European Imperialism in Africa


During the mid 1800’s Britain and other European countries started to colonize and control in other such ways the vast land of Africa. For four hundred years, Africa managed to keep out Europeans out except the 10% of Africa on the coast because of the inability of them to venture into the depths of Africa. The Europeans wanted natural resources, strategic ports for navies and trade, workers, and other such things. They dominated the countries economically, socially, and politically. They controlled the countries as protectorates, colonies, and economically. The Europeans also used the white mans burden of thinking they have to help everyone because whites are superior, racism, paternalism, and assimilation.


The Europeans used their advances and advantages against the natives of Africa. The Africans only had spears and primitive weapons to defend themselves but for instance, the Europeans had recently acquired the Maxim gun and many other weapon advantages. Thus if Africans resisted against Europeans, the chances are that they wont win. Except in the example where a large group of Muslims destroyed a 10,000 men battalion of British soldiers on route to evacuate Khartoum of Egyptians. Also once Europeans had steamboats, they could go upstream on rivers such as the Nile into the depths of Africa. When in Africa, the Europeans used their advances in industrialization as being used to having more industry so they industrialized Africa to meet their imperialistic goals.


The Europeans where very racist against the natives of Africa. They believed that they were the superior race. Europeans treated the natives of countries like they were children and couldn’t run their countries by themselves. Industrialization was a norm for Europeans. When they saw the unindustrialized African countries, they thought it was queer so, with the help of the “White Mans’ Burden”, they industrialized African countries. They imposed their cultures on the natives. Thus many cultures were lost in the age of European imperialism. This action is called assimilation. The French supported this view. It failed for the French so they let the natives practice their own ways of doing things but viewed it as inferior to the French way of doing things. They [Europeans] regarded themselves, as superior to everyone else so believed they had to help the natives by controlling them. This is true to an extent. For example, when they controlled a country as a protectorate, they helped the country by controlling it to protect it from danger from enemies. Also, Europeans sometimes underestimated the natives of Africa. An example from the Khartoum event illustrates this point. The British felt that they didn’t really have anything to worry about but the Mahdi’s men eventually took control of Khartoum. In all the Europeans felt superior to the native of African countries in every aspect.


The natives of countries didn’t like how the Europeans treated them. They did like the benefits of what the Europeans did for their country. Of which include improving schools and hospitals, putting that particular country on the map because of trade, and improving the way of living for the natives. Although good things happened, many bad things happened also. The Native’s culture diminished, jobs were lost, disease, famine, and unemployment. The natives of countries at first liked the Europeans for what they were doing for them but eventually had a revelation and could see what the Europeans were doing to them. King Menelik II played the Italians, the British and the French against each other so Ethiopia remained free. This proves that the natives didn’t like the Europeans in Africa. Also Siam used the French and the British against each other. This was done so Britain and France where both trying to keep each other out of the same place. Thus his country remained free. Then they didn’t like the Europeans even for all the good things that came of the European presence in Africa.


In the long run, Europeans won Africa because of the advances in technology from industrialization in their countries. They felt that they had to control the natives to help them because of how they felt about them. Because of all of the racism toward the natives from the Europeans, they [the natives] did not like the European presence and