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Imperialism In The Late 1800′S Essay, Research Paper

Imperialism in Late 1800’s

The most important of the European territorial possessions was British India. The British first entered India as traders in the early 1600’s. The British made alliances with Indian rulers and created its own army of Indian soldiers called sepoys. The driving force behind the British expansion in India was the British East India Company. Their power soon became known as the Raj as they extended their power.

After a while they became responsible for maintaining order in the territories that they controlled. This soon grew very hard for the company so a governor-general was appointed to handle the political activities. To secure their position in India they used military power to advance the borders of their control. The British were much more disciplined and organized than the Marathas, the people they finally conquered. They brought the Indian State of Mysore under control. Many local Indian rulers were scared of the mere threat of a war with Britain so they acknowledged their control. These Indian Princes were usually left in power but had to accept advice from the British. The British also took over al of their foreign affairs.

The early government of India consisted of 1000 British civilians. Since India was so big it required a lot more people than that, so they began to train Indians to fill in the lower ranks of the local government. This caused a major controversy among colonial politicians. Two different opinions were formed about how the Indians should be educated. The first group call the Orientalists believed that the Indians should receive an Indian education using Indian beliefs and language. The other opinion held by the Anglicists stated that there should be a higher class of Indians who could speak English and held English ideas. The Anglicists won out.

Now that India finally had a stable government people soon began to move to India. Early settlers were mostly men who had no family. These men sometimes married Indian women. European women in India were known as Memsahibs. These women soon became jealous of the Indian women so a new racism formed between the Europeans and the Indians. Now, the British rulers put a greater distance between themselves and there Indian subjects.

When the British originally arrived in India they wanted the local people to keep their customs, but as control increased there became a great outpouring of people who wanted the British to give the Indians the benefits of western culture. In 1829 the British outlawed the practice of burning Indian widows on their husbands cremation fires. In 1856 they made it legal for Hindu widows to get remarried. They also spoke out against child marriages and the killing of unwanted children.

The occupancy of India by the British soon began to stir up a mutiny from the Indians. They were mad about the changing of their customs that had been around for thousands of years. They were also mad that they couldn t hold higher positions in their own government. Soon, there would be fighting between the Indians and the British.

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