Did the British Empire Improve Lives in Africa? Essay

880 Words Oct 15th, 2009 4 Pages
Did the British Empire improve people’s lives in Africa?

I will start off by defining the terms of this essay. ‘Improve’, in this context, means the African people’s lives developing and the standard of living getting better.

The British Empire in Africa was vast. It included lands in North Africa, such as Egypt, much of West Africa, and huge territories in Southern and East Africa. British rule had a huge impact on the lives of millions of Africans.

Before the British rule in Africa, African people were poor. They did not have proper towns, just little villages. They had no means of transport and no education. They had no or little knowledge about medications. It was merely uncivilized.

The Scramble for Africa was the
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This improved African people’s lives by far.

The British Empire was bad in many ways. It was built on vast ethnic cleansing, enslavement, enforced racial hierarchy, land theft and merciless exploitation.

The British Empire also brought many improvements to Africa. The British educated the Africans by building schools, colleges, hospitals, roads and bridges. The British also developed Africa’s transport systems, by building railways and seaports. The British also raised political awareness in Africa and therefore, a new generation of black politicians was born. Even though the British’s motives were selfish and they built railways in order to ship the raw materials and riches out of Africa, it also benefited and civilized the native inhabitants (Africans). For example, the British invested in South Africa’s gold mines. They wanted the Africans to work and dig up the gold. Though the Africans were paid little or nothing, the British built hospitals, schools and houses for them, not because they wanted to help them, but because they had no other choice.

In my opinion, I conclude that the British Empire did improve people’s lives in Africa, whether they had an intention to, or not. The African people did have to sacrifice their natural resources, but the British brought civilization and education to Africa. Though Africa is still poor now, it is much better, considering the state in which they lived before the British rule.

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