Assignment 10 – Africa, India, and the New British Empire, 1750-1870 (The Earth and Its Peoples, 663)

Better Essays

Why were Asians and Africans so divided, some choosing to cooperate with Europeans and others resisting their advances? (The Earth and Its Peoples, 664)

The peoples of the Africa and Asia took varied positions on interaction with Europeans. One clear reason for this is the vast regions of land and varied cultures that constitute these areas. Even though Britain had recently taken a resolute opposition to slavery, West African elites still welcomed them because of the raw materials and technology they traded to the regions along that coast. In the early 19th century, the British East India Company established more trade warehouses and thoroughfares in the Indian subcontinent. This occupation of Indian lands that was welcomed by some groups and fiercely opposed by others. While met by more opposition, the British Empire expanded into the other Indian Ocean territories up to the end of the century.

Because the trans-Atlantic slave trade was profitable for African elites and brought western many valuable goods to West Africa, when it was effectively shut down after 1808 by British patrols, people along this coast were eager to keep the European trade lines alive. The imposition of this “legitimate trade” (any non-slave trade) saw a huge rise of African export of gold and palm oil. For these the British traded guns and technologies of the Industrial Revolution, some that interested Africans and some that did not. With the help of the new, swift, sturdy clipper ship, the British were able to transport these goods faster than ever before.

Western influences came from more than just trade, however. The recapture of blacks from slaving ships by British patrols, and subsequent assistance in the creation of free colonie...

... middle of paper ...

...dia Company after the Battle of Plassey) or his son show opposition to the British, the EIC could (and should) easily take control. His tone leads me to believe that he values the Indians as pawns in an international battle for British wealth. As seen in the line “…I have made it pretty clear to you, that there will be little or no difficulty in obtaining the absolute possession of these rich kingdoms…”, Clive has a blunt confidence about the acquisition of Indian lands.

He alludes to the frustrations of the Mughal Empire in ruling the Indian subcontinent and its peoples. He states that by paying the annual taxes of the state, the British will have little difficulty obtaining the consent of the Mughal emperor to occupy Indian lands. He also mentions that those taxes have not been sought after by the Mughal’s recently due to their attention to internal conflict.