THE ROLE OF EXPLORERS IN THE COLONIZATION OF AFRICA
The role of explorers in the colonization of Africa pdf | the role of explorers in the colonization of Africa essay | AGENTS OF COLONIALISM | the role of explorers in the colonization of africa in Tanzania
AGENTS OF COLONIALISM
Agents of colonialism were the Europeans who penetrated Africa to prepare the Africans to meet the industrial demands such as raw materials, markets for manufactured goods, areas for investments, and cheap laborers in the 19th century.
Colonialism is the direct and overall domination of one country by another on the basis of state power being in the hands of a foreign power. For example, the direct and overall domination of Nigeria by Britain between 1900-1960.
The first objective of colonialism is political domination. Its second objective is to make possible the exploitation of the colonized country. When we talk of colonialism in Africa we are talking of a phenomenon that took place between the 1800-1960s.
It is a phenomenon that is part and parcel of another phenomenon called imperialism. In fact, colonialism is a direct form of imperialism. This is why it is often said that “all colonialism is imperialism, but not all imperialism is colonialism”.
Colonialism began as a result of changes in the mode of production in Europe (For example, the emergence of the industrial revolution). The industrial revolution ushered in a new process of production in place of the earlier slave-based economy.
There were about three groups of agents of industrial capitalism in Africa namely:
Explorers were the first group of forerunners which penetrated to Africa and explored (searched for) various potential information about Africa and revealed them to their governments. They came in Africa around the 19th century.
The prominent Explorers
<> In East Africa
John Speke, Richard Burton, James Grant, Samuel Baker, Henry M. Stanley, Ludwig Krapf, and Dr. Livingstone.
<> In Central Africa
Livingstone and later Henry M. Stanley, also Pierre de Brazza.
<> In West Africa
Richard Lander, Henrich Barth’s, Mungo Park, Hugh Clapperton, and Rene’s Caillie.
Explorers wrote reports, books and speeches which campaigned for the colonization of Africa.
ROLES OF EXPLORERS IN THE COLONIZATION OF AFRICA
1. They were to explore (search) potential areas in African. For example the availability of resources like good climatic conditions, topography, lakes, soil fertility, big rivers and animal species in Africa
For example Clapperton reported about the river Niger to the British government while Speke reported about the potentiality of Lake Victoria and named it Victoria to honor Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.
2. They provided important information about the nature of African societies: They reported about the hostility, calmness and hospitality of the African people.
This information played a central role for the European colonialists during the decision making process regarding the colonization of Africa.
3. They provided messages to their government about the existing evils of slave trade and the areas where slave trade was still conducted: Dr. Livingstone’s third journey through Tanganyika and Lake Regions of central Africa was targeted for that as a result he informed the English that the Yao’s land was still characterized by slave raids and the effects of slave trade such as sufferings, insecurity.
4. They appealed their home government to come to occupy the areas In Arica. For example in 1856, Dr. Livingstone proposed establishment of British colony in the heart of Central Africa and Britain responded by colonizing Central Africa
5. They signed bogus treaties friendly with African local rulers that provided the basis of colonization of Africa
6. They learnt native languages in order to cope with their intended mission
7. They opened up investment opportunities by preparing the Africans psychologically to accept and appreciate the white men’s economy.
8. The explorers discovered navigable rivers and lakes and passed this information to their home governments.
9. The explorers reported about the inhuman slave trade and this forced their home governments to come to East Africa to stop it.
10. They formed exploration societies, for example the Royal Geographical Society, which later extended colonial interest to different parts of East Africa.
11. Drew the map of African. Explorers like John Edhart drew the map of East African showing the lake systems. This was later used by the colonialists to carry out the partition of East Africa.
12. Some explorers built military bases or Forts, for example Sir Samuel Baker built a fort at Patiko which was later used by the colonial army and administrators as their Headquarters.
General Roles played by colonial Agents in colonizing Africa
Missionaries often invited their home governments to occupy areas they worked.
In case they faced resistance or hostility from Africa they would be assured of security. In society like Buganda Christian Missionaries helped to overthrow Kabaka Mwanga who was then replaced by his son Daudi Chwa because Mwanga hindered in promotion of British colonial interest.
1. The colonial agents facilitated the spread of Christianity.
Missionaries for example soften the hearts and minds of Christian African converts to the extend not resisting colonization.
2. In some societies they contributed to internal division and weakening the state.
Example in Buganda they divided people along religious lines. This caused conflicts and war between Catholic and Protests.
3. They were in the forefront in promoting legitimate trade
In order to protect the economic interest of their home colonial powers as they increased desire for cheaper sources of raw materials and markets.
4. The explorers mapped the interior of East Africa
Example the publication of Jacob Erhadits in 1856 also in 1872, David Livingstone sent several maps to London giving the location of Caravan routes, lakes and major rivers of Tanganyika.
5. They provided important geographical information
for example Rebman discovered Mount Kilimanjaro in 1848, Krapf became the first European to see Mount Kenya in 1849 and John Speke discovered the sources of river Nile in 1862.
6. Explorers established good working relations with African
As they came across with which eased the work of Christian Missionaries, Traders and Chartered Companies. For example through Henry Morton Stanley, the Kabaka of Buganda requested for Christian Missionaries to come and operate on his Kingdom.
Krapf write the first Swahili Dictionary and grammar also translated the New Testament into Swahili, making it easy for the later Christians Missionaries groups.
7. They signed many treaties with African leaders.
The agents acted as propagandists and interpreters. For example, Moffat a missionary who stayed in Ndebele land for more than 30 years was a useful interpreter to British South Africa Company (BSAC).
They fought for abolition of slavery and slave trade and established legitimate trade which replaced slave trade.
Missionaries provided education to the people who later became instruments in the colonization process of Africa
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