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European Colonization and the Colonial System (1850-1939)

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  1. Presentation of PPR and Puma
  2. Presentation of the operation
  3. Decision and Executive Summary

A colony is a territory conquered and managed by a foreign country. The country that colonizes a territory exerts military, political, economic and cultural dominance on the colony. Many colonies were created between the 19th and the 20th century. European countries were the metropolises that conquered other territories. The Western European nations: Great Britain, France, Netherlands and Belgium became great colonial powers. However, countries like Spain and Portugal began losing their colonial powers, as they had already lost their territories in America.

Africa, the south-east of Asia and some Pacific Islands constituted the Colonial Empires. The countries that created Colonial Empires were the industrialized countries of the world. A bond between the economic power of a nation and its colonization could thus be established.

The difference between the dominant country and the dominated country arises with economic, technological and a possible cultural superiority. This attests the European dominance over the countries in Africa and South east Asia. Creation of colonies across the world by the European nations gives rise to many questions: How do we explain the contradiction between the European humanistic values like the French Republican and democratic values, and colonialism? Was the colonization of the world by European countries a powerful factor? Did colonization contribute to progress?

- Before the First World War, Western Europe is producing one third of global GDP. In 1913, she produced half of world trade. It is financially strong (World Bank): England, France and Germany account for 80% of global investments.

? The advantages of the continent:

- A major demographic force:
- In 1900, Europe accounted for 27% of the world, with 423 million inhabitants;

- Technical and intellectual progress date from the 16th century with the Renaissance. The Nobel Prize in medicine and science were initiated in the early 20th century (1900-1913) in Europe (Pierre and Marie Curie, for example);

- Is an industrial power: Europe is the cradle of the industrial revolution. Textiles and steel (with mines, coal) become major industries. The late 19th century saw the emergence of the automotive and chemicals industry

- The financial system of the time was based in gold. European currencies were convertible into gold, so that the banking system is efficient and promoted.

Conclusion: domination in technical, industrial and financial aspects manifests itself between 1900 and 1913. It allowed Europe to establish the material conditions necessary to be able to start to conquer the world. Marine and rail communications are controlled and techniques (superiority in weapons) and medical advances that fight against malaria and yellow fever (disease of the interior of Africa). In 1840 Pasteur discovered quinine treatment against malaria.

- J. Ferry, Republican, creator of the law of public education and secular, is the Chairman of the Third Republic in 1885. He announced the reasons for colonization:
- Settlements are opportunities for marketing French products, so it's essential to avoid a market oversupply. In addition, since 1870 until 1896, Europe suffered a major depression with a slowdown in the economy;

- Colonies may serve as a European capital investment with profitable investments;

- Settlements can bring wealth in raw materials such as tropical products absent in European cities.

Conclusion: the economic reasons are important but not sufficient to explain the settlement. There are examples of weaknesses -: investments are limited, France will place 15% of its total capital. Colonial trade remains relatively small, accounting for 10% of French foreign trade.

Tags: Colonial trade, economy slowdown, Nobel Prize

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