Effects of European Colonialism in Africa

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Date Submitted: 11/27/2012 09:55 PM

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From the 17th through the 20th centuries, the African continent resembled a massive jigsaw puzzle, with different pieces representing the colonial possessions of various European kingdoms including France, England, Germany and Belgium. The natural resources and large, unexplored vastness of the continent offered commercial opportunities for European powers, not to mention a new outlet for Christian evangelism. During this time period, up until World War I, European powers scrambled to divide Africa amongst themselves, in a monumentous colonial movement that left lasting impressions and far- reaching consequences for Africa and the international political stage. Three major impacts of colonialism in Africa are native ethnic tension and violence, long lasting racial oppression, and widespread poverty.

A long lasting impact of colonialism in Africa is racial oppression, most markedly obvious in the South African system of apartheid, just recently ended. In fact, "the worst legacy of the European presence was the White racist state of modern South Africa, which only ended in 1994" (Craig, Graham, Kagan, Ozment & Turner, 2007, p. 690). Apartheid was a legal racial segregation system in South Africa based on traditional tribes. South Africans were segregated based on race, and native blacks were excluded from citizenship and forced, literally, to live on government appropriated lands based on tribe. Whites were given superior education, housing, jobs, and medical care ("South Africa Under Apartheid", 2009). The system was completely illogical, with ten percent of the population attempting to control the other ninety percent, but that thought process is purely colonial in its roots (Blundell, 2004). The former ruling class of the colonial era (whites with European ancestry) believed they were justified in oppressing several native tribal populations, and exploiting them for personal gain.

Widespread poverty and unequal distribution of wealth in another long lasting...