top-rated free essay

What Was the Impact of Imperialism on Subject Populations? Use at Least Two Different Examples of the Colonial Experience to Illustrate Your Answer

By Ys2013 Jan 04, 2013 1560 Words
What was the impact of imperialism on subject populations? Use at least two different examples of the colonial experience to illustrate your answer

Imperialism has played a major part in the way our world is shaped today, its effect on subject populations can be interpreted from a variety of different perspectives, both negative and positive. In the modern day world however it is perceived as being negative. For example, British Imperialism in India is said to have made both a positive and negative impact on the Indian population, as well as this, imperialism had an impact on the Rwandan uprising; the British used a strategy called; divide and conquer which created major division between the Hutu and the Tutsi. I will also talk about the impact British imperialism and Zionist Colonialism had on the way Mandate Palestine was shaped, in the years between 1929 and 1948, when the British controlled the Palestinian territories. Roza I. M. El-Ein (2006).

Imperialism can be defined as being the ‘policy by which the stronger nation attempts to create an empire by dominating weaker nations economically, politically, culturally, or militarily.’ Loraine Lupinskie-Huvane (2007). Both Imperialism and Colonialism can go hand in hand, the only difference between the two ideas ‘is that colonial powers settle the countries in which they gain control whereas Imperial powers do not.’ Loraine Lupinskie-Huvane (2007). In Edwards Said’s book ‘Culture and Imperialism’ he talks about how there was a response to Western dominance in The Third World which resulted in a movement of decolonization. Edward Said also mentioned how colonial imperialism has not always been met with open arms, and has been met with armed resistance from places like Algeria, Ireland and Indonesia. Edward Said (1994).

Firstly, In the case of Palestine, one can trace the displacement of 750,000 - 800,000 men, women, and children, the elderly and infant civilians back to the recommendation for the partition by the British Commission at the time. In that sense, the creation of Israel is often equated with the process of colonisation. Fal Ahluwalia (1999). The process of the creation of Israel set out to get rid, and ethnically cleanse all Palestinians from the land and create an all Jewish state with a "kind of sovereignty over land and peoples that no other state possessed or possesses" (Said 1980: 84). This process began in December 1947, five months before the British Mandate ended; Britain did nothing to deter it. When the Palestinian uprising (or intifada as it is known) begun in December of 1987, it was seen as being one of the great movements of anti- colonialist resistance. Fayez Sayegh wrote a document in 1965 entitled ‘Zionist Colonialism in Palestine’, he placed Zionist Settler colonialism within the same vicinity as European Colonialism, but he says that the Zionist project was different to other settler colonial movements. He does this by highlighting how ‘’aspiration to racial self-segregation, its rejection of any form of coexistence or assimilation, its unbending drive towards territorial expansion, and the necessary violence, structural and physical, it has to employ to achieve its goals.’’ F Sayegh. (1965). In conclusion British Imperial rule did play a large role in the creation of the State of Israel consequently resulting in thousands of being displaced and thousands being killed, and so the impact British imperialism has on the Palestinian population was all around negative.

Secondly, European colonialism played a major role in the 1994 Rwandan civil war between the Hutu and the Tutsi. ‘It resulted in 300 000 orphans and a famine and cholera that created 40 000 Hutu refugees. 500 000 to 1000 000 people died in the first 100 days.’ []. Both Colonial powers; Belgium and Germany divided the Hutu and the Tutsi into groups whereby the Hutu were said to be more intelligent because of how they looked more European’ in comparison to the Tutsi even though they shared the same religion, language and culture. This idea of differentiation was instilled by colonial powers, and created divisions within the country. ‘By utilising such racist assumptions, Rwanda was administered through the Tutsi monarchy and an elaborate system of chiefs. The Tutsi were privileged in every aspect of the colonial state. What the colonisers failed to recognise was that the differences between the two groups were not marked; they spoke the same language, practised the same religion and shared the same culture. The colonial policy of "divide and rule", however, ossified and heightened differences that fundamentally altered the manner in which the two groups viewed each other. As Alain Destexhe has noted, the Belgians, "passed on the notion of ethnic difference to the Rwandans themselves" (Destexhe 1994: 6; see also Hunt, 1990; Mamdani, 1996a)’ Fal Ahluwalia (1999). The Hutu were the rulers of the country at the time and were trained by the French and were even given weapons by them, they were also encouraged to fight. Although the Hutu were a larger group of people but the Tutsi were the leaders of the country. The civil war was then ignited after the Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira were killed after their plane was shot down, this resulted in a deadly civil war between the Hutu and the Tutsi where more than 500,000 people were killed. The Rwandan civil-war/genocide can be used as a strong example of Western Imperialism imposed itself on Africa and resulted in a deadly chapter in Africa’s history. In films like the famous ‘Hotel Rwanda’ critics of the films praise as being ‘’accurate’’ however what is we it fails to focus on is how the Western colonial nations such as French, Belgium and Germany created this sense of Animosity between both the Hutu and the Tutsi. The division between these two people, the Hutu and the Tutsi was a deliberate Belgian move to work these people against each other, and so furthering their goal for colonial rule. In conclusion the impact imperialism was not a great one, the result of the imperialism on the Rwandan population was the loss of life.

Lastly, I will talk about the British imperial rule in India; the British had two periods in which they ruled India. The first period in which this happened was through the British East India Company, and second was done directly through the British Government. Both these periods of Imperial rule resulted in a changes in the Indian culture and economy, which still to this day has shaped the way the Indian economy and trade is. However, it should be noted that these changes were made to impact the British settlers and not the native Indians. The British wanted India because of its raw materials (Like tea, coffee, opium) and incredible work force which was and is still a valuable asset in trading between countries. This was also done at the time the Moghul Empire was collapsing; imperial is generally done when countries are most vulnerable. British Imperialism had both positive and negative effect for the colonizer and the colonized. During Britain’s rule, the British built 70,000 miles of roadway and 40,000 miles of railroad. This consequently created a close link between the two countries as it was easier to travel between the two nations. As well as this British shaped the agricultural sector, this was done through irrigation work, the British inspired irrigation work and put ‘’30 million acres into cultivation’’ [] during this time almost no famine existed because of how rich it had got economically. In conclusion it seems that British Imperialism of India played both a positive role in shaping Modern India, as well as playing a negative effect.

To conclude, I will say that the impact imperialism has had on the world historically and up until now has both been positive and negative. There is no simple way to define how the impact of imperialism has been, and many different perspectives still arise with this issue, this issue will keep on raising, as the world is still dealing with new imperialist and colonial wars, and this will most likely never end, as imperialism and colonialism plays a major part in the way politics work.


Roza I. M. El-Ein. (2006). Mandated Landscape: British Imperial Rule in Palestine, 1929-1948 [Online] Available at (Accessed: 10 November 2012).

Loraine Lupinskie-Huvane. (2007). Social Studies School Service [online] Available at (Accessed: 10 November 2012).

Edward Said. (1994). Culture and Imperialsm [Online] Available at (Accessed: 10 November 2012).

Fal Ahluwalia. (1999). Towards (Re)Conciliation: The Postcolonial Economy of Givin [Online] Available at (Accessed: 11 November 2012).

Sixty Years of Palestinian Displacement, Occupation and Suffering | Global Research. 2012. Sixty Years of Palestinian Displacement, Occupation and Suffering | Global Research. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 November 2012].

Economies of India and China to the early 1800s . 2012. Economies of India and China to the early 1800s . [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 November 2012].

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.