The Effects of Colonization in Africa

While Africans were deprived of basic human rights in some regions and lost many of their cultural aspects, these characteristics were overridden by industrialization, more job opportunities, and improved political structure during the European colonization of Africa from late 19th to mid-20th century. In document 5, it states “when the whites came to our country, we had the land and they had the Bible; now we have the Bible and they have the land,” an African proverb regarding the Europeans. Through missionaries, Africans gained the trade network and interracial relations, and Europeans expanded their territories as a result.
The cheap labor force and raw materials were sent back to the mainland to be finished. The surplus goods from Europe were then sold in higher prices to Africans who could afford it (doc. 2). However, the natives were not always guaranteed equality (doc. 8), thus creating tension. Furthermore, there was friction among different tribes within a colony, due to the fact they were in the same location (doc. 11). Yet, it had a positive impact on economics as well. In some parts of Africa, one woman stated that the people were fortunate to be treated well compared to other parts.
They were rewarded goods for their work, and the word “slavery” was abolished (doc. 6). The railroad was constructed for transporting the materials. Also, different tribes developed irrigation systems, and learned the use of the domestic animals, manure, and mechanical work (doc. 3). Additionally, people were taught different skills such as mining and blacksmithing. Some argued that this is forced, but it is rationalized that the natives are savages, therefore it was for their own good (doc. 1). In addition to economics, Europe brought political stability.

From the Europeans’ perspective, the new government implemented by Europeans guaranteed the protection of people and their possessions (doc. 9). The tug-of-war (doc. 4) between the nations shows how it affected a colony’s political system. Thanks to the railroad, the government can oversee their colonies efficiently (doc. 7) while using militarism when needed (doc. 10), protecting their own colonies. Documents that would be helpful are from the ruling class for better understanding of its influence on the social hierarchy.

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