The African continent includes 53 countries, many of which were at one time part of European colonialism. By focusing on West Africa (even though all areas of Africa were influenced by colonialism), a discussion of colonial rule by Britain, France, and Portugal with a reference to Germany, Spain, and Belgium, can indicate specific effects and history.
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It soon became evident that the American colonies of the New World were more interested in slaves than gold, and the slave trade quickly overshadowed the gold trade. Dutch, English, Danish, and Swedish competitors weakened Portuguese control and in 1642, the Portuguese left the Gold Coast permanently although their influence continues to this day. Various European powers attempted to dominate the profitable slave trade. The Dutch West India Company operated throughout most of the eighteenth century, and the British African Company of Merchants, founded in 1750, was successor to several earlier organizations and became the dominant European power on the Gold Coast (Buah 2004). Portugal's control of West Africa was gone by the seventeenth century, and Angola was the only major area left under Portuguese control. Angola, independent at present, is strongly influenced by Portuguese culture and its official language is Portuguese. It is especially distinctive because of South African influence and white settler communities, as well as the harsh colonial style of the Portuguese. The area therefore has become unique in Africa. As in most Portuguese colonies, mixed race children hold a different status (Angola 2007). In addition, Angola became divided into three factions-capitalists, independent, and the dominant party at present, the Population Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). Violence, hunger and poverty marked the end of the twentieth century in Angola with peace being achieved in 2002. Even though they have gained their independence, "class, cultural, and linguistic divisions still haunt the country" (Birmingham 2006).
Although France traveled to West Africa as early as 1483 and the first West African settlement was founded in the mid-seventeenth century in Senegal, it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that the French were firmly established in Cte d'Ivoire. Cte d'Ivoire, like the rest of West Africa, was subject to European influences, but absence of sheltered harbors made the area less appealing. The slave trade had little impact on the peoples of Cte d'Ivoire. Its profits were in ivory, but a decline in elephants closed down the trade by the beginning of the eighteenth century. In 1904, French West Africa consisted of Cte d'Ivoire, Dahoney (present-day Benin), Guinea, Niger, French Sudan (present-day Mali), Senegal, Upper Volta and Mauritania, ruled by the governor of Senegal, who became governor general. Most of the inhabitants of the colonies were subjects of France with no political rights (Handloff 1988). Handloff continues his history of the Ivory Coast noting that until 1958, governors appointed in Paris administered the colony of Cte d'Ivoire using direct, centralized administration that left little room for Ivoirian participation in policy making. The French colonial administration adopted divide-and-rule policies, applying ideas of assimilation only to the educated elite. These elite were inclined to take on the culture of the colonizers, moving away from their African heritage, and the influence of French culture continues to this day. The French-educated elites, or evolues, embodied the "African
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(Research Paper Politics Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 Words)
“Research Paper Politics Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/miscellaneous/1514995-research-paper-politics.
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