African Resistance (Q80 Fox) Term Paper

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In the late nineteenth century, Europeans colonized a large portion of Africa. A myth that many people believe is that there was no resistance in Africa. This myth is false and has no substance to it. I believe this myth was formed because of the simple fact that most of the resistance was not wide scale and did not constitute a daily confrontation and since it was not at a large scale, it was not widely covered by the media of the time. In the majority of African kingdoms and territories, there was resistance. The resistance was carried out in different forms and scopes. However, much of that resistance was not very effective. The lack of effectiveness does negate its existence. In reality, the fight between the indigenous Africans and the colonialists was not an equal one. Most of that resistance, after seeing the overwhelming power of the Europeans and how uneven the struggle was, was crushed. Why did some people resist and others not? Why were some people more successful than others with their resistance? How far, once colonized, did the Africans except the rule and was the European conquest inevitable?

When the Europeans went to Africa in order to start colonizing territories, not all Africans saw it to a negative effect. In fact, some Africans had old scores to settle against other tribes, so they collaborated with the Europeans in hopes of annihilating their life long enemies. Some Africans also thought that their could be some advantageous long distance trading if the Europeans came in. Other Africans signed treaties not knowing that they were actually signing away many of their rights. I believe it would be safe to say that most Africans failed to resist because they had already seen the futility of trying against the Europeans and indeed some of them didn t even realize at the time what colonialism would entail in the sense of striping their land of its wealth.

The Europeans, in general, were not unorganized when it came the physical conquering of each kingdom or territories. Their armies were modern and large in number comparatively to what the Africans had. The Africans did not have the organization, tactics and weapons required to fight a modern European army. Disunity among Africans also contributed to their defeat. The Africans would have fared better in their resistance had they organized themselves more efficiently.

After kingdoms and territories were conquered, there were several rebellions. An example of this was the Maji Maji rebellion. This rebellion cost 100,000 in peoples lives and was a complete failure. Other rebellions ended with a somewhat similar fate and Africa had to temporarily accept European rule.

So was the European conquest inevitable? I believe that it was due to the settings of that era. There were not that many regions in the world who could have overpowered and defeated the Europeans and Africa was just not capable of doing so. Africa did not have the technology nor the organization necessary to overcome their fate. They also had a smaller amount of qualified soldiers and were greatly outgunned most of the time.

In conclusion, I believe that the Europeans colonizing territories in Africa had a great and long-lasting influence on the region. In a way, it was inevitable because in the one hand, European saw colonization as an economic opportunity, on the other hand, the African could not prevent it from happening. Of course, during the 50 s and 60 s of this century, the picture changed. Many African territories witnessed rebellions and wars of liberation that ultimately led to demise of colonialism in Africa. Algeria and Kenya come to mind as cases in this point. The international situation that developed after the second World War and the creation of the United Nations an the principles of its charter facilitated the strive of the Africans for ending colonialism in their continent.

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