Effect of Imperialism on Africa from 16th - 18th Centuries

Essay by NeelumHigh School, 10th grade June 2004

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Imperialism means one country establishing an empire by conquering other countries, enslaving the inhabitants, and making them pay tribute to the ruling country. Various nations competed to acquire the best land and control the African people, whom they viewed as inferior. Europe is widely known to have dominated most of the entire world, mainly Africa, and established empires throughout the continent. The Europeans then converted the people they were dominating to Christianity, because they thought that the Africans were uncivilized and weren't practicing any religion or values. The pros and cons of imperialism affected the Africans' social, religious, and political lives from the 16th to 18th centuries.

As the Africans were vulnerable in such ways that they didn't know how to fight back, other regions, primarily Europe, dominated them and took complete control over them. Africa's unexplored lands offered plenty of raw goods for European factories and prompted expansion into central Africa's coal and gold mines.

This was another reason why imperialism spread throughout Africa. The Africans had never seen white people like the Europeans before, so they treated them with respect. In return, the Europeans treated them harshly and enslaved them. This affected the Africans negatively because the Europeans thought that they were barbaric when the Africans in fact were very civilized and cultured. They had strong family bonds, which were untied as other regions took control over them and set them apart form their families. When any of the Africans didn't want to convert to Christianity, their masters would punish them to death. However, numerous Africans did convert to Christianity in terror of death. The pressure of their masters was so great that the Africans had to stop planting their staple crops, causing massive starvation throughout the continent. Hundreds of thousands...