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The concept of imperialism has been discussed from various viewpoints. Each of those viewpoints has a strong base for argument. That is why we will be discussing the positive and the negative effects of imperialism.

What is Imperialism?

Imperialism is when a bigger country, nation, or colony takes over a smaller nation or colony for political, social, and economic reasons. A nation with a bigger scope in terms of size and power rules over a country of smaller stature. As an old culture, it is the natural and geographical power over a more limited nation for its expansion or exploitation.

The term is derived from the Latin verb “imperative”, which means to control. It also has an origin in the Roman idea of imperium which means extension. Imperialism started in the 16th century when bigger nations with bigger armies began to exert territorial and commercial authority over smaller countries.

Types of Imperialism

Here are some important Types of Imperialism:

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Economic Imperialism

Economic imperialism occurs when a bigger nation takes over the smaller nation’s fundamental supplies and wealth and declares that nation financially dependent. The bigger nations have their natural resources insight, and the smaller countries offer them wealth and growth. This kind of imperialism is often seen in America, Europe, and China’s fierce competition to acquire a significant foothold in some smaller nations with low exposure and capabilities.

Political and Military Imperialism

Political and military imperialism is when bigger nations enforce their orders and laws on a smaller or weaker nation. They might also supply arms and support to rivals in smaller nations to destabilize the governments that don’t support them. Bigger nations can also take able men out of their locality to strengthen their military.

Cultural Imperialism

Cultural Imperialism occurs when a country’s belief is bound with another nation’s society and way of life. We have recently witnessed the Taliban and some Islamic terrorist groups trying to change some nations’ practices by conforming to their ideologies.

Effects of Imperialism in Africa

Imperialism occurred in Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The short-term effects were praised earlier but criticized as per the long-term effects. In the early days of imperialism in Africa, it was deduced that the colonial masters were exploiting natural resources, manpower, and intelligence. The colonial masters were seen to gain more than what they gave, which put Africa in fear and uncertainty about the future.

effects of imperialism.

Many Africans rose for their countries in a bid to stop the colonial masters and attain independence. However, this civilization in Africa was aided by these colonial masters in other ways. Africa began to grow in terms of civilization. Schools, banks, good roads, ports, TV and radio stations, etc., were introduced and built by them. Many of these buildings still exist today; although they look dilapidated, the quality of strength, longevity, and structure cannot be ignored.

When some people felt that its time for independence, they fought for it. The colonial masters had to leave. At first, it was seen as a good idea, but after revisiting the case, many felt the countries were not mature enough for independence. There have been ideas about whether certain African countries need to be recolonized. This has been due to the failings of the people in power.

People feel it wouldn’t be worse than what they are experiencing under their people. Although imperialism happened in Africa a long time ago, some of its consequences and effects still shape some nations today. Part of the long-term effects of imperialism in many African countries is a lack of national identity, a high rate of corruption (embezzlements), and terrorism. So many argued that if the colonial masters stayed a bit longer, it would have helped avert some problems Africa is facing today.

You can also check out our other related article Seven Pillars of Wisdom:

What are the positive and negative effects of Imperialism?

The word “Imperialism” has a negative impression. However, it has also brought about the progress and growth of civilization in some countries. There are some positive effects of imperialism, which help the smaller countries in the initial stages. However, when greed takes over, it can lead to the destruction of many nations.

Also, imperialism might affect coming generations, whether positive or negative. Hence, let us look at the positive and negative effects of imperialism.

Positive effects of Imperialism

Here are some Positive effects of Imperialism:

1.       Civilization

One of the most common positive effects of imperialism is civilization. Under-developed and developing countries gain access to new technologies. Since their people live in mostly smaller nations, the bigger nations provide them with technologies and civilization. Part of it includes reforming the educational systems and building social amenities. Let us not forget that the record says civilization started in Egypt (Africa). It is safe to say that civilization in most African countries was through the help of imperialism.

2.       Improved Healthcare service

Not until imperialism came to some smaller nations did they never have access to proper healthcare services. The colonial masters built hospitals and brought science manufactured drugs not only for themselves but also for the countries they ruled.

Many of the older generations in some parts of Africa only knew about concoctions for healing. An obvious example of the impact on healthcare services is the eradication process of malaria in Africa. Malaria at one point in the 80s and 90s was a deadly disease that killed many. Moreover, this became a thing of the past when the bigger countries stepped in.

3.       Improved Agricultural production

Imperialism brought about improved agricultural production through advanced fertilization and farming methods. On-farm activities improved through their help and post-harvest processing became more effective. By this, many ideas were harnessed. Crops become viable and healthy for instant consumption or further processing.

4.       Basic Social Amenities

Many smaller nations didn’t know about electricity until the colonial masters came. The representatives of the bigger nation had to build roads, railways, street lights, drainage systems, etc. since they will be living there for some time.

5.       Improved environment and state of living

The presence of the colonial masters helps to improve the state of living. Dressings were improved, and proper human and environmental sanitation improved.

6.       Improved Defense and proper law enforcement

The colonial masters helped to build borders and strengthen their space from other countries. Constitutions were made to enforce the law among the people. The law enforcement agencies such as the police and the armies were reformed. It also helped smaller countries who have no idea how to make constitutions or how to govern a country.

effects of imperialism.

Negative effects of Imperialism

Here are some Negative effects of Imperialism:

1.       No Freedom

The actual owners of the land when imperialism comes in. People were forced to do things against their will and punished if they opposed them. The citizens of the smaller nation have no mind or say of their own. They must obey the rules and regulations of the bigger country.

2.       More work, Less reward

People were made to work more and earn less. The colonial masters used many slaves to work in their houses or on their farmlands.

3.       Exploitation

At first, helping the smaller countries is the idea, but the bigger countries out of greed exploit the smaller countries. They ship out their mineral resources and use their citizens for hard labor. They do not only exploit their mineral resources, they also pick their most intelligent and train them to be like them.

4.       Conflict

Imperialism causes conflict as some people might try to revolt against them.

5.       Forced ways of life

The smaller countries are made to conform to their ways of life, religion, and culture. Traditional customs and languages started to become a thing of the past. The colonial masters enforced religions and their cultures on the smaller nations.

6.       Killings of innocent people

Imperialism led to the death of some innocent people. People with a different idea to what they have were killed to set examples.

7.       Caused separation among citizens

Imperialism caused fights and separation among citizens. The colonial masters turned people of the same belief and ideas against each other. People expose their countrymen in exchange for promised refuge or positional advantages.

8.       Racism

In the time of imperialism, mostly in Africa, the whites see themselves as the superior race. Using what happened in South Africa as a case study.

effects of imperialism.

Frequently asked questions:

Here are the some Frequently asked questions:

Has colonial invasion improved humanity?

Ans: The colonial masters helped by improving the education, health, military, economic, etc. sectors. But they only give orders and don’t accept compromise.

What is the overall impact of imperialism?

Ans: Although, it comes with some goods the overall impact is negative.

Would the smaller countries have handled themselves very well without the help of the colonial masters?

Ans: Exposure and civilization came with the colonial masters. They helped improve government, human rights protection, the economy, etc. There is no certainty of the smaller nations being better or worse without the help of imperialism.

Finally, imperialism has never been considered a good concept. At first, people see it as a welcome development, but in the long run, the negative effects overshadow the positive effects. An example of this can be found in African and Asian countries who were heavily exploited and only left with the modern culture. Ethnic powers were subdued, perishing their ideas before birthing them.

In the end, the bigger nations were seen to only have come for materials, resources, the balance of power, or national glory. Some bigger countries felt it was their burden to help the smaller nations which are called the “White Man’s Burden”. Modern imperialism occurred no more than 100 years ago, but the effects are still active in the world today.

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