The colonization of Africa is referred to a very early period of its history. In fact, the first attempts to colonize Africa were made by Greeks and Phoenicians. Alexander the Great was one of the biggest colonialists of Egypt of that era. He established Alexandria during his conquest of Egypt and made it one of the biggest cultural and trade centers of the Mediterranean region. Phoenicians established numerous colonies along the North African coast. One of these colonies is known as Tunisia, and it was the main power in this region till the 4th century. Later, British, French, Spanish, and other colonies were established in Africa, and it brought the uprising not only to the colonists, but also to those who lived on that territories. Despite the widespread opinion that the process of colonization is a negative phenomenon because the territory of one country becomes colonized by another country, the colonized territories received many benefits from this process, which are presented as the development of the region, the improvement of infrastructure and the general wellbeing. According to this fact, colonization of Africa cannot be viewed only as the extension of influence of one part because the improvements that the colonists brought had also an effect on the native residents. On the other hand, one cannot state that colonists were motivated by some moral principles because this phenomenon a priori cannot be viewed as a moralistic one. Nevertheless, the colonization of Africa had benefits for both sides, though it is necessary to determine whether it had more positive than negative consequences.
The Positive Effects
In fact, nowadays, one can see that colonialism brought a lot of positive effects to Africa. The impact of the colonization can be divided into three major groups in accordance with the aspects that were influenced. These groups are social effects, economical effects, and political effects.
Regarding the social effects, first and foremost, it must be mentioned that colonization brought more opportunities for the Christian religious mission. Secondly, it led to the development of technology in Africa, including medicine, weapons, farming, and various other tools. Third, it had a great positive result on education in Africa (Keim 2014: 80). The above-mentioned benefits are the major ones that Africans got from colonization. Among other positive effects, one may include that African inhabitants got to know more about their culture and motherland. The other advantage is the fact that many native inhabitants of Africa learned English. Finally, it should be mentioned that, as a result of colonization, the world got to know more about Africa and stopped perceiving it as an aloof land.
When it goes about the economic effect, it is necessary to say that those African tribes that sided with colonizers had an opportunity to earn money (Gilbert and Reynolds 2012: 113). Besides, there appeared more jobs that were new to Africans. In addition, native Africans obtained some new things and goods that were useful in a household and learned some new trading practices; to be more specific, they started involving more money in a trading process, rather than simply practicing the exchange of commodities.
The political effect of colonization on Africa and its inhabitants is also obvious. Importantly, colonization became the main reason for creating tribes in order to get along. Furthermore, Africans got to know about other countries and governments, whose democratic principles led to the development of confidence in native Africans. Moreover, because of colonialism, Africans started writing treaties in order to cooperate and communicate with other tribes. Finally, all the changes that occurred to African inhabitants due to the colonization resulted in Africans’ independence and perception of themselves as people who are equal to Europeans.
To conclude, one can state that colonization brought a lot of advantages to African people and predetermined their development in terms of various aspects that finally made their lives easier and more civilized.
The Negative Effects
Despite the fact that Europeans brought many benefits to Africa, they also caused much harm to the residents of this continent. The influence in Africa was divided between the major European forces, which tried to overcome the neighbors on the economic, social, and political levels. However, when the European intellectuals had to draw up the countries of Africa, they did not care about those groups that were living on such big territories. As a result, Africa was divided into almost right-size squares, which exist till nowadays. The new countries that appeared in Africa were not established according to racial, ethnical, or economic principles. Thus, people that lived there were split without taking their cultural background into consideration.
However, the biggest crime that Europeans committed against African people was the exploitation of their lands and labor force (Gilbert and Reynolds 2012: 113). Africa provided the large territories, which required much labor force to work on them. The colonists used the local inhabitants as the main labor to work on the farm lands. If somebody refused to work or did not work well, the colonists used severe punishments. For instance, British used the local villages in Congo to work on the lands; if somebody refused to work, the Europeans removed person’s hands. This violent approach was wrong, but it was the only way to make Africans industrialize this region.
Despite the fact that Africans had to work against their will, they had also to pay high taxes. The extremely high taxation made men work harder in order to pay the necessary tax rate. However, even if a person spent all time working, the earned money was enough only to pay off the tax. As a result, people had very little money for life and had to find other methods of earning. Prostitution became one of the major ways of additional earning for many women. Unfortunately, it only made the life harder because the poor medicine and, as a result, the lack of contraception means increased the spreading of such diseases as STDs and HIV/AIDS (Gilbert and Reynolds 2012: 113). Finally, the mortality rate reached the significant figure and now is considered to be the highest in the world, especially among children.
Positive Effects VS Negative Effects
The information above demonstrates that European colonization had both positive and negative effects on Africa. One may state that it had more benefits because Europeans could improve the economy and, as a result, the development of this continent. Nevertheless, everything that was done to Africa by colonists was motivated only by their own needs. The improvement of infrastructure was necessary for the industrialization of the region, while the industrialization could make the European economy stronger because the resources that were delivered from Africa to Europe were much cheaper. Moreover, Europeans cared little about the wellbeing of African people; they tried to satisfy their own demands by any means. Even the attempts to provide education and building of schools was necessary to make people a little more educated, so they could perform more difficult tasks. According to this fact, I believe that colonization did not bring any moral purposes because the goal of colonists was to become richer, using Africans and their lands as the main background for this goal. All other consequences are only the result of attempts to improve the production or to make the work performance more effective.
Unfortunately, African people required much time to overcome the negative consequences of European colonization. Nevertheless, some things may be done in order to make the consequences less tangible. The main problems of African society are poor medicine, lack of educated people who can move the nation to the development, and a weak political system with self-appointed kings and presidents, who fight against each other in order to receive the power over the piece of the region. According to this fact, it is necessary to start with the social improvements, which will make the society healthier and better educated. The political aspect is more challengeable, but if one could overcome it, African people will receive an opportunity to build the country in which they want to live, and, after that, the positive effect brought by Europeans will be used in a full size.
As one can see, the colonization that was conducted in the African territories applied to three main areas of African inhabitants’ lives. As a consequence, such areas of living as economy, politics, and society experienced incredible changes. Obviously, these changes brought both positive and negative effects to all three areas of African inhabitants’ lives and the continent as a whole.
On the one hand, with the help of the Europeans’ great desire to make the land industrial, African people obtained an opportunity to live better lives in the future, to be more educated, to earn money instead of bartering, and to be more civilized. On the other hand, Europeans made Africans work too hard and too much, and in case if African people refused to accomplish all the orders and commands, the colonists punished them very severely. Moreover, as a result of the colonization, the land was divided into some particular squares, and many tribes and families were torn apart. In other words, Europeans destroyed African culture and introduced the particular parts of their own one. Certainly, colonization brought a lot of various goods that are comfortable for utilizing in a household. It seems that it should have made Africans’ lives easier. However, African people became even poorer because of the colonists. The reason is that after the colonization, they had to work more and harder, but got so little money that it was enough only for paying taxes that Europeans implemented. To conclude, one can claim that colonization brought more negative effects on the continent and its inhabitants than positive ones.