Rudyard Kipling „The White Man’s Burden“
Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865 to British parents. His father was a teacher of sculpture at the Bombay School of Art.
At the age of six his parents sent him home to England for his education. At seventeen he returned to India and worked as a journalist for Anglo-Indian newspapers in Lahore and Allahabad for seven years. In that time he gained a rich knowledge of colonial life, which he used for his stories and poems.
People in England were curious about the world of the colonies and Kipling helped them to envision the empire on which the sun never sets and to get an idea of its life.
The British Empire was the foremost global power in the European Age of Discovery.
It was the most extensive empire in world history and held sway over about a quarter of the world’s population.
Colonial policy was based on the belief or conviction that white people were superior to all other races. The white man’s duty was therefore to civilise and christianize the “dark places” of the world and if necessary with the use of violence.
“The White Man’s Burden” is archetypical for this way of thinking and is therefore a very important part of the contemporary canon.
“The White Man’s Burden” was published in the London Times on February 4th in 1899 and on the following day in the New York Sun and Tribune shortly after the signing of the Treaty of Paris in December 1898 which ended the Spanish-American War.
Spain ceded Puerto Rico, the islands of Guam and the Philippines to the United States. The Spanish power had to give up their possessions in the West Indies and Cuba gained independence. The Treaty of Paris was the end of the Spanish Empire in America and marked the beginning of a United States colonial power.
“The White Man’s Burden” was addressed to the United States. It has the subtitle “The United States and the Philippine Islands” and it was an appeal to the American people to join in the worldwide task of extending...