Was British Imperialism in Africa A Good or Bad Thing for Africa Today?

1107 words | 4 page(s)

The British Imperialism also better known as the scramble for Africa was the manner in which the other European nations carried out invasion, occupied the African continent and later colonized the distinct nations. The European powers decided to take control of the African nation during the era of new imperialism that existed between the years of 1881 to 1914 (Peterson 110). In discovering that the African nations had potential resources, the European powers started to scramble and struggle for the rich and abundant African land (Bush 34). Since then, British Imperialism has affected most African nations that they colonized over the years. For this reason, the discussion of the paper will focus on whether the British Imperialism in the African continent was a good thing or bad especially looking at the African continent today.

The effect of British Imperialism is still being felt in Africa today since the imperialist established deeply rooted systems that continue to control many African countries. The essence of obtaining profitable returns from the African soil is what motivated most European nations to scramble for the African continent. At this moment, Britain occupied small areas of Africa’s land, but after learning that African was a rich source of resources that would contribute to high yields in returns, it decided to acquire more land (Bush 37). Since Britain was one of the most superior nations, it had the potential to take over most of the valuable land in terms of resources. In the quest for African land, diverse reasons contributed to the struggle and scramble for the African continent. Some of the reasons entail the political and military interests, economic interest and humanitarian and religious regions (Peterson 53).

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It is appropriate to argue out that British Imperialism had negative effects to the African nation because of diverse reasons. One of the negative effects of British Imperialism in the African continent is the fact that it contributed to the existence of the slavery. After the Britain explored the African continent and realized that it had numerous resources and raw materials, it invaded African with all the necessary equipments (Bush 47). The scramble for the African continent contributed to the slavery and humiliation of the African citizens. The aspect of slavery was introduced especially in aiding the British government in the transportation of resources from Africa into Britain.

Since the British government took areas in Africa rich with resources and nutrients, it decided to collect the raw material vital in the companies back in Europe. British took raw materials from Africa and transported them into Europe since it was a cheap means of acquiring vital resources vital in yielding returns that are more profitable. The essence of the slaves was to work in the European firms and assist in the transportation of the commodity to Europe (Peterson 67). The existence of the slaves made the entire process of acquiring and utilization back in the European companies cheap. The aspect of the slavery still affects most of the African citizens even until today. Some of the European power nations still disrespect Africans and consider them as slaves.

Additionally, British Imperialism was detrimental to Africa today is the fact that some of the African citizens and tribes lack an ancestral background eve to date. When the British invaded Africa, not all the African nations collaborated (Bush 82). In some cases, Africans rejected the invasion through fighting and resisting the Europeans from taking control. In such situations, the British government instructed the army to use force and kill the resisting tribes and nations. In some locations, the African revolt was intense that it took time before the British fully gained control or crushed the rebellions. The British colonizers relocated the resistant members of the society to other places or were thrown to detention camps (Peterson 125). In such cases, it made it almost impossible for the indigenous people in Africa to gain back their land that were forcefully taken from them. This contributed to dispersion of the people even in the world today. Some African still cannot trace their origin and ancestral land. British imperialists caused tribal, religious, and economic divisions amongst Africans hence destroying the unity that dwelled among indigenous people.

British Imperialism deprived Africa of its resources since the colonizers exported minerals and agricultural products to their home countries. Since there was industrial revolution in Europe, Britain needed raw materials from the Africa for their industries. In other situations, the European powers utilized the rich African land for the growing of cash crops such as coffee, tea and cotton then export the produce to their country (Bush 97). The continuous use of African land for the growing different crops contributed to decrease in the fertility in the soil (Peterson 161). Moreover, British imperialism also contributed to the exploitation of the African resources. Since the British government relied on the raw resources from Africa, it eventually contributed to the exploitation of materials such valuable minerals like gemstones, gold, diamond, and other precious metals (Bush 115).

Currently, some of African nations still face difficulty in having the native African citizens in the government and other public offices like South Africa. The existence of Britain imperialism contributed to imbalance of power in most governments across the continent. In some nations, African citizens have minimal or little representation in the government running their own nation, which has contributed to civil wars and coup de ta in most African nations. Since the African citizens feel that the government is supposed to be composed of the native Africans, the white majority in their governments still contribute to existence of conflict. In some of the African nations, the existence of the British citizens in the government contributes to the fighting since the Africans feel they need to take over control of their own country.

Before the beginning of the European to scramble and partition Africa, little information on the continent was known by explorers and Europeans. However, through the efforts of explorers, the information concerning the deep inner African continent became evident to the European powers. Immediately after gaining the information about Africa, the European nation discovered the necessity of the African continent economically. British imperialism in Africa contributed to the rise of slavery, exploitation of the resources, and dispersion of the African people all over the continent and lack of control of the government resources (Peterson 84). Britain still continue to exploit Africa’s resources since they have well established firms and large farms that take raw materials from these countries to Britain.

  • Bush, Barbara. Imperialism, Race, and Resistance: Africa and Britain, 1919-1945. London: Routledge, 2009. Print.
  • Peterson, Derek R. Abolitionism and Imperialism in Britain, Africa, and the Atlantic. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2010. Print.

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