Modern Era

Europe, Middle East, and East Asia 1800-1914

1838-1842 Opium War in China

The Opium wars was started due to trade, the British bought lots of tea and porcelain but since China limited trade with the British because China wanted to stay away from foreign ideas and world affairs. Since, the Chinese tried to limit trade with the British, Britain panicked and resorted to continue trade by offering Opium for porcelain and tea. Opium is a highly addictive drug used to either make heroine or morphine that the Chinese smoked through pipes, but it caused China to become hooked, the men were lazy and unproductive, and would do anything for Opium. The balance of trade now favored Britain, and China was known as the Country of Sick Men. To stop people from using Opium anymore, the Chinese government decided to destroy the cargo and arrest the crew from trading more Opium, which angered British merchants that resulted in Britian sending in their Navy, starting the Opium Wars. Because of the Industrial Revolution, Britain won the war easily. The ships were powered by steam, armored with metal, and many guns on board. China's, on the other hand, were powered by wind, made of wood, with few guns on board.

Effects of Opium War

Since suffering a huge defeat from the Opium Wars, China was forced to sign unfair treaties like the Treaty of Nanjing, where China had to open up all ports and give their best port to Britain (Hong Kong), pay for the destroyed Opium and give Britain the Right of Extraterritoriality which favored only Britain. Not only Britian took advantage of China, other countries also took advantage of China's weakness and also had made China sign unfair treaties because China couldn't go against a industrialized country.

Young Ottomans


A group of people consisted of lower-level officials, military officials, writers, poets, and journalists who had a modern Western style education that were active during the middle decades of the nineteenth century, as they sought major changes in the Ottoman political system itself. They favored a more European-style democratic, constitutional regime that would curtail the absolute power of the emperor and felt that this political system could mobilize the energies of the country to overcome backwardness and preserve the state against European aggression. This was known as the Islamic Modernism.

Russo-Japanese War

The successful war against Russia established Japan as a formidable military competitor in East Asia and the first Asian state to defeat a major European power. The defeat at the hands of Japanese upstarts shocked and triggered the 1905 revolution in that country. This also motivated liberation reforms the Islamic world and other minorities such as the Poles, Finns, and Jews.

Young Turks


The opposition coalesced around the 'Young Turks' who were military and civilian elites. They advocated a militantly secular public like and shift to thinking in terms of a Turkish national state. After 1900, there were growing efforts to define a Turkish national state and the military coup in 1908 gave the Young Turks real power. They antagonized non-Turkic peoples in the Ottoman Empire which stimulated Arab and other nationalisms. The Ottoman Empire completely disintegrated after World War I.

-eliminate affiliation with Islam
-very militant
-keep on modernizing
-hold elections
-open schools for women
-allow women to dress western
-restrict polygamy
-allow divorce
-1918: empire falls apart

Overall Imperealism

Imperialism has done more harm than good. Among the good things, it helped colonies build infrastructure and transportation e.g. the railway system; unify the people and arouse a spirit of nationalism; expose them to science and technology; learn a foreign language; understand complex political and economic system of the colonial rulers which might later help them in building their own institutions; get rid of their own obsolete value systems like Sati system in India.
On the other hand, some of the downsides are as follows:
Over-exploitation of the resources of the colony or country under occupation.
Loss of their culture and the weakening of their value system.
Feeling of inferiority stemming out of being under their thumb.
No independence or control over their own land.
Little or minimal representation in their own government.

Overall Effect on Europe

The overall economic profit and loss from empire is complex. While European economies no doubt benefited from cheaper access to raw materials and markets, that has to be weighed against the increased taxation to pay for defense. In the British case, to take one example, the positive economic impact of empire on the British economy in the period 1870 to 1914 has been calculated as marginal at best, while historians have suggested that reliance on imperial markets diverted Britain from the more difficult but more productive road of modernizing her economy.