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Many colonial historians suggest that "Commerce, Christianity and Civilisation" encapsulate the European colonial experience. What is the relationship between these three distinct objectives? How much importance would you attribute to each?

Commerce, Christianity and Civilisation can not be called three distinct objectives as such because all three are incorporated within an overarching system that by its nature functioned to establish European supremacy and dominance over the rest of the world. The relative importance of these three objectives can then be judged insofar as it furthered this basic interest.

Having said that, it must be noted that the Europeans did not seek to consciously establish a collective European ascendancy, for rivalry was rife between the European nations and it was this very antagonism through which the European nations


the relationship between the three objectives is that to an extent each promoted the others. Also, it is mistaken to conceptualise of "Commerce, Christianity and Civilisation" as three distinct goals as such. In a sense they were all bound by the overarching system of European capitalist expansion and thus individually and together, they served to further the interests of that particular system. It was through such an expansion that European supremacy was established in all areas of the world. This was not a conscious effort on the part of the Europeans to consolidate a collective European dominance, but by virtue of the competitive nature of the capitalist system, each European nation in a sense developed the others. The advancement of Spain in maritime technology for instance compelled the British and the French to do the same. As a result, the Europeans as a whole became more developed in technologies of trade, communication and most importantly in technologies of empire as compared to the rest of the world.



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