Map and New-Imperialism in Asia

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Map and New-Imperialism in Asia

The Chinese had already made great strides in map making by the time the British came to their shores. Their maps were more intricate and detailed than those that the British had. Whereas the British maps were one dimensional and monochromatic, the Chinese used two and sometimes three-dimensional techniques to represent structures and places on maps. They further employed the use of different colors to distinguish between the different features and people that inhabited the different places they represented. The British aided the Qing dynasty forces to quash the Taiping Rebellion, headed by Hong Xiuquan, in 1864 though hostilities continued for a further seven years. Hong’s rebellion had gotten significant resource support from the Chinese people especially after many made jobless by the first opium war of 1842. This detailed map-making technique was used by the British during the scramble. The British used these detailed map-making skills during the struggle for Africa to get control of strategic locations in terms of resources and accessibility.

European interests in Africa significantly increased towards the end of the 1800s as countries launched unilateral expeditions into the new frontier. King Leopold II saw the impending conflict that this would result in. He brought together all parties and asserted that there was more to be gained through common trade in the new continent. An agreement was reached in 1884 that saw European control on the continent rise by 80% over a period of three decades. This decision paved the way for the sharing of territories all over the globe by European powers. Partitioning and sharing were done on a first come first serve basis that many times led to countries having control on many separate sections. The system, however, ensured that the European powers coexisted peacefully.

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