Imperialism During The 19th Century Essay

Imperialism During The 19th Century Essay

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Imperialism in Africa took root in the late 19th century when European nations divided up the continent for their own benefit. Each nation practiced a certain type of rule over the Africans of which they conquered. For example, the Germans, the Dutch, and the French used the practice of Direct Rule over their colonies in Africa. This system is characterized by the colonizers need for the colonized to become assimilated into their culture. The purpose of this was to make the African people “civilized” and act like Europeans. The governing administrations forced on the native inhabitants by the colonial power were meant to undermine those institutions set in place by the indigenous people. By taking over the community’s government on all levels, the colonial power was able to divide and conquer the people and weaken any native power that may have still resided amongst the people. For example, the French believed that through French education and acculturation, the natives would become French Africans, and thereby French citizens with the rights of one. This was not necessarily a bad thing however. Since the colonizer wanted the colonized to become European in a sense, some Africans were provided with the necessary education they would need to better themselves. Although it was a European education, it was nonetheless an education, paid for by the State in some cases. In some French colonies, the various leaders, although assimilated into the French way-of-life, were originally African leaders. This gave the people living under colonial rule more trust in their leaders because they can relate to them, but it also gave the French an upper hand because their subjects would be more likely to abide by the French system of rule. This forc...


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...done unintentionally however. The state of ethnic divide halted the drive for independence and allowed the British to continue to diminish resources of the African colonies. Today, when looking at which ethnic group is in power in African Nations, one can see that the same group that was given an education by the French, or was put in power by the British, maintains a large role in their government. This can be seen in South Africa when Nelson Mandela was able to achieve power during apartheid and post-apartheid rule. His ethnic group was given a larger role in British colonial government and therefore received better treatment from the British in regards to education and furthering themselves in society. Overall, the systems of direct and indirect rule in Africa, although different in many ways, both diminished the culture and the people within African communities.

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