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mentarisme Moderne (1905); A. Mohn, La Suede et la RSvolu-
tion Norvegienne (1905); Sweden, Its People and Industries,
published by order of the Swedish government, edited by Gustav
Sundbarg (1904).

Denmark: J. Carlsen, H. Olrik, and C. N. Starke, Le Dane-
marck (1900); H. Weitemeyer, Denmark (1891).



CHAPTER XIV

COLONIES AND IMPERIAL
EXPANSION

God of our futhcrs, known of old.

Lord of our far-flung battle-line.
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold

Dominion over palm and pine —
Lord Gofl of Hosts, be with us yet.
Lest we forget — lest we forget!

RuDYARD KiPUNG, " R^iessional" (1897)

If Germany becomes a Colonizing Power, all I can say is "God speed
her." She becomes our ally and partner in the execution of a
great purpose of Providence for the benefit of mankind, and I hail
her entrance upon that operation, and gladly shall I hope that she
will become associated with us in carrying the light of civilization,
and the blessings that depend thereon, among the more backward,
and, as yet, less significant regions of the world.

Gladstone, in the House of Commons, March 12, 1885.

The latter half of the nineteenth century was strik-
ingly marked by a great movement, which had, indeed,
been going on for some hundreds of years: the extending
of the power of European governments and the expansion
of their peoples into other parts of the world. If in the
second half of the nineteenth century the process was
more rapid than ever before, this was mostly because
some of the European powers had become stronger and
more capable of great undertakings and because the world
was relatively smaller through new means of communica-
tion: telegraph, steamship, and railroad. The principal
motives continued, as in the earlier times, to be desire for
new sources of raw materials and wealth, the hope which
individuals had of making their fortune, and the belief
that acquiring colonies would render the mother country

369



The

expansion
of Europe
and Euro-
pean power



370 EUROPE SINCE 1870

richer and stronger and greater. As the Virginia Com-
pany of London and the Dutch East India Company had
carried colonists and power to America or Asia in the
seventeenth century, so in the nineteenth did the Associa-
tion of the Congo and the British South Africa Company
acquire great African dominions. As in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries England and France aspired to
get colonial possessions from which they might have
assured supply of naval stores and raw materials, so in the
nineteenth and twentieth was it the highest ambition of
the German Empire to possess colonies containing copper,
cotton, and rubber. And as Great Britain in the time
of George II and George III wished America to buy British
manufactures and supply business for the British ships,
so did France and Germany now hope that they might
build up colonial empires to assure them of a market for
the sale of the goods which they made.
Europe Few things are more wonderful than this expansion of

much less European people and power into America, Asia, and
•?^*i?rf-!* Africa in the past four hundred years, and nothing better
reveals the primacy which Europe has acquired. Only a
small part of the land of the earth is in Europe, and only a
small part of its population formerly lived there. In early
times the north shore of Africa, with Egypt and Carthage,
was more important than southern Europe with Greece
and Rome. From far-away times Asia rightly seemed
the center of the world and the cradle of civilization.
Then western culture was only beginning in the valley of
the Tigris and Euphrates and in Africa in the valley of the
Nile. At that time dim in the distance and scarcely known
were the teeming myriads of old India, and farther remote
the vast numbers and immobile character of immemorial
China. Later on, to the wealthy and cultured upper
classes of Hindustan and Persia, Europe must have seemed
small and sparsely peopled and unimportant, on the dim
frontier of the world. Presently the Roman Empire was



in the past



dominate the
world



IMPERIAL EXPANSION 371

built up in southern Europe, })ut after u while tliis Empire
passed. During all this time and long after, the great
American continents lay hidden beyond tlicir ocean, al-
most unpeopled, and, to the rest of the world, unsusiM-ett-d
and unknown, unless sometimes faintly imagined as At-
lantis or Ultima Thule.

During the past four hundred years a vast change has European
come over the world. Asia, whose people as late as the people now
thirteenth century threatened to overrun Europe, long
ago lost her superiority, and Europe going forward with
immense acceleration, luis gained unciuestioned primacy
in culture and power. First she discovered and api)ro-
priated the Americas, then parts of Asia, then almost
all of Africa also. By the beginning of the twentieth
century European people and their rule had gone forth
into all the four cjuarters of the world. America North
and South had been occupied by England, France, Portu-
gal, and Spain, and notwithstanding that most of this
western world was now divided into indej)endent states,
yet the language and culture of Europe predominated al-
most completely. In Asia all the northern lialf had been
taken by Russia, and Russian power was being steadily
pushed to the southward; India had long been under
the rule of Englishmen, the great islands off its southeast
coast had been colonized or mastered by the English and
the Dutch; and France had obtained valuable possessions.
Africa, w'hose immense interior had until the nineteenth
century been largely imknown and mostly unexplored,
had now been penetrated from all sides, and with the
exception of the kingdom of Abyssinia and the republic
of Liberia, completely occupied by European powers.

The greatest though not the oldest of these colonial The
empires was the British. At the end of the nineteenth British
century it contained 13,000,000 square miles of territory, ™P"^e
more than a fourth of the landed surface of the earth, and
425,000,000 people, ^yhile England was still unimportant



372



EUROPE SINCE 1870



Beginning
of English
colonization



Increase by
conquest



in Europe, Portugal had found the first sea routes to the
east and founded a wealthy empire and trade, and about
the same time Spain had taken the Americas and built up
a huge empire beyond the Atlantic. But the Dutch soon
took the best of the Portuguese possessions and founded
their own colonial empire in the Spice Islands of the East,
and after a period of stagnation and decay the Spanish
colonies in America broke their connection with the mother
country and completely established their independence.
Meanwhile, England, starting a hundred years later than
these rivals, had slowly and without any settled design
been building up a widespread dominion. As early as
1583 she established a claim to Newfomidland, the center
of the wondrous new American fisheries. In the early
years of the seventeenth century she carried forward her
settlements and acquisitions in America. She took pos-
session of some of the smaller islands of the West Indies,
and presently, in 1655, the more important island of
Jamaica. During this same period she began the estab-
lishment of her colonies on the mainland, and in the years
from 1607, when Virginia was founded, to 1733, when
Georgia was established, she obtained the best part of the
Atlantic coast of North America. Meanwhile, in 1638,
she had taken Honduras in Central America. In the first
half of the seventeenth century also she obtained a footing
in Africa at Gambia and on the Gold Coast, and in 1651 the
little island off the west African coast, St. Helena, after-
ward so renowned. Meanwhile, in Hindustan the English
East India Company was establishing forts and factories
that were the forerunners of an Indian empire.

Down to the end of the seventeenth century the English
colonies were largely the result of settlement or explora-
tion, and most of them lay in North America. In the
eighteenth century Britain greatly extended her holdings
as the result of successful wars, mostly at the expense of
France. In 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succes-






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IMPERIAL EXPANSION 373

sion, she seized Gibraltar, then the gateway to the Mediter- Gibraltar

ranean, whieh ever since she has kept; while in 1713, by the

Treaty of Utrecht, which brought the struggle to an end,

she got from France New Brunswick and No\'a Scotia, the

outposts of Canada, and undisputed title to the territory

of Hudson Bay. In 17G3, by the Peace of Paris, wliich

ended the Seven Years War between England and France,

she got from France the remainder of Canada, what is

now Prince Edward Island, Ontario, and Quebec, as well

as important islands in the West Indies; and at the same

time the supremacy of the British in India was confirmed.

A little later she took the Falkland Islands not far east of

the southern extremity of South America, memorable

for a sea battle long after. Now, however, came the

great disaster in the history of the British Empire: in 1775

the Thirteen Colonies on the mainland of Nortli America

rebelled, and by 1783 had won the acknowledgment of

their independence.

It seemed then that an irreparable loss had been sus- Further
tained; and in truth not only had the most precious pos- growth
sessions of Britain over the seas been lost, but nothing
afterward obtained could be compared to the I.'^nited
States in value. It seemed to some of the British leaders
then a mistake to establish colonies, since the best of
of them cut themselves away as soon as they could, and
the others were not w^orth the trouble and expense of
holding. None the less, development of the British colo-
nial empire soon went rapidly forward again. In 1786
a beginning was made of obtaining the Straits Settlements,
situated by the great trade routes tliat run past south-
east Asia, and near to the world's greatest supply of tin.
In 1788 in New South Wales began the occupation of
Australia, largest of all the islands, indeed a continent
in itself. During the wars of the French Revolution
and with Napoleon, British control of the sea was at no
time shaken, and new colonial acquisitions were made, at



374



EUROPE SINCE 1870



Acquisitions
from France
and from
HoUand



Egypt



the expense of France, or of Holland under French control.
Thus it was that Ceylon, south of India, was taken in 1795,
Trinidad, off the north coast of South America, two years
later, and Cape Colony in 1806, all from the Dutch; and
Britain kept them when the affairs of Europe were settled
at the Congress of Vienna, Holland getting Belgium as
compensation. In addition she got other West India
Islands from France, also Malta, one of the principal keys
of the Mediterranean, and Helgoland, once owned by
Denmark, destined later to be the impregnable German
fortress guarding Germany's North Sea coast. Mean-
while, the servants of the East India Company had ex-
tended the Company's sway over a vast territory and
population in India, and in 1858, after the suppression of
the Indian IMutiny, the Company's powers were trans-
ferred to the British Crown, the country becoming the
greatest domain of the Empire. During the first half of the
nineteenth century also, while the United States was
growing across the middle of North America to the Pacific,
Great Britain extended her possessions in Canada to the
Pacific, and, except for Alaska, got possession of all North
America from the United States to the Arctic. In 1878,
at the Congress of Berlin, in return for support against
Russia, Turkey ceded to Great Britain the island of Cy-
prus, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.

In the second half of the nineteenth century England
obtained complete control of the eastern Mediterranean
Sea, as she had long held the other end at Gibraltar.
Egypt had always been on one of the great trade routes,
and the British had long been interested in it, but now
occurred an event which gave it command of the princi-
pal ocean highway of the world. A Frenchman, Ferdi-
nand de Lesseps, organized a company, partly French,
partly shared in by the Egyptian Government, for the
purpose of cutting a ship canal through the isthmus that
joined Africa and Asia. He afterward failed in a still



IMPERIAL EXPANSION 375

greater undertaking at Panama, hut in ISOO the Suez Canal The Suez
was opened to traffic, and tlie route to tlie East, formerly
around tfie Cape of Good Hope far to the south, was
shortened by six thousand miles. Before the discovery
of America the Mediterranean Sea had been the most
important of all bodies of water; after the time of
Columbus and Da Gama changed conditions had made
its consequence less; but now the oix'uing of the canal
in Egypt made the Mediterranean the short water route
between Europe and Asia, and the greatest sea way in
the world. This route was now to pass under British
control. In 1875, the Khedive, the ruler of Egypt, a
spendthrift at the end of liis resources, sold to the British
Government Egypt's shares for £5,000,000. Thus Britain,
owning nearly half of tlie stock, became the principal
shareholder in the Company.

The condition of Egyptian finances soon became so Egypt be-
involved that the European powers intervened, and a 1°"^.^!*
Dual Control of the country was established by Great protectorate
Britain and France. In 1881 a nationalist movement
under Arabi Pasha threatened this foreign control and,
France declining to participate, England suppressed the
uprising and took possession of the country. France
protested, but the British Government declared that it
was not establishing a protectorate, and would witlidraw
as soon as conditions made it possible to do so. Egypt
under British guidance and control settled down to pros-
perity and order, and the masses of the people were better
off than they had been for ages. But as the years went
on British occupation continued. At length, in 1904,
when Britain and France entered into the Entente Cor-
diale, France withdrew her opposition; and in 1914, early
in the Great War, Egypt was made a protectorate of the
British Empire. Thus did the Mediterranean, held at its
two ends, at Port Said and Gibraltar, come definitely
under British control.



376



EUROPE SINCE 1870



The
Sudan



Other pos-
sessions in
Africa



South
Africa



Under British administration Egypt's domain was
greatly extended. To the south lay the Sudan. Formerly
it had been under Egyptian rule, but in 1881 the Sudanese,
under a Mahdi, made themselves independent. At first,
after Egypt had come under British control, the British
Government would not undertake to reconquer the Sudan ;
but in 1898 an English and Egyptian army under General
Kitchener overthrew the Sudanese in the battle of Omdur-
man, and all the country of the upper Nile was taken
again. It was at this time that British and French ambi-
tions in northern Africa came into conflict at Fashoda,
and a great struggle between the two powers was so
narrowly averted.

France was not the only power now interested in Africa,
and Fashoda was not the only place where conflict might
have arisen. Actually, however, the division of Africa
was peacefully accomplished. In 1884 a conference
was held at Berlin upon African affairs; and in 1890
agreements were made between Germany and Great Brit-
ain and between France and Great Britain, by which rival
claims were adjusted without any trouble. British posses-
sions were now extended south from the Sudan through
Uganda to British East Africa which had been already ob-
tained. In exchange for Helgoland, which she ceded to the
German Empire, Britain got the island of Zanzibar just off
the east African coast. Thus an African empire had been
built up from the mouths of the Nile to the Indian Ocean.
To the south an empire equally magnificent had been
constructed in the meantime. At the beginning of the
century Cape Colony had been taken from the Dutch.
Then the Boers, or Dutch farmers, went away to the
interior and founded independent communities: the
Orange Free State, Natal, and the Transvaal. In 1843
Natal was annexed by the British, and the Orange Free
State and the Transvaal were taken for a while, but soon
given independence again. In course of time British



IMPERIAL EXPANSION



377



dominion was extended far to the north of these small
states. In 1889 the British South Africa Company was
chartered, and under the leadership of Cecil Rhodes ac-
quired the vast country afterward known as Rhodesia.
So British territory in Africa extended down from the
Mediterranean to German East Africa and up from the
Cape of Good Hope to this same German possession. In
1899 the trouble which had long been growing between
the British in South Africa and the Boer republics de-
veloped into a war, in which the small Dutch comnmnities
of hardy farmers, expert with rifle, well provided with artil-
lery made in France, and taking advantage of the great dis-
tances of the country, proved themselves no ill match for
Great Britain, obliged to carry on a difficult contest far
from her base of operations. After skilful and heroic
resistance, however, the Boers were completely con-
quered, and the two states annexed by Great Britain.
As a result of these various developments one third of the
continent had come into British hands.

During the latter part of the nineteenth century the
British continued to enlarge their dominions in Asia. It
was they who in the "Opium War" in 1842 forced the
Chinese Government to open five "treaty" ports to
foreign trade and also to cede to the British the small
island of Hong Kong off the south China coast which
later became a great emporium of trade with China. The
Opium War itself was an exceedingly ugly affair. Not-
withstanding its larger results, this war was interven-
tion by the British because of vigorous and high-handed
action by the Chinese Government trying to suppress the
opium traffic and save its people from ruin of body and
soul. One result of the British victory was that during
many years the Chinese Government was unable to pre-
vent the importation and use of opium. The despair
and indignation of the enlightened people of China was for
a long time ill understood, but after a while people in the



The work
of Cecil
Rhodes



Possessions
in China



378



EUROPE SINCE 1870



The opium
traffic



The ap-
proaches to
India



western hemisphere came to reahze the enormity and
horror of the thing, and finally the British authorities
themselves intervened to help to bring it to an end. From
the opening of the Chinese ports an enormous and wealthy
trade developed, of which the Great World Powers obtained
increasing share. Toward the end of the century it ap-
peared for a while that China was about to be broken up
into parts, as some of the Great Powers began seizing upon
"spheres of influence." In 1898, at a time when it seemed
that Russia was about to get the greatest part of the
spoils of the country, the British demanded and obtained
the port of Wei-hai-wei, not far from Korea and Port
Arthur, and far to the north of the old settlement at Hong
Kong. A little later they crossed over the Indian frontier
and began establishing their control in the outlying
Chinese province of Tibet.

India had from the first been the most important Brit-
ish possession in Asia. After the defeat of the French
in the eighteenth century it had long seemed far from
possible enemies and safe from attack; but as the nine-
teenth century passed by, the constant expansion of
Russia brought the Muscovite power nearer, until vigi-
lance against Russian expansion in Asia and the getting of
a strong Indian frontier were of large moment in the
policy of Great Britain. With Afghanistan, to the north-
west and leading to some of the great approaches down
into India, two wars were fought, in 1838 and in 1878, in
the first of which an English army was annihilated, but as
a result of which the country became in its foreign relations
practically a protectorate of the British Empire, and a
buffer state between India and Russia. In 1854 Baluchis-
tan, west of India, across which Alexander the Great's
soldiers once marched, was made partly dependent, and
later on a portion of it was made completely so and the
rest of it was annexed. To the west of these two little-
known countries lay the ancient state of Persia. By the



IMPERIAL EXPANSION



379



end of the nineteenth century Russian expansion threat-
ened to absorb it, and at last bring the Russian Empire
out to the warm waters of the soulh, on llie Persian CJulf
and the Arabian Sea, over across from India. To counter-
act this, while the Russians were getting control of north-
em Persia, the British tried to dominate tlie south, and a
long contest was ended when Great Britain and Russia
made their agreement of 1907 by wliich tlie northern por-
tion of Persia became Russia's sphere of influence and the
southern a British spliere, witli a neutral zone in between.
To the east of India also Britisii power was extended. In
1885 Buj[;ma, on the other side of the Bay of Bengal, was
annexed. To the northeast the mountain states of N^epal
and Bl\utan were made dependent, and then after a while
the British crossed through the vast mountains which
separate India from the dominion of China, and by 1914
had made of Tibet practically an outlying dependent
state.

By this time Britain had beyond dispute the greatest
colonial empire in the world. With the aggregate of her
domain there was nothing to compare except the posses-
sions of the United States, the vaster but less valuable
territory of Russia, the huge expanses of stagnant China,
and the colonial empire of France. The British Empire
had been built up easily because England's geographical
position had given her advantages over the greatest of lier
rivals, and her control of the sea had enabled her to in-
crease her possessions from time to time in peace and as
the result of every great war in which slie fought. The
area of the British Isles was only 120,000 square miles, and
England less than half that much. The population of the
United Kingdom was only about 45,000,000. But Eng-
land, at the beginning of the sixteenth century one of the
less important countries in Europe, was now the greatest,
and the Empire of which she was the center embraced a
fourth of the land surface of the earth. From this vast



Persia
divided into
"zones"



Extent and
character of
the British
Empire



880 EUROPE SINCE 1870

area came a large part of the world's tin, half of its gold,
a third of its coal and a third of its wool, a fifth of its wheat,
and other products without number. Its great weakness
was that it was widely scattered, with the seas of the world
separating its principal parts, and great land powers
growing ever more powerful near them. It was held to-
gether by the thing which had built it up : the strongest
navy in the world. If ever the British fleet were beaten
or dispersed, then the Empire would lie before the enemy
like spoil to be taken at will,
p lesof '^^^^ British Empire was, in some respects, a strange

the Empire and conglomerate affair. Not only were its parts widely
separate and distant, but it embraced peoples of every
race and religion and in all stages of culture and political
progress. Its elements were far more diverse than those
which composed Russia, so soon to break up, or the Dual
Monarchy, which a great war was about to destroy. Out-
side of the British Islets there were in this Empire some
12,000,000 of English people, and about 3,000,000 more
of the white race. They were mostly in Canada, Aus-
tralia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Of the remaining
365,000,000, all but 50,000,000 were in the vast ag-
gregation of races in the Indian domain, while in Africa
there were 40,000,000 negroes, and in the other lands some
millions of Malays, Chinese, and others. A great part of
all the Mohammedans of the world were under British
rule, as were Brahmins, Buddhists, and many others. In
holding together these peoples the British showed them-
selves the ablest colonial administrators whom the world
ever had seen.



Online LibraryEdward Raymond TurnerEurope since 1870 → online text (page 31 of 49)