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Colonialism Essay, Research Paper

Colonialism was a central part of an earlier form of globalisation. Also referred to as the ‘first globalisation’, this phenomenon of modernity, is justified by having said it brought various advances and progress to backward countries. Due to imperialist lack of long-term objectives and resources, some of these backward countries were abandoned and left in states of anarchy, forced to accept the vicious loan/debt cycle. Colonialism’s main defect in that period was that the colonies starved of resources, thus leaving the process of de-colonisation the imperialist option. This effect of colonial experience was tragic and of relevance still, as these third world countries now experience a modern-day form of slavery, ‘debt slavery’. The incompetence of the imperialist leaders, and their confused policies are the reason debt slavery exists.

Colonialism culturally brought enlightened progress, with the introduction of Christianity and medicine. The foreign presence was of economic benefit as this is a necessary phase of ‘globalisation’, but this was inadequate of all that was required. In practice the imperialists generously offered conservative authority figures at most. Motivations of imperialism came from a rivalry between Britain and Germany, sided with Italy. Britain was threatened and felt they wouldn’t be safe without colonies, whereas their rivals wanted to gain control over colonies to emphasise nationalism. Greater economic competition, ideas of racial superiority and anxiety led the European powers to erratic improvisation: based on the need to meet the latest crises in the motherland. Essentially this was all that was important, securing the future of the home country. With continual arguments by the leaders, “Are colonies worth it?” there was no sense of moral duty but the notion of self-satisfaction. They did all that would benefit their own situation and safeguard their future. Colonies were a status symbol.

Ideas of racial superiority originated from the theory of Charles Darwin. The European powers applied this to races of people. This was their justification. Other races were inferior and they would help them. A ‘tropical colony’, is a colony where there is a large native population which outnumber the whites, but where the whites run the colonies. For example Nigeria.

In the articleThe World in 1800 , it discusses how slavery was popular also on the grounds of inferior race and an extraordinary justification developed on religious argument. The European powers also had a high idealism on the genuine spreading of Christianity. It was dedication to duty that missionaries were continually sent to West Africa to help the inferior after many white men would die upon arrival due to the unfamiliar climate. They had to govern them well. These attitudes allowed slavery to continue and the leaders to have no remorse when abandoning the colonies and coming to their financial aid where their generosity was not recognised, as their aid always produced them economic benefits.

De-Colonisation came about in three shock waves. Russia’s defeat in the Russo-Japanese War (1904), The Great Depression (1929-1930’s) and the most influential the impact of World War 2 (1939-45). The Japanese fought an anti-colonial war whether they intended to or not. This had ended the effectiveness of European control. It proved they were not invincible. In most cases of forming the colonies into independent nations, the colonies were not ready to be left on their own and suffered from extreme poverty. This put them in the trap that most of the third world countries are in as talked about in the article ‘Bad Debt . Their under-development led to the debt slavery they now face and other modern forms of slavery like forced prostitution and Free Trade Zones which are much too common and explained in the article ‘Disposable People . Free Trade Zones would be a similar example to ‘contract slavery’, where employers are tricked into a contract that signs them as legitimate slaves. ‘Debt bondage’ is the most common form of slavery in the world.

For some countries colonialism was not an option. Most of these countries could not have adapted to modernity without the foreign occupation and intervene. There is no justification for the actions the leaders took in abandoning the colonies. The interest of economic stability and the forever notion of ‘globalistion’, proved to be more important than people are. Debt slavery still exists and will continue to until the national debts on these countries are cancelled.


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Colonialism In Africa
British Colonialism
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