Reasons For Colonization of Africa: Colonization occurs when one country, usually strong, independent and rich, establishes control over the indigenous people of a lesser country. It is a political process of discovering and invading into the governance and politics of a country and enforcing their culture, policies and mode of operation on the people living in another country.
Colonization is never without a purpose. There are always agendas accompanying colonization of a country. This could range from using the colonized country as an avenue to source for an almost free, inexpensive labour. This is because the people living in the colonized country are most often than not, used as slaves against their free will and consent. There is also the need to control the natural resources present in the colonized country or to even expand their horizon, and have more subjects. This is most times to show off power.
Africa bore the brunt of colonization. In the whole of Africa, the only countries that did not experience colonization are Ethiopia, and Liberia. It is thought that their location, economic viability and unity helped them avoid the plague of colonization. They were lucky, but the other countries in Africa were not so lucky as colonialism did Africa a lot of harm.
Firstly, colonialism displaced people from their lands, making them more like prisoners. The indigenous people were taken as slaves to far away lands to work in farms or even stay in tourists centers to entertain the whites. A lot of African paid with their lives for trying to rebel. Even more, they were bought like pieces of clothes, and made to reproduce as a means of birthing more slaves. It was more of rearing.
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Secondly, the introduction of taxes to people who could barely feed don their own, and who had less need for money, only for them to work very hard for the money and it be given to their colonial leaders for more exploitation.
Thirdly, the theft of historical artifacts and transporting them to museums in the colonialists countries. This was a broad day light theft.
Fourthly, there is also the eradication of the African religious belief, replacing it with Christianity; a religion alien to us. The fact that Africa is a country filled with people who consider Christianity superior to their own original religion is as a result of colonization. The average Africa was taught to believe that his culture, language and way of life is inferior to that of the whites.
This brings us back to the topic, “reasons for colonization of Africa”.
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Reasons for European colonization of Africa: 7 Causes
1. Industrialization: Industrialization is the process of transforming a once agricultural economy to one based on manufacturing of products.
In Europe back then, there were in existence certain difficulties which posed a threat to the economy of Europe. Take for example, there was in existence a high level of poverty, unemployment and it took a great toll on Europe thus the urgent need to outsource for solutions. This is where Africa came to play.
Africa already was like a treasure waiting to be discovered. It had natural resources that the indigenes of Africa did not even know of. Europe used this to their advantage and ensured they took as much as they could and exploited Africa for as long as they could. This led to the berlin conference where major western powers of the world then, came together to decide and negotiate on how to divide Africa to their benefit.
2. Religion: “Go ye into the world and preach the gospel” was one major factor pushing the whites to colonialize Africa. They needed the gospel of Christianity to reach Africa so missionaries were sent to Africa with bibles.
They taught the then African to read and write, and ensured they understood the bible, thus converting them to Christianity. These missionaries were protected by the European government.
3. Curiosity: Curiousity of the Europeans was one of the reasons Africa was colonized. They wanted to see what lay beyond their walls, to explore outside the shores of Europe, a place where black people lived. They were awed, and their curiousity made them what to know more about Africa. The more they found out, the more they sought to exploit.
4. Cheap Labour: Africans provided them cheap labour. They spent little to no expenses on labour. Due to indirect rule, they were able to enter into an agreement with the warrant chiefs and the kings in Africa to give up their strong able bodied people in exchange for gifts like mirror, plates, spoons and other intangible things that seemed to be a big deal then.
These slaves would later be shipped off to become servants that work on the farms abroad who are damned to not eat anything from the farm and whose fate was endless beatings under the scorching sun, and to reproduce for their masters so they never run out of slaves to work on their farms and in their houses. Other slaves were trained and recruited to work as soldiers guarding the whites in their homes back here in Africa.
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5. Presence of Mineral Resources: Europe during this period wasn’t so lucky with natural resources. If anything, the economy then was nothing to write home about. They seemed to be a boom in the rate of unemployment, poverty that many of them agreed with the idea of migrating and searching for greener pastures. Africa only became a great fit. It had so many natural resources, and the good part was that the then African were unaware of the fact they were sitting upon gold.
It became imperative that they went to Africa, get the people to welcome them, entice them with gifts and ensure they take enough to serve them and keep taking till they can take no more.
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6. Politics: One other reason for colonization in Africa was for glory. Colonization meant that they were in control of more colonies and the more countries they colonized the farther the kingdom of the queen enlarged. It became more of a power tussle between European nations, each raced to get to African countries first and establish dominance before the other.
7. Superiority: Africans were considered another species of animals. They were seen as savages and addressed as such. There was inbuilt in them a sense of superiority and this further fueled their quest to colonize Africa and get more power.
They taught the then Africans that their colonization was their own way of bringing civilization to Africa, introduced new system of governance, religion, way of life, and gradually, the average African began to see his culture as inferior to the one introduced to them.
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In conclusion, Colonization is one incident Africans wished never happened to them and one that has clearly dealt to huge blow to African countries, one they are yet to recover from. However we paint the benefits of colonization, it is important to state here, categorically, that the reasons for colonization of Africa were, and are still selfish. Never, not once, was it fueled by a desire to help Africans or for the good of Africans. Whether Africa would have developed fine, without the experience of colonization is one thing we might never find out.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.