Negative Affects Of Imperialism In Africa In The 19th Century

1913 words - 8 pages

Throughout history, imperialism by one nation on another has had many negative influences on the nation being colonized. The legacy of European imperialism in Africa in the 19th century was negative. Imperialism negatively affected Africa politically, economically, and culturally.

In terms of political changes, European imperialism negatively affected Africa. Firstly, European colonization created enormous conflict between colonists and the African people. African resistance to “The Scramble for Africa” lead to the instability of Africa’s political structure. There was ineffective resistance of the African people against the Europeans. In an attempt to regain their independence, Africans took up arms against their colonial masters as soon as they perceived them to be at a disadvantage. In southern Africa, in The Republic of Namibia, the Herero people rose against German rule in 1904, killing over 100 German settlers and traders. German commander, General von Trotha, retaliated with a war aimed simply at extermination. This resulted in the decline of 70% of the Herero population.1 Nowhere else was colonialism quite so brutal, but almost everywhere it tended towards unrestrained brutality as soon as it was challenged.2 Warfare created considerable unrest among African people. Afterwards, the people of Africa came to the realization that the consequences of resistance against European colonists could be devastating. As well, the Europeans demonstrated that they had the technology and resources to gain control. Secondly, colonial expansion changed the face of Africa’s political structure. The Berlin Conference of 1884-85, attended by 13 European nations and the USA, set the ground rules for partition of Africa. When the conference opened, 90% of Africa remained under traditional and local control and colonization was largely concentrated along African coasts.3 The interior of Africa was a huge mystery to the Europeans. What resulted from the Berlin Conference was the division of Africa into 50 irregular countries.4 No attention was paid to ethnic groups or existing political organizations at the time of colonization. Mark X of Moshweshewe, Chief of the Basutos, expressed his feelings in his letter to the Governor of Cape Colony, Sir George Grey. Entitled Moshweshewe: Letter to Sir George Grey, 1858 [The establishment of Basutoland], Moshweshewe addresses the colonists and shares his views towards European conquest of African land when he stated:
About twenty-five years ago my knowledge of the White men and their laws was very limited. I knew merely that mighty nations existed, and among them was the English. . . People who had come from the colony first presented themselves to us, they called themselves Boers. I thought all white men were honest. Some of these Boers asked permission to live upon our borders. I was led to believe they would live with me as my own people lived, that is, looking to me as to a father and a friend. About sixteen...

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