In its search for raw materials and national prestige, European colonization peaked by 1900, with the exception of the fragmented Spanish Empire. France took possessions in Madagascar and French West Africa, Indochina and the South Pacific. Portugal lost territories in South America and Asia, but expanded into Africa. The Dutch exerted dominance over the East Indies. The Russian Empire spread from the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean and Germany had acquired Togo, German East Africa, German Southwest Africa and Kamerun. Italy controlled Eritrea and Italian Somaliland. The US now included Alaska and Puerto Rico. The foremost global power was the British Empire, which now controlled nearly a quarter of the earth’s land area, with colonies and trade networks in Africa, India, the West Indies, the East Indies, Australia and New Zealand. The colonizers not only took away their territories’ sovereignty, but also repressed indigenous cultures and beliefs, generating tension.
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