Imperialism webquest

Imperialism Pathfinder

Introduction Task Process Resources Evaluation Conclusion


Imperialism refers to an era during the 19th century after the Industrial Revolution when more industrialized Western nations, including those in Europe and the United States, took control of other non-industrialized nations, or colonies, around the globe. The primary motives of the Western nations can be grouped as political, economic, religious, ideological, and exploratory (Teachers' Curriculum Institute). Generally, Western nations took advantage of the pre-existing authority of local leaders (indirect rule) and/or exerted control through coercion and force (direct rule). In most cases, Western nations brought modernization and infrastructure developments to their colonies, but often at a high cost to the local people and their traditions. Eventually, most colonies either gained or were granted independence, but many of these new nations are still struggling to achieve stability and self-sufficiency as compared to the countries that used to control them during the Age of Imperialism. In this WebQuest, you will act as part of a delegation from an assigned country that was once a colony. You will research the form that Imperialism took in your country. Your delegation's task is to build an investigation and panel presentation around the question: Were the effects of Imperialism in your country more positive or more negative overall?

Your Task

Your delegation's task is to create a panel presentation to explain and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of colonization for your country. Each delegation will share their panel presentation at this year's Annual Conference on the Legacy of Imperialism, so that we, as a global community, can address our target question: Were the effects of Imperialism in your country more positive or negative overall? Once delegations from the various countries are formed, you task will be to:

1. inform the conference members about the relevant historical background of your country;
2. analyze the effects of Imperialism from a personal, historic, and modern-day perspective;

3. formulate and defend your delegation's position regarding the question: Were the effects of Imperialism in your country more positive or more negative overall?;

4. present your position in a well-articulated interview format;

Panel presentations will be "live" at our conference. "Historians" will use some visual tool to support their commentary.

The Process

1. Your delegation will be assigned one of the following countries: Nigeria, India, South Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines.

2. Once the delegations are formed, you will need to assign different roles within your delegation. The roles and responsibilities are:


You will moderate the panel presentation. During the panel presentation, it is your responsibility to structure the presentation so that it flows smoothly, to ask questions and comment approriately, and to ensure that your country's delegation directly addresses the target question. During the preparation phase, you are accountable for establishing effective communication between all members of your delegation, as well as making sure that delegates from your country complete all necessary portions of the assignment. You are the taskmaster for your delegation, both during the preparation process and the delivery of the panel presentation.

Ordinary Citizen:

You will share your personal oral history at the conference. You may narrate your own personal experiences under Imperialism or, if it makes more sense, recount the experiences of family members that came before you. The personal oral history may be fictionalized, but should be believably based in historic fact. You will need to incorporate specific historic details and use descriptive language. You should try to incorporate appropriate clothing or artifacts to be more convincing. This is a great opportunity to show off your creativity, and remember, everyone loves a good story!


You (2)will be responsible for relating basic historical facts about the process of Imperialism in your country. Your portion of the presentation has 2 parts. First, you will answer the questions found on the summary chart:

Who--what Western power colonized your country? When--how did contact first occur and are there other specific dates that are important to know? Why--which of the 5 motives for Imperialism (see Intro) made your country attractive as a colony ? How--did the colonists use direct or indirect rule (see Intro) to govern the country? What was the response to colonization within your country--were there any groups or famous individuals that aided or resisted colonization? When and how did your country win its independence? Second, you will create a contextualized map that shows major geographic features that are relevant to the Age of Imperialism. This will include the capital and/or other major cities, relevant physical features like land use and distribution of raw materials, and any examples of modernization resulting from colonization that can be indicated on a map (transportation improvements such as railways or canals, centers of industry such as mines or factories, etc.)

Because you, as historians, are responsible for the most information-rich portion of the presentation, you will need to use visual aids to supplement your report. These may include posters, overhead transparencies, or a PowerPoint presentation, but they must be clear and easy for the members of the conference to see and understand. They are depending on you for the information they need!

Media consultant:

Your job is to become an expert on the more recent, post-colonial history of your country. You should be able to intelligently address the questions:

What has happened in your country politically, economically, and socially since independence? What are current living conditions like in your country? Are there any effects of Imperialism that are apparent today? You may use visual aids to illustrate any points you are making. Your portion of the presentation is essential to the conference members' ability to answer the target question. We will need to know "the rest of the story" to be able to evaluate the long-term effects of Imperialism. Go news-junkies!

3. Once each delegation shares its panel presentation, we will culminate the Annual Conference on the Legacy of Imperialism with a group debate surrounding the target question.

Imperialism Resources

General Information

Imperialism: Encarta Encyclopedia

Imperialism: Wikipedia

Imperialism: Fordham University

Imperialism: Fresno Schools

Imperialism: HistoryTeacher.Net

Imperialism: Western New England College

By Region

Imperialism Africa

Africa: Oswego Regents Prep

Imperialism Map of Africa

European Countries in Africa

Imperialism Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia: Oswego Regents Prep

Imperialism Map of Southeast Asia

Imperialism South America

South America: Oswego Regents Prep

Monroe Doctrine

By Country

Imperialism China

China: Oswego Regents Prep

Boxer Rebellion

Opium Wars

Imperialism Japan

Japan: Oswego Regents Prep

Meiji Restoration

Imperialism India

India: Oswego Regents Prep

East India Company

British Conquest of India

Imperialism South Africa

South Africa--A Country Study
Scroll down to topics on Imperialism.

Timeline of South African History
Valuable information in consolidated form.

Imperialism Nigeria

News Headlines from Nigeria
Good information for the Media Consultant.

NIGERIA - A Country Study
Scroll down to topics on Colonialism.

The Colonial and Postcolonial History and Literature of Nigeria
This website focuses specifically on the process and the effects of colonialism in Nigeria.

Pinecrest School Advanced Placement  Comparative Government - Nigeria
Check out the questions posted at the top.

Scottís Excellent Adventure in Nigeria
A Modern Narrative.  The bottom third of the page comments on how imperialism has affected the people of Nigeria.  This would be a good section for the Ordinary Citizen and the Media Consultant to check out. 

Imperialism Indonesia

An Online Time-Line of Indonesia
Special sections on the Age of Imperialism and Indonesia in recent years.

Comprehensive History of Indonesia
See sections on Dutch rule.

Recent News and Essays on Imperialism in Indonesia
(On the World Socialist Web site) Good for the Media Consultant!

The Indonesian Page of the People's Movement for Justice and Democracy
Good for the Media Consultant.

Imperialism Vietnam

Vietnam History 
  Excellent framework. Search "Vietnam History" and scroll down to the end.

Geneva Conference for Independent Indochina
Primary source document about the terms of independence.

Brief history of French colonization
An overview of Vietnamese history.


Your delegation will be assessed using the rubric below.  All delegation members will receive the same grade, so it is important that you work together as a team throughout the entire process.










The delivery/pace of the panel presentation is engaging.
The presentation was not well planned or rehearsed.  It was not engaging to conference members. 
Some members were unprepared and the overall presentation was choppy as a result.
Most members had prepared themselves well. The presentation moved along smoothly.
All members spoke clearly and articulately.  They performed their roles with confidence and authenticity.  The presentation was well-rehearsed and engaging to conference members.
The presentation of facts is thorough and appropriate. 


The facts presented are not the most significant.  More thoughtful research is needed.
While some group members have done thorough research, some of the most central facts are missing. 
The presentation is well-researched, and most members have chosen important facts to relate.
The presentation reveals an in-depth analysis of the facts, but all members highlighted the information that was most significant and most relevant to the target question.
A clear position in relation to the target question is established


The delegation did not address the target question in a satisfactory way.
The delegation expressed an opinion regarding the target question, but a stronger position or more clarification is needed. 
The delegation's position was stated and remained consistent throughout the presentation.
The delegation's position was clearly stated and was reinforced throughout the presentation.
The delegation meets all project requirements.  


The delegation has done an unsatisfactory job of meeting project requirements.
The delegation is missing some important parts of the project.
The delegation meets most project requirements.
The delegation meets all project requirements as instructed.
The delegation works collaboratively and uses time productively. 
Group members struggle to make progress and are not able to resolve conflicts.
Group members are generally able to work together and resolve conflicts that arise.
Group members stay on task and cooperate to achieve group goals.
Throughout the process, the group members communicate effectively.  Groups members support one another and use time wisely.




Patterns of Imperialism are not just a thing of the past. In the modern era of telecommunications and global markets, our world society faces the possibility of experiencing a new kind of Imperialism. Educating ourselves about the patterns of past Imperialism might help direct our decisions today and in the future.

© 2004 Alicia Cornelio contact us