LessonPlan-Imperialism in Samoa

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By the end of this topic, students will be able to:

  • define the relevant concepts
  • identify and explain the reasons for Imperialisn in Samoa
  • identify and explain the effects of Imperialism on Samoan society

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Imperial rule in Samoa started in the late 19th centruy. The Industrial Revolution in Europe had such a great impact on why and how the areas outside of Europe were taken over. The need for raw materials to facilitate the manufacturing processes in Europe led to the establishment of informal and then later, formal colonial rule. Thus, Samoa was inadvertently taken over as a colony. Imperial rule impacted greatly on Samoan society, that Samoa was never the same afterwards.

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  1. Imperialism-
  2. Colonialism-
  3. Annexation-
  4. Industrial Revolution-
  5. Direct Rule-
  6. Indirect Rule-
  7. Superpowers-

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The Reasons for Imperialism in Samoa

There were many reasons why Samoa was taken over by Germany and then New Zealand. However, the four main reasons which will be explained include-

economic, strategic, political, and social reasons

The Effects of Imperialism on Samoan society

There were/ are many effects of imperialism on Samoa. Some can say that imperialism continues to impact on Samoa today. All the changes which were introduced by the Europeans cannot be accounted for, but some obvious changes include:

economic, eg- monetary system replaced the barter system, political, eg- introduction of centralised political/ governing model, and social changes, eg- establishment of formal education, improvement in health services, establishment of Christian churches

The Reasons for Imperialism in Samoa

Economic Reasons

The superpowers needed for raw materials to facilitate the production of goods. However, most of the raw materials needed could not be found in Europe. So, Europeans started to look overseas for raw materials. Areas made popular for their raw materials included- Malacca (Spice Islands) for their herbs and spices, and China for silk, porcelain and tea. The Pacific Islands offered many raw materials which the Europeans used to facilitate their trade with other societies, such as China. For example, the European traders took sandalwoods and beche-de-mer (sea slugs) from the Pacific and traded these goods for goods from China because they had limited resources to give to the Chinese. Samoa had an abundant of coconuts which eventually were cultivated and harvested to make money for the companies that owned coconut plantations. For example, the German based company, DHPG, owned and operated several plantations in Samoa. Thier interests influenced the decision which resulted in German annexation of Samoa.

Strategic reasons

The superpowers needed to ensure that their borders were protected, hence it led to the establishment of ports, and/ or facilities for military purposes. The issue of security became significant because of increasing competition between imperial rulers. For example American interest in Samoa led to the acquisition of Tutuila because of it natural harbour at Pagopago. It was there that the Americans established their military post. The rest of Samoa was not part of American designs.

political reasons

The superpowers competed against each other in the race for colonies. Their need to acquire overseas colonies was prompted by the belief that gain prestige, wealth, and power could be gained if they were able to establish overseas empires. For example, the Germans believed that they had to have overseas colonies if they wanted to be just as powerful as the British. Because of this belief, the Germans started what became known as the Scramble for Africa, which literally means the rush for colonies in Africa. In the rush for colonies, Samoa was drawn into Germany's plans because there were already German residents in Samoa.

social reasons

  • religous- spread Christianity
    1. introduction of basic literacy and numeracy
    2. health services