Understanding Imperialism and its Types, Causes, and History

Understanding Imperialism – Imperialism is a familiar term, especially in this case it is one of the materials in history subjects. Imperialism itself is an understanding and policy carried out by a country to control other countries.

This term began to develop since the end of the 19th century, when the rulers of a country or region competed with each other to invade other countries with the aim of gaining control.

The system of imperialism is often considered the same as the system of colonialism because they both have the goal of dominating the country. In fact, the system of imperialism and colonialism have differences.

This article will specifically discuss the imperialism system, starting from the meaning of imperialism, its types, and the difference with the colonialism system. Check out the full explanation below about the meaning of imperialism!

What is Meant by Imperialism?

The definition of Imperialism is a system of policies taken by a large country to hold control or rule over other regions so that the country can develop.

The term imperialism itself comes from the Latin language, namely imperare or imperium , which means an area of ​​population or power. According to Puspa Swara in the book with the title Sistem Belajar Yesterday: Summaries of Formula Group Materials, the meaning of imperialism is an expansion of territories or areas of power/colony.

The expansion of the territory can be done in a subtle and mutually beneficial way, such as economy, culture, ideology, or by using coercion (armed force). This is done on the basis of self-interest.

The concept of Imperialism itself has existed since the 19th century, which was first coined by the British Prime Minister at the time, namely Benjamin Disraeli. The desire to dominate other countries and regions has existed since the fall of Constantinople. Constantinople was a strategic area for trade that eventually fell to the Ottoman Turks.

The fall of Constantinople made traders and buyers unable to enter the region without care, so that the European nation became confused and had to find where to meet the need for spices commodities.

In the end, the Europeans began to conduct oceanic expeditions with the aim of finding various regions in the Asian continent and its surroundings which would then be used as an area of ​​power.

Imperialism can be divided into royal or liberal imperialism, semi-royal or semi-liberal imperialism, etc.

In principle, imperialism is an ideology that focuses on developing a territory of power outside its territory by seizing territory from other countries through war or peace or by occupying territories that do not have a master.

Based on some previous explanations, it can be concluded that the understanding of imperialism is a system that is carried out to dominate other countries for its own interests.

What Are the Types of Imperialism?

Imperialism is a system that when it comes to form and purpose consists of several types. Taken from the book Sari Sejdarah Volume I: Asia-Africa written by Soebantardjo, the following are the types of imperialism.

1. Based on the Shape

Imperialism when viewed from the form of the system used is divided into two types, namely:

  • Ancient imperialism, which is the type of imperialism that has the motto gold, glory, gospel as its purpose to find wealth, find success, and spread religion.
  • Modern imperialism, which aims to dominate the economy, such as acquiring areas producing raw materials, acquiring areas to market industrial products, for long-term investment.

2. Based on the Purpose

Unlike imperialism based on its form, imperialism based on its purpose is divided into four types, namely:

  • Political imperialism, which is a type of imperialism that aims to control the political life of a country.
  • Economic imperialism, which is a type of imperialism that aims to dominate the economic sector of a country.
  • Cultural imperialism, which is a type of imperialism that aims to dominate the cultural values ​​of a country.
  • Military imperialism, which is a type of imperialism that aims to control the strategic territory of an area to strengthen national defense.
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What Causes Imperialism?

The desire to seize other areas appears due to several driving factors. Here are the factors that led to the practice of imperialism.

1. Desire for Jaya

There is a desire from a nation to become a superpower and the most influential country in the whole world. Therefore, the imperialist countries try to seize other regions and expand their success and power.

2. Racial Superiority

The feeling of a nation that the nation is more special when compared to other nations in the world makes some imperialist countries do the imperialism system to fulfill the feeling of pride and increase the self-esteem.

3. Desire to Spread Ideology and Religion

One of the things that caused the emergence of the imperialist system is to spread the religion and ideology owned by the imperialist country so that the “mind and soul” of the colonies can also be controlled by the imperialist country.

4. Place the country less strategically

A country that has a less strategic and profitable geographical location makes the country have the desire to dominate areas located in more strategic regions.

5. Economic Factors

Economic problems are also the main cause of the rise of imperialism, especially modern imperialism. Here are the economic factors that caused the emergence of imperialism:

  • The desire to get wealth from a country.
  • Want to join in world trade.
  • Want to master the trade.
  • The desire to ensure the prosperity of the industry.

What is the Difference Between Imperialism and Colonialism?

Imperialism and colonialism have a number of similarities, one of which is to seize the power of a region for profit, while the colonized country becomes very disadvantaged. As mentioned earlier, imperialism and colonialism have a number of similarities, so people consider these two systems to be the same.

Quoting from the book Dutch Colonialism and Multiculturalism of Medan City Society by Rosmaida Sinaga, colonialism is an effort to expand and dominate an area in order to obtain the greatest profit for the parent country.

1. Purpose

If viewed from its purpose, colonialism has the purpose of controlling and using the potential natural resources of its colonial countries. As for imperialism, it aims to instill influence in various areas of the life of the colonized country.

2. Control

Colonialism controls various fields, such as politics and economy according to interests, while imperialism controls an area in various fields as a whole both formally and informally.

3. Sovereignty

Based on its sovereignty, colonialism seizes the power of the country permanently even to the point of occupying the country, while imperialism is done with power over territories that have been successfully controlled through various mechanisms of sovereignty or indirect control.

Imperialism and Colonialism in Indonesia

Indonesia is known as one of the regions that produce spices. Spices are much sought after by Europeans because they are considered to have benefits as a heater and can be used as a food preservative. Apart from the expensive spices, having spices also became a symbol of success for a king at that time. From these factors, many European nations are trying to find a region that produces spices, one of which is Indonesia.

Things that encourage the arrival of Europeans to Indonesia

1. Portuguese

Bartholomeus Diaz explored the ocean until reaching the Cape of Good Hope and South Africa, in 1488. The exploration was continued by Vasco da Gama who reached Gowa (India) in 1498, then returned to Lisboa, Portugal, bringing various spices.

The Portuguese were even more determined to find sources of spices. For that, the Portuguese continued an expedition to the eastern region led by Alfonso d’Albuquerque to control Malacca. From the expedition, they managed to control Malacca as the center of the spice trade in Southeast Asia on August 10, 1511.

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2. Spain

The Spaniard who first explored the ocean was Christopher Columbus. In 1492, he sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean, until he finally arrived in the Americas. At that time, Columbus thought that he had reached the area he was going to, namely India. That’s why Columbus named the local people he met as Indians.

The next exploration was carried out by Magellan from Spain to the southwest region. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the southern tip of America, then crossing the Pacific Ocean and landing in the Philippines in 1521. Magellan’s voyage was very influential for the world of science because they succeeded in proving that the earth is round. Magellan’s explorations were later continued by Sebastian del Cano. In 1521, Sebastian del Cano managed to land in Tidore, but their arrival was considered a violation of the Treaty of Tordesillas. To solve both problems, Portugal and Spain made the Treaty of Zaragoza in 1529.

3. The Netherlands

In 1596, Cornelis de Houtman managed to land in Banten. The attitude of the Dutch at that time was less than friendly and explicitly tried to monopolize trade in Banten, making the Sultan of Banten angry at that time. As a result, this expedition was a failure. Around the year 1598-1600, Dutch traders started coming back. His arrival this time was led by Jacob van Neck. He managed to land in Maluku with spices. Van Neck’s success caused more and more Dutch traders to come to Indonesia.

4. England

The entry of the British into Indonesia also had the purpose of finding spices. Its leading explorers are Sir Henry Middleton and James Cook. Henry Middleton began exploring in 1604 from England along the waters of Cabo da Roca (Portugal) and the Canary Islands. Henry Middleton continued to the waters of South Africa to the Indian Ocean. He arrived in Sumatra, then went to Banten at the end of 1604. He sailed to Ambon (1605), then to Ternate, as well as Tidore, and got spices, such as pepper and cloves. While James Cook arrived in Batavia in 1770, after coming from Australia.

The Development of European Power in Indonesia

Among those nations, the Netherlands is the country that has been in Indonesia the longest. Until finally they came to create a trading company in Indonesia. Even though it has gone bankrupt, until now, this company is listed as one of the companies with the most wealth in the world, you know ! Can Reader guess the name of the company?

Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or better known as VOC is the name of the trading company. The VOC was founded on March 20, 1602 by Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. Its leadership is held by 17 shareholders ( Heeren Zeventien ) based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The purpose of VOC formation is:

  1. Avoiding competition among Dutch traders.
  2. Strengthen the Netherlands in competition with other European nations.
  3. Monopolizing the spice trade in Indonesia.

The existence of the VOC is not only a trading partner, but also a political force. The VOC has octrooi rights, ie making agreements, declaring war with other countries, exercising judicial power, trading monopoly, printing its own currency, collecting taxes, having an army, and building forts. The VOC also has several policies, namely:

  1. Contingent : compulsory tax in the form of land products paid directly to the VOC.
  2. Verplichte leverantie : compulsory delivery of produce at a price determined by the VOC. This policy applies to colonies that are not directly controlled by the VOC, such as the Sultanate of Mataram.
  3. Extirpation : cutting down the excess amount of plants so that the production is not excessive, so that the price can be maintained.
  4. Hongi Cruise: A kora-kora boat cruise to monitor the cultivation and trade of spices by farmers.

In 1799, the VOC experienced bankruptcy due to many VOC officials committing corruption, incurring debts due to the war, as well as the moral decline of the officials. With the dissolution of the VOC, its power in Indonesia was then taken over by the government of the Dutch kingdom which at the time was controlled by France.

What is meant by Anti-Imperialism and Colonialism?

The many forms of power struggles make some regions in the world carry out anti-imperialism movements as a form of resistance to the ideology. Anti-imperialism and colonialism is a form of opposition to the system of imperialism and colonialism that exists in the world.