The Impact Of 19th Century European Imperialism In Africa

1134 words - 5 pages

European Imperialism heavily impacted the African continent through culturally, economic, and political ideas. This era of history is heavily drenched in the aspect of ethnocentrism, which is the belief that one’s own culture is superior that of another. The Europeans colonized Africa believing that they could bring civilization, but they were often ignorant of Africa’s very complex societies. The European powers divided up the continent of Africa among themselves, without any consent from the people who actually lived there. The tribal stratification was changed to a caste system where racial, ethnic, and religious differences were of utmost importance, as delegated by European rule. The structure and business of the African economy was directed by what the colonial powers felt was necessary. The European powers interjected in the African society and inflicted them with their supposedly superior way of life.
The slave trade was one important method that the Europeans used to dominate the Africa. Even though the slave trade was beginning to decline by the early 19th century, it gave the Europeans a pass into the whole continent, enabling them to divide the land as they pleased. The division of land was not void of wars and resistance. The Europeans stole the land from the Africans, and imposed their way of life into African society. Imperialists brought military technology along with them, decreasing the likelihood that the Africans could resist their forces of ethnocentric civilization.
To make matters worse, each country in Europe wanted their own share of the African continent. The imperial powers reached an agreement over the available land in Africa at the Berlin Conference in 1884 and 1885. They consented that to implant a name to the appropriated zone, the colonial power must display that they are able to demonstrate colonial control over the area. But, if this goal were not reached, then a rival imperial power may revoke the colony and the rights to that land area. The most effective way for imperial powers to control African colonies, was to use their military and advanced military technologies. Through military control, came the machine gun which enabled the Europeans to control large groups of people in Africa. This form of control often resulted in death for numerous African citizens.
To maintain control over Africa, the Europeans formed administrative outposts, which were areas for colonies to grow and flourish. The outposts often preceded the colony, as they were managed as areas for influence and commercial impact. But there was not sufficient money within the colonies to provide for the outposts, so only moderate numbers were built. The outposts enabled the European powers to further influence African society with their way of life and to have a local, residential power. The European powers made agreements with the ruler of the African state or community. As compensation for cooperation and for instilling authorities, the...

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