However, the reactions can also be loosely grouped into two diametric characterizations: peaceful and violent. The colonization of Africa played many roles when it came to the impact of Africans. Erik Gilbert, Jonathan Reynolds, A. For example, A Stranger walks into a house and claims it is his, while he enslaves the real owners and demands they follow his rules.
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Jun 11, conec rated it really liked it Chapter One is titled Eve of Colonial Conquest and gives a background to colonialism through a look at the fundamental economic, political, and social changes that occurred in Africa just a few decades before Colonialism took root.
Of the drastic shifts that transpired in Africa up until , Boahen begins with the shift from the abolished slave trade to the trade of natural products, which he names as the most significant economic change in Africa by The second most important economic change that Boahen identifies is the emergence of three trade systems: the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean coasts systems and the interconnection of all these systems.
He discusses the economic and social consequences of the linking of these trade systems and claims that the following changes were due mostly in part to this linking: unified local trade networks, the rise of a new elite of traders who in certain areas replaced the former aristocracies, and a spread of culture and language.
Of political trends, he touches on the push toward greater centralization seen in various parts of Africa and the efforts of modernization that were in progress by Modernization was seen in the use of new technologies, in militaries and in experimentation in the constitutional field. For this experimentation in the constitutional field, Boahen exemplifies the Fante Confederation and comments on the objects of the confederation as outlined in its constitution.
According to Boahen, it was the social field that saw the more revolutionary changes and it was religion that was changing the most. Christianity, which had hitherto been confined to coastal regions, spread inland and the establishment of missionary societies resulted in stratification into a small group of converted African educated elites and a vastly larger group of traditional and illiterate Africans.
Boahen identifies the development of African religious nationalism and an intellectual revolution as being direct consequences of the emergence of this educated elite. In basic terms, the educated Africans were exposed to the racist theories Europeans held toward them and the realization left them with feelings of humiliation which spurred a turn toward their own culture and identity.
Ethiopianism was a movement to start churches that were run by Africans themselves and fit with their own culture and traditions. Beyond Ethiopianism, the educated elite actively produced writings and speeches that refuted the racist European ideas and practices. This campaign caused an intellectual revolution that took form in Pan-Africanism and the ideology of African personality.
Near the end of the chapter Boahen used the words of African leaders of the time to represent the optimism and readiness to face challenges paired with a determination to protect their sovereignty and way of life which characterized the time period and is congruent with the central idea of the chapter.
Boahen uses the chapter to look at the events of the Scramble which he separates into three stages, and the strategies employed by Africans to maintain their independent power which he also divides into three categories. Be that as it may, Boahen agrees that the most significant and decisive factor force leading to the Scramble was economic.
The exaggerated nationalism manifested itself in an interest to display greatness through possessing colonies. Of the separate stages of the Scramble, the first was the finalizing of treaties between African rulers and European imperial powers under which the African rulers were given protection and agreed not to enter treaties with other European powers while the European powers gained exclusive rights to trading and other things.
The second stage involved the event of European imperial powers signing treaties between each other. The last stage of the scramble was of European conquest of their spheres and the act of occupying them.
During the first stage, a majority of Africans were took very welcoming stances in respect to the treaties and the Europeans they negotiated with. Their accommodating attitudes were consequences of African rulers being treated as equals of the Europeans, the fact that a lot of African rulers required protection and assistance against rivals or other European powers, and the reality of Africans being misled into agreement with the treaties by means of clauses and implications that were not elucidated to them.
In order to protect their sovereignty during stage three, Africans made use of the three main strategies: submission, alliance, and confrontation. In cases of submission, rulers either submitted because of the futility of confrontation or because their need of protection from the Europeans was dire. Confrontation was seen in two forms: peaceful or diplomatic methods, and armed and militant and relatively few cases of confrontation saw a cling to diplomacy alone.
In order for the colonial system to support the need for raw materials and markets for the sale of manufactured goods , a set of prerequisites such as primary means of production being met, health structures, infrastructure, and education of Africans necessary for employing them needed to be satisfied but were met by establishing administrations that did this by means of exploiting Africa and Africans.
Some colonies forced Africans to grow cash crops, yet in all colonies Africans were shoved out of the import-export business as a consequence of expatriate firms and companies being handed exclusive free rein to import the manufactured goods being produced and to control pricing of imports and exports. Boahen asserts that the illiterate and traditional rulers from the rural areas had different reactions to the actions of the colonial system during the first indicated period, in terms of objectives and strategies, than those of the urban populations and educated elite.
The most common strategies and objectives among rural areas which were rebellion and insurrection with intention to overthrow the new colonial system were all met with brutal suppression.
The other strategies of the rural and illiterate Africans were migration, refusal to work, and rejection of the colonial schools, languages and churches. To attain these goals, they utilized literary media, petitions, and sometimes strikes or boycotts.
Another notable difference between the first and second periods under inspection was the introduction of trade unions during the latter. By the period from to the s, efforts to reform the colonial system grew even in intensity and sophisticated due to the events of the world wars and economic factors. And it is for this failure that the colonial era will go down in history as a period of wasted opportunities, of ruthless exploitation of the resources of Africa, and on balance of the underdevelopment and humiliation of the peoples of Africa.
The next positive political impact he claims is the independent states of Africa coming into view. Boundaries that were drawn arbitrarily resulted in problems, one of which is the problem of nation-state building when state boundaries have been drawn around regions hosting several ethnocultural groups with their own distinct languages and cultures.
Another problem that came from these boundaries was the encumbrances caused by unequal access to resources. The third positive political impact of colonialism that Boahen lists is the introduction of a new bureaucracy of civil servants and judicial system which he notes have remained intact in the African states.
I appreciate the sarcasm the well justified sarcasm Boahen uses when he speaks of the legacies of colonialism in Africa here, especially with regards to the professional armies. The last political impact Boahen articulates on is the delay in political development and maturation of African states.
Land in Africa raised in value, Africans were enabled to acquire wealth, and African economy became integrated into the world economy. But, these economic developments of colonialism still had their negative side. Of these negative effects, Boahen starts with the fact that the infrastructure provided was inadequate and very unevenly distributed which resulted in uneven economic development.
He also argues that the colonial system led to delayed developments in industry and technology. Colonialism, he says, put an end to inter-African trade which stunted the spread of language and culture and led regions to depend on metropolitan places for trade.
Some of the social benefits of colonial impact Boahen identifies are population growth, urbanization, and the spread of Christianity, Islam and Western education.
African Perspectives On Colonialism By Adu Boahen
African Perspectives on Colonialism