The 19th and early 20th centuries saw the development of imperialism on a scale never known before. The long and traumatic Napoleonic wars were over, Europe was industrializing, and there were radical advances in the means of transport, notably shipping and railways, and naval power. A crucial factor in the conquest of empires was the development of deadlier light weapons. American farm machinery technician Richard Gordon Gatling developed a machine gun in 1862 that would fire 350 rounds a minute, a new device for mass killing which was quickly adopted by all the colonial powers. For the first time, natives inclined to fight back could be — and were — mown down in hundreds.
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