The Role Of European Colonialism In Walter Rodney's How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

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In Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa he argues that European imperialism and earlier colonialism from earlier centuries did little to nothing with improving the lives of the African people. European imperialism was meant to boost the economies and power of European nations; however, colonialism “blunted, halted, and turned back” the development of Africa. Also with the interruption of the development and culture of the African people, there was no compensation given as the Europeans messed with the African culture. It has been claimed that imperialism in Africa improved the lives of the African people as it brought about a sense of social order, nationalism, and economic modernization. Rodney contests this and instead states …show more content…
There was a mother-right feature prevalent in African societies as women held a large amount of respect in their culture. They held the keys to inheritance and often held a significant amount of political power. For example in Lovedu of Transvaal, a key figure was the Rain Queen and she held political and religious functions. Women frequently embraced the role “Queen Mother” or “Queen Sister”. Usually what was practiced in African society was that the role of power was filled by a female of royal blood. Influence for women in political power was great and sometimes women were the real leaders whereas the kings were mere puppets to their grand political scheme. Under European colonialism African women’s social, religious, constitutional, and political privileges disappeared (Rodney 227). African women were held to the European standards of womanhood. New rules pertaining to where they were and were not allowed to work and what they could and could not do were enforced. The amount of power they once held was diminished, allowing their somewhat matriarchal society to turn into a patriarchal society similar to the European countries. In a sense, under colonialism, African society and women’s rights were altered, making women’s work remarkably inferior to that of men and their opinions and actions became less …show more content…
Rodney claims that in spite of slave trading and the importing of European goods, most African handicraft industries continued to be successful at the start of the colonial period. But with the mass production of goods in other countries virtually deteriorated the need for African products, such as cloth, salt, soap, iron and pottery (Rodney, 231). The once popular handicraft industries which made great advances before colonialism, were destroyed by French. Many African were out of work and had no way to support themselves. Colonialism also abused the African trading system and crippled the African economy. Europeans took advantage of Africa’s natural resources and their trading system and integrated it into their own economy. The Gold Coast economy was integrated into the British economy and the Ivory Coast economy was integrated into the French economy, while the African colonies had little or no effective economic relations. The amount of energy put into inter-African trade was miniscule when compared to how much was exported. Only ten percent of Africa’s trade was internal since inter African trade didn’t benefit the Europeans it was never encouraged by the foreigners (Rodney,

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