The Rise of Colonialism and its Impact on Modern Society
In the middle of the 1 5th century, as the Roman Empire was weakening, the fall of Constantinople marked a bigger impact than anyone could have considered.The Ottoman Empire had reign to advance into the Mediterranean, and that meant that traveling east on land was not an option.With the Renaissance about to emerge, it became a springboard for the development of advanced ships.
This marked the beginning of the Age of Exploration and Colonialism. The Europeans had every advantage.
Their immune system had seen all the diseases in the Old World, while he native conquered people’s immune system had only seen a few diseases. The Europeans had far more superior crops and domesticated animals. Cows, pigs, and chicken are considered super animals compared to their wild counterparts, although the wild counterparts do not even exist in the New World. The same could be said for rice, barley, and wheat. The New World had never seen these types of food. The conquered spent their days looking for sustenance while the Europeans were developing guns and telescopes.
Because the backbone of the European nations was so developed and stable, their technology and power skyrocketed. With the power, colonization and slavery thrived. From Africa and Asia to the New World, pockets of colonies emerged and developed. Often conquering the entire continent, the colonizers went to work to extract what they thought was important. There were no rights for the conquered. They were in the European man’s world and had to go along for the ride. Racial prejudice rears its ugly head throughout the two World Wars and exists even today.
The concept of racism was developed during the Age of Colonialism. The thought that any particular type of person based on looks and color was better did not exist ecause it is not true. But during and after the Age of Colonialism, racism was taught to Europeans and enforced to non-Europeans. Europeans thought that looks and color of the Anglos meant more trustworthiness and intelligence. Unfortunately, the majority of Europeans did not realize that trustworthiness and intelligence are both learned behaviors, and that non-Europeans were taught to be “uncivilized”.
With the conviction of superiority, the Europeans subdued and dominated regions throughout the planet. Africa, in particular, has a long history of colonization from the Europeans. Conquest is defined as the subjugation and assumption of control of a place or people by the use of military force. Major parts of Africa were conquered by the Europeans since ancient times. From the 7th century, Arab trade with sub-Saharan Africa led to a gradual colonization of East Africa, around Zanzibar and other bases.
Although trans-Saharan trade led to a small number of West African cities developing Arab quarters, these were not intended as colonies, and while Morocco attempted to conquer areas of the Sahel in the Moroccan war, it was soon forced to withdraw its troops atter pillaging the area. Early European expeditions concentrated on colonizing previously uninhabited islands such as the Cape Verde Islands and S¤o Tom© Island, or establishing coastal forts as a base for trade.
These forts often developed areas of influence along coastal strips, but, with the exception of the Senegal River, the vast interior of Africa was not colonized and was little-known to Europeans until the late 19th century. Vincent Khapoya mentions Ali Mazrui’s three interrelated broad reasons for European exploration of Africa: to increase knowledge, to spread Christianity and to increase national esteem. European enslavement of Africans, and visa-versa, existed along the coasts of East and West Africa since ancient times. The business exploded, however, after the Age of Colonialism was under way.
During what was called by the European powers as, “The Scramble for Africa,” colonization was motivated by the European hunger for African resources. The subsequent exploitation of the African people and the uprooting of their spiritual values by Christian missionaries would leave a permanent European stamp on the continent. Britain took the largest piece of the African cake, rom Cairo to Cape Town, in addition to Nigeria and a few West African regions. It was also the British Empire that in 1894, imposed an arbitrary boundary around the many diverse ethnic groups and kingdoms that would make up modern day Uganda.
By exploiting linguistic, ethnic, and cultural differences between the different ethnic groups, Britain’s divide and rule policies created tensions between the divided ethnic groups that helped maintain British rule. Officially, between 1884 and 1906 the Congo was controlled by a company entirely owned by King Leopold. The area was referred to as the ‘Belgian Free State. Until the end of the 1800s this company primarily exported ivory and palm-oil, a lubricant, from the Congo. Only a small profit was made from these products. At the end of the century, however, the world discovered rubber.
Soon everyone wanted it to make tires, hoses, tubes, valves and many other products. Rubber is produced from a latex ‘sap’ that came either from a tree or a vine, both of which grew exceptionally well in the Congo Jungle. Because of the new demand, the Belgian companies began demanding massive amounts of rubber from the Jungle and forced the natives to find massive amounts of it and eliver it to them. King Leopold became incredibly wealthy from the sale of rubber and the Congo paid the price. The method that most harvesters used to get the sap destroyed the trees and vines they took it from.
Soon the Belgians began to hire soldiers to make sure that the natives produced the raw material. They threatened them with starvation, mutilation or even death if they did not produce enough rubber. Many times they followed through with the threats. Between the 1880s and 1903 the population of the Congo was reduced from over 20 million people to about 8. 5 million. Joseph Conrad, an author who was there during this time, in his book Heart of Darkness, best illustrated what was going on there when one character on his death bed comments on the situation by simply saying: “the horror, the horror. The term ‘imperialism’ should not be confused with ‘colonialism’. Robert Young writes that imperialism operates from the center, it is a state policy, and is developed for ideological as well as financial reasons whereas colonialism is nothing more than development for settlement or commercial intentions. The Age of Imperialism was a ime period beginning around 1700 when modern, relatively developed nations were taking over less developed areas, colonizing them, or intluencing them in order to expand their own power.
Although imperialist practices have existed for thousands of years, the term “Age of Imperialism” generally refers to the activities of nations such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States in the early 18th through the middle 20th centuries, the “The Great Game” in Persian lands, the “Scramble for Africa” and the “Open Door Policy” in China. Genocide is the eliberate or systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, caste, religious, or national group.
The Germans decided that certain ethnic groups were to be eradicated in Namibia. German Lieutenant-General Lothar von Trotha said, ‘l wipe out rebellious tribes with streams of blood and streams of money. Only following this cleansing can something new emerge’. Von Trotha brought with him to German South West Africa 10,000 heavily-armed men and a plan for war. During the period of colonization and oppression, many women were used as sex slaves. “To receive omen and children, most of them ill, is a serious danger to the German troops. And to feed them is impossible.
I find it appropriate that the nation perishes instead of infecting our soldiers. ” In the Herero work camps there were numerous children born to these abused women, and a man called Eugen Fischer, who was interested in genetics, came to the camps to study them. He decided that each mixed-race child was physically and mentally inferior to its German father and wrote a book promoting his ideas: “The Principles of Human Heredity and Race Hygiene”. Adolf Hitler read it hile he was in prison in 1923, and cited it in his own infamous pursuit of “racial purity’.
We can see a trend that follows. For the colonized, life became a living hell. For the colonizers, life became extravagant and easy. These give and take relationships created the modern global economy that we have today. The scars of the past still haunt the wounds of today. Third world countries are still struggling for survival while the well fed first world nations are aligning themselves together to maintain their dominance. While the obvious means of colonization may not be visible, the same characters are in control.