Disadvantages of Colonialism
As much as the colonies benefited from the positive features of colonialism, many instances still depict the downsides of this era.
Many people suffered exploits, mistreatments, forced labor, and some, even death, all in the hands of the cruelty of colonial masters. The cons of colonialism include:
1. Colonialism Caused Constant Wars and Conflict
Before the colonizers invaded the countries of their subjects, the now-called colonies enjoyed a great sense of harmony.
However, once their nations were overrun in the name of colonization, it marked the beginning of constant wars and conflict.
All these features of colonialism distorted the peace that existed amongst the nations for an extended period.
2. Lose of Culture and Identity
Also, through the arrival of the colonialists to Africa, the natives somehow lost their culture and identity. In this case, the colonial masters aimed at bringing their cultures, behavior, and other ways of livelihood to the African community.
The Africans could abandon their traditions and adapt to the cultures and customs of the colonialists. The Africans were used to the ways of respect, conformity, and commitment to their village elders and other rulers.
However, the colonial entry made the people of Africa exhibit a lack of significance for their culture by changing their behaviors and attitudes. It was a sign of the lack of regard for their old and valuable practices.
They acted out of fear for the colonialists rather than logic; and submitted excessively to the techniques and mannerisms of the colonial masters.
3. Extensive Loss of Land Amongst the Colonies
Another downside is that they lost big acres of land, which were grabbed powerfully from them by the colonialists, who used force, hence making the Africans own almost nothing both at individual and community levels.
Families suffered much in their land and under the acts of mistreatment from the colonial masters. Life was tough for most Africans. Some couldn’t even feed their households.
They had to release their family lands by giving them to the Europeans, who hardly cared for the welfare of the colonies.
4. Heavy Taxation Imposition
Again, after snatching the natives’ lands and leaving them homeless and landless, the colonial masters still imposed heavy taxation over the people in their territory.
This forced the naïve natives to toil for the same colonizers who settled in the African land to enable them to pay taxes to the whites, who still hindered them from ownership of their properties.
5. The entry of New Illnesses
The harsh labor, where Africans toiled for many hours in the colonial masters’ lands, exposed them to new illnesses like yellow fever and malarial fever, compromising their health and immunity.
Sadly, the colonialists would sometimes abandon the sick Africans who labored for them, die since the African natives were not much enlightened medically, establish what these diseases were, and find out the treatment techniques.
6. Economic Dependency Syndrome
There was an increase in the economic dependency syndrome due to the colonial masters’ grabbing of the African resources. Before the colonial masters came in, the Africans controlled their overall economy without any issues.
However, when the colonizers came, they began exploiting the African land resources, forcing the inhabitants to again depend on them for food and other basic needs.
The colonizers forcefully took away different raw materials from the colonies’ nations and shifted them to their countries. It is during such moments that the African economy was left vulnerable.
7. Tainted Morality
Also, Africa’s morality that was initially very good, became tainted during the colonization era. The colonial masters took advantage of the uncivilized society and exploited the people.
The colonial rulers decided that they will come and take advantage of the colonies’ ignorance and use them by relying on them in everything they needed to be done. They also misused African wealth accumulation.
The colonies were forced to adopt some new ways of life that they were not used to, and we’re not willing to, yet they had no option.
The colonizers had some top-ranking groups of rulers who were chosen to rule the colonies.
Therefore, the colonial bosses would use these rulers as their secret agents to spy on the Africans, identify whether they were following all regulations regarding the things they were asked to do, and other ways of living that they were forced to adapt.
Once the Africans got used to living the way the colonizers wanted, it almost became their norm, whereby they changed from their old good morals to the colonizers’ ways of life.
Sadly, the colonial masters could misuse the colonies and still laugh at their levels of ignorance. Consequently, the Africans were referred to as native savages, meaning uncivilized people.
This was also when living conditions within Africa changed a lot, with the imposed culture bringing about changed behaviors, actions, and many other factors, including the dress codes. All these were central features of colonialism.
8. Introduction of the Slave Trade
Slave trade is another negative aspect of colonization. Africans suffered at the mercy of the colonial rulers. They were taken to the colonial masters’ nations to go and labor for them, with no good return.
Most Africans did not wish to go but were mistreated and forcefully taken to foreign countries. Worse still, slave markets were introduced, which sold slaves as chattels.
Furthermore, these colonizers also used the African slaves to represent them in wars, such that, even though they died in the course of the warfare, the colonial masters would not care.
The colonies selected to represent in battles would fight hard, yet the colonial bosses would sometimes mishandle them and even deny them food.
After all torture, the cruel masters still demanded from these subjects their total commitment to duty and respect and loyalty to the masters. This con has had negative effects reaching across the world, even in the manifest destiny era of America.
9. Initiation of the Divide and Rule Policy
Colonialism also brought about a wall of difference between the masters and the subjects. Despite exploiting their colonial subjects, the masters still developed hatred towards these people and even dominated them further.
Ultimately, the various colonies came out to rebel against the alien colonizers. The colonies endured a lot of struggles and pain, hence tried to fight against the spiteful rulers.
In return, the action by the colonies prompted the masters to initiate the divide and rule policy in the settlement. The outcome of this course of action was terrible.
For instance, there was an opposition amid the Indian Muslims and Hindus, which divided the nation into two different groups: Pakistan and India.
Despite the benefits attained during and after colonization, it is evident that the features of colonialism enhanced lots of negative effects. Africa is one continent that was largely affected.
However, after a long struggle and fight for independence, colonialism in the African and Asian continents ended. The colonies were now able to enjoy their fundamental freedom, away from the firm grip of the ruthless colonial masters.
Some of the pros and cons still exist up-to-date, especially in Africa, which places significant impacts on people’s daily lives. For instance, Nigeria always pays their loyalty to the colonial masters, despite all the past negative events of colonialism. In the field of medicine, people continue to benefit from what the colonial era ushered.
The people of Africa keep trying every means to invent better medication, from what the colonizers introduced.
The majority of the common illnesses that people in Africa experience, such as malaria, measles, and HIV/AIDS, can now be easily cured or controlled due to the intelligent brains at work.
The lack of civilization is now a thing of the past in many communities. Importantly, both the colonizers and the colonies can now join together to formulate new systems and procedures, for instance, in the medical field.
In most African countries, colonialism ended when they attained independence, which brought in further development through new technologies, and industrialization.
The pros and cons of colonialism are an excellent historical reflection since it informs the upcoming generations on the significant events that took place in the earlier periods and the present occurrences, which resulted from the features of colonialism.