Imperialism refers to the policy of extending a countries power over other regions and countries through colonization or military use. In the late 20th century, a number of countries were fighting for freedom. Countries like America and India became independent of imperialism and are now democratic.
However ill this concept sounds, it has done a lot to develop the world. It has its positive sides as well as the negative ones.
Positive effects of Imperialism
It is needless to mention how positive it is for the imperialists. Imperialism gave the imperialists a new market, a new labor force, a new supply of raw materials. Cheap and easy to find raw materials and labor force was the main attraction for the industrialists to imperialize certain countries.
The efforts put in by Europe to colonize weak countries resulted in improvement of education and sanitation in the colonized countries. Countries such as African regions were so desolate that they needed proper education facilities. Literacy rates came up. In major parts of the world, the education system being followed was set up by the imperialists themselves. A thriving example is India itself. With moderations, it is definitely following the British system of Education.
Africa specially gained a lot from Imperialism. Schools and hospitals were built. Factories were set up increasing job opportunities. Unemployment was well taken care of during Imperialism. Also, with betterment of medical services, average life expectancy went up.
Imperialism brought about a lot of political order and stability in many of the colonies. Africa was tamed, one can say. Regional disputes and warfare were stopped, unnecessary wars curbed.
The products manufactured by the colonies were sold in the international market, hence making the colonies richer. The colonies expanded economically.
Nations unified and globalization following imperialism. Also, in the process to get rid of imperialists, nations came together within themselves. Garbage collectors and business men – all came together to form a team and rid the country of outsiders. It marked the history pages with proof that anything can be won if we’re united enough.
Negative effects of Imperialism
One of direct effects of imperialism was that colonies lost their lands and were under the control of their colonizers. There was no place to call one’s own and it was a pathetic condition for natives.
Diseases like small pox were carried out of Europe and into the colonies. Due to such diseases people died, since they had no resistance to them. Africa was a major victim here.
In the imperial states, natives were subjected to slavery. They lost their sense of independence and were assaulted mentally as well as physically.
The mother nations were subjected to heavy taxation policies, draining them of their wealth. Natives had no role in the government which was pathetic. Even if they were chosen to represent the government, it was name sake. No power was left in the hands of the natives. They were puppets in the hands of colonizers. Cultural clashes were inevitable. Warfare and bloodshed was everywhere. Battles amongst colonizers and colonies became a constant. It became a way of life for the natives. Loss of culture and customs was another issue. When the colonizers took over, they made a lot cultures and customs illegal. It led to the loss of rather rich and artful customs that are lamented even today.
For example, when British captured India, they destroyed their native culture. A feeling of discrimination and prejudice was increased. British in India had set up “European Only” public places including gardens, pubs, railway stations and restaurants. The only Indians allowed to enter the premises were those who served the British customers. They were made to serve even the British dogs. British people were carried by the natives in wagons, they didn’t walk. Indians never got any payment for their work; they became poorer by the day. Indian good were forbidden so that they were forced to buy British good.
When the colonizers imported food, the demand of cash crops increased. Slowly, it led to famines in the colonized areas. People died of hunger and epidemic due to imperialism.
Though imperialism brought about employment, it never allowed the growth of traditional cultures. People were forced to do what the imperialists wanted of them. Everybody became a farmer or a server. White collar jobs were reserved only for the Imperialists. This set back the true development of the native land.
To project the kind of thinking people had regarding imperialism, I’d quote Hassan Nasrallah,
“So long as there is imperialism in the world, a permanent peace is impossible.”