AP World History Long Essay Question Example 2

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Compare and contrast the effects of European imperialism in Asia and Africa during the period c. 1450–1900. 

Examine the motives behind European colonialism, the methods used to establish and maintain control, and the long-term consequences for colonized regions.


Sample Answer:

Thesis/Claim (1 point): European imperialism in Asia and Africa during the period c. 1450–1900 had significant impacts on both continents, marked by similarities and differences in motives, methods, and consequences, ultimately reshaping global dynamics.

Contextualization (1 point): The era from c. 1450–1900 witnessed profound historical developments, including the Age of Exploration, the rise of European colonial empires, and the Industrial Revolution. These developments set the stage for European imperialism in Asia and Africa.

Evidence (2 points): European imperialism in both Asia and Africa had similarities in terms of motives. European powers, driven by economic interests and the desire for resources, sought to expand their empires. For example, both in Africa and Asia, European nations aimed to secure valuable resources such as minerals, spices, and textiles.

However, differences also emerged in the methods used to establish and maintain control. In Africa, the “Scramble for Africa” resulted in the arbitrary division of the continent among European powers, often leading to conflicts. In contrast, in Asia, British India and the Dutch East Indies experienced more centralized colonial rule with greater infrastructure development.

The consequences of European imperialism varied. In both regions, indigenous cultures were influenced and, in some cases, suppressed. Economically, colonial powers extracted resources, leading to wealth disparities. However, in Africa, the legacy of artificial borders created during colonization still affects the continent’s geopolitics today. In contrast, Asia experienced a mixture of independence movements and the emergence of new nations, reflecting different colonial legacies.

Analysis and Reasoning (2 points): European imperialism during c. 1450–1900 reflects a complex historical development with both common motives and diverse outcomes. The scramble for resources and economic interests were universal driving forces. Still, the methods of control and the consequences of imperialism differed, shaping the distinct experiences of Africa and Asia.

To achieve a more complex understanding, it’s essential to consider the nuances within each region. While Asia generally saw more centralized colonial rule, India’s experience under British imperialism differed from that of the Dutch East Indies. Similarly, within Africa, different colonial powers employed varying approaches, affecting local cultures and societies in diverse ways.

In conclusion, European imperialism in Asia and Africa during the period c. 1450–1900 displayed both commonalities and distinctions in motives, methods, and consequences. This complex historical development significantly impacted global dynamics, reshaping the world order.

Total Points: 6

This essay provides a historically defensible thesis, relevant contextualization, specific evidence, and a well-structured analysis, earning a perfect score according to the 2023 AP World LEQ Rubric.


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