Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 January 2022
Chapter 1 explains why colonial lobbyists founded the ICI in 1893 and why over 200 colonial experts from thirteen countries joined the ICI during a period of tense imperial rivalry. Their internationalist efforts were in the context of severe criticism of colonialism in the 1890s due to losing money for colonizing countries. After non-governmental colonial interest groups initiatied the ICI, governments and colonial administrations soon started funding it. They thus showed their esteem for its transnational agenda, which promised a quick and cheap economic development of overseas possessions. While in the early period of the ICI’s existence, emulation of other colonial powers still aimed at nationalist competition, colonial experts learned quickly how to capitalize on superior colonial methods developed through transnational exchange. Unveiling this transnational cooperation, this chapter shows how the ICI marginalized the nationalist branches of the colonial movements in Europe and even took diplomatic action to prevent colonial powers from going to war, which would pose a threat to their colonial project. Ultimately, most colonial experts turned to colonial internationalism to save the colonial project that earned them a living. By 1914, most colonizing countries brought their policies in line with the best practice propagated by the ICI.