Transformations Around the Globe
Created by superbrain103 on Mar 1, 2010
Last updated: 03/03/10 at 10:35 AM
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Spain, the United States developed an interest in Panama. It wished to create a canal in the running through the country of Columbia, cutting sea commute in half. This would greatly increase coast-to-coast contact. When Columbia asked for unreasonable funds in exchange for building permits, the U.S. turned to Panama, a territory of Columbia. The Panamanians had been pushing for independence for almost a century. In 1903, the U.S. Navy helped Panama finally gain independence. In gratitude, the newly independent country granted the United States its ten-mile-wide building zone for the canal. The Panama Canal is still in use today. It is both a engineering masterpiece commutative and a popular tourist attraction.
During the Mexican Revolution, one prominent figure rose to near immortality: Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. He fought so valiantly against Spain that the people time and time again elected him president of Mexico. However, he gave up his presidency to fight against the Americans for control of Texas. Texas was a Mexican territory populated by American citizens. Tensions between colonists and natives were cause by moral issues such as religion and slavery. When Texans wanted independence and self-government, Stephen Austin fueled the ensueing revolt. Eventually, Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna at the Battle of Jacinto. The United States annexed Texas and Santa Anna. Peace was not maintained for long. In a dispute over the Mexican border, the United States invaded Mexico. Mexico consequently gave up a third of its land in the Treaty of Gaudelupe Hidalgo. Mexico was in deep turmoil. Fortunately, they had a new, inspirational leader: Benito Juarez.
The U.S. did not actively adress the Monroe Doctrine until the independence movement in Cuba. Cuba, led by Jose Marti, declared independence from Spain in the second half of the 19th century. Americans played a role in this revolution due to both economic and moral obligations. In other words, the United States joined the Spanish-American war because it had bussiness interests in Cuba and because the Spanish were cruelly treating the Cubans by putting them in concentration camps. The Americans cleverly attacked the Philipines, another Spanish colony. Unprepared for a war on two fronts, the Spanish withdrew from battle and granted independence to the Cubans. Independence was anything but what followed in Cuba. The United States installed a military goverment in Cuba to keep the country under control. This enraged native Cubans, who had assumed that America had joined their side because it genuinely wanted to help them. Cuba was only one example of U.S. imperialism in Latin America. Power hungry after gaining Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines as a result of the Spanish-American War, the U.S. soon set its sights on Panama.
When U.S. Commodore Perry entered Tokyo Harbor with 4 modern steam ships, the Japanese were given an unwelcome surprise; the world they had isolated themselves from was growing stronger than them. Emperor Mutsuhito realized that Japan must either industrialize or die. Consequently, Japan underwent the an almost overnight transformation. Under the Meiji, or "enlightened rule", Era, Japan adopted European government, miltary, and schooling ideologies. By the dawn of the 20th century, the Japanese had acquired an extensive railroad system, vast amounts of resources such as coal, unique trade products such as tea and silk, modern industries like shipbuilding, and the most powerful army and navy in Asia. Almost instantly, Japan had gained as much economic, political, and military authority as any other European empire. With these newly gained powers, the Japanese peacefully relieved foreign powers of extraterritorial rights granted in the Treaty of Kanagawa. They also began their own empire, fending of both the Chinese and Russians from Korea, which was later annexed to Japan. Japan's quick modernization let it rise up to level of the most powerful empires of its time. However, it treated its colonies so unfairly that one must wonder; was bringing Japan into the modern world a mistake?
China prided itself on self-sufficiency. The only port it allowed foreigners to trade at was Gaungzhou, a dock where the balance of trade was clearly in China's favor. European nations, needing something to trade that the Chinese would buy in large quantities, eventually resorted to the drug opium. British merchants smuggled massive amounts of opium to the Chinese population despite the Chinese government's threats and pleas. Outraged that the British were ignoring them, the Chinese declared war on the British. However, they suffered humiliating defeat in the Opium War of 1839 due to the technologically superior British navy. As a result, the Chinese granted the British extraterritorial rights in Hong Kong in the Peace Treaty of Nanjing.
By the 19th century, most Latin American countries had gained independence. However, the United States, with the War of 1812 still fresh in the minds of its citizens, feared that these new countries would have trouble defending their independence. Consequently, in 1823, President James Monroe issued the Monroe Doctrine. This document essentially stated that the Latin American territories would be protected from any possible foreign invasions. This doctrine would not be tested until the late 1800s, the period of the Spanish-American War.