Imperialism is the influence over an area by a foreign power, often involving some form of dominance. Imperialism was imposed by the Europeans as they colonized Sub-Saharan Africa. For hundreds of years the Europeans traded gold and salt with huge trading empires that had developed in Africa. For hundreds of years they continued trading but in the late 1800s Europeans began to colonize Africa. They saw their colonies as a direct source to the goods they had been trading for decades and as a way to grow their empires.

By 1914 all of the Sahel had been colonized by the Europeans, they set boundaries that divided ethnic groups creating conflict between different groups which only made the European rule, stronger. The European colonization diminished African culture sufficiently but some Africans still benefited from the education the Europeans brought with them. Soon some educated Africans demanded a role in government and, when denied,  a few launched independence movements and at the half century mark some started to become independent.

In east Africa, European explorers made their way inland.  As the European explorers divided power  between themselves they disrupted villages by transforming their small farms into huge plantations. Colonization turned African lives up-side-down, some groups tried to resist European rule but most failed. Beginning in the mid 1900s African independence movements began to become more successful.

On the west coast of Africa slavery became a huge economy, as the British began shipping large amounts of slaves across the Atlantic to the Americas to work on huge plantations. Many tribes and ethnic groups fled the area as they were afraid of being captured and sold into slavery. The French were trying to end slavery and put in legal prohibitions that encouraged the ethnic groups to return to the areas that they had fled. One colony the British formed is the colony of Nigeria, this colony housed many different ethnic groups within its boundaries and when the colony gained independence conflicts arose and the newly found country erupted into civil war. Cultural and religious differences still are present in the country today.

Large areas of land weren’t colonized until the 1800s in central Africa, though the Europeans had been trading in Africa since the 1400s. Deadly diseases like Malaria had stopped rapid colonization. By the 1800s the Europeans held substantial amounts of land as colonies. The French turned one of their African colonies into a huge cash crop economy. By the early 1900s small revolts against french rule were happening often. Europeans promoted European culture, which weakened African tradition and culture. Africans were often treated harshly and their village life was sufficiently disrupted by the impact of colonization.

In southern Africa the Portuguese shipped slaves to different places around the world. They maintained control of Angola throughout the 1500s. They disrupted the African land and villages by putting in railroads to transport labor workers. The Africans did not benefit in any way from this colonization and this lead to uprisings against colonial rule.

When colonies gained independence it created power vacuums, an absence of leadership. Ethnic and other types of groups started to compete for power sometimes breaking out into civil war. Today many former colonies struggle with maintaining order and deal with unstable governments, some even have problems with racial discrimination. Disease is wide spread in Africa and most governments in the former colonies don’t have the resources to deal with it which also hurts their country. Neo-Colonization is the structure of the colony still in tact but the foreign power gone, in other words the former colonies still have the export economies the Europeans set up. Although neo-colonization helped the economies in African countries it ultimately impacted the African people negatively and they are now dealing with the consequences of the Europeans actions.

Andrew. “Effects of The European Imperialism In Africa « Humanities II – World History.” Humanities II – World History. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2013. <http://world-history.nmhblogs.org/2012/11/11/effects-of-the-european-imperialism-in-africa/&gt;.

Leopoldville, 1890 the Congo Free State had consolidated its control of its territory between. “Scramble for Africa – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scramble_for_Africa&gt;.

Boehm, Richard G., and Dinah Zike. Glencoe World Geography and Cultures. New York: McGraw, 2012. Print.


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