Motivations for European Imperialism

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for History of Imperialism


Motivations for European Imperialism

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Activity Overview


The rush to expand empires and the ensuing age of Imperialism was fueled by a few different motivations. Not every country shared the same views, and all were competing to divide Asia and Africa up between them. In this activity, students will use a spider map to research and summarize some of the main motivations for European Imperialism in the 18th and 19th century.


Students may consider including the following motivations for European Imperialism:

  • Religion
  • Economics
  • Technology
  • Humanitarianism
  • Social Darwinism
  • Competition in Europe
  • Industrial Revolution

Extended Activity

To further deepen their understanding of imperialism, students can select one of their motivating factors and describe why it is the most important factor using another storyboard or a short persuasive essay. Students could also put their factors in order from least to most important.


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a spider map that explains the main motivations for European Imperialism.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In each of the title boxes, identify one motivation for imperialism.
  3. Write a summary for each motivation in the description boxes.
  4. Create an illustration for each using appropriate scenes, items, and characters.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.
5 Cell Spider Map Template

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History of Imperialism








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