Imperialism occurs when a strong nation takes over a weaker nation or region and dominates its economic, political, or cultural life. There are several reasons why countries compete with each other when concerning imperialism. They all want to gain power and prestige. The more territory a country is able to control and influence, the more power the country may have. .
One cause of imperialism is exploration. Early explorers searched for new lands to claim as their own, and for the glory and fame that came along with discovering uncharted regions. Once explorers found new land, they could begin to colonize and set up new territories. If there were people already established on the land, they could bring back new ideas, wealth, and goods to their home country.
Another cause of imperialism is trade. Europeans wanted India's luxury items such as silk, spices, and metals. The Europeans wanted silk to make their clothing nicer because they only had wool. They wanted spices to make their food taste better, and because they did not have any refrigeration to keep their food from going bad. The Europeans wanted India's metals such as gold and silver for their monetary value. However, the Europeans were not able to use the Mediterranean Sea to get these luxury items because it was controlled by the Muslims. This forced the Europeans to use alternate trade routes. .
There are many benefits and justifications from imperialism. One benefit from imperialism is the advancement in military technology and navigation. An example of this is the introduction of canons and gunpowder on ships. Four wheels instead of two were put on canons for better aim for firing at forts along the coast. Rectangular and triangular sails were used on Portuguese ships for better sailing. Astrolabes, which are hand held devices used at night, were used by lining up with the stars. Knots were tied in ropes for determining speed, and cartography was improved with better map making and accuracy.