The late nineteenth century saw only one-fifth of the world’s land mass not under a European flag up until the onset of World War I. Western European nations believed through Imperialism and expansion of their empires, they would wear the crown of kings over everyone else. Obviously, those living in the motherlands supported their nations outreach from the Sahara to Bengal to Indonesia. However, for those subjects living and working under empirical rule, their opinions differed. Nowhere could the views of the people be seen than through political cartoons from this era.


English Imperialism represented as an Octopus. Digital image. The New Imperialism. Blogger, 25 Feb. 2012. Web. 7 Apr. 2015. <>.

This political cartoon represents Britain as an octopus, with its arms on many different countries and regions, such as India, Canada, Egypt, and Boersland. The artist makes the face on John Bull represent Britain as greedy and selfish.

Rhodes Collossus

Sambourne, Edward L. The Rhodes Colossus. Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikimedia, n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2015. <>.

This famous cartoon depicts English-born Cecil Rhodes striding over the African continent. The views of Rhodes, and many other imperialists, were summed up in his declaration, “I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race.”


The White Man’s Burden. Digital image. Imperialism & European Colonization of Africa and Asia. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2015. <>.

This final cartoon depicts what is known as “The White Man’s Burden”. This cartoon fully develops and brings together the idea that as white people are “the finest race in the world” they must bring civilization (in this case education) to everyone around the world.

In conclusion, these political cartoons represent both positive and negative views of European Imperialism in the late nineteenth century, and they give us great insight into the mindset of those who both supported and rejected the theory of Imperialism and Colonialism.


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