Economic needs had a big impact on expansion of colonies and conquering new lands. Industrial progress constantly needed new raw materials and new markets to sell the products. Investments in colonies were additionally encouraged by cheap labour force what enlarged the profit of invested capital.

Great Britain established bases on African and Asian coast already in 17th century. On Northern American Atlantic coast were established 13 colonies which were predominately inhabited by English population.

Numerous colonies were established also in India (Madras, Mombay, Calcutta/Kolkata) and Great Britain granted it self the favouring trade privileges in India through the British East India Company. After numerous colonialistic wars was India conquered by the British and in 1858 proclaimed British colony. Former well developed Indian economy collapsed in competition with British products. British businessmen established factories, constructed railways, tea and opium plantations which brought large profits.

France was also establishing trade bases in India and the Caribbean. Because French colonies in Northern America which extended to the Gulf of Mexico blocked the British expansion to the west the both states engaged in war. In the War of the Spanish Succession (1700-1714) France lost Hudson Bay, New Scotland and Newfoundland and in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) Canada, territory east from Mississippi and bases in India. The territory west from Mississippi France later sold to the United States.

By the end of 18th century Great Britain became the leading colonialistic power.

After year 1808 broke out the National liberation movements in South America. Intervention planned by the Holy Alliance was prevented by the USA which eventually subjugated the South America to it's economic and political interests. The National liberation movements were followed by numerous civil wars which eventually caused the collapse of the American colonies of Spain and creation of numerous states but it's plantation owners had little interest for economic and technological progress.

Chinese Empire was for longer period isolated and economic less developed. The British were in China selling their products and opium produced in India. Destroying large stocks of opium smuggled from India into China led to the First Opium War (1840-1842) which forced China to cede Hong Kong to Great Britain and open several low-tariff trade ports to foreign traders. China became semi-colony in which wanted bigger influence also France, Russia, USA, Germany and other European states and by the end of 19th century also Japan.

After naval defeat against the USA in the middle of 19th century Japan was forced to open to foreign traders but Japan soon began to using the achievements of western science and technology. On western example Japan began to built it's industry and in period of one generation developed into a powerful state.

Africa was hard accessible and not specially attractive for the European states. At first it was needed to explore. First began to conquer in Africa the French (in 1830 Algeria).