration from China and Great Britain. That led to a lot of trouble. The people of Viet-Nam were not prepared to go back to pre-1939 days.
There were demonstrations in Saigon long before the arrival of French troops. Lawlessness prevailed all over Indo-China. The Japanese had helped in the creation of lawlessness by selling arms to the Viet-Minh. A cease-fire agreement was signed in October 1945 but it was difficult to enforce it. The Viet-Minh was firmly entrenched in North Viet-Nam.
By the agreement of March 1946, Viet-Nam was recognised as an autonomous unit in an Indo-Chinese Federation. In spite of that, peace was not restored. On 19 December 1946, Dr. Ho Chi Minh revolted openly against the French and fighting broke out at many places.
During the first two years, fighting was done on the lines of guerrilla warfare. The position of Dr. Ho Chi Minh became very strong after the establishment of the Communist regime in China in 1949. Communist China supported Dr. Ho Chi Minh and the United States supported the French Government in her war in Indo-China. In the beginning of 1954, the situation became critical.
The Viet Minh forces besieged the fortress of Dien Bien Phu which surrendered on 7 May, 1954. There was the possibility of an open war between the United States and Communist China. To avoid such a situation, arrangements were made for a conference on Indo-China at Geneva. The Geneva Settlement provided for the partition of Viet Nam roughly along the 17 Parallel.
The Viet Nam People’s Army was to have control over the Northern and the French Union forces were to have control over the Southern zone of Viet Nam. Viet Nam was partitioned but that partition was to be provisional as provision was made for general elections for the unification of Viet Nam.
Even after the Geneva settlement, there was no peace in Viet Nam and fighting continued. In 1968, hostilities were stopped and peace talks started at Paris in May 1968. An agreement was made in January 1973 but that proved to be merely a truce.
Another accord was made in June 1973 but in spite of that, there was no peace in Viet Nam. North Viet Nam and her allies continued the war and they won victory after victory over South Viet Nam. The capital of South Viet Nam fell in their hands in April 1975 and the war ended in Viet Nam. The whole of Viet Nam was unified. Both Laos and Cambodia had achieved their independence in 1954.
Although there has been contraction of Europe in the world, a reference may be made to certain new tendencies. One is a greater concentration of colonial policy on economic development and social welfare based on large-scale investment and technical assistance. Under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act of 1945, Britain made available the sum of £ 120 million to be spent in and on the colonies.
The amount was increased in 1950 by another 20 millions. This money was spent mainly on developing agriculture and transport system and extending medical and educational services. In 1948, the Colonial Development Corporation was set up “to develop the resources and trade of, and to expand the production of, foodstuffs and raw materials in colonial territories”.
Another tendency is the growth of new forms of relationship between all states which cut right across the old political relationships. Nations and states came together not in terms of colonialism or dependency but on functional cooperation within specialised agencies for promoting mutual interests. Within the Colombo Plan of 1950, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, Pakistan and New Zealand came together with Indo-China.
Thailand and the colonial territories of South and South-East Asia, to plan a six-year economic development scheme for India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Malaya, Singapore, British North Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak. Its aims were similar to those of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act at Great Britain. The Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Health Organisation, UNESCO and other functional agencies of the United Nations had a similar influence.
Dr. David Thomson rightly points out that “the shrinkage in area of the Empires of particular European powers did not mean a contraction of the ambit of ‘European civilisation in general. On the contrary, Asia ought to use its new independence to adopt more fully the techniques of industrialism and modem science and even the education and technical advice of Europeans.
Communist China borrowed from Russia what Russia had borrowed from Europe. Never had the impact of European civilisation been more truly world-wide than when the range of Europe’s political power was being most rapidly contracted. Economic westernization advanced even while political westernization was in retreat.”