Essay about The Modernization of Africa

Essay about The Modernization of Africa

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Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Africa was caught up in a sea of change. By 1880, the slave trade was all but abolished, thanks to many of the European powers. This resulted in an almost complete reshaping of the political, social, and economic landscape; the upper class of Africans that were participating in this horrendous trade had lost one of their biggest means of acquiring wealth. Luckily for the rest of the population, the goods that had a high market value: ivory, copal, cloves, beeswax, honey, wild coffee, peanuts, cotton, rubber, and palm oil, could be procured by simple gathering or agriculture practices. This led to “a more equitable distribution of wealth, especially in the rural areas” (Boahen, 4) because everyone, not just the ruling class, could participate in this up and coming economy. This, in turn, gave rise to the status of the average African, because now he could produce commodities for sale. Additionally, since there were no concerns about becoming a commodity himself he was free of the worry he might be enslaved and shipped off to some unknown land. But most of all, with the absence of slavery came a period of peace and stability because the rulers of various kingdoms ceased to participate in the wars and raids that furnished them with slaves. It is because of these factors that on the eve of colonial conquest and occupation by the European powers, Africa was on the rise, politically, socially, economically, and intellectually. It could therefore be postulated that if it were not for the imposition of the colonial system the nation states emerging at the time, or even the entire continent itself, would have become a formidable world power.
By 1880, modernization was sweeping several African...

... middle of paper ...

...nd felt quite ready to face any challenge that was thrown at them. Above all, they seemed determined to defend their sovereignty and way of life” (Boahen, 23). And it is even more obvious when one takes a look at the words of the rulers at the time. But one must also note their desire to work and cooperate with the Europeans, they wanted peaceful relations. Alas, they would not get peace, rather war and strife took over the continent with such great force only two states remained independent from European influence, Ethiopia and Liberia. One can only wonder if the European powers had considered the people of Africa as actual human beings rather than the racist attitudes they held, how much different the history of the massive continent had gone.
Works Cited
Boahen, Albert Adu. African Perspectives on Colonialism. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Univ., 2008. Print.

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