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European Presence and Influence in Africa - Research Paper Example

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European presence and influence in Africa – boon or bane [Name of student] [Name of course] [Name of tutor] European presence and influence in Africa – boon or bane Introduction: The first words that come to mind when one hears of the massive land mass known as Africa are ‘the Dark Continent’…
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European Presence and Influence in Africa
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Download file to see previous pages Colonization was also a political move by European countries for domination of other weaker nations to exploit the natural and human resources of the land (Koggel 2006)1. Any interaction should, for moral, ethical and practical purpose benefit both sides. If it is imbalanced in favor of one of the parties, then it can be termed as exploitation. History reveals that this interaction benefited the visitors rather than the indigenous people of the land. The paper reviews the influence (both good and bad), the benefits and disadvantages to the people of Africa due to the presence and eventual colonization by Europeans (since 1800 to the present day). The degrading practice of slave trade can be cited as a valid example. This was a period when early explorers like Dr Livingston and Henry Stanley began sending reports of life in the Dark Continent. The paper will focus on two areas in this regard. Firstly a review of the positive (and negative) influence due to the forced and unforced European presence in the country. It will also look at improvements of the living conditions of the indigenous people as a result despite the existence of a lucrative slavery trade. European presence and influence in Africa – boon or bane Any form of interaction, especially between unequal forces is bound to advantageous to the stronger of the two. But even so, well-meaning and visionary individuals, groups and governments can also create a positive impact and atmosphere. This can be seen in the African continent also. One of the most well-known of early African explorers was Dr David Livingstone who initially went to the land as a missionary and medical man. Dr Livingstone was a Scottish Congregationalist and was affiliated to the London Missionary Society (Craig 2012)2. He arrived in 1841 at the port of Cape Town, but his quest for exploration led him to the interior parts of the continent in 1849 (Livingstone Online n.d.)3. He was shocked by the then existing slave trade (mostly by Arabs and Portuguese) and was very influential in curtailing this practice to a large extent. What is appreciable is that his work was based primarily in the interiors of the continent where other white men were unwilling to venture. The inhospitable terrain, lack of knowledge regarding this, and the inability to communicate with the locals were some of the main reasons for this (Morgan 2007)4. “Livingston who began his career as a Christian missionary and ultimately became best known as an explorer of the African continent, drew together in his life work these intertwined notions of empire, civilization and trade. From Livingstone’s perspective, market relations remained embedded in human society” (Bowden et al. 2006)5. In other words, Livingstone believed that the African society will benefit from industry and commerce, through cooperation and not by coercion (Bowden et al 2006). But he also believed that Western civilization especially that of Britain is the solution to most of Africa’s problems. This could be seen as an arguable outlook since many atrocities and discriminations had been wreaked upon the natives of the land (Boahen 1990)6. For example, natives who came to cities and towns for jobs were housed in ghetto like conditions. They were paid low wages and could not expect to get better positions in an organization. A Free Trade movement (a loose coalition of like minded people) was also in existence during ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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