8. What is colonialism? How did it reshape various spaces with what impacts? Compare and
contrast at least two world regions in your answer.
Colonialism is defined as the exploitation by a stronger country of a weaker one; the use of the
weaker country’s resources to strengthen and enrich the stronger country.
The rationale behind the colonization of Sub-Saharan Africa is the imperial rivalries and
commerce. In terms of commerce, the Europeans believed that the new colonies would make
new markets and it would give them access to natural resources such as cotton. In the 1880’s, the
imperial rivalry intensified and the Europeans began colonizing Africa. The African states had
no chance in holding them back because of the superiority of the European weapons and
strategies. The reason for this division of Africa was never exactly known however some believe
that a contributing factor had been the British seizure of Egypt in 1882. The French were
infuriated and began to seize African countries that were under British control such as
Madagascar. Another contributing factor was the desire of several new European countries to
join the game of empire-building. Since Asia was with occupied by European power or
controlled by indigenous empires, Africa emerged as the main arena for rivalry and expansion.
Tensions between the participating countries mounted and rather than risk war, they convened in
Berlin. There the Berlin Conference was held which no African leaders attended, and rules were
established and using geography as a weapon, Sub-Saharan Africa was carved up and traded like
properties. The African states tried to hold back the Europeans but they were far more superior.
They had Quinine, which was a drug that provided resistance against malaria which was
plaguing the African states. Also, they had superior firepower. The Europeans had the new
Maxim gun which was the first portable machine gun. This allowed them to move into the
interior of the continent. The 10,000 African kingdoms were transformed into 40 colonies and 36
of those colonies were under direct control of the Europeans. They had no care for the cultures of
the areas that they inhabited or for the political boundaries that were placed before-hand.
Through colonialism, the Europeans built new infrastructures, but not schools or buildings for
communities however buildings for extracting natural resources and shipping them back to
Europe. They made a Land Appropriation, which meant that the Europeans came in and took the
best land and the Africans were forced to work for them for very, very low wages. The US
railways were used to ship the goods out of the continent and into Europe, straight from the