V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > A. Global and Comparative Dimensions > 1. European Global Domination, 1800–1914 > b. Intensified Imperial Competition
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
b. Intensified Imperial Competition
 
Late in the 19th century, the expanding empires engaged in major competitions for influence and control throughout the world. This global struggle was part of the partition and disintegration of some older major empires, like those of the Ottomans and the Chinese. In AFRICA the competition resulted in the direct European military occupation and control of virtually the entire continent by 1914. In North Africa, Egypt was occupied by Great Britain (1882), French protectorates were proclaimed in Tunisia (1881) and Morocco (1912), and Italy claimed control of Libya (1911) (See 1911–12). In Africa by 1914, older European empires maintained small but expanded enclaves, the Spanish in Morocco, Río de Oro, and Río Muni, and the Portuguese in Guinea, Angola, and Mozambique. The BRITISH and the FRENCH empires gained the largest share, with a number of French colonies established in West Africa and Equatorial Africa as well as Madagascar, and British control established in Nigeria, southern and eastern Africa, and, through a nominally joint control with Egypt, in Sudan. By the end of the 19th century, new Western imperial powers also had important colonies in Africa. The German Empire won control of Togo and Cameroons in West Africa and established colonial control in Tanganyika and Southwest Africa. Italy gained control over Eritrea and much of Somaliland in East Africa, and King Leopold of Belgium took control of the Congo River basin with the creation of the CONGO FREE STATE in 1885 (See 1885, April). In addition, Liberia was created in 1822 as a colony for freed slaves returning from the United States, and although it was nominally independent, it remained an economic colony of the United States. By 1914, Ethiopia was the only noncolonial area, and it would be conquered and briefly controlled by Italy in the 1930s.  1
 
1800–1914
 
EMERGING AMERICAN EMPIRE. In the Western Hemisphere, the new United States began major continental expansion. Vast territories were gained by treaty and purchase arrangements with European powers and subsequent military conquest of indigenous peoples in those areas. This was the method of acquisition of the Louisiana territories from France (1803), Florida from Spain (1810–19), Oregon from Great Britain (1846), and Alaska from Russia (1867), whereas Texas, California, and the rest of the southwestern region were gained as a result of the U.S. victory in a war with Mexico (1846–48). This expansion was temporarily interrupted by the American Civil War (1861–65), but in the second half of the 19th century, the United States began important overseas expansion. Some of this involved extension of the American economic and political sphere of influence, as in the beginning of relations with Japan initiated by Matthew Perry in 1854, and growing American interests in China. The growing domination by the United States of many independent states in Latin America led to temporary military occupations in support of U.S. economic interests in many places, like Nicaragua (1912). The U.S. also gained direct control of overseas territories, including Hawaii (1898) and the Virgin Islands (1917), and, as a result of the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR (1898), the U.S. established control in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam. By the end of World War I, the United States had emerged as one of the major global empires as well as a powerful economic force.  2
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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