Advantages and Disadvantages of Colonialism

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Colonialism

Matthew Toms

Professor Mehdi Nazer

SOC300 v201103

August 31, 2011

Introduction

Colonialism is dominating or conquering a territory and involving the subjugation of one people to another (Kohn, 2011). At the end of 15th century, Portugal and Spain explored the seas to find another route to Asia through the Mediterranean Sea for three things – God, Gold and Glory. Their mission was to introduce Christianity/Catholicism to the Asian natives, find gold and claim glory by colonizing territories. They were also hoping or expecting to take control of a territory in Asia particularly a distant island somewhere in the Japanese archipelago so that they could have a direct trade with Asia.

Colonialism has its positive and negative effects. This paper aims to provide the advantages and the disadvantages of colonialism. It will identify whether colonialism has brought further constructive effects on colonized countries or if it only caused destruction of a country’s self growth and development. Colonialism does not simply mean bringing civilization to the concerned party; most of the time, slavery and moral degradation are brought forth to the people. Colonialism may change the culture, traditions, and values in a positive and negative way. Negative and positive traits and other social values may be passed down to the indigenous people. It now defines their lifestyle, government, morals and social beings.

Advantages of Colonialism

• Transformed ecological systems

Ecological systems of the colonized territory are definitely transformed intentionally or unintentionally by colonial rule. The colonists introduced new plant foods and create new agriculture to the colonized territory. “American savannahs were converted into corn fields” (Parcelle, 2009). England’s native crops like corn and tobacco were also cultivated in America (Scott, 2001). The British colonizers introduced new agricultural policies and changed the relationship of farmers to the land they cultivate. “The changes were described as modernization and the transformation of agricultural practices was part of a grand development scheme known as Green Revolution to improve crop yields” (Rupkatha, 2009). Transformation of ecological systems is an advantage to colonies because they are able to cultivate new crops and use technology to ease farming activities.

• Religion

The Europeans are the most influential colonizers in the history. One of the reasons why these colonizers, particularly the Spanish invaders were motivated to explore the other parts of the world is to spread Christianity. They wanted to convert natives from pagans to Christians. Colonizers believed that it was their duty to spread the word of God and that the teachings of Jesus should be shared to all the people. Colonizers desire to convert as many people as they can to Christianity and one of doing so is to distribute Bibles to the people. But these people from other lands cannot read, and reading is important for the conversion process. Therefore, colonizers opened schools to educate indigenous citizens for reading and religion instruction. The natives were very fortunate to have this kind of opportunity as their own governments do not have the means to open schools. Eventually, these schools included complete curriculum and are able to introduce provide people with primary and secondary education. Christian values were taught to people, Churches were built in different areas and these churches are able to provide community services to poor and uneducated people. Spreading the word of God is one of the benefits that colonialism has caused to nations around the world. They were able to learn that there is a God who watches over us and guides us all throughout our journey in life.

• Political and government structures

Colonialism assumes political control of a land. New...
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