European Imperialism

6 June 2017

The period from 1700 to 1900 is dominated by European Imperialism, and it is no wonder that that would strongly affect the flow of long-distance migrants. During this time, people moved for the same reason they always did: better opportunities, yet the manifestation of these opportunities and their location were shifting. New technologies and the rise of imperialism affected the flow of people to the united States, from or to Asia, and from Africa.

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Time and again Inhabitants of the united States resented new immigrants and foreigners, Ironically, the original settlers were Immigrants themselves, and the deflnltlon of “foreigner” changed frequently as Immigrants settle In, became “American”, and brand new wave of foreign Immigrants swept In to take Jobs from “Americans”. This resentment of long-distance Immigrants Is seen not only In the united States, but all over the world, In as diverse places as Great Britain and China, and this xenophobic view of change Is not at all new.

When the Irish and Germans Immigrated to the united States, they were disliked by the Anglo-Saxon Protestants: when Immigrants from Eastern Europe arrived, they were esented by the now American Irish and Germans; when Chinese railroad workers and gold miners arrived, they were certainly not welcomed by the totally “American” population. Though these long-distance immigrants hailed from different places over time, the pattern of distrust and hostility persisted in the united States and elsewhere.

Historically speaking, the people of Eastern/Southeastern Asia did not tend to immigrate to Europe before Imperialism. (Nor the other way around). The Chinese who emigrated from China were largely those who sought better pportunities and ultimately meant to return after making enough money – the same, incidentally, is true for many Europeans who emigrated from Europe looking for opportunities, though their circumstances were quite different. China at this time was still a largely agricultural nation, subject to involuntary European influence through the spheres of influence.

Whereas before, China was largely self-sufficient and isolated, the increasing globalization caused by imperialism made it possible and even attractive to seek riches elsewhere, which is why many Chinese (and Japanese) moved to the United States. In fact, to return to aforementioned xenophobia, the immigrants concerned the USA so much that they, in the late 1800’s, severely restricted immigration from China and Japan, through laws and a treaty respectively.

In addition to people moving from China, colonial powers moved Into Asia, and some of their citizens followed, like other Immigrants, In search of opportunities they would not have had In Europe. Fundamentally, most Immigrants moved for the same reason, and were encouraged by Imperialism, despite being of vastly different backgrounds. African slaves are a notable exception to most Immigrants – their diaspora was, generally speaking, Involuntary, undesirable (for them), and certainly not for the same reason as the aforementioned Europeans and Chinese.

Slaver Is not new, It happened In the Muslim empire among others, but the extent to which slave labor was used – because It was profitable – Impacted the world greatly around this time. Despite the slave trade being banned In many places at the beginning of the 1 8th century, the forced migration of African slaves was an centuries to come. As in Asia, Europeans also moved into settled colonies in Africa, gain for better opportunity, and due to imperialism, again showing the ubiquitous impact of imperialism during this time.

Long-distance migration became increasingly common as transportation makes it more possible, and as people need or want different things they believe can be found in a faraway place. Mostly, it was for economic reasons that people immigrated – or, indeed, were forced to immigrate. This period marked a massive increase in global migration and some change in migration patterns, but the fundamental motivation for migration remained the same.

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