In the early 1880s, informal imperial expansion gave way to formal imperial acquisitions. Between this point and the outbreak of the First World War, more colonial territory was acquired by European states than in the previous three-quarters of a century. New states entered the business of imperialism, notably Belgium, Germany and Italy. Richard J. Evans discusses the ‘Scramble for Africa’ extended in fact to other parts of the globe and brought in new possessions in Asia, North Africa and the Pacific. Many explanations have been advanced for this sudden expansion of empire, ranging from changes in the European economy to the rise of European nationalism, from the need perceived by some European statesmen to provide an outlet for popular discontent at home to the exploitation of colonial issues by Bismarck for diplomatic purposes. This lecture analyses the process of partition and assesses the best way to explain it. For download and transcript versions of this lecture, please visit the event's page on the Gresham College website: The Rise and Fall of European Empires from the 16th to the 20th Century: The Scramble for Africa"
Professor Sir Richard J. Evans FBA
Professor Richard J. Evans FBA is Regius
Professor of Modern History and President of Wolfson College at the University
has lectured extensively all over the world at a variety of literary festivals
and events, is widely published and is a frequent contributor to the broadcast
media and the press.
He has been Editor of theJournal
of Contemporary Historysince
1998 and a judge of the Wolfson Literary Award for History since 1993.
His most recent publication was the third volume of his monumental large-scale
history of the Third Reich,The Third Reich at War, which was
published in 2008.
Evans's area of research interest lies predominantly in German history,
especially social and cultural history, since the mid-nineteenth century.
He has worked on movements of emancipation and liberation, including the
feminist movement and the labour movement, on social inequality in the urban
environment, and on the social history of death and disease. His work on
the history of crime has involved examining literary discourses and their
interaction with social models of deviance, both those articulated by the
authorities and those lived by deviants themselves. Since acting as
principal expert witness in the David Irving libel trial before the High Court
in London in 2000, his work has dealt with Holocaust denial and the clash of
epistemologies when history enters the courtroom.
a political-economic phenomenon whereby various European nations explored, conquered, settled, and exploited large areas of the world. The purposes of colonialism included economic exploitation of the colony's natural resources, creation of new markets for the colonizer, and extension of the colonizer's way of life beyond its national borders. In the years 15001900, Europe colonized all of North and South America and Australia, most of Africa, and much of Asia by sending settlers to populate the land or by taking control of governments. The first colonies were established in the Western Hemisphere by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th16th century. The Dutch colonized Indonesia in the 16th century, and Britain colonized North America and India in the 17th18th century. Later British settlers colonized Australia and New Zealand. Colonization of Africa only began in earnest in the 1880s, but by 1900 virtually the entire continent was controlled by Europe. The colonial era ended gradually after World War II; the only territories still governed as colonies today are small islands. See alsodecolonization, dependency, imperialism.