Negative Effects Of Imperialism In Africa

Brilliant Essays
Register to read the introduction… Firstly, Europeans uprooted spiritual and traditional values of the African people. The spread of Christianity had many negative influences. Missionaries had shown themselves intolerant and ignorant of traditional religious beliefs and social practices of African people.10 They were often horrified by the common practice of Polygamy. In the 1860s, white teachers in Africa warned villagers about their “lax” sexual ways and sinful tendencies. In addition, European imperial powers prompted different naming cultures. There was a major attempt to shorten and change African names to those of a Christian background. Before colonization, personal names were part of the collective uniqueness of each ethnic group. Europe’s Christian influence destroyed this. Also, African women were forced to merge their identities with those of their husbands. In Africa, a wife’s adoption of her husband’s surname upon marriage is an alien custom. Traditionally, women would retain their own name, representing a residual link between their own clan and ancestral family. Christianity eroded the link between personal names and the uniqueness of individuals. Imperialism involved “turning Africa’s back” on previous centuries and traditional ways of life in an attempt to start the process on “dis-Africanizing Africa”.11 Cultural imperialism had a tremendous influence on African identity and heritage. Secondly, African people were exploited by European colonists. King Leopold II of Belgium formed a privately controlled government named the “Congo Free State”. In this state, there was a huge rubber plantation sustained by forced labour. As a result, 10 million Africans died and the population of the congo fell roughly by half over a 40-year period.12 As well, European taste for sugar and technological advances in the West resulted in an even greater need for African labour. African slave labour coincided with …show more content…
Politically, European imperialism created tremendous conflict among African people, expanded Europe’s colonial boundaries by carving up Africa, and attempted to restructure society, only to leave Africa’s political structure weak and corrupt. Economically, European imperialism destructed Africa’s self sufficiency and increased dependance on colonial powers; strengthened Europe’s own economy, therefore further weakening Africa’s economy; and exploited many raw materials within Africa. Culturally, European imperialism uprooted Africa’s spiritual and traditional values, exploited the people of Africa, and prompted colonial racism.

Works Cited

Barnes, Andrew. “Economic Parasitism: European Rule In West Africa, 1880-1960.” International Journal of African Historical Studies Vol. 42.2 (2009): 332. History Reference Center. 2010 EBSCO Industries, Inc. Web. November 11, 2010 <>.

Glassman, Jonathon. “Slower Than a Massacre: The Multiple Sources of Radical Thought in Colonial Africa.” American History Review. Vol. 109.3 (2004): 720. History Reference Center. 2010 EBSCO Industries, Inc. Web. November 22, 2010 <>.

Hargreaves, John. “The Scramble for Africa.” The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Africa. Ed. Roland Oliver. 1. New York: Trewin Copplestone Books Limited, 1984.

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