Experiences of Africa

I think that Africa is a fantastic region to really expose the motives and feelings towards imperialism that Europeans had. With East Asia, in my opinion, more cut off from the western world, Africa was seen as the main target. With parts of the Americas still colonized, it was still more cost effective to take resources in Africa, as the Atlantic still separated Europe and the Americas.

First, following the lecture on Africa from the 19th to the early 20th centuries, I found it interesting how different it was from European visions of power. It was weird to see that they focused more on [people as a sign of power, rather than territory. I think it goes to show how much your surroundings and situations effect the ways in which politics and other social issues play out.

However, as colonization stated, those visions changed as African people received new technology such as guns, that allowed them to focus on territorial gains rather than just people.  But, I think some of those changes came at a cost for a large majority of the population as Europe colonized more and more under the guise of helping develop their continent. It was rather unpleasant to see the treatment of indigenous Africans and all the racial inequality. I think a question that could be brought up that relates to East Asia is that without intervention, how long would it have taken for them to develop on their own? I think the difference is that Europe left East Asia with a better roadmap and better resources for success that allowed them to efficiently govern themselves.

Looking at the decolonization in Africa lecture as well as the Economist Article, I think it can be clear to see how detrimental Europe was to African life and society. It’s funny to see the irony of the “good guys” of World War 2 trying to regain dominance of African territory, and in the end decolonize. With rapid decolonization, came to issue that Europeans left African states with no infrastructure or roadmaps to govern themselves. I think that is one of the reasons that pre-imperial groups such as the Sokoto Caliphate had such an impact on contemporary politics in Africa today. I think the long lasting effects of decolonization an be seen today through the Economist Article. Though the author tries to shed light on some of the positives happening in the region, through research, its clear to see some of the human rights issues occurring today (Ie. lack of steady health care), as well as some of the government issues (Corruption, ect.).

Overall I think that imperialism as a whole, both through the partial development of African countries, as well as decolonization, was a very negative and malicious period in African history. Europe very much put Africa many steps back in the game, and these handicaps can still been seen today in contemporary African society.

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