During the 19th century of the Industrial Age, many European nations (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Britain) sought for a source for raw material and a market for manufactured goods in Africa. This economic motivation helped drive the Scramble for Africa. The Scramble for Africa [1885-1910] was when many European nations competed for colonies in Africa. To take control of these regions, the European powers came up with the Treaty of Berlin. This stated that they would not sell firearms to Africa; which resulted in Europeans having a monopoly on guns in Africa.
However, although it stated that they would not sell firearms to Africa making it easier to take it over, it also stated that they would suppress slavery. During the Scramble for Africa, or the imperialism imposed in Africa, there were great contributions that ultimately modernized Africa, as well as, bad influences, such as the carving of Africa without the influence of the traditional tribal boundaries, causing tribalism and civil wars. Many modernizing contributions were in medicine and education.
The British built hospital and schools in Africa. They also contributed to putting an end to the slave trade. The access to basic medical care and education were, therefore, due to British intervention. This boost in medical care also heightened many African life spans. Also, some Africans were even allowed to have a western education rather than just basic education. Also, eventually, Britain allowed the African colonies to vote for power, realizing that the only way for safety in Africa was to rule with the people.
This eventually concluded with many African nations liberating themselves from British control and becoming an independent nation, such as Republic of Congo (1958), and Tanzania (1964), Although there were some contributions that helped to modernize Africa, there were also many harmful effects from the imperialism of Africa, such as the methods they used to take control of some regions. In other cases, there was not a clear understanding of what the treaties were about or what the consequences of them would be. Secondly, military force was used in some cases when there was a large amount of resistance to colonial rule.
Unit Two: Studying Africa through the Social Studies] This suggested that sometimes European nations would use brute force to impose their authority over the native people. For example, during the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors were killed for their land. This left only a remnants of a once strong tribe of warriors. This demonstrates how military force was used in some cases when there was a large amount of resistance to colonial rule. Also, according to The White Man’s Burden, by Rudyard Kipling, many native people did not like European imperialism.
For example, in the 1st stanza 4th line, he states,” To serve your captives’ need” This illustrates how many natives thought themselves like prisoners. In another line, he states, “To seek another’s profit, and work another’s gain. ” This demonstrates how rather than how Europeans said they came to protect them by signing the treaty; they actually used the colonies raw materials to help fuel their own economy. A major long-term negative effect that still affects Africa today are the arbitrary political boundaries which European nations established.
The European nations never thought about the traditional tribal boundaries. This results with several different tribes in one nation that may feel ill towards one another causing civil wars and power struggles within national governments. For example, the 2nd Congo War involved eight African nations, as well as about 25 armed groups. By 2008 the war and its aftermath had killed 5. 4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation. By the turn of the 21st century, the economy of many African nations was suffering.
They were battered by rapid population growth, declining export earnings, foreign debt, drought, floods, and civil war. The average African household consumed 20% less than it had in the 1950s. The continent’s birthrates and mortality rates were the highest in the world. More than half of all foreign aid was consumed by debt service. In addition, over 73% of the more than 40 million people infected with HIV (see AIDS) in 2002 lived in Africa; 30% or more of the populations of Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe were infected.
Nevertheless, Africa largely escaped the financial turbulence that engulfed much of the rest of the world in the late 1990s and again in the early 21st century. [Africa, History of (II)] Because of the imperialism of Africa, many European countries have become powerful nations filled with wealth and prosperity and Africa now have many schools and hospitals. Many Africans can now go to school and get an education and may even one day start businesses. However, the negative aftermaths of European Imperialism on Africa has greatly affected its nations.
Because of the long-term political borders dividing Africa, there are many civil wars killing millions of lives and spreading disease. Although Europe brought schools and hospitals, it does not make up for all the lives that could have been saved if the European nations had just considered the traditional boundaries rather than for their own profit. Even the education and health care were not substantial. They were the most basic forms of education and health care. Only very few were allowed to have western education. Therefore, overall there weren’t many positive impacts for the African people from European Imperialism.