unit banner

Unit 5: Crisis and Change

Lesson A: Competition Leads to Global Conflict

Activity 4: Long-Term Cause - Imperialism

Imperialism is the policy of extending a country's authority by colonial expansion or by the establishment of economic and political control over other countries. The methods used by a country to imperialize and gain control over an additional territory include diplomacy, purchases, and warfare. (Select the link to review the methods or strategies of imperialism.)

From the 1600s through the 1800s, the countries of Europe competed fiercely for colonies in Africa and Asia. The British Empire came to claim that the "sun never set on the British Empire." Colonization was seen as a way to acquire additional resources and markets without having to trade for them with other competing countries and empires. With the Industrial Revolution (late 18th century into early 19th century), competition among countries increased dramatically because all of them had a greater need for resources and raw materials.

By the late 1800s, imperial competition had pushed Europe to the brink of war. By 1900, imperialism dominated European foreign policy. The mass production of war technologies gave Europeans a great advantage over the countries of Africa and Asia. This new advantage over the weakening governments of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East and the Qing Dynasty in China helped set the stage for tense national rivalries among European countries. Many of the countries saw new opportunities to expand and to take over areas previously occupied by strong governments.

image of classroom blackboard with world history written on it

Classroom Activity - Comparing the Italian and Russian Empires

jigsaw image Jigsaw

Directions: Follow your teacher's directions to complete the jigsaw activity. After completing the assignment, prepare for discussion.

Download Icon Download the Student Resource: Imperialism in the Italian and Russian Empires Jigsaw Graphic Organizer (doc).

Presentation Icon Select the link to learn about The History of the Italian Empire.

Presentation Icon Select the link to learn about The History of the Russian Empire.


Discussion Icon Discussion

Directions: Prepare a response to the discussion question below. Follow your teacher's directions to participate in your class discussion.

  • Why did Italian and Russian imperialism cause tension throughout Europe?

Download Icon Select the link to review the Discussion Scoring Tool (pdf).


❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖