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Webster defines Imperialism as the policy or practice of forming and maintaining an empire and thereby controlling the raw materials and markets of that empire. A significant step in the formation of this empire is the establishment of colonies. The colonies, supported by military force, are then used to take raw material from the colonial soils and to force the native peoples to buy finished goods from the imperial homeland at inflated prices. This impoverishes the natives.

I suppose you can say that there are degrees of imperialism, but no serious historian can say that England was not the most successful imperial nation in human history. At one time their empire - created specifically to control markets and raw materials - included one quarter of the globe's people and surface.

Im modern times - since 1800 - France and Russia also have maintained large empires. Either, at their peak was about half the size or less of the English Empire.

After these three you find many nations with significant empires - some lasting longer than others, but all of shorter duration than those first three. The USA, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Turkey all maintained colonies for markets and raw materials. None came anywhere near the size of the first three I've mentioned.

By necessity all such empires are held together by force. The British demonstrated this many times with myriad wars of conquest. Just a few of note.....1) multiple wars with Spain and France to seize their coloniesin the 1700s and 1800s.2) war with Japan in WWII in order to reestablish colonies lost to the Nipponese such as Hong Kong, and to prevent possible uprisings in their colony of India.3) Africa - Bloody wars with the native Zulus and the Boers ( a competing colonial vestiage of Holland )

France too fought long bloody wars in Indochina and Algeria, among other places, as they tried to hang on to their empire. Otherwise the Italians fought natives in Ethiopia, the Germans in SW Africa, and the Americans in the Phillipines. War against the natives is a virtual prerequisite of establishing a colonial/imperial empire.

The Russian empire was not based on naval strength so their empire was contiguous geographically. They colonized Siberia, the Baltic states, Finland and Islamic areas of Central Asia. Ultimately they even penetrated deep into central Europe.

America's overseas empire was mainly an attempt to secure markets and military bases in the Far East in order to facilitate trade with China - China being the only available market for trade, all others being part of other empires and thus closed to free trade. Ultimately this brought the USA into conflict with the Japanese who also desired to control the Chinese trade.

Germany and Italy were much too late to the empire building schemes to have much of an overseas colonial empire. Instead Germany in particular sought to extend her influence via her neighbors, this bringing her into direct conflict with the surrounding great empires of Russia, France and Britain. Germany tried various strategies to break this stranglehold but was ultimately ground down and destroyed as to imperial ambitions. I suppose Germany can gather some solace in knowing that their efforts were successful in destroying the empires of Britain and France, and to some extent that of Russia.

Technically, Russia grew in power after beating Germany in WWII, but the Demographics were already shifting in that nation. The Russian people were so bloodied by WWII that they soon (by 1980) became a minority within their empire. At that point the end was near and the Russian/Soviet empire collapsed swiftly due to pressures from the USA under the leadership of President Reagan.

Today there really are not any remaining imperial empires. To some extent the USA is imperialistic in that they project power with regularity into various parts of the globe. This power projection is always coated with a veneer of concern for human rights but in reality is used to maintain American access to markets and raw materials. The major difference with this situation and that of the British, French, etal. is that the USA has been willing to pay an honest price for those market and materials. The British, French, etal. basically used their empires as a license to steal from the native peoples.

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Q: What are the types of imperialism?
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