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The Damage Caused By Western Imperialism

1206 words - 5 pages

In asserting themselves through trade and through imperialism, Western cultures have damaged the world, devastating scores of cultures by imposing their own identity on them. Although colonizers have forms of assistance to offer, such as advanced technology, modern medicine, and education, colonialism has effectively subjugated and obliterated scores of people as evidenced by this list of sources and histor-ical events. Effectively, the lengthy history of European imperialism dates back to the twelfth and thir-teenth centuries, in which the Christian Western Europe embarked on a series of religiously sanctioned military Holy Crusades to restore control of the Holy Land. Gradually, over several centuries, the infat-uation of the West with imperialism swelled as a result of the Industrial Revolution and fueled by the prejudiced ideology of Social Darwinism. In a few distinctive scenarios, trade and imperialism has helped improve the lives of the “uncivilized,” but in nearly all cases, it brings death and destruction instead in the name of wealth and greed.
The definition of “improving the world” includes giving technology, but does not consisting of an-nihilating entire groups of people through colonization. The West has numerous factors of reasonable “improvements” to offer: modern medical care, technology and education have numerous benefits. Eu-ropeans brought roads, railroads, schools, hospitals, improved sanitation, and better farming methods to the territories they colonized, undoubtedly increasing the population and improving its life span. The Berlin Conference involved European leaders scrambling to carve arbitrary boundaries into the African continent, paying no attention to existing ones, claiming ownership of almost every piece of African soil (Bulliet et al. 528). Because ethnic and cultural boundaries were ignored, ongoing tribal clashes occurred, and European domination eroded of traditional African values and destroyed many existing social relationships. In addition, the Industrial Revolution, the period of rapid industrial and technological growth ultimately originating in the West, had profound social and economic changes, and allowed nations, by means of modernization, to become dominant powers. However, the numerous problems due to these societal shifts in colonized places are evident in list evidence here. Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart depicts the influence of British colonialism at its height in the late nineteenth century on a traditional Igbo community. After the Christian missionaries arrive, they set up religious and educational institutions, and openly welcome the osu, or outcasts of the tribe (Achebe). This demonstrates the passion to transform the “uncivilized” African society into one modeled after the Western ideals of equality and freedom. In Paul Raffaele’s 2005 Smithsonian article “Out of Time,” Brazilian explorer and researcher Sydney Possuelo, an expert ethnographer on the Amazon’s remaining isolated...

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