Imperialism Definition

Imperialism is the extension of a country’s power through colonization and domination. Learn about its history, features, examples, and statistics.

What is Imperialism?

Imperialism is a policy or practice of extending a country’s power and influence through colonization, use of military force, or other means. It often involves the domination and exploitation of weaker nations for the benefit of the imperialist power.

History of Imperialism

Imperialism has been a major driving force in world history, with ancient empires like the Roman Empire expanding through conquest and colonization. In the modern era, European powers such as Britain, France, and Spain established vast colonial empires in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Features of Imperialism

  • Economic exploitation
  • Political domination
  • Cultural assimilation

Examples of Imperialism

One of the most well-known examples of imperialism is the British Raj in India, where Britain exploited Indian resources and imposed its culture and governance on the local population. Another example is the scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, where European powers divided up the continent for their own benefit.

Case Studies

One case study of imperialism is the colonization of the Americas by European powers. The Spanish, Portuguese, British, and French empires all established colonies in the Americas, displacing indigenous populations and exploiting resources for their own gain.

Statistics on Imperialism

According to historical data, European powers controlled over 80% of Africa by the early 20th century through imperialism. This had disastrous effects on local economies, cultures, and societies, leading to widespread poverty and conflict.


Imperialism has shaped the modern world in significant ways, with lasting impacts on global power dynamics and international relations. Understanding the definition and consequences of imperialism is crucial for addressing its legacy and promoting a more equitable world.

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