Positive Effects of Colonialism

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INTRODUCTION

Colonialism is a system in which a state claims sovereignty over territory and people outside its own boundaries; or a system of rule which assumes the right of one people to impose their will upon another. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, rich, powerful states, including Britain and other European countries, owned third world colonies. ‘Third world’ originally referred to countries that did not belong to the democratic, industrialized countries of the West (the First World) or the state-socialist, industrializing, Soviet Bloc countries (the Second World). This paper uses specific third world examples to summarize the main positive impacts of nineteenth and twentieth century colonialism, when colonial powers reached their peak. It focuses on European colonialism in Africa.

One view of development is that, at the level of the individual, it implies increased skill and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material well being, which European colonial powers achieved through economic growth, by exploiting the natural and human resources of their colonies.

Education

In Africa this is considered to be one of the positive impacts of colonization and that was beneficial to both the Europeans and the Africans in general. It was meant to enlighten Africans so that they would be able to work efficiently under the Europeans regime without any difficulties. Mostly the 3Rs method of learning was used i.e. Reading, writing and Arithmetic’s. E.g. in Kenya they were schools set aside for European kids in the white Kenyan Highlands and for Africans in the other areas. Example; Lenana School (Duke of York 1949) and Nairobi School (Prince of Wales 1910) etc.

Infrastructure

Colonialism was beneficial because it provided infrastructure for economic development and some social services. They were to enable transport of people, goods and services with the aim of improving the Economy of the African Continent and this was achieved since trade was conducted easily between Africa and the European States. However, people argue that the impacts of colonialism were overwhelmingly negative and infrastructure was provided solely to enable the colonial power to exploit the natural resources and workforce of the colony. Although seeing what we have achieved to date, we can say that this is a positive impact to Africans.

Religion

This is a channel which the Europeans used to conquer Africa during the Scramble and partition of Africa. During this time they were able to convince different communities depending on the type of Religion, i.e. Christians, Islam, and others. In 639 Islam began its march across North Africa. For the most part, even though Islam was brought by conquering armies, conversion was mostly voluntary.

In the mid-19th century, European missionaries reintroduced Christianity to Africa, and the process of winning converts picked up speed during the colonial era. Virtually all of the major branches of Christianity, and many of the minor ones, established mission stations in Africa, leading to an intricate pattern of religious denominations. Africans found conversion to Christianity attractive because the missionaries offered health services and educational opportunities for their children.

Transport

The introduction of transport in Africa was an advantage to most people in this continent; it has eased up the movement of people, goods and services which before colonization took much time. Today transportation in most of Africa is rudimentary. Most people walk to markets, schools, and health facilities, often carrying needed items on their heads or shoulders. However, bicycles and animal-drawn carts are increasingly available in rural communities. The use of motorized vehicles is mostly limited to cities and intercity traffic by buses and trucks. Throughout the continent, smallholder farmers are unlikely to afford motor vehicles. Bus and train travel...
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