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The Effects of Colonization and Imperialism on Society

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Colonization and imperialism have been around for a long time and can be dated back to the fifteenth century. Some of the major colonizers of the time were European empires which included Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal. Whether it was for the worst or better, changes in a person’s culture became inevitable. Today we can see more clearly the effect they both had on civilization back then.

Africa was colonized by Europeans between 1881 to 1914. This event later came to be known as the Scramble for Africa. According to the group that presented last week, Britain reason for colonizing Africa was because their economy was crumbling during the post-industrialization era and Africa was able to provide them with greater profit. The slaves there were cheap, no one else was competing for them and they were able to gain more resources. They built factories across Africa and grew crops there to make more profit. Artificial borders were created and separated the people. Slaves were stripped of their African roots and their culture was taken away from them. Racism against the African people began to spread as their colonizers believe that they are superior to the Africans. With the colonization of Africa, imperialism boosted, unequal power in Africa popped up and the unique African political system was abolished.

America was also colonized by many colonizers consisting of the Spanish, Britain, and France. According to the presentation on Central America, Central America was colonized by Spain for three reasons, gold, God and glory. Crops and other goods such as banana, coffee, cacao were produced in high quality. Spain forbade Central America to trade with other countries which led to them illegally trading with America and Britain. They were excluded from their own government as the indigenous population in Central America were not allowed to participate in the government. They were violently told to convert to Christianity and were treated poorly by the Spanish. South America was colonized by Portugal and Spain for resources such as gold, silver, women, and brazilwood. The soil was perfect for growing coffee bean and sugarcane. They were forced to change their religion to Roman Catholicism and the Spanish and Portuguese people taught them their language. North America was colonized by Britain with the establishment of the thirteen colonies. The colonies were there for more wealth and land. In California, the Spanish built missionaries throughout the state and converted the natives’ religion living there to Christianity. The natives in North America were forced to move out of their land. For example, the Indian Removal Act forced the southern Native American tribes to move out of their land and move west of the Mississippi River.

Asia was another continent that faced colonization and imperialism. In China, they opened their trade posts due to pressure from western imperialism. Britain wanted silk, porcelain, and tea from them. However, they did not have silver to trade with China so as compensation, Britain paid with drugs called Opium and got China addicted to it. Eventually, China threw the opium into the sea which angered Britain and demanded compensation. China gave Hong Kong and ports of Canton and Shanghai to Britain. Fortunately for China, they were able to adopt western technology while still staying traditional. In the Philippines, America was able to gain control through a peace accord with Spain. With the teachings of America, they learned English and were forced to accept beliefs such as women being inferior to man. With that, the women in the Philippines, who used to be equal to the men there, lost their rights. They were also forced to accept Christianity. The Moros were massacred due to their rejection of the religion. In India, Britain took over with the East India Company which had their own army composed of British troops and native soldiers called the Sepoy. Before the British intervene with India, they were stable and profitable and had no case for military or political intervention. In 1750, Britain took over and revolutionary changes were to follow. Due to the Indian Rebellion of 1875, the East Indian Company was abolished in 1876 which gave Britain crown full control of India. Queen Victoria was declared “Empress of India” and all was well until Lord Curzon. Industrialization, the brutal crackdown on protests, famine, and disruption of skilled labor led to problems in India.

A common change that can be seen occurring in the colonization of a society is the religion. As a colonizer takes over a place, the people being colonized have to change their religion and learn their colonizer’s language. The destruction of different kinds of culture can also be seen when a society gets colonized. With colonizers believing that the people they colonize are inferior to them and they’re making mankind better, racism spreads and culture gets lost.

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The Context and Influence of Concordant Proclamation of the Thirteen Colonies of the USA. (2022, December 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from
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