The Effects of European Imperialism on Africa

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By the year 1924, approximately one-quarter of the world’s total land area and population was under the control of the British Empire. This was the time at which it was at its peak -- however, the British were faced with an abundance of competition during this time. Preceded very closely by the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, this sudden hunger for expansion was felt by many “famished” countries in Europe -- and elsewhere around the world -- that wished to acquire new territories and, in so doing, gain status and boost their economies. A notable example of the extent to which a need for expansion took hold of Europe is the Scramble for Africa -- an event that can be considered a prominent display of active imperialism. During the turn of the 20th century, Africa was divided up by the major imperialistic powers of Europe (as well as some non-European countries). France, Germany and the United Kingdom were the primary imperialist powers involved in the Scramble for Africa, with 15%, 9% and 30% of the continent being allotted to them respectively; each country left its deep impressions on the continent, many of which are observable today.

France, being the second-most-prominent power in Africa, mainly impacted it culturally. Although its cardinal motivation to expand its empire to Africa involved economic reasons (such as the slave trade), there was also an intent to assimilate and, in essence, glorify French ideals and culture. Very little evidence of its economic presence in Africa remains -- however, a French presence can be very easily detected. French is the primary official language in 18 African countries; it is one of two official languages in another country; finally, its undeniable and pow...

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...ut whether the Scramble for Africa was the spawn of typical imperialist greediness or necessity from the Industrial Revolution -- however, a conclusion that one is able to draw is that it shaped the continent and greatly contributed to its state today. The three most important imperialist powers involved in the colonization of Africa were France, Germany and Britain -- each left their deep “footprints” and had tremendous influence on the continent. France primarily made a cultural and political impact, while Germany’s legacies involved the bitter aftertaste of genocide; the United Kingdom, on the other hand, left the English language, which is a hallmark of its successes with imperialism and colonization. In essence, Africa was affected by historical imperialism to a great extent -- it remains very difficult to ascertain whether the effects were positive or negative.
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