Review Notes: European Imperialism

A striking and original feature of European Imperialism was that it was a capitalist rather than a royal or government enterprise. Stock companies built and controlled the Dutch, British, and French overseas enterprises. Royal interference and crony capitalism crippled the French empire in the New World and ultimately brought down the monarchy itself. The British East India Company, which conquered India, had a larger army than the British government.

Harari notes that capitalism, imperialism, and science joined together in the imperialist enterprise. One of the keys to its success was the other army of historians, anthropologists, linguists, archaeologists, geologists, and biologists deployed, with the result that the invaders often knew the country better than the natives.


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