Imperialism can be referred to as the most powerful and destructive force in the history of humanity over the last couple of centuries. It managed to split the whole continents, oppressed the whole nations (mostly indigenous tribes) and ruined entire civilizations. Although the subject of imperialism has not been completely ignored, it has undergone a fair treatment, mitigation so that the empire became known as the “commonwealth”, and colonies became referred to as its territories and dominions. The imperialist military interventions became a matter of national defense, national security and stability in this or that region.
The basic impact of North American, Japanese and European imperial powers was directed against Asian countries, Latin America and Africa. By the 19th century, they started to consider the Third World countries not only as a source of slaves and natural resources, but also as a market for goods they produced. By the 20th century, industrialized nations have moved to export not only goods, but also capital in the form of equipment. However, the looting of natural resources never stopped and only intensified.
What is called “underdevelopment,” is a complex of social relations imposed by force on a number of countries. With the rapid development of Western colonizers, the nations which belonged to the Third World were threatened by them and usually undergone a pullback in their progress, which in some cases could last a very long time. Imperialism of Great Britain in India serves as a good example. In 1810, more textiles were exported to England than from England to India. In 1830, the situation changed. The British established a protective tariff to block the Indian goods and started dumping their products on the Indian market. Within a few years, huge textile centers in Dhaka and Madras turned into ghost towns. The Indians had no other choice but to return to the villages to grow cotton for British textile plants.
By the year 1850, Indian debt was approaching 53 million pounds. From 1850 to 1900, its GDP per capita has fallen by nearly two-thirds. The price of raw materials and goods that India was forced to sell to the UK for most of the 19th century, reached in annual gross income of 60 million Indian agricultural and industrial workers. Widespread poverty, which is usually associated with India, was not the original historical condition of this country. British imperialism did two things: firstly, it stopped the development of the Indian industry, and secondly, it imposed underdevelopment on the country.