Colonization in Africa : How European Government Altered Tribal Life

Essay by smitty5050University, Bachelor'sA+, September 2006

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In the late 19th century Africa underwent a radical transformation; it was colonized by Europe . Excellent historical context . This was a violent and tragic turning point in African history; the culture of an entire continent was disrupted and in many instances destroyed. There were many motivations for imperialism in the 19 th century, and the consequent "carving up" of Africa . (Brummett 674) Europeans were in search of new goods, trade routes, money, and power, which they sought at the expense of native populations. In Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart , this change is illustrated from the perspective of an African tribe; the forceful nature with which British law and government were imposed disrupted tribal life and altered it forever. This is an outstanding thesis statement.

The societies of Africa at this time were very diverse, so the responses to European conquest ranged from "accommodation to armed resistance;" a "unified political response" was not possible.

(Brummett 673) Excellent use of the text as support here. By the time of World War I, "most Africans found themselves living within colonies with new political boundaries arbitrarily drawn by the Europeans, without regard for the existing ethnic identities of peoples." (Brummett 674) The arbitrary boundaries created colonies of people that were very different, possibly even enemies; there was no regard for whatever government or village boundaries that may have existed already. The lack of a centralized government, united nation, and modern technology facilitated the European colonization of the continent. Good. There was no president or monarch to declare war and mobilize troops in defense; tribes and villages were left on their own to comply with or fight the Europeans. The British and other Europeans brought Western government into Africa and set up their courts, laws, and military to administer...