How did imperial powers control and transform Africa during the period 1750-1945?

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How did imperial powers control and transform Africa during the period 1750-1945?

Introduction

At the helm of imperial rule over the Africans, several socioeconomic and political changes were introduced by the European regime causing a huge departure from the African way of life. African resistance to the colonial regime would be resisted in various ways to such an extent that complete control was of African affairs was in the hands of the imperialists. As such, several transformations were experienced in Africa to facilitate the forceful exploitation of the African resources for furtherance of distinct interests held by the Europeans. This discourse visits how control and transformations were effected over the Africans during the imperial rule observed between 1750 and 1945.

Imperialism

According to Du Plessis (2010), Europe was undergoing several socioeconomic and political transformations which compelled the major European powers to explore overseas territories to supplement to their resources towards the turn of the 17th century. The author explains that in order for the European powers to settle in Africa and achieve some of their goals, it was necessary to apply complete control over the African way of life. Political and social control would be necessary for the Europeans to establish a supporting environment for realization of their interests. One of the most potent challenges that such control was to tackle was the resistance that Africans had against occupation of their territory by the white man.

According to Oliver and Roberts (1986), the first important control that would facilitate realization of the entire colonial project was to place local political administration under the imperial power. There were different responses from the native communities with regard to the welcome that the European powers got. Whereas some communities readily collaborated and assisted the imperial powers to take charge of their administration, there were others that heavily resisted and contested any foreign takeover of their political control. It is therefore correct to state that the division among the African communities regarding the response they ought to have collectively staged played a part in the thriving of colonial administration across Africa. The clan elders and the kings ruled according to old traditions which did not allow easy interaction with foreigners lest they lost their authority (Achebe, 1996).

Economic control over Africa was possible soon after the political resistance had been contained. However, some strong resistance observed in some selected few African communities disallowed European dominance and possible colonization. African land, minerals and other valuable resources would be exploited and transported back to Europe after the appropriate control had been achieved. While some African communities allowed this to take place with reward of disproportionate returns, some resisted the European presence for a long time making the experience a nightmare for many imperialists. The European powers always almost got the upper hand due to the sophisticated weaponry and education skills that they used to manipulate the Africans.


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