Imperialism is when a country takes over new lands or countries and makes them subject to their rule. By 1900 the British Empire extended over five continents and France had control of large areas of Africa. With the rise of industrialism countries needed new markets. The amount of lands 'owned' by Britain and France increased the rivalry with Germany who had entered the scramble to acquire colonies late and only had small areas of Africa. Note the contrast in the map below.
European domination in the nineteenth century rested above all on the power of industry, which gave Europeans the ability to roam the world with steamships and railways, carrying their armies and exports across the globe, and suppressing attempts at resistance including indigenous economic competition (as for example in the case of the Egyptian cotton industry in the early nineteenth century). The huge revenues generated by industry gave them the financial clout to sustain this vast global effort. Empire took many forms, from mass European settlement as in Australia or Canada, to mere occupation of coastal trading bases as in China or West Africa, to the takeover of pre-existing imperial structures and collaboration with existing elites as in India. Two world wars in the twentieth century and the rise of the USA undermined the superiority, generated during the Napoleonic Wars, that gave Europe its edge. What we have now is not so much imperialism as globalization: this does of course involve the diffusion across the globe of what were originally European technologies and cultural practices, European political systems and ideologies, European economic structures and processes; but globalization is increasingly levelling up – or possibly down - other parts of the world to the European standard in these areas, even if the processes are uneven and will for a long time be incomplete; increasingly major companies and enterprises are global rather