20th Century World History, Imperialism


A policy in which a strong industrialized nation seeks to dominate other countries politically, socially, and economically.

Industrial Revolution

The competition for new sources of raw materials and markets pushed industrialized nations to colonize and create empires.

Missionary Zeal

The desire to Christianize, educate, and westernize Asian and African peoples.


adoption of western ideas, technology, and culture. Many colonized peoples were forced to assimilate to western culture.


The process by which a person voluntarily or is forced to give up his or her own cultural tradition to become part of a more dominant culture.

White Man's burden

idea that many European countries had a duty to spread their religion and culture to those less civilized


Belief in the superiority of one's nation or ethnic group.

Social Darwinism

A social theory which states that a person's social status and wealth is determined by their genetic background. Gave rise to the idea of 'survival of the fittest'.


The belief that all of the problems of society could be solved by breeding better people. The Nazis quite liked this idea.


A strong feeling of pride in and devotion to one's country. People feel united by a common culture, history, and language.


The glorification of the military used to justify the expense of building and maintaining large militaries needed to defend empires. This practice made people more willing to embrace war.

Scramble for Africa

Term given for the rapid invasion of Africa by the various European powers. This began imperialism in Africa.

Berlin Conference

A meeting from 1884-1885 at which representatives of European nations agreed on rules for the colonization of Africa

Spheres of Influence

An area of one country under the control of another. In China, these areas guaranteed specific trading privileges to each imperialist nation within its respective sphere.

Opium Wars

Trade disputes and diplomatic difficulties between China under the Qing Dynasty and the British Empire after China sought to restrict British opium traffickers (and Britain had refused).

Jewel in the Crown

the British colony of India--- so called because of its importance in the British empire, both as a supplier of raw materials and as a market for British trade goods


European imperial practice of favoring one ethnic group over another in a colony. The purpose was to cause tensions and hatred between the two groups. This practice created strong tribal loyalties and kept the different ethnic groups from uniting against

Sepoy Mutiny

an 1857 rebellion of Hindu and Muslim soldiers against the British in India. Gave rise to Indian nationalism and, even though it failed, was the first step towards Indian independence.


the fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition.


Belief that one race is superior to another


an unjustifiable (and usually negative) attitude toward a group and its members. Prejudice generally involves stereotyped beliefs, negative feelings, and a predisposition to discriminatory action.


Beliefs, customs, and traditions of a specific group of people.

cultural diffusion

The spread of ideas, customs, and technologies from one people to another