COLONIALISM IN AFRICA
How does the legacy of colonialism affect contemporary African international relations?
If questioned today about Africa in general the first reactions I would have are poor governance, poverty, conflict, economic instability and hunger. These are the major characteristics that dominate most of the states within the continent as a whole. The question would be has it always been this way? Different debates and differences have been focused on the colonial legacy for post-colonial Africa and the nature of colonialism. Various characterizations and conceptions tend to differ considerably among the international relations and African scholars.
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This paper will be divided into three sections. Section one will focus on the colonial conquest in Africa. Section two will look at the operation of colonial legacy with emphasis on the political and economic practice. Lastly, the third section will look at the impacts of the colonial legacy on the African continent.
COLONIAL CONQUEST IN AFRICA
The term colonialism developed a more precise meaning during the late nineteenth century. This in Europe was a period of industrialization. There was a hunt for fresh market, raw materials and also new field for investment by the European factories in Africa. Politics and economic inspiration as a result took a huge role in the colonization of Africa. After the Second World War, most of the developed European and American countries turned to tropical African states in order to acquire industrial raw materials to rebuild their economies. The West defended in their capture of alien terrains for the purpose of exploiting the natural resources for instance gold: a situation that left the exploited colonies with negative impacts. Majority of the lives of the African people and their societies were affected causing transformations and interruptions as a result of the policies implicated by these colonial masters during.
Nationalism in the Western states during this period was identified with pride in one’s nation bringing about stiff competition within the European nations. In addition it brought about the formation of nation-states within the European colonies. This competition over colonial expansions within Africa was a way in which the West demonstrated state competition within late nineteenth century and thus this resulted into wars between the various nations. This competition was greatly witnessed between the resilient European states during this century which were Germany, Britain and France. None of the major nations wanted to be without a colony resulting to the Scramble of Africa in just twenty five years. The techniques of administration that were adopted by each colonial power were fundamentally different in both theory and practice.
In addition to the above, principles of racial order were very predominant in the European states during the nineteenth century period. Most of the Europeans saw themselves with the most progression and development. This created a mission for some towards enlightening and civilization of the “backward” societies characterized by the inferior people who occupied the rest of the world. A good example to showcase how the West portrayed the sentiment of racial greatness would the poem written by Rudyard Kipling the British poet in 1899, The White Man’s Burden. Most of the justifications towards the colonialism in Africa during this particular period of the nineteenth century were set across through the stereotypes of the African peoples that were in existence.
Christian missionary activities in Africa coincided with the...