"The history of the last 500 years is the history of imperialism," writes editor Melvin Page. In the Americas, as a result of imperialist conquest, disease, famine, and war nearly wiped out a population estimated in the tens of millions. Africa was devastated by the slave trade, an integral part of imperialism from the 1400s to the 1800s. In Asia, even though native populations survived, native political institutions were destroyed. Imperialism also forged the two most important ideologies of the last five centuries--racialism and modern nationalism.
In more than 600 essays presented in this three-volume encyclopedia, Page and other leading scholars--historians, political scientists, economists, and sociologists--analyze the origins of imperialism, the many forms it took, and its impact worldwide. They also explore imperialism's bitter legacy: the gross inequities of global wealth and power that divide the former conquerors--primarily Europe, the United States, and Japan--from the people they conquered.