ÃÂlter ÃÂrdesel 00006109 Topic: Discussing the concept of imperialism by comparing and contrasting its impact on the history of the 19th century Sub-Saharan Africa vs. South Central Asia, in particular, the response of conquered areas to the "west".
THE GREAT IMPACT OF IMPERIALISM Fundamentally, the imperialism idea comes from the early modernisation concept that began with the 16th century. Afterwards renaissance, catholic reformation and reconnaissance actions follow this concept in order. Then geographical explorations take place in history and in this sense a lightening period exists by the help of these agendas. This lightening period consists of many different ideologies. We see these ideologies' changing and shaping time to time and one of these specific action-oriented ideas is seen as imperialism with its impact on some African and Asian part, in particular, the response of conquered areas to the "west" in late 19th century and early 20th century. In order to express what the imperialism is, it can be said that imperialism is an ideology to make good society by being rooted in a particular economic system, capitalism, and benefits a particular class, which Marxists call the bourgeoisie or ruling class.
(Butterfield, 2002) In this sense, we see the colonisation action of the "west" under the name of imperialism against the African and Asian part of the world in late 19th and early 20th century. In some countries we see the entire-colonisation and in some of them there was semi-colonisation according to some reasons that are related with their understanding of modernity and the way that they show their reactions. In general sense it can be implied that the reaction of Sub-Saharan Africa against the impact of "west imperialism" was more strict than the one in Central Asia; in terms of economic reasons, nationalism and religion.
To begin with the economic perspective of imperialism, imperialist countries' need of row material and market and the change in the meaning of imperialism seem to be the crucial point. Up to 17th century, imperialism was not related with capitalism because in these times land power was important. However in later period of time, especially in the late19th century the spread of industrialisation in the world had achieved the point where international competition for markets was becoming profoundly. After the third threshold of industrial revolution, the new imperialist political ideologies became the state politics of European countries. In this sense colonisation action of "west" powers takes place. As a provision, we see the strict; but at the same time invalid reaction of Africans. In Asian side, we don't see such kind of strict reaction as it is seen in Africa. This is because of their preparations against the probable imperialistic action of "west", that can be regarded as the extension of rapid modernisation of "west". Especially European countries could not entirely colonized South Central Asian countries such as Iran and India. For example England could not fight with India; because India was not so weak in terms of economy and because of its economical interdependence, India's military modernisation had been taken place in order to fight with any power. However the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa was not so pleasing. They were still living as tribal societies and they were ready to be treated as slave. First of all, by the investigations of the European missionaries, "west" were aware of the row material sources that were not used, such as cool and diamond. By the power in their hand, "west" took the region under control and made the people work for their benefit. They also made African pay taxes. Actually that led revolt against foreign occupation. Africans tried to kill the tax collectors as time goes by. For example in 1902 a tax collection exercise in Bailundo, in the centre of what is now Angola, went badly wrong when local people rebelled violently, attacking tax collectors and traders (both European and African). This was the first time that Africans had rebelled against the Portuguese in Angola. (BBC WORLD SERVICE, no date) That shows how deeply they were affected from the power of "west". Also we understand that the gloom of Africans did not result from leaving their sources to "west" power. The main point that made them revolt was being made pay taxes.
Secondly in terms of nationalism, liberation struggles of colonised countries come next. Fundamentally, the idea of these struggles relies on the French Revolution and the nationalism idea that comes next. In this sense there are structured similarities between Asian and African independence struggles. However the only point that they differ from each other is the process of their struggles. It is because the Asian nations were more ready in terms of military concept by the qualified commanders that came from "west" in the colonisation process. Thus their armies were trained professionally by the Europeans and they were ready to fight with the "west" by the technology that came from "west". Actually, it can be regarded as a contradiction in terms of training the nation and then loss of the colonised land because of the liberation action of that nation. In African side the situation was same; but their liberation process was too long. At that point the lack of modernisation agendas can be shown as a reason.
One other point about liberation is the modern education concept in Africa and Asia that was supplied by Europeans. Thus we are faced with the same contradiction again. "West" was supplying the modern education as one of the prerequisite of imperialism and many scientists and thinkers were brought up. As time goes by these thinkers were affected by the ideologies such as nationalism. For example Indian national leader Gandhi was one of them and played a big role on gaining the independence of India after the 2nd World War. (Cody, 1990) In this example we see the specific show of the contradiction that is mentioned above.
Lastly to mention about the perspective of religion, the eurocenteric aim of spreading the Christianity all over the world under the idea of imperialism should be discussed. At that point, we see the similarity between South Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa again as we saw in liberation concept. In 19th century most of the Asian and African nations were Muslim and this was a big obstacle for the "west" to achieve their aim. "West" tried to assimilate the Asia and Africa; but they both showed their reaction similarly against the "west". (Pappas, no date) If it is needed to combine religion with nationalism there is something to think about. If the African and Asian nations had been Christian; may be the nationalism idea would loose its validity and its impact on gaining the independence. Moreover, may be the colonised countries would be still colonised under the power of "west". So it is obvious that the religion diversity made colonised nations fight for their independent conceit.
To sum up the agendas of the impact of imperialist "west", the insufficiency in the process of modernisation and because of this, being under the control of "west" can be expressed as a summary. In the above examples we see that the impact of "west" and the probable reaction of South Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are based on some economical, ideological concepts and religion in the light of many specific processes. Also it was obvious that there were both similarities and diversities between Africa and Asia in the period of "west" imperialism and economical perspective was the most distinct one in terms of diversities. On the other hand in nationalism, liberation struggle, the hope of independence and independent conceit were the common points; although there was a little bit diversity in the sense of the process of these concepts.
REFERERENCES (In order): Butterfield, G. "What is Imperialism?" Last Updated 25, 4, 2002, from http://www.workers.org/ww/2002/imperialism0425.php http://plato.newarka.edu/~labbey/west_imperialism_second_em.html BBC WORLD SERVICE. (No date). Tax Wars. ANGOLA'S FIRST REBELLION, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/africa/features/storyofafrica/11chapter10.shtml Cody, D. British India Last updated 1990, from http://18.104.22.168/history/empire/India.html Pappas, M. (No date). History 266: World History from the Renaissance to Imperialism. End of the East India Company, from http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/266Read.html OUTLINE: 1) Brief summary about what the imperialism concept comes from.
A- Pre-stages (agendas) before imperialism B- The definition of imperialism, in terms of Marxist ideology C- Thesis: In general sense it can be implied that the reaction of Sub-Saharan Africa against the impact of "west imperialism" was more strict than the one in Central Asia; in terms of economic reasons, nationalism and religion.
2) Economic perspective of "west" imperialism.
A- The change in the meaning of imperialism B- Differences between the reactions of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Central Asia against the "west" power -India and England example -Angola's first rebellion example C- Conclusion of the economic perspective 3) Liberation struggles of colonised countries as the extension of nationalism idea A- The similarities between Asia and Africa B- The contradiction between "west" and the colonised nations C- A small difference between Asia and Africa in terms of liberation process D- The effect of modern education concept in liberation idea -Gandhi example E- Conclusion of the independence issue 4) In the perspective of religion, the eurocenteric aim of "west" spreading the Christianity A- The diversity between Asia and Africa with "west" in terms of religion B- The importance of this diversity C- Conclusion of the perspective of religion 5) Conclusion of the whole essay by re-stating the ideas that have been mentioned