the impact of colonialism in africa

The Impact of Colonialism in Africa

            History itself has denied and stolen the identity of Africans from them; they have been manipulated and cheated in every possible way. The Africans were made to believe that they did not have an existing civilization; the colonizers took advantage of the ignorance and powerlessness of the Africans and led them to believe that they did not have any history even before the arrival of the people outside. It is sad to say that even if we know today that oldest civilization of Africa existed, many Africans still believes the false accusations of their history. Many young people in Africa, without the knowledge of their past, lack pride and faith in their own country and was blinded with whole word because of what cultural imperialism of the west has brought. They did not see their future because their past was hidden and were not recognized even by their own people. The youngest generation of Africa succumbs to the ideas that their origin is from the United States and everything they are is because of them. The Africans are even denied with their own cultural heritage, many of their artifacts and other cultural/historic piece have been illegitimately exported to private museums outside of Africa without their consent.

            Opposite to the belief of many Africans regarding their history, their culture along with their own pertinent history existed before the arrival of the colonizers. The only problem is that they cannot track their early history was hard to tell because their only few traces and artifacts left. The early Africans did not have written history, many are only told through stories and sayings that gradually faded when the colonizers arrived. Only a few tribes started to write their history. Most of early writings of regarding African history were written by the Europeans that may not have enough information about their history and may contain the risk of uneven view of the events that happened. The ancient culture of the Africans have been removed and replaced from the arrival of the Europeans. The colonizers introduced a new language, industry and work that led to the vanishing of their early custom (Crawfurd, 2008).

            There was immense transformation in Africa during the nineteenth century including famine and different diseases. Some of the immense change was brought about by African ruler’s ambitions to achieve their own territories. African leaders achieved their goals by bearing with the increasing progressed of alliances between the merchants and missionaries from Europe. During the colonization of Europeans, they were literally ignorant of the continent and its vast traditions and practices. The logical colonization of Africa gathered its drive during the 1880’s which not even on the scope of the 19th century. Trading by the Europeans was confined along the coast of Africa. Arab and African merchant handled the in land slaves property. It was in 1807, that the British stopped the slave trade in Africa and took patrols along the coast in order to intercept slave ships of other nation.

            The last two decades of the 19th century left Africa with direct effects of the rivalries and conflicts with the Europeans. With the Europeans grabbing hold Africa, it was during the 1880’s that they divided Africa among themselves without any provision of the people of Africa and with the Europeans little knowledge about the land they have taken. It was during the First World War, were the Africans crucial contribution took part, a result of Europeans conflict.

            Colonialism disrupted the African societies, economics and political entities. Many Africans survived because of fleeing, in turned this caused economic disruptions, land was kept unattended and political instability where leaders lost their followers and others even gained rivalry. Repeated over a continent for 90 years, this had an immeasurable cumulative effect.

During the colonial rule, formal Africa economies existed largely for the purpose of resource extraction. Colonizers designed their railroads to carry products to the ports for shipping, mainly to Europe and North America.

Colonizers thought of Africans as inferiors. It was a challenge for colonizers to treat them as equals, after centuries of slave trades and technological advance in Europe metropolis. The British settlers in South Africa referred to the white Afrikaners, who lived with a blend of European, as an inferior race. The Europeans possessed attitudes of superiority and a sense for their mission that is why it was hard for them to treat them as equals. Unlike them, the French settlers who were bale to accept and let African’s adopt the French ways. The French allowed marriage of their people with the Africans but this was not acceptable for the Europeans. They believe that Africans cannot be associated with them because of their race and skin color. This has led to shaping the colonial policies. Among the policies developed during the colonization was the exclusion of Africans from any level of government or join any councils without authority, at some British colonies, they were allowed only to vote for a white representative to take part at any opposition. The colonizers made sure that the Africans were ignorant and uneducated so that all the wealth and natural resources would only go and be secured for the colonizers.

The economy of Africans consists of trade, industry and the resources of people in Africa. Today, Africa is one the poorest inhabited continent. Through the parts of the continent that have made significant gains over the last few years, out of the 175 reviewed by the United Nation’ Human Development Report, 25 African nations ranked lowest amongst the nations in the world. The decolonization of Africa was burdened with instability aggravated by the cold war conflict. The cold war has increased corruption and repression that contributed to the poor economy of Africa. Africa remained stagnant and has regressed in terms of foreign trade, investment, per capita income and other economic growth measures. Poverty in Africa had widespread effects including violence and instability which consequently have continued to contribute in the continent’s growth problems. Over the decades, there have been many unsuccessful attempts to improve the economies of individual African countries.

The end of colonialism in Africa has been affected by how the formation and analysis of colonialism in Africa is understood. This in turn sought out two ways on how it was diminished, decolonization of Africa and African nationalism or the connection between these two approaches. Many nationalist claimed that it was nationalism that led to the dismantling of colonialism in Africa, while the imperialist believed that decolonization was just a planned outcome and policies of the metropolitans and others thought of it as a result of the international relation system changes. Relatively, decolonization is more of a complex product of many variables. It is dependent on the prevailing international situation, the policies and the nature or kind of strength of the colonial power and the nationalist movements which is affected both by the condition of the colonizers and the colony. These factors are put together and are manifested by the conditions featured in the distinctive patterns of decolonization among the regions and colonies. Decolonization is also affected by the power of colonizers and how well the colonizers perceived their power and what importance is the colony to them (“Colonialism-Africa- the demise of Colonialism,” 2008).

Political instability is one of the outcomes of the decolonization of Africa. It occurred during the introduction of capitalist influences leading to the continuous chafing of racial discrimination. The so-called “white minority rule” prevailed during that time, as opposed by the Black Nationalist which made a move during the civil war towards getting rid of the said rule. Violence occurred during the partition of the colonies. Today, an increase in the level of informal economy happened due to the loss of Africa’s social and economic institutions. The economy of Africa reached drought of natural resources. The diversification was not possibly executed from its exports of cash crops. They found it difficult to increase their work force with lack of funding. In order to adhere with ideology of Capitalism and Communism, countries like the United States and Soviet Union has loaned money and food to Africa in order to educate, feed and modernize its masses. Africa borrowed a large sum of money from different nations, bankers and companies that led these lenders to force Africa in cheapen their currency and exert political influence over Africa. The corrupt dictators wasted the money borrowed, and then the rehabilitation of the devastated economy of Africa did not take effect, burying the social issues in education and health.  Until now Africa has lived a devastated life because of the impact that colonialism had sought them in. African people are trying so hard to succumb themselves in the palms of foreign people in order to change the situation and their present status.

African nationalism’s nature and dynamics is also diverse and exceptional. It was not only attributed to the position and social relevance of the nation or as perceived by the nationalist but it can be ethnic and national movement in the pursuit of dominance against colonizers.  Furthermore, nationalism was expressed and fought on many fronts such as political and economic fronts with different organizational forms and in different domains. The impact and development of nationalism is different among the colonies even to those under the same imperial power. Nationalism is also dependent on the way the colonies have been obtained and managed, the presence and absence of colonizers, the custom of resistance and the social organization of the nationalist movement with its leadership (“Colonialism-Africa- the demise of Colonialism,” 2008)


Colonialism-Africa- the demise of Colonialism (2008) [Electronic Version]. Retrieved June 2, 2008, from

Crawfurd, J. (2008). History of Africa.   Retrieved May 31, 2008, from

Economics, Colonialism and Racism in Africa. (2004).   Retrieved May 31, 2008, from

 Obadina, T. (2000). The myth of Neo-colonialism [Electronic Version]. Retrieved May 31, 2008, from

The Nature of Colonial encounter. (2008). Colonialism-Africa   Retrieved May 31, 2008, from


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