History and Citizenship Education
(Cycle One)

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Imperialism and colonization

Needs associated with industrialization and economic growth propelled the industrial powers into a race for colonies in the second half of the 19th century, when a few European nations essentially divided up the continents of Asia and Africa among themselves. Colonialism had important consequences for the economic and social development of the dominated territories.  Comprehension of imperialism is key to understanding the inequality among nations today.

The concepts prescribed by the program are not described using specific statements. It is by using all of the knowledge related to a social phenomenon that students develop their understanding of the following concepts: acculturation, colonization, discrimination, imperialism, mother country and nationalism.

Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.

Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.


Student reinvests knowledge.

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  1. Imperialism and colonization today
    1. Lists characteristics of a sovereign state (e.g. recognized international borders, member of the United Nations General Assembly)
    1. Names areas that are outside national jurisdiction (e.g. Antarctica, areas of the ocean beyond exclusive economic zones)
    1. Names a few socioeconomic indicators that are used to illustrate global wealth disparity (e.g. life expectancy, gross domestic product per capita)
  1. Expansion of the industrial world and the effects of European imperialism on African populations
  • 2.1.   Location in space and time
    1. Locates on a map the colonial empires of Britain and France at the beginning of the 20th century
    1. Locates on a map a few pre-colonial African societies or civilizations (e.g. Arab societies in North Africa; nomad societies of the Sahara; the Ghana and Mali empires)
    1. Locates on a time line facts related to imperialism and colonization
  • 2.2.   Reasons for colonization
    1. Indicates conditions required for a country to industrialize (e.g. access to capital, access to raw materials, access to a market for manufactured goods)
    1. Indicates the types of products traded between colonizers and their colonies (e.g. the colonies exported resources and raw materials; the colonizers exported finished products)
    1. Indicates factors that motivated imperialism (e.g. search for power and supremacy in Europe)
    1. Explains how colonizers justified their dominance in Africa (e.g. Europeans were convinced that they were civilizing populations that were “inferior” to them)
  • 2.3.   Impact of colonization
    1. Explains some effects of the migration of millions of Europeans on the colonies’ original populations (e.g. by settling in the colonies, Europeans occupied the land of local populations and imposed their way of life on them)
    1. Explains the main outcome of the Berlin Conference: agreement between 13 countries that established the rules for the colonization of Africa
    1. Indicates sociopolitical consequences of the colonial division of Africa (e.g. since colonial borders did not always correspond to ethnic boundaries of African populations; the colonizing country could exacerbate ethnic tensions)
    1. Indicates the role of African populations in the colonial exploitation of territories (e.g. Africans were a source of cheap labour for the exploitation of agricultural and mineral resources)
    1. Indicates the role of education in the transformation of African cultures (e.g. the language of education was often the language of the colonizer; teaching was based on the norms and values of the colonizer)
    1. Indicates how colonized populations reacted to European dominance (e.g. some Africans profited from their collaboration with the colonizer; some colonized populations organized uprisings and rebellions)
  1. Political, economic and cultural relationships among societies today
    1. Names political organizations made up of former colonies (e.g. Organisation internationale de la francophonie, the Commonwealth of Nations)
    1. Names international economic associations (e.g. European Union, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries)
    1. States the purpose of the North American Free Trade Agreement: to promote trade between Canada, the United States and Mexico by limiting tariffs
    1. Explains the social and economic relationships between former colonies and colonial powers (e.g. important ties remain as decolonized countries often trade with former mother countries; Europe receives an important influx of immigrants from its former colonies)

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