Essay on Winds of Change: European Imperialism in Africa

Essay on Winds of Change: European Imperialism in Africa

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Imagine being with your family in your home and a neighbor comes and tells you that aliens have invaded a distant town and have taken half of its population and killed the other half. Chances are that you would think that they had lost their mind and would ignore them. In our society today we would find something like that to be highly unlikely. Now imagine that you and your family have good relations with the town that had been invaded. You have played sports against them growing up and you do your shopping there. You know that the citizens of that town are tough individuals and would not be easily defeated. The tribes of the lower Niger River had experienced these same things in the late 19th century. Although they were not invaded by aliens, they were invaded by foreigners. They were invaded by Christian missionaries from England. The natives did not believe the stories of their neighboring village being destroyed and suffered the consequences. When British imperialism found its way into Africa it had quite profound effects on the indigenous populations such as deterioration of ancient tribal practices, hostile situations, and death and suffering on both sides.
In the village of Umuofia, located near the lower Niger River, the citizens lived what they would have considered to be normal lives. They worked and built houses and survived. In Umuofia, the men had to be tough. They would work all day doing what they considered to be man’s work. Any man who did not want to do this work was considered weak, lazy, and effeminate. (Achebe 13,14) Another part of the Umuofian society was that there were four titles in the village of which every man was to aim to get. If a man did not manage to gain any titles he was considered to be on t...


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...uld hear their side of the story. After they arrived and arrested them and kept them imprisoned for three days without giving them food or water. The only way in which they were to be freed was for the villages to pay the district court two hundred fifty bags of cowries. Upon receiving the money the commissioner let the exhausted elders go. (Achebe 193-197) It seemed as though the commissioner was trying to show all of the villagers just what they were up against.
In conclusion, the English missionaries and soldiers were too much for the small African villages. Some of the Africans decided to fight until the very end and some decided to join the Europeans. The Europeans power enabled them to force their lifestyle and beliefs onto the Africans and cause mandatory assimilation.



Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 1959. Document.

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