Africa Essay

1120 words - 5 pages

European exploration began in the early 15th century when Portuguese traders first sailed to the continent of Africa. With the growth of maritime trade and exploration, interest in Africa, the Americas, and Asia picked up with four European nations dominating: Spain, The Netherlands, Britain and France. Over the next five centuries each of these countries established numerous colonies, with France becoming one of the countries with the most holdings. It was not until post WWII that decolonization of European colonies became a global focus. Key elements that led to decolonization included the colonies desire for independence, WWII, and the focus on anti-colonialism. There were varying degrees of resistance against decolonization, resulting in political disagreements and violent action. The process of decolonization was the most traumatic for France than for any other European country due to France’s integration of French society into its colonies, especially in Algeria. Decolonization affected both the colonies and French home life, and came close to launching a French civil war along with triggering the collapse of the French government. France’s decolonization had more severe and widespread effects than any other European nation faced.
French colonization began in the16th century and continued well into the 20th century. The areas of colonization differed throughout the centuries as the focus shifted from the Americas to Africa and Asia. The main factors spurring on colonization were economic, political and social; the primary reason for colonization was economic as land was sought after which would be a good source of raw materials, have numerous resources and would be a source of cheap labor. Economic exploitation of colonies resulted in high profits. Colonies also provided new markets and were seen as vital for capitalist industrialization. Politics further stimulated colonization as it came “from the impact of inter-European power struggles and competition for preeminence”. The more colonies a nation had, the more powerful it was perceived. European countries began competing with one another to see who could obtain the most land. The social aspect played a large role in French colonization, which later was one of the causes of tensions among the French regarding its colonies. The French colonized under the ideology of civilizing the undeveloped countries, claiming it was the white mans burden and responsibility to ‘introduce modern political ideas, social reforms, industrial methods and new technologies’. They stated that without help and exposure to the modern world, these areas would remain uncivilized and be unable to develop. As a result of industrialization in Europe, social problems were exacerbated such as unemployment, movement from rural to urban areas and homelessness. Colonies provided a way to solve these issues as it allowed for the displacement of the surplus population. This was the case in Algeria, where a...

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