Second wave of European colonisation
||It has been suggested that this article be merged into New Imperialism. (Discuss) Proposed since August 2010.|
The Second European colonization wave is so-called because it followed the first European colonization wave, which started in the 15th century. The second wave started in the second half of the 19th century with the New Imperialism period, which notably included the Scramble for Africa. It lasted until the beginning of the decolonization era, which in most places did not occur until after World War II.
The New Imperialism
The later half of the 19th century saw the transition from an "informal" empire of control through military and economic dominance to direct control, marked from the 1870s on by the scramble for territory in areas previously regarded as merely under Western influence. Colonialism would take its full extent only during the period known as New Imperialism, starting in the 1860s with the Scramble for Africa: the British, French, and German empires vied with each other to conquer the most territories possible as quickly as possible.
The Berlin Conference (1884–1885) mediated the imperial competition among the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (UK), the French Third Republic and the German Empire, defining "effective occupation" as the criterion for international recognition of colonial claims and codifying the imposition of direct rule, accomplished usually through armed force.
A decade later, rival imperialisms would collide in the 1898 Fashoda Incident, during which war between France and the UK was barely avoided. This fear led to new alliances, and in 1904 the Entente Cordiale was signed between both powers. Imperialistic rivalry between the European powers would a main cause of the triggering of World War I in 1914.
In Germany, rising pan-Germanism was coupled to imperialism in the Alldeutsche Verband ("Pangermanic League"), which argued that Britain's world power position gave the British unfair advantages on international markets, thus limiting Germany's economic growth and threatening its security. Pan-slavism and pan-Germanism were considered by Hannah Arendt (1951) as the continental version of imperialism.
North America in the 19th century
After the American Revolution and the 1776 independence of the United States, the colonization was not quite finished. As in South America, the frontier and the Wild West had to be conquered. For the next century, the expansion of the nation into these areas, as well as the subsequently acquired Louisiana Purchase (1803), Oregon Country (1846) and Mexican Cession (1848, after the Mexican-American War), would absorb much of the energy of the nation and largely define its politics and character, in particular its relations with Native Americans. The question of whether the American frontier would become "slave" or "free" was a spark of the American Civil War (1861–1865).
The settlement of the West became progressively organized through acts of the federal government, most notably the 1862 Homestead Act. In 1890, the frontier line was no more, though the frontier still existed in disconnected locations. The popular culture impact of the frontier was enormous, in dime novels, Wild West shows, and, after 1910, Western movies set on the frontier.
The colonization wasn't any more pacific than it had been elsewhere. North America was also the theater of the use of detention centers, population transfers (leading to the Seminole Wars in Florida at the beginning of the 19th century) and "unvoluntary extermination" (through diseases). In the United States, the general population wanted to relocate American Indian (or "Native American") tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river. In the decades following the American Revolution (1763–1783), the rapidly increasing population of the United States resulted in numerous treaties in which lands were purchased from Native Americans. Eventually, the U.S. government began encouraging Indian tribes to sell their land by offering them land in the West, outside the boundaries of the then-existing U.S. states, where the tribes could resettle. This process was accelerated with the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which provided funds for President Andrew Jackson (1829–1837) to conduct land-exchange ("removal") treaties. An estimated 100,000 American Indians eventually relocated in the West as a result of this policy, most of them emigrating during the 1830s, settling in what was known as the "Indian territory".
The first large-scale confinement of a specific ethnic group in detention centers began in the summer of 1838, when President Martin Van Buren (1837–1841) ordered the U.S. Army to enforce the December 29, 1835 Treaty of New Echota (an Indian Removal treaty) by rounding up the Cherokee into prison camps before relocating them. Although these camps were not intended to be extermination camps, and there was no official policy to kill people, some Indians were raped and/or murdered by US soldiers. Many more died in these camps due to disease, which spread rapidly because of the close quarters and bad sanitary conditions. This event, known as the Trail of Tears (or Nunna daul Isunyi, "The Trail Where We Cried", in Cherokee), resulted in the deaths of an estimated 4,000 Cherokee Indians. Throughout the remainder of the Indian Wars, various populations of Native Americans were rounded up, trekked across country and put into detention, some for as long as 27 years.
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The Scramble for Africa
Many European statesmen and industrialists wanted to accelerate the Scramble for Africa, securing colonies before they strictly needed them. The inventor of Realpolitik, Bismarck thus pushed a Weltpolitik vision ("World Politic"), which considered the colonization as a necessity for the emerging German power. German colonies in Togoland, Samoa, South-West Africa and New Guinea had corporate commercial roots, while the equivalent German-dominated areas in East Africa and China owed more to political motives. The British also took an interest in Africa, using the East Africa company to take over Kenya and Uganda. The British crown formally took over in 1895 and renamed the area the East Africa Protectorate.
In the same manner, Italy tried to conquer its "place in the sun", acquiring Italian Somaliland in 1899-90, Eritrea and 1899, and, taking advantage of the "Sick Man of Europe", the Ottoman Empire, also conquered Tripolitania and Cyrenaica (modern Libya) with the 1911 Treaty of Lausanne. Ethiopia, which had remained the last African independent territory due to its defeat of Italy in the First Italo–Ethiopian War in 1895-96, was occupied by Italy for 5 years after the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.
The Portuguese and Spanish colonial empire were smaller, mostly legacies of past colonization. Most of their colonies had acquired independence during the Latin American revolutions at the beginning of the 19th century.
Imperialism in Asia
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In Asia, the Great Game, which lasted from 1813 to 1907, opposed the British Empire against Imperial Russia for supremacy in Central Asia. China was opened to Western influence starting with the First and Second Opium Wars (1839–1842, 1856–1860). After the visits of Commodore Matthew Perry in 1852-1854, Japan opened itself to the Western world during the Meiji Era (1868–1912).
After World War I
The colonial map was redrawn following the defeat of the German and the Ottoman Empire after the first World War (1914–18). Colonies from the defeated empires were transferred to the newly founded League of Nations, which itself redistributed it to the victorious powers as "mandates".
The 20th century saw the era of the banana republics, in particular in Latin America, whereby corporations such as United Fruit or Standard Fruit dominated the economies and sometimes the politics of parts of Latin America. The United Fruit, nicknamed 'The Octopus' for its willingness to involve itself in politics, was present in most American countries and was involved in several coups, in Honduras and elsewhere. 1971 Nobel prize for literature winner Pablo Neruda would later denounce such neocolonialism in a poem titled La United Fruit Co.
After World War I, the Arabs, who had revolted against the Ottomans in 1916-18, supported by the UK who sent them Captain T. E. Lawrence, found they had been doubly betrayed. For not only had the British and the French concluded the secret 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement to partition the Middle East between them, but the British had also promised to the international Zionist movement their support in creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine via the 1917 Balfour Declaration, although the former site of the ancient Kingdom of Israel had a largely Arab population for over a thousand years. When the Ottomans departed, the Arabs proclaimed an independent state in Damascus, but were too weak, militarily and economically, to resist the European powers for long, and Britain and France soon established control and re-arranged the Middle East to suit themselves.
Syria became a French protectorate (thinly disguised as a League of Nations Mandate), with the Christian coastal areas split off to become Lebanon. Iraq and Palestine became British mandated territories, with one of Sherif Hussein's sons, Faisal, installed as King of Iraq. Palestine was split in half, with the eastern half becoming Transjordan to provide a throne for another of Hussein's sons, Abdullah. The western half of Palestine was placed under direct British administration, and the already substantial Jewish population was allowed to increase, initially under British protection. Most of the Arabian peninsula fell to another British ally, Ibn Saud, who created the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1922.
Another turning point in the history of the Middle East came when oil was discovered, first in Persia in 1908 and later in Saudi Arabia (in 1938) and the other Persian Gulf states, and also in Libya and Algeria. The Middle East, it turned out, possessed the world's largest easily accessible reserves of crude oil. Although Western oil companies pumped and exported nearly all of the oil to fuel the rapidly expanding automobile industry and other industrial developments, the emirs of the oil states became immensely rich, enabling them to consolidate their hold on power and giving them a stake in preserving Western hegemony over the region. Oil wealth also had the effect of stultifying whatever movement towards economic, political or social reform might have emerged in the Arab world under the influence of the Kemalist revolution, which had created the modern state of Turkey in 1923 out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.
During the 1920-30s Iraq, Syria and Egypt moved towards independence, although the British and French did not formally depart the region until they were forced to do so after World War II. But in Palestine the conflicting forces of Arab nationalism and Zionist colonisation created a situation which the British could neither resolve nor extricate themselves from. Although the Zionist movement was born in the 19th century, following various pogroms and the Dreyfus Affair, with Theodor Herzl's Der Judenstaat (1896), the rise of nazism created a new urgency in the quest to create a Jewish state in Palestine, and the evident intentions of the Zionists provoked increasingly fierce Arab resistance, with the Great Uprising in 1936-39.
This struggle culminated in the 1947 UN Partition Plan in favor of a Two-state solution instead of a Binational solution. The plan was accepted by the UN General Assembly, and the Jewish leadership, but rejected by the Arab population. The State of Israel was proclaimed in 1948 as result, and lead to the first Arab-Israeli War and to the creation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. About 800,000 Palestinians fled from areas annexed by Israel, thus creating the "Palestinian problem" which has bedevilled the region ever since. The conflict also resulted in hundreds of thousands of Jews refugees who fled to Israel from Arab countries. The June 1967 Six Day War led to the occupation of various territories. In November 1967, UN Resolution 242 called for the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict", something which has become a permanent revendication of the Fatah, founded by Yassir Arafat in 1959, and of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) founded in 1964 by the Arab League.
Pan-Arabism was a popular anti-imperialist ideology in the 1960s, and Nasserism favorized the merging of Egypt and Syria into the United Arab Republic (1958–61). The short term Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan (1958) also attempted to bypass the 1920s artificial borders. Pan-Arabism was however defeated with the 1967 Six-Day War and the emergence of Islamism in the 1980s as a popular substitution to secular Arab nationalism, as represented for example by the Baath Party.
In France, the colonial empire was not used for massive emigration, as in the British Empire. In fact, until the Third Republic (1871–1940), apart from the colonization of Algeria, which had commenced in 1830, in the last days of the Bourbon Restoration, France did not have yet many colonies compared to the British, Spanish or Portuguese empires. The colonies of Martinique and Guadeloupe, in the Caribbean Sea, had been established during the first wave of colonialism. After the repression of the 1871 Paris Commune, French Guiana — as well as New Caledonia — was used for transportation of criminals and Communards. Following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, which had caused France to lose the Alsace-Lorraine region to the German Empire, many viewed the "colonial lobby" - a gathering of a few politicians, businessmen and geographers favorable to colonialism - with disdain, arguing that it distracted the country from other, more important goals. In the 1880s, a debate thus opposed those who opposed colonization, such as Georges Clemenceau (Radical), who declared that colonialism diverted France from the "blue line of the Vosges" (referring to Alsace-Lorraine), Jean Jaurès (Socialist) and Maurice Barrès (nationalist), against the Jules Ferry (moderate republican), Léon Gambetta (republican) and Eugène Etienne, the president of the parliamentary colonial group.
Prime minister from 1880–1881 and again from 1883–1885, Republican Jules Ferry directed the negotiations which led to the establishment of a French protectorate in Tunis (1881) (the Bardo treaty), prepared the treaty of December 17, 1885 for the occupation of Madagascar; directed the exploration of the Congo and of the Niger region; and above all he organized the conquest of Indochina. The excitement caused in Paris by the sudden retreat of the French troops from Lạng Sơn led to his violent denunciation by Clemenceau and other radicals, and his downfall on March 30, 1885. Although the 1885 treaty of peace with China, in which the Qing Dynasty ceded suzerainty of Annam and Tonkin to France, was the work of his ministry, he would never again serve as premier.
According to Sandrine Lemaire, only 1% of the French population actually visited its colonial empire. Because of this relative unpopularity, until at least World War I, the colonial lobby set up an intensive propaganda campaign in order to convince the French of the legitimacy of its Empire, which most thought costly and rather useless. Ethnological expositions — including human zoos, in which natives were displayed alongside apes, in an attempt to justify scientific racism and to popularize the colonial empire — had a crucial role in the popularisation of colonialism. Although in France these colonial exhibitions played a crucial propaganda role, they were common in all colonizing powers: the 1924 British Empire Exhibition was one notable example, as was the successful 1931 Exposition coloniale in Paris. Germany and Portugal also had such exhibitions, as well as Belgium's, which had a Foire coloniale as late as 1948. The political scientist Pierre-André Taguieff said about the French Third Republic that it was host to "racialism or an ideological racism that didn't perceive itself as such, and that called neither for hate, nor for stigmatisation, nor either for segregation, but which found its legitimity in colonial exploitation and domination, and its justification in its thesis of the future evolution of these inferior peoples".
Olivier LeCour Grandmaison has argued, for his part, that the techniques used for the French colonization of Algeria starting with the invasion on June 12, 1830, a few days before the end of the Restoration, were later extended to the whole of the French colonial empire: Indochina, New Caledonia, French West Africa (a federation created in 1895), and French Equatorial Africa, (created in 1910). LeCour Grandmaison argued that Algeria thus provided the laboratory for concepts later used during the Holocaust, such as "inferior races", "life without value" — Lebensunwertes Leben — and "vital space" (translated in German by "Lebensraum", a concept used by the Völkisch movement), as well as for repressive techniques: the 1881 Indigenous Code in Algeria, the principle of "collective responsibility", the "Scorched Earth" policy, which made of French colonial rule in Algeria a permanent state of exception. Internment camps were also first tested during the 1830 invasion of Algeria, before being used (under the official name of concentration camps) to receive the Spanish Republican refugees first, than to intern communists and, finally, Jews during Vichy France. Concentration camps were also used by the British Empire during the Second Boer War (1899–1902).
After World War I, the colonial people became frustrated at France's failure to recognize the effort provided by the French colonies (resources, but more importantly colonial troops - the famous tirailleurs). Although the Great Mosque of Paris was constructed in recognition of these efforts, the French state had no intention to allow self-rule, let alone independence, to the colonized people. Thus, nationalism in the colonies became stronger in between the two wars, leading to Abd el-Krim's Rif War in Morocco and to the creation of Messali Hadj's Star of North Africa in Algeria. However, these movements would gain full potential only after World War II. The October 27, 1946 Constitution creating the Fourth Republic substituted the French Union for the colonial empire. On the night of March 29, 1947, a nationalist uprising in Madagascar led the French government led by Paul Ramadier (Socialist) to violent repression: one year of bitter fighting, in which 90,000 to 100,000 Malagasy died. On May 8, 1945, the Sétif massacre took place in Algeria.
In 1946, the states of French Indochina withdrew from the Union, leading to the Indochina War (1946–54). In 1956, Morocco and Tunisia gained their independence, while the Algerian War was raging (1954–1962). With Charles de Gaulle's return to power in 1958 amidst turmoil and threats of a right-wing coup d'État to protect "French Algeria", the decolonization was completed with the independence of African's colonies in 1960 and the March 19, 1962 Evian Accords, which put an end to the Algerian war. To this day, the Algerian war — officially called until 1997 a "public order operation" — remains a traumatic memory for both France and Algeria. Philosopher Paul Ricœur has spoken of the necessity of a "decolonization of memory," starting with the recognition of the 1961 Paris massacre during the Algerian war and the recognition of the decisive role of immigrated manpower in the Trente Glorieuses post-World War II economic growth period. In the 1960s, due to the necessity of reconstruction and of economic growth, French employers actively sought manpower in its ex-colonies, explaining today's multiethnic population. A February 23, 2005 law on colonialism voted by the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) conservative majority was finally repealed by president Jacques Chirac (UMP) in early 2006.
- UN Resolution 181 (II). Future government of Palestine
- (French) Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard, Gilles Boëtsch, Eric Deroo, Sandrine Lemaire Zoos humains. De la Vénus hottentote aux reality shows, edition La Découverte (2002) 480 pages - French presentation of the book here ISBN 2-7071-4401-0
- (French) Olivier LeCour Grandmaison, Coloniser, Exterminer - Sur la guerre et l'Etat colonial, Fayard, 2005, ISBN 2-213-62316-3