The Legacy of Imperialism

               A WebQuest for 10th Grade World History    


Globalization:What is globalization?
Globalization: Threat or Opportunity?
Best Writing on Globalization
Globalization Primer
Globalization (American Prospect)
Globalization: Challenges for Indonesia
Globalization: Bracing for the Blow (IBM Outsourcing)

Western Imperialism Resources

Post-Colonial Literature

Designed by

Shawn Carey

Introduction | Task | Process | Resources | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page



"To sum up the whole, the British rule has been--morally, a great blessing; politically, peace and order on one hand, blunders on the other; materially, impoverishment . . . The natives call the British system 'Sakar ki Churi,' 'the knife of sugar.'  That is to say there is no oppression, it is all smooth and sweet, but it is the knife, notwithstanding."

--Dadabhai Naoroji, the first Indian elected to the British Parliament, in a speech
during 1871 about the impact of Great Britain on India, as quoted by Beck, et al.

Imperialism refers to an era during the 19th century after the Industrial Revolution when more industrialized Western nations, including those in Europe and the United States, took control of other non-industrialized nations, or colonies, around the globe.  The primary motives of the Western nations can be grouped as political, economic, religious, ideological, and exploratory (Teachers' Curriculum Institute). Generally, Western nations took advantage of the pre-existing authority of local leaders (indirect rule) and/or exerted control through coercion and force (direct rule). 

In most cases, Western nations brought modernization and infrastructure developments to their colonies, but often at a high cost to the local people and their traditions. Eventually, most colonies either gained or were granted independence, but many of these new nations are still struggling to achieve stability and self-sufficiency as compared to the countries that used to control them during the Age of Imperialism. 

In this WebQuest, you will act as part of a delegation from an assigned country that was once a colony.  You will research the form that Imperialism took in your country.   Your delegation's task is to build an investigation and panel presentation around the question:  Were the effects of Imperialism in your country more positive or more negative overall? 


The Task


Your delegation's task is to create a panel presentation to explain and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of colonization for your country.  Each delegation will share their panel presentation at this year's Annual Conference on the Legacy of Imperialism, so that we, as a global community, can address our target question: Were the effects of Imperialism in your country more positive or negative overall?  Once delegations from the various countries are formed, you task will be to:

Panel presentations will be "live" at our conference.  "Historians" will use some visual tool to support their commentary. 



The Process


1.  Your delegation will be assigned one of the following countries:  Nigeria, India, South Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines. 

2.  Once the delegations are formed, you will need to assign different roles within your delegation.  The roles and responsibilities are:

You will moderate the panel presentation.  During the panel presentation, it is your responsibility to structure the presentation so that it flows smoothly, to ask questions and comment approriately, and to ensure that your country's delegation directly addresses the target question.  During the preparation phase,  you are accountable for establishing effective communication between all members of your delegation, as well as making sure that delegates from your country complete all necessary portions of the assignment.  You are the taskmaster for your delegation, both during the preparation process and the delivery of the panel presentation. 

Ordinary Citizen:
You will share your personal oral history at the conference.  You may narrate your own personal experiences under Imperialism or, if it makes more sense, recount the experiences of family members that came before you. The personal oral history may be fictionalized, but should be believably based in historic fact.  You will need to incorporate specific historic details and use descriptive language.  You should try to incorporate appropriate clothing or artifacts to be more convincing.  This is a great opportunity to show off your creativity, and remember, everyone loves a good story!

You (2)will be responsible for relating basic historical facts about the process of Imperialism in your country.  Your portion of the presentation has 2 parts. 
First, you will answer the questions found on the summary chart:

Second, you will create a contextualized map that shows major geographic features that are relevant to the Age of Imperialism.  This will include the capital and/or other major cities, relevant physical features like land use and distribution of raw materials, and any examples of modernization resulting from colonization that can be indicated on a map (transportation improvements such as railways or canals, centers of industry such as mines or factories, etc.) 

Because you, as historians, are responsible for the most information-rich portion of the presentation, you will need to use visual aids to supplement your report.  These may include posters, overhead transparencies, or a PowerPoint presentation, but they must be clear and easy for the members of the conference to see and understand.  They are depending on you for the information they need!

Media consultant:
Your job is to become an expert on the more recent, post-colonial history of your country.   You should be able to intelligently address the questions:

You may use visual aids to illustrate any points you are making.  Your portion of the presentation is essential to the conference members' ability to answer the target question. We will need to know "the rest of the story" to be able to evaluate the long-term effects of Imperialism.  Go news-junkies!

3.  Once each delegation shares its panel presentation,  we will culminate the Annual Conference on the Legacy of Imperialism with a group debate surrounding the target question. 




Here are some links.  Remember to consider source bias, especially for more recent information,  as you gather information!

General Information
All delegation members should visit these general sites first for background information.

CIA Factbook-Country listing
This will give you an overview of your country.

History of Imperialism
Lots of links grouped by region. 

European Imperialism
List of resource links for various countries, especially India and South Africa.

Imperialism and the Balance of Power Map


Maps for the Historian
You will need a password for the next 2 sites.  Many schools subscribe to the following databases:

ABC-CLIO World Geography Homepage

Maps 101
Maps galore!


Information by Country


News Headlines from Nigeria
Here's where to get the latest for the Media Consultant.

NIGERIA - A Country Study
A very comprehensive site on the history of Nigeria.

The Colonial and Postcolonial History and Literature of Nigeria
This website focuses specifically on the process and the effects of colonialism in Nigeria.

Pinecrest School Advanced Placement  Comparative Government - Nigeria
Check out the questions posted at the top.

Scottís Excellent Adventure in Nigeria
A Modern Narrative.  The bottom third of the page comments on how imperialism has affected the people of Nigeria.  This would be a good section for the Ordinary Citizen and the Media Consultant to check out. 



Imperialism in India
A broad history in brief form. Great starting point!

Imperialism--India: A Case Study
 A tenth grade project.  Scroll down to find lots of useful links.

  South Africa 

South Africa--A Country Study
Good history of imperialism.  Scroll down to topics of interest.

Timeline of South African History
This is a great site.  Very valuable information in consolidated form.



An Online Time-Line of Indonesia
Special sections on the Age of Imperialism and Indonesia in recent years.

Comprehensive History of Indonesia
See sections on Dutch rule.

Recent News and Essays on Imperialism in Indonesia
(On the World Socialist Web site) Good for the Media Consultant!

The Indonesian Page of the People's Movement for Justice and Democracy
Good for the Media Consultant.



Vietnam History 
  Excellent framework. Search "Vietnam History" and scroll down to the end.

Geneva Conference for Independent Indochina
Primary source document about the terms of independence.

Brief history of French colonization
An overview of Vietnamese history.



American Imperialism in the Philippines

American Imperialism in the Philippines
President McKinley explains US acquisition of the Philippines.  Other links provided.
United States Imperialism and the Philippines
Some anti-Imperialist writings and information on the Filipino War.






Your delegation will be assessed using the rubric below.  All delegation members will receive the same grade, so it is important that you work together as a team throughout the entire process.










The delivery/pace of the panel presentation is engaging.

The presentation was not well planned or rehearsed.  It was not engaging to conference members. 

Some members were unprepared and the overall presentation was choppy as a result.

Most members had prepared themselves well. The presentation moved along smoothly.

All members spoke clearly and articulately.  They performed their roles with confidence and authenticity.  The presentation was well-rehearsed and engaging to conference members.


The presentation of facts is thorough and appropriate. 


The facts presented are not the most significant.  More thoughtful research is needed.

While some group members have done thorough research, some of the most central facts are missing. 

The presentation is well-researched, and most members have chosen important facts to relate.

The presentation reveals an in-depth analysis of the facts, but all members highlighted the information that was most significant and most relevant to the target question.


A clear position in relation to the target question is established


The delegation did not address the target question in a satisfactory way.

The delegation expressed an opinion regarding the target question, but a stronger position or more clarification is needed. 

The delegation's position was stated and remained consistent throughout the presentation.

The delegation's position was clearly stated and was reinforced throughout the presentation.


The delegation meets all project requirements.  


The delegation has done an unsatisfactory job of meeting project requirements.

The delegation is missing some important parts of the project.

The delegation meets most project requirements.

The delegation meets all project requirements as instructed.


The delegation works collaboratively and uses time productively. 

Group members struggle to make progress and are not able to resolve conflicts.

Group members are generally able to work together and resolve conflicts that arise.

Group members stay on task and cooperate to achieve group goals.

Throughout the process, the group members communicate effectively.  Groups members support one another and use time wisely.





Written Work:

In addition to the panel presentation work (group grade), each person will individually write a 500 word essay on "Globalization."  Explain in your paper what "globalization" is - and take a position on the question of whether "globalization" is an overall positive or negative phenomenon in the economically developed and developing world. You must document your work. You must have footnotes and a bibliography.  If you don't footnote your paper, there will be a 20 point penalty.  Plagiarism will result in a failing grade. Globalization paper is due Wednesday, January 7, 2004. 5 point penalty each day the paper is late.


Projects will begin Wednesday, January 7, 2004.




Patterns of Imperialism are not just a thing of the past.  In the modern era of telecommunications and global markets, our world society faces the possibility of experiencing a new kind of Imperialism.  Educating ourselves about the patterns of past Imperialism might help direct our decisions today and in the future.



Credits & References


Beck, Roger B., et al.  Modern World History:  Patterns of Interaction.  McDougal Littell:  Evanston, Illinois, 1999.

"Colonialism:  European Modernization Exported."  Western Europe in the Modern World, Section 3.  Teachers' Curriculum Institute:  History Alive! Palo Alto, California, 1994. 

Special thanks to the professionals working through the PT3 grant at University of California, Santa Barbara.


Last updated on May 22, 2001. Based on a template from TheWebQuestPage