Africa in the Colonial Ages of Empire
507 Pages
English
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Africa in the Colonial Ages of Empire

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507 Pages
English

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Words like �colonialism� and �empire� were once frowned upon in the U.S. and other Western mainstream media as worn-out left-wing rhetoric that didn�t fit reality. Not anymore! Tatah Mentan observes that a growing chorus of right-wing ideologues, with close ties to the Western administrations� war-making hawks in NATO, are encouraging Washington and the rest of Europe to take pride in the expansion of their power over people and nations around the globe. Africa in the Colonial Ages of Empire is written from the perspective that the scholarly lives of academics researching on Africa are changing, constantly in flux and increasingly bound to the demands of Western colonial imperialism. This existential situation has forced the continent to morph into a tool in the hands of Colonial Empire. According to Tatah Mentan, the effects of this existential situation of Africa compel serious academic scrutiny. At the same time, inquiry into the African predicament has been changing and evolving within and against the rhythms of this �new normal� of Colonial Empire-Old or New. The author insists that the long and bloody history of imperial conquest that began with the dawn of capitalism needs critical scholarly examination. As Marx wrote in Capital: �The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signaled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moment of primitive accumulation.� Africa in the Colonial Ages of Empire is therefore a MUST-READ for faculty, students as well as policy makers alike in the changing dynamics of their profession, be it theoretically, methodologically, or structurally and materially.

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AFRICA IN THE COLONIAL AGES OF EMPIRE
Tatah Mentan
Slavery, Capitalism, Racism, Colonialism, Decolonization,
Independence as Recolonization, and Beyond
AFRICA IN THE
Words like “colonialism” and “empire” were once frowned upon in
the U.S. and other Western mainstream media as worn-out left-wing COLONIAL AGES rhetoric that didn’t fit reality. Not anymore! Tatah Mentan observes
that a growing chorus of right-wing ideologues, with close ties to the
Western administrations’ war-making hawks in NATO, are encouraging OF EMPIRE
Washington and the rest of Europe to take pride in the expansion of Slavery, Capitalism, Racism, Colonialism, Decolonization,
their power over people and nations around the globe.
Independence as Recolonization, and Beyond
Africa in the Colonial Ages of Empire is written from the perspective that the
scholarly lives of academics researching on Africa are changing, constantly
in flux and increasingly bound to the demands of Western colonial
imperialism. This existential situation has forced the continent to morph
into a tool in the hands of Colonial Empire. According to Tatah Mentan,
the effects of this existential situation of Africa compel serious academic
scrutiny. At the same time, inquiry into the African predicament has been
changing and evolving within and against the rhythms of this “new normal”
of Colonial Empire-Old or New. The author insists that the long and bloody
history of imperial conquest that began with the dawn of capitalism needs
critical scholarly examination. As Marx wrote in Capital: “The discovery of
gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment
in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest
and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the
commercial hunting of black-skins, signaled the rosy dawn of the era of
capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moment of
primitive accumulation.” Africa in the Colonial Ages of Empire is therefore
a MUST-READ for faculty, students as well as policy makers alike in the
changing dynamics of their profession, be it theoretically, methodologically,
or structurally and materially.
TATAH MENTAN is an erudite Theodore Lentz Peace and Security Studies
Fellow and Professor of Political Science with enormous contributions to
knowledge in the global political economy of international relations.
Langaa Research & Publishing
Common Initiative Group
P.O. Box 902 Mankon
Bamenda Tatah Mentan
North West Region
Cameroon

AFRICA IN THE
COLONIAL AGES OF
EMPIRE
Slavery, Capitalism, Racism,
Colonialism, Decolonization,
Independence as Recolonization,
and Beyond.




Tatah Mentan



















Langaa Research & Publishing CIG
Mankon, Bamenda Publisher:
Langaa RPCIG
Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group
P.O. Box 902 Mankon
Bamenda
North West Region
Cameroon
Langaagrp@gmail.com
www.langaa-rpcig.net



Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective
orders@africanbookscollective.com
www.africanbookscollective.com





ISBN-10: 9956-764-09-4
ISBN-13: 978-9956-764-09-9

© Tatah Mentan 2018






All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or be
stored in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission
from the publisher
Dedication


The colonial encirclement of the world is an integral
component of European history from the Early Modern
Period to the phase of decolonization and beyond.
Individual national and expansion histories referred to
each other in varying degrees at different times but often
also reinforced each other. Transfer processes within
European Empires and in the colonies show that not only
genuine colonial powers such as Spain and England, but
also “latecomers” such as Germany participated in the
historical process of colonial expansion with which
Europe decisively shaped world history. In turn, this
process also clearly shaped Europe itself. This book is
therefore dedicated to African victims of this encircling
process whereby the dominant politico-economic interests
of Colonial Empire expropriate for their own enrichment
the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of the African
continent and its people for many centuries. Table of Contents


Part I: Prolegomena to the Colonial Ages
of Empire-Old and New…………………………………… 1

Chapter One: Introduction and Summary………..…………… 3

Chapter Two: On Colonial Empire:
Theoretical Situatedness……………………………………… 33


Part II: Africa in the Old Colonial Age of Empire………… 81

Chapter Three: The Cotton Empire of
Slavery, Racism and Resistance………………..……………… 83

Chapter Four: Africa in the Old Empire
Of Territorial Colonization…………………………………… 119

Chapter Five: Africa: Legacies of Old
Colonial Age of Empire……………………………………… 177


Part III: Africa in the New Colonial
Age of Empire…………………..…………………………… 229

Chapter Six: Africa between Independence
and Neocolonial Age of Empire…………….………………… 231

Chapter Seven: Africa in the Neoliberal
Colonial Age of Empire……………….……………………… 291

Chapter Eight: Africa in the Colonial
Age of Globalization Empire…………. 353


v Part IV: Back to the Future and Exiting
the Colonial Ages of Empire……………...………………… 411

Chapter Nine: Reprise, Summary, and Conclusion…….……… 413

Chapter Ten: Which Way Africa-Towards
Africa-Exit from Colonial Empire? …………...……………… 443


vi Acknowledgements


Researching and writing this book was much harder than it
appeared to me at first. I had unfathomable help along the way.
First, I want to extend a warm and deeply appreciative thank you to
Professor Rose Brewer for inspiring me to dig deep into Africa’s
historical trajectory in American and world history. She gave me an
inspiring opportunity to give a talk to her students in April 2001 on
the African Predicament. The challenging questions her students
raised for our discussion during the talk compelled me to seek to
understand what happened that Africa and Africans became objects
of scorn, enslavement, spoliation, colonization, and exploitative
enclosures in world capitalist imperial history.
Being in this land, I realized that virtually no part of the modern
United States as well as the capitalist world system—the economy,
education, constitutional law, religious institutions, sports, literature,
economics, even protest movements—can be understood without
first understanding the slavery and dispossession that laid its
foundation. To that end, I opted to dig deeply into Europe’s
colonization of Africa and the New World, when, from Columbus’s
arrival until the Civil War, some tens of million Africans and some
5 million Native Americans were forced to build and cultivate a
society extolling “liberty and justice for all.” The seventeenth
century was an era when the roots of slavery, white supremacy, and
capitalism became inextricably tangled into a complex history
involving war and revolts in Europe, England’s conquest of the
Scots and Irish, the development of formidable new weaponry able
to ensure Europe’s colonial dominance, the rebel merchants of
North America who created “these United States,” and the hordes
of Europeans whose newfound opportunities in this “free” land
amounted to “combat pay” for their efforts as “white” settlers.
Centering this book on Africa in the Colonial ages of Empire, I
attempt to provide a deeply researched, harrowing account of the
apocalyptic loss and misery of Africa and its people that likely has
no parallel in human history. Such an effort could not succeed
without tremendous help from other scholars. These scholars range
vii from theoreticians of imperialism to historical chroniclers of
historical events on both sides of the ideological spectrum. These
scholars are so numerous that making a laundry list of their names
will fill a whole book. Hence, I simply say: A Big Thank You to
those academic forebears.
Finally, I recognize that none of my writing would take place
without the patient support and encouragement of my family. We
discuss the ideas found in this book frequently, why the historical
events happened and how to say them better.



viii Abbreviations and Acronyms


CAS Country Assistance Strategy
CPIA Country Policy and Institutional Assessment
CSO Civil society organization
DNA DeoxyriboNucleic Acid
DPL Development policy lending
FY Fiscal year
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
IBRD International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development
IDA International Development Association
IMF International Monetary Fund
LDP Letter of Development Policy
LIC Low-income country
MDG Millennium Development Goal
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
MIC Middle-income country
PAF Performance assessment framework
OED Operations Evaluation Department
OP Operational Policy (statement)
OPCS Operations Policy and Country Services
PRS Poverty reduction strategy
PRSC Poverty reduction support credit
PRSP Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development
UNICEF United Nations International Children’s Emergency
Fund
WB World Bank






ix












x
Part I

Prolegomena to the Colonial Ages of
EmpireOld and New


Preview

Colonial Empire is a complex, intricate constellation or web of interrelations
between the powerful colonizer and marginalized colonized people,
characterized by uneven power relations but constantly negotiated and aimed at
the submission of those on the periphery and who are often in distant settings,
by taking over and controlling minds, land and resources. Colonial Empire is a
historically dynamic thing subject to change as predominant notions of what the
empire represents as a subject are themselves transformed. To make this
argument, this paper borrows from two different critiques of the colonial
empires.
Attraction of colonial empire entails more than tolerating propaganda, the
ideological image of political stability and peace, and economic security and
progress (= control) as the benefits of colonial empire – whether through
empire’s self-portrayal or the perceptions generated by its direct, implicated and
indirect beneficiaries. Attraction of empire is about its appeal, its perceived
‘rationality’, including normality, properness and order. All of life is integrated
in what can be called an imperial framework project, and no effort, forceful,
persuasive or otherwise, is spared to prove the framework as rational and
beneficial to all. Problems show up when it is challenged, or when the power
source or material means that maintains it collapses, or when the majority of
people are no longer convinced that it is indeed a proper and rational
framework.
Investigations of Colonial Empire beyond socio-historical, descriptive and
similar investigations could include: how groups and communities struggled to
deal with the imperial pull and push of conquest, spoliation, assimilation, and
resultant dangers; efforts to maintain a certain identity and/or tradition in the
face of imperial imposition; and, to understand the efforts to move towards the
rewriting of a group’s identity completely, in contradistinction from imperial
influence and impact.


1
2 Chapter 1

Introduction and Summary


Overview

European colonial empires began with a race of exploration between the then
most advanced maritime powers, Portugal and Spain, during the 15th century.
The initial impulse behind these dispersed maritime empires and those that
followed was trade, driven by the new ideas and the capitalism that grew out of
the European Renaissance. Agreements were also made to divide the world up
between them in 1479, 1493, and 1494. European imperialism was born out of
competition between European Christians and Ottoman Muslims, the latter of
which rose up quickly in the 14th century and forced the Spanish and
Portuguese to seek new trade routes to China.
To understand the impact of European empires on Africa, any worthy study
must focus on four patterns that shed light on the ethics of outside
interventions: (1) the epidemiological and bodily harms caused by conquest,
cultural genocide, and economic underdevelopment; (2) the uneven and
inadequate infrastructures established during the colonial era, including certain
politically iatrogenic consequences; (3) the ethical ambiguities and
transgressions of colonial research and campaigns; and (4) the concerted and
inadvertent efforts to undermine African socio-cultural and political practices,
which were not always commensurable with introduced European techniques.
This kind of historical analysis helps us home in on different kinds of ethical
problems that have grown out of past asymmetries of power-between people,
professions, states, and institutions-that shape the nature of international
political systems to this day in Africa.

Introduction

Empire is currently the overarching concept in all discussions of imperialism
and colonialism. An empire can be defined minimally as a relationship “of
political control imposed by some political societies over the effective
sovereignty of other political societies” (Doyle 1986, p. 19). Yet, this definition
does not appeal to some scholars. For example, Hardt, Michael and Antonio
Negri’s Empire has as its main premise that the era of “Imperialism” is over and
that we are now living in an era of the so-called “Empire.” Negri is “the leading
advocate of a theory that claims that the age of imperialism is dead.” Really! It
3 is correct to say, as Negri himself does, that modern society is a truly
“globalized” society, that capitalism has reached such a level of expansion that
it is able to extend its tentacles into every nook and cranny of the planet.
However, at the same time, the limits imposed by the nation state, which are the
expression of the various national capitalist classes, cannot be overcome within
the capitalist economy itself and represent a massive fetter on the future
development of humankind. Today, more than ever before, such a contradiction
can only be resolved by the destruction of capitalism, thus creating the
conditions for putting an end to borders and the nation-state, and for building
the union of workers of all nationalities into a world socialist federation.
But, departing from the perspectives of Hardt and Negri in Empire, Panitch
and Gindin’s book is one with a clear center. In The Making of Global Capitalism:
The Political Economy of American Empire by Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin (2012),
there is a fundamental thesis which structures the book. The thesis is that to
understand the emergence of contemporary global colonial capitalism, it is
necessary to consider first and foremost the role played by the states in its
construction. Taking issue with various “globo-philic” ideas, the premise is that,
far from being the result of economic determinants that operate
“automatically,” global capitalism has depended on the capacity of the state to
create mechanisms suitable for the internationalization of capital: primarily, the
capacity for the US state to function as guarantor of the accumulation of capital
on a world scale (Mentan, 2013).
This book is therefore about imperial capitalist globalization and the state.
It shows that far from being an inevitable outcome of inherently expansionist
economic tendencies, the spread of capitalist markets, values and social
relationships around the world has depended on the agency of states throughout
the Old and New Colonial Empires, particularly in Africa. The reason is that in
the capitalist world, there has never been, and probably never will be, a situation
in which a world power engages in military conflict only to give up its share of
the spoils to the imaginary ‘Empire’ to which it allegedly belongs.
An empire usually involves a core polity governing peripheral spaces and
populations; peripheries are typically subjected to different legal and
administrative practices than the core. As Suny (Suny 2001, p. 25) writes, an
empire is “a particular form of domination or control between two units set
apart in a hierarchical, inequitable relationship, more precisely a composite state
in which a metropole dominates a periphery to the disadvantage of the
stperiphery.” What has empire got to do with Africa in the 21 century, when
African countries (Mentan, 2010) are flying national flags and singing national
anthems?
4 Historically, Empires have been the main form of large-scale political
organization for at least two millennia in Africa, in contrast to modern
bureaucratic states, which have existed for just a few centuries. Empires and
colonies have been analyzed by sociologists for as long as sociology has existed
as an intellectual field, starting with Auguste Comte in the early 19th century
and the founders of the academic discipline in the late 19th century in Europe
and the United States, and continuing into the present. Between the 1970s and
the end of the 20th century, empires receded in the sociological imagination, but
they have reemerged powerfully since then as part of the closely linked domains
of “empire studies,” “colonial studies,” and “postcolonial studies” (Achebe,
1988). This resurgent interest in empires corresponds in part to events in the
real world, including the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reappearance of
a fortified “American empire” and US military interventions overseas, especially
in Africa. Furthermore, the imperial and colonial turn in scholarship has been
inspired by trends inside academe, including revisionist histories of the British
and French colonial empires in Africa and Nazi Germany, the emergence of
global history, and theoretical developments such as postcolonial theory and
subaltern studies. Although scholars are always eager to announce that rival
schools and turns are passé or that they were never more than mere fashion,
such gestures have been unable to stop the growth of imperial and colonial
studies. This unabated enthusiasm corresponds to the power of the empirical
and analytical work and to the real-world importance of the objects of analysis.
The concept of empire encompasses colonialism and imperialism. Empires
are political organizations that are expansive, militarized, and multinational, and
that place limits on the sovereignty of the polities in their periphery. In
colonialism, the conquered polities or populations are not just ruled over by
foreign conquerors but are configured as inferior to their occupiers—inferior in
legal, administrative, social, and cultural terms. Imperialism involves political
control over foreign lands without the annexation of land or sovereignty. The
sociological study of empires overlaps with the study of the state, political
domination, geopolitics/political geography, international relations, indigenous
peoples, and the historiography of specific empires and colonies. It overlaps
with disciplines like anthropology, political science, and cultural studies. The
topic of empire is central to several schools of social and cultural analysis,
including world-system theory and postcolonial theory. Sociological work on
empires can be found in several disciplinary subfields (see Sociology of
Culture, Comparative Historical Sociology, Economic Sociology; Marxist
Sociology Political Sociology; World-Systems Analysis. This essay focuses on
(1) definitions of empire, colonialism, and related terms; (2) the different types
5 of imperial practice or configurations of empire; and (3) theories and research
concerning the origins, development, effects, and aftermaths of empire.
This resurgent interest in empires corresponds in part to events in the real
world, including the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reappearance of a
fortified “American empire” and US military interventions overseas. The
imperial and colonial turn in scholarship has also been inspired by trends inside
academe, including revisionist histories of the British and French colonial
empires and Nazi Germany, the emergence of global history, and theoretical
developments such as postcolonial theory and subaltern studies (Zeleza,1999).
Although scholars are always eager to announce that rival schools and turns are
passé or that they were never more than mere fashion, such gestures have been
unable to stop the growth of imperial and colonial studies. This unabated
enthusiasm corresponds to the power of the empirical and analytical work and
to the real-world importance of the objects of analysis. The concept of empire
encompasses colonialism and imperialism.
Empires are political organizations that are expansive, militarized, and
multinational, and that place limits on the sovereignty of the polities in their
periphery. In colonialism, the conquered polities or populations are not just
ruled over by foreign conquerors but are configured as inferior to their
occupiers—inferior in legal, administrative, social, and cultural terms.
Imperialism involves political control over foreign lands without the annexation
of land or sovereignty. The sociological study of empires overlaps with the study
of the state, political domination, geopolitics/political geography, international
relations, indigenous peoples, and the historiography of specific empires and
colonies. It overlaps with disciplines like anthropology, political science, and
cultural studies. The topic of empire is central to several schools of social and
cultural analysis, including world-system theory and postcolonial theory.
Sociological work on empires can be found in several disciplinary subfields (see
Sociology of Culture, Comparative Historical Sociology, Economic Sociology;
Marxist Sociology Political Sociology; World-Systems Analysis).

Methodology for our social science research

Why do we need a methodology for our research? The social world is
indefinitely complex and multi-stranded—thus eluding explanation through
simple observation. In other words, the social world as a domain of phenomena
is fundamentally different from the natural world, in the respect of its degree of
law-governedness (Little, 1993). So neither the methods of ordinary
commonsense nor the methods of the natural sciences will suffice to lead us to
an ability to recognize the systems, structures, and causal processes that are
6 embodied in the social world. The social world proceeds through the activities
of billions of men and women. It embodies institutions, organizations, and
structures that propel and constrain individual action, and these social entities
give rise to processes that are neither law-governed nor random. The social
world gives rise to relations of power, domination, exploitation, and resistance.
It produces outcomes that advantage some and disadvantage others. It is the
result of complex exchanges between agents and structures, and each pole of
this conjunction influences the other. The social world, in short, is complex.
The challenge of understanding social phenomena is both important and
difficult. This is true in 2017; but it was not less true in 1830, when Engels took
up residence in Birmingham and undertook to describe and comprehend the
confusion of factories, slums, mansions, hunger, and turmoil that Birmingham
represented. The Conditions of the Working Class in England is his result (Engels,
1958); and Capital is Marx’s (Marx, 1977).
What is involved in having a philosophy and methodology for social
science? It is to have answers to several different domains of questions—
• inquiry—how to make use of a variety of tools of research to arrive at
hypotheses and theories about a domain of empirical phenomena;
• epistemology—how to employ empirical and theoretical considerations
to provide justification for the hypotheses and theories that we put forward;
• metaphysics—an account of the types of entities and processes of
which the domain of phenomena are composed; and,
• a theory of the structure of social science knowledge—a conception of
the purpose of social science inquiry and a schematic notion of what social
science results ought to look like. (Theories? Bodies of empirical findings?
Statistical laws? Narrative interpretations of important social processes? Groups
of causal hypotheses?)
Marx’s methodological thinking, and that of many Marxist social scientists
who followed, provide tentative answers to each of these questions. And, as we
should expect, these answers add up to something less than a finished and
consistent methodology (any more than Weber’s work constitutes a tidy theory
of social science knowledge and inquiry; (Ringer, 1997)).
The root cause of this eclectic nature of the best social research approach
we have chosen lies in the nature of social phenomena themselves in history.
The social world is not well ordered. It is not a law-governed system of cause
and effect. Instead, it is a sum of many different and cross-cutting processes,
structures and institutions, mediated by the purposive meaningful actions of
persons, within given cultural and material institutions that bear contingent and
sometimes accidental relations to each other. And Marxist thinking,
appropriately eclectically construed, has much to offer as we try to make sense
7 of that plural world of the colonial ages of Empire. The logical approach in this
book is therefore to use the dialectical method of analysis of material facts of
history. The reason for this choice is that the dialectical method consists in going
beyond the recognition of this or that instance of inequality and injustice in
capitalism. Cataloguing and describing the multitude of different kinds of
oppression and injustice in our colonial world of Empire is important, but it’s
not necessary to be a Marxist or a dialectician to do so.
A dialectical approach to oppression explains how such oppression is part
and parcel of a larger social whole, rather than a static and unchanging fact
independent of other social factors. A dialectical inquiry into oppression reveals
how systems of oppression are connected to the antagonistic and opposed
interests of competing social forces—and are both built up and resisted, in a
contest between those who try to impose oppression and those who challenge
it.
And the dialectical method describes how oppression and the ideas that
sustain it interact in turn with the rest of the moving parts of capitalist society
as a whole, including not just the economy, but also the media, the family, the
criminal justice system and so on.
Yet as this example illustrates, a dialectical approach is not necessarily a
Marxist one. Many mainstream social scientists working in the fields of
sociology, philosophy, anthropology and so on attempt to analyze the world as
a social whole. But most social science doesn’t have any notion of how the parts
of the social whole stand in relation to the others, beyond a nondescript notion
that “a multiplicity of historical factors” are at work simultaneously. Put another
way, everything affects everything. Karl Marx brought together dialectics and
materialism to understand the world as a totality. This totality is driven by
inherent change, conflict and contradictions rooted in the material world, where
human activity, including the ideas generated by humans about the world, can
also react back on and in turn transform the material underpinnings of
societybe it old or new colonial society.
This scientific method is intended to enables us to understand Colonial
Empire history, not as a series of unconnected and unforeseen incidents, but
rather as part of a clearly understood and interrelated process. It is a series of
actions and reactions which cover politics, economics and the whole spectrum
of social development. To lay bare the complex dialectical relationship between
all these phenomena is the task of historical materialism. The fact of the matter
is that humankind constantly changes nature through labor, and in so doing,
changes itself.


8 European Colonial Encounters with Africa and Asia
Colonization, the ruling or displacing of indigenous populations by settler
colonies claiming sovereignty beyond their national borders, usually refers to
European imperialism, though colonization as a phenomenon is not limited to
Europe. In the case of European colonization, though, most adventures into
other continents were motivated by exploration and expanded by greed and a
paternalistic belief in the superiority of white Europeans. This is especially true
in the case of African colonization. European colonization of Africa began in
the fifteenth century, when the Portuguese discovered a new trade route to
India. Despite attempts to colonize the Indian and East Asian mainland,
European interests only succeeded in controlling the ports—and that alone took
two centuries. This was not the case in Africa. Missionaries came to the
continent, in ever-increasing numbers beginning in the early 1800s, hoping to
convert pagan, Muslim, and non-religious indigenous peoples to Christianity.
Explorers came next, seeking raw materials and new industries. The largely
unknown continent, with its vast tracts of unspoiled land, proved a gold mine
for foreign investors. Before long, advancements in technology and
industrialization spurred further exploration and land grabs by Europeans.
Beginning in the 1880s, a so-called “Scramble for Africa” was on. Germany,
Italy, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Belgium, and Spain fought each other over
African land and natural resources that they had stolen from the African people.
Colonization led to the destruction of indigenous cultural traditions, the
weakening of family ties, and the enforcement of alien systems of law and
economy.

European Colonization of Asia as template

In the fifteenth century, when Portugal discovered a new trade route to
India, the Portuguese became zealous about seizing the most lucrative ports of
East Africa, the Persian Gulf, and certain regions of India. The once-free ports
were now controlled by the Europeans, who sought to eliminate any rivals. They
attempted to enforce a monopoly in the spice trade by forcing local traders to
pay customs duties in exchange for safe passage, but Asian maritime powers
challenged the Europeans, ensuring the difficulty of a Western monopoly.
Centuries later, Dutch, French, and English traders began competing with
the Portuguese for control over trade routes, textiles, and factory ownership.
But India maintained political control over its interests by demanding gold and
silver from the Europeans. As hard as they tried to expand their interests into
the Indian mainland, the Europeans were overpowered by the might and
organization of the Asians. When the Mughal Empire began to disintegrate, that
9 might and organization was lost and the Europeans saw an opportunity to finally
control Indian Ocean trade. By the 1870s, Britain had won the battle to become
ruler of India, a position it held until August 15, 1947, when India won its
independence.
The first foreign colonies in Africa were formally established in Sierra Leone
in 1787. After 1870, European intervention in Africa began its steady and rapid
increase. King Leopold II of Belgium (1839-1909) began the accelerated race
for African land and resource control in 1876. He organized the International
Africa Association, which was supposedly created to serve humanitarian and
scientific purposes. In reality, the association served as a cover for him to make
bogus treaties with several African chiefs and snatch nine hundred thousand
square miles of territory for himself. To squelch any further such land grabs,
Germany called a conference in 1884, and twelve European nations and
representatives from the Ottoman Empire and the United States attended. The
African people were allowed no representation. Many rules were made during
the conference, but few were followed. Instead, European colonizers continued
to deceive African natives out of their land by forming treaties with chiefs who
could not read or understand them. Europeans gave the Africans alcohol, fancy
costumes, and trinkets in exchange for tribal lands. By 1914, Ethiopia was the
only African empire to remain independent from colonial rule.

Eugenics

Eugenics, the scientific and social movement that promotes racial “fitness”
through selective breeding, gained widespread attention after Charles Darwin
published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection; or the
Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life in 1859. The book and
its findings inspired biologists to seek out the mechanisms of human heredity.
Before long, the term “eugenics” was coined to describe the heritability of
intelligence, and eugenicists, after years of research, determined that genes
determined behavior. Further, they believed that mental and moral behavior was
different among racial and ethnic groups. Eugenicists, then, took issue with
Social Darwinism, the popular philosophy that applied Darwin’s principles of
evolutionary struggle and survival to human life. They argued that social policy
initiatives inspired by Social Darwinism could not possibly benefit the poor or
socially “unfit” if genes determined behavior.
In discussing the ideological interrelationship between Social Darwinism
and British imperialistic thought during the period 1870-1900, there is often
presumed a close association based upon their common attribute, the “might is
right” principle. For example, after expounding on the dominant “power
10 politics” principle in late nineteenth century Europe, C. J. H. Hayes (1941: 12)
writes in A Generation of Materialism, “the timelessness of Darwinism . . .
established it ., . as the chief conditioning philosophy of Europe in the 1870’s.”
He expects the reader to see a logical association between Social Darwinism and
the mainstream of British imperialistic thought of the late nineteenth century.
Social Darwinism was thus a sociological theory popular in late
nineteenthcentury Europe and the United States. It merged Charles Darwin’s theory of
natural selection and Herbert Spencer’s (1880) sociological theories to justify
imperialism, racism, and laissez-faire (i.e. conservative) social and economic
policies. Social Darwinists argued that individuals and groups, just like plants
and animals, competed with one another for success in life. They used this
assertion to justify the status quo by claiming that the individuals or groups of
individuals at the top of social, economic, or political hierarchies belonged there,
as they had competed against others and had proven themselves best adapted.
Any social or political intervention that weakened the existing hierarchy, they
argued, would undermine the natural order.
In an attempt to gain scientific legitimacy, eugenicists in the late nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries espoused a two-pronged program to preserve the
most “fit” of the species. The first prong, “negative eugenics”, would prevent
reproduction among unfit stocks, while the second prong, “positive eugenics”,
would encourage breeding among morally and mentally superior stocks, which
would, they believed, remove the threat of deleterious human traits from the
race. “Racial hygiene”, as the program was often called, was a response to
increased waves of immigration into the United States during the early twentieth
century. By 1912, the year of the first International Eugenics Congress, eugenic
ideas had become socially accepted on a global scale. In 1907, Indiana became
the first American state to enact a sterilization law. This opened the door to the
formation of the Eugenics Records Office, which promoted aggressive negative
eugenics campaigns championing sterilization measures and published extensive
reports on the mental deficiencies of poor people, criminals, and various racial
and ethnic groups. By 1911, the idea that disparities in health were genetically
ordered, not influenced by environmental or socioeconomic factors, was widely
accepted.
After World War I, studies relating IQ to race came into vogue, which
shifted the focus of eugenics to define a genetic basis for intelligence. In 1927,
the Buck v. Bell Supreme Court case gave further legitimacy to negative eugenics
when it ordered compulsory sterilization of mentally handicapped citizens. This
prompted the sterilization of thousands of people across the country. Popular
and scientific skepticism of eugenic studies arose when news of experiments
conducted by the Nazis during World War II became widespread.
11 Anthropologists and biologists, armed with new data regarding genetic variation
that challenged eugenics’s rigid biological representations of race, bolstered the
case against the movement.

Colonialism and the expansion of Empires

European colonial period was the period 1500-1900 in most of the
European powers to colonize Africa, America and Asia. Designed to boost the
bottom of the first region of the national economy at the expense of rivals, the
colonies are usually allowed to deal only with the mother nation. By mid-19th
century, the great British Empire as trade restrictions mercantilism and
established the principle of free trade, the conditions of the restrictions or
charges. Colonialism as a form of capitalism, imposed racism, exploitation and
social variation on colonized African societies. Working within the capitalist
world system, the uneven development of colonialism was closely related. A file
corruption and large-scale development and system-dependent economic
distortions, psychological and social chaos, poverty and the great dependence
of neo-colonialism was the harvest of colonialism. Raw materials and looking
for new investment opportunities was the result of the accumulation of capital,
competition between capitalist countries. In fact, declining margins caused by
the economic crisis cannot be resolved through regional expansion. Group of
capitalism forced to expand in seeking to transcend national boundaries,
conquer new markets and resources. Imperialism and colonialism led to the
same logic, leading to economic development and modernization in the
surrounding areas of Europe (Brook-Smith, 1987, Collins, Robert O., ed., 1970).
The transatlantic slave trade was only one part of a process of wider
European global imperial colonization. Before establishing a foothold in the
Americas, European powers including the Portuguese, Dutch and the British
had been actively trading throughout Asia. There were important trade routes
especially for silk and spices across India, Indonesia and into China. The East
India Company was both Britain’s trading and political control in India and East
Asia from 1600-1874. The competition between European countries for trade,
power and profit led to the conquest of new lands. The colonization of the
Caribbean and North and South America and the development of the
transatlantic slave trade was an indication of this with the Portuguese, Spanish,
Dutch and British all establishing strong footholds.
Different countries abolished slavery in the Americas at different times.
Denmark was the first to abolish slavery in its American colonies in 1803; and
the Portuguese were the last in 1869. The British abolition of the slave trade in
1807, and finally slavery itself in 1838, actually stimulated the growth of the
12 British Empire and development of other trade links. Britain looked for
legitimate trade links to retain its profit and power while at the same time
maintaining its moral high ground as it persuaded other European countries to
abolish slavery. Palm oil and cocoa became important commercial crops in the
trade with Africa.
However, after abolition in 1838 the British needed another supply of labor
in their Caribbean colonies to replace the freed enslaved Africans. They turned
to their colonies in Asia and imported thousands of poor indentured laborers
from south Asia into Africa and the Americas to labor in conditions that were
little better than the enslaved Africans before them. After slavery, Europeans
continued their exploitation of overseas colonies, most notably in the ‘scramble
for Africa’. Between the 1880s and the First World War European powers
desperate for access to African natural resources divided up much of the
continent between them – literally with a ruler hence the straight lines of many
African borders. The British looting of Benin (1897) shows the inequalities and
the damage done to African countries in the process of colonization. The
inequalities and exploitation of the colonial past remain in global trade today,
hence the attempts to introduce ‘fair trade’.
In sum, through the process of decolonization that began, in most African
territories, at the close of World War II, African leaders gained greater political
power under European rule. In the decades that followed independence, they
worked to shape the cultural, political, and economic character of the
postcolonial state. Some worked against the challenges of continued European
cultural and political hegemony, while others worked with European powers in
order to protect their interests and maintain control over economic and political
resources. Decolonization, then, was a process as well as a historical period.
Yet the nations and regions of Africa experienced it with varying degrees of
success. By 1990, formal European political control had given way to African
self-rule—except in South Africa. Culturally and politically, however, the legacy
of European dominance remained evident in the national borders, political
infrastructures, education systems, national languages, economies, and trade
networks of each nation. Ultimately, decolonization produced moments of
inspiration and promise, yet failed to transform African economies and political
structures to bring about true autonomy and development.

Decolonization of Asia and Africa, 1945–1960

The national liberation movements of the late 1950s and 1960s brought
tremendous hope and renewed aspirations to colonized peoples around the
world, as illustrated by Patrice Lumumba’s speech upon the recognition of the
13 independence of the Congo (1). The UN played a significant role in the
decolonization process (2) but neither that body nor the colonial powers
liberated “dependent” territories; independence was hard won by colonized
peoples, and reluctantly acknowledged by their colonizers (3). As Argentine
journalist Adolfo Gilly observed in his 1965 introduction to political
philosopher Frantz Fanon’s Studies in a Dying Colonialism: “The whole of
humanity has erupted violently, tumultuously onto the state of history, taking
its own destiny in its hands. . . . Liberation does not come as a gift from
anybody” (4). The “tears, fire, and blood” were a price worth paying to bequeath
genuine self-determination to coming generations.
Between 1945 and 1960, three dozen new states in Asia and Africa achieved
autonomy or outright independence from their European colonial rulers. There
was no one process of decolonization. In some areas, it was peaceful, and
orderly. In many others, independence was achieved only after a protracted
revolution. A few newly independent countries acquired stable governments
almost immediately; others were ruled by dictators or military juntas for decades,
or endured long civil wars. Some European governments welcomed a new
relationship with their former colonies; others contested decolonization
militarily. The process of decolonization coincided with the new Cold War
between the Soviet Union and the United States, and with the early development
of the new United Nations. Decolonization was often affected by superpower
competition, and had a definite impact on the evolution of that competition. It
also significantly changed the pattern of international relations in a more general
sense.
The creation of so many new countries, some of which occupied strategic
locations, others of which possessed significant natural resources, and most of
which were desperately poor, altered the composition of the United Nations
and political complexity of every region of the globe. In the mid to late 19th
century, the European powers colonized much of Africa and Southeast Asia.
During the decades of imperialism, the industrializing powers of Europe viewed
the African and Asian continents as reservoirs of raw materials, labor, and
territory for future settlement. In most cases, however, significant development
and European settlement in these colonies was sporadic. However, the colonies
were exploited, sometimes brutally, for natural and labor resources, and
sometimes even for military conscripts. In addition, the introduction of colonial
rule drew arbitrary natural boundaries where none had existed before, dividing
ethnic and linguistic groups and natural features, and laying the foundation for
the creation of numerous states lacking geographic, linguistic, ethnic, or political
affinity.
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