The Colonization Of Africa Essay, Research Paper
The Colonization of Africa
As the European nations searched for new means of income and new deposits of natural resources to deplete, they realized that the self contained continent of the dark people had been yet unscathed by previous pursuits of outside income for their own usage. These nations, namely Britain, France, Portugal, Germany, Italy and to a smaller extent Belgium and Spain, quickly decided that Africa was too rich a land to leave untapped. Thus they met in 1885 in Berlin to mark out their spheres of interest for the invasion and total colonization of Africa.
Britain, striking first and fiercest, easily gained control of numerous rich lands easily overpowering the native Africans with military technology and organization. By 1910, Britain found itself in full control of Egypt, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the Gold Coast, East Africa, and most of Sub-Saharan Africa. British holdings were strategically planned to include the lands with the most amounts of natural resources, and positioning that could possibly allow for the invasion of others holdings in the future.
Britain also was very strategic in its ruling of its colonies. They racistly and oppressively controlled each colony, implementing governments in which white British men held all posts as the British population in Britain was less than a tenth of the populations of its colonies. The British had no intent to make the Africans British citizens. The Africans were strictly labor used in the exportation and depletion of all objects of value back to Britain in increasing Britain s wealth. No African was given the authority to make any kind of decision for himself. African lives were ruled by the strict guidelines that the British colonial government mandated, leaving no room for diversion as these rules were violently enforced. This left the Africans for little hope for change, as they had no power to change their own reality and even worse their own future.
The French took a decidedly different approach in governing their colonies. The French decided that the best way was the French way. Therefore they decided to immerse their colonies in the French culture, language and way of life. This meant that the peoples of their vast land holdings in West Africa and Madagascar had to change all that they knew in an attempt to become more French . The French were not as ruthless and violent as the British in their rule of their colonies as they had a smaller population to fear than the British. Many of the French holdings were simply used as partitions between British holdings in trying to curtail the Britain s mass abundance of power in Africa. Still though the French held racist rule as they wanted to maintain control over the 65,000,000 colonized people as they looked toward building a stronger French Empire .
Portugal continued the total colonization Of Africa as the held the third largest land holdings, after Germany relinquished its holdings in 1914. Although Portugal s holdings, consisting mostly of Mozambique and Angola, were not very large in actual land, they were very highly populated. This meant that Portugal was extremely brutal in enforcing its racist laws upon the Africans as they tried to extract every possible piece of revenue from the peoples and the land through heavy taxation practices. These practices lead to numerous bloody upheavals that always ended in African carnage. Africans could only hope that dying was better than the living hell they withstood under Portuguese rule.
The Italians were far less brutal in their everyday rule of their colonies on the tip of east Africa than were the Portuguese. Yet they inflicted a horrific battle upon the Ethiopians in gaining initial control of the land. Using a racist rule the Italians distributed the better, more manageable lands amongst its settlers. In turn, this left the Ethiopians with unusable land, leading to drought and famine. The Italians did lend the Ethiopians machinery to better use the land but still it was to little avail as the money and power, food, and health were meant only for European hands.
Belgium and Spain holding only limited lands in Africa, namely in the Congo and Rio de Oro, respectively, gained less in revenue than the other European colonizers. Each sought to exhaust the precious metals and natural resource deposits of their respective holdings through violent military rule. This eventually proved costly and inefficient leading to Belgium relinquishing control in 1960 and Spain in 1976.
With colonization came African bloodshed and demoralization. Most Africans were reduced to the ideology that they were worth less than the dirt that they stood on. Additionally the total lack of education of African peoples continues to be the major factor in the Africa s low status today. The former colonies lack the necessary technologies to compete in today s world markets. Also Africa has seen its fair share of civil wars as a number of different tribes and groups had been squished together by colonial partitioning. This has led to enormous power struggles while the Africans are only now learning how to govern themselves with the absence of colonial rule. Compounding the problems is the poor state that each colony has been left in, totally depleted of almost all resources and the sad state of the lands after years of misuse by colonial interests. The lack of wealth and extent of poverty have left little capital for Africans to build upon as they attempt to restore their homeland. Thus leaving most Africans still dependent on outside aid, continuing the cycles of poverty, outside rule, and oppression.
In conclusion, Africa has been and continues to be decimated by colonial rule, as its effects may be irreparable.