316 Colonialism

316 Colonialism - The Impact of Colonization (cl) In the...

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The Impact of Colonization (cl) In the late nineteenth century European nations established colonies in southeast Asia and Africa. Europeans had previously been kept out of Africa by the persistence of strong African kingdoms, the rugged terrain and the lack of an effective way to counter malaria. In 1875, European nations had colonized only one-tenth of Africa; twenty years later, they controlled virtually the whole continent. With the Italian defeat of Ethiopia in 1935-36, Liberia remained the only independent nation north of South Africa (and it was controlled by Firestone Rubber). While Portugal possessed Angola and Mozambique and Belgium the Congo, the major colonial powers on the eve of WWII were France and Great Britain. 1. Colonialism and Non-Western Societies, 1870-1940 Looking at some of the basic ways in which European colonial powers transformed the non-Western world will help us understand both the strategies of anti-colonialists and the problems which newly independent nations would face. a. Boundaries . The Europeans carved up Africa with their own geo-political interests in mind rather than the indigenous peoples' political systems and ethnic loyalties. Colonial boundaries often split the territories of ethnic groups and combined the lands of different ethnic groups. b. "Tribes" . Colonial powers often ruled through one "tribe" and pitted "tribes" against one another to prevent unified opposition to their rule. Yet the "tribes" with which colonial powers dealt were often not the precolonial nations, but amalgams of peoples whose designation as a "tribe" hid the fact that this seemingly traditional grouping was a product of colonialism--not a continuation of precolonial society. Therefore, tribal identity often did not have the significance which Europeans, working from a modern model of national identity, gave it. Genocide in Rwanda has its roots in the colonial period. Rwanda was a German colony transferred to Belgium after World War I. Belgians inherited certain German interpretations of indigenous culture in terms of "race science", i.e., that Tutsis were a race (a concept alien to African thought which categorized people in terms of lineage and clienteles) and appeared more European (are the lost tribe of Ham) and that this indicated a racial superiority. To assist in their governance, the colonialists gave power to the Tutsis and took it from the Hutus. In precolonial Rwanda the conquering Tutsis had adopted the Hutu language, but set up a feudal system with the Tutsis as warriors and the Hutus as the farmers. However there was some
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mobility--an economically successful Hutu could become a Tutsi and a poor Tutsi could become a Hutu. "The Hutu and the Tutsi speak the same language and generally share the same traditions.
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This note was uploaded on 12/10/2009 for the course HIST 151 taught by Professor Hunziker during the Spring '07 term at UNC.

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316 Colonialism - The Impact of Colonization (cl) In the...

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