What Is Imperialism World History?

Imperialism is a term that has been used to describe the expansion of one nation’s power and influence over other nations or territories. This concept has been present throughout world history, and it has had a significant impact on the development of different societies and cultures.

What Is Imperialism?

Imperialism can be defined as the process by which one country extends its power or influence over other countries or territories, often through conquest or colonization. This process can take many different forms, including political, economic, and cultural domination.

Imperialism can be seen as a way for powerful nations to exert their control over weaker ones. It often involves the exploitation of resources and labor from these weaker nations for the benefit of the dominant power.

The History of Imperialism

Imperialism has a long history that dates back to ancient times. The Roman Empire is perhaps one of the best-known examples of imperialism in history, with its vast territorial conquests across Europe, Asia, and Africa.

During the Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries, European powers such as Spain, Portugal, and England began to establish colonies in the Americas and other parts of the world. These colonies were established for economic reasons such as gaining access to new resources and markets.

In the 19th century, imperialism took on a new form known as “new imperialism.” This period was characterized by increased competition among European powers for control over territories in Africa and Asia. Many European countries established colonies in these areas to gain access to natural resources such as rubber and oil.

The Impact of Imperialism

The impact of imperialism has been significant on both dominant powers and weaker nations. For dominant powers, imperialism has allowed them to gain access to new resources and markets while also expanding their political influence.

However, for weaker nations that have been subject to imperialist domination, the effects have often been negative. Imperialism has often led to the exploitation of resources and labor, as well as the suppression of local cultures and traditions.

Imperialism has also had long-lasting effects on the political and economic systems of many countries. Many former colonies continue to struggle with political instability and economic underdevelopment, which can be traced back to the legacy of imperialism.


In conclusion, imperialism is a complex concept that has had a significant impact on world history. While it has allowed dominant powers to expand their influence and access new resources, it has also had negative effects on weaker nations that have been subject to imperialist domination.

As we continue to study world history, it is important to understand the role that imperialism has played in shaping different societies and cultures. By recognizing both its positive and negative impacts, we can gain a better understanding of this complex phenomenon and work towards creating a more just and equitable global community.