To what areas of the world did Europe extend its power after 1870? How and why did European attitudes toward imperialism change after 1870? What features differentiate the New Imperialism from previous imperialist movements? What features did they have in common?
By the 1870s, the expansion of European influence was not new. SPain, Portugal, France, Holland, and Britain had controlled territories overseas for centuries, but by the mid-nineteenth century, only Great Britain still had extensive holdings. The first half of the century was generally hostile to colonial expansion. The loss of the American colonies had sobered even the British. The French acquired Algeria and part of Indochina, and the British added territory to their holdings in Canada, India, Australia, and New Zealand. In the last third of the century, however, the European states swiftly spread their control over perhaps ten million square miles and 150 million people-about one-fifth of the world’s land area and one-tenth of its population. During this period, European expansion went forward with great speed, and participation in it came to be regarded as necessary for a great power. The movement has been called New Imperialism. Both forms of imperialism were based upon the policy of extending a nation’s authority by territorial acquisition or by establishing economic and political hegemony over other nations.