Geographical discoveries and Imperialism.
The 18th century is known as the 'Age of Revolutions', as the three important revolutions took place in this century.
1. American War of Independence. 2. French Revolution 3. Industrial Revolution.
The first two revolutions were the political ones whereas the industrial revolution was based on scientific inventions and discoveries.These three events significantly changed the history of the modern world and out of these three revolutions,the most important one is the industrial revolution as it led to further important events in the world history.
Industrial Revolution and its implications: Industrial Revolution took place in England in 18th century and then gradually spread to other European nations..It revolutionized the means of transportation and communication and production increased many fold times. As the production increased, the European nations felt the need for new markets to sell their finished products.The markets were in the undeveloped nations of Asia and Africa.So Europeans started colonizing the nations of Asia and Africa and started exploiting them economically.Gradually they set their imperial rule over the colonies and this process is termed as Imperialism.
Imperialism: It means territorial expansion.
" The domination of an undeveloped nation by a developed nation by virtue of establishing a colony is known as Imperialism."
Imperialism can be divided into 2 types.
1.Traditional Imperialism: The imperialism practiced before the advent of of industrial revolution is called as traditional imperialism.In the beginning Kings and Emperors had the ambition of expanding their territories.But they gave less importance to acquisition of wealth and financial profits while expanding their territories. The source of inspiration was regional pride and display of army.This royal ambitions gave rise to mighty Greek, Roman and Turkish Empires.
2. Modern Imperialism: The imperialism practiced in the post industrial revolution period is called as modern imperialism.In modern times, the concept of imperialism changed completely.Now the ambition was trade and financial profits.This led to the establishment of mighty British , French and Portuguese Empires.
Need for Geographical discoveries: Till the 15th century, Europeans used to import valuable goods like sugar,silk,spices from the Asian countries.However in 1453 AD, Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople which is located in Turkey and they blocked all the trade routes passing through their empire.Constantinople served as the shortest terrestrial route to Asia from Europe as it was blocked ,European trade came to halt. So, Europeans felt the urgent need of discovering alternate sea route to Asia.
Important Geographical Discoveries: Portuguese King Leopold motivated the navigators to undertake missions to discover new routes.So courageous and ambitious sailors undertook this task.Instruments such as mariner compass,astrolabe,newly designed maps and directive books proved helpful during their voyage.Earlier,it was assumed that earth was flat and if you start sailing and reach the edges you would get lost in space.But then Copernicus propounded that earth is not flat but round and if you begin from one point and circumnavigate the earth then you would reach the same point again.Based on this assumption sailors started their mission.
1.Christopher Columbus: He was an Italian sailor who set in search of India.But he landed on Bahamas Island in Caribbean which he wrongly believed to be an Indian territory.
2. Amerigo Vespucci: He is regarded as the true discoverer of America.He was an Italian sailor and he followed the same route as taken by Columbus.Because of him,it became clear that it was not the coast of India.This new, previously unknown territory came to be called as 'America' after Amerigo.
3. Vasco da Gama : In 1498 AD, he reached the western coast of India sailing through South African Peninsula.
4.Ferdinand Magellan: He was the most ambitious Portuguese sailor.He set out on a voyage in 1513 AD with the ambition of circumnavigating the earth. Although he was killed at Philippines Island in skirmish before he completed the voyage, his co-sailors completed the circumnavigation.This was the first sea voyage around the globe in the history of the world.
Imperial European nations started setting up their colonies in these newly discovered regions.There began a cut throat competition among them for dominating the newly discovered regions and England was the leading nation in the process of colonization.
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