Jessica the success of their country because,

Jessica AllenMahoneyAP Literature & Comp.20 January 2018The Economics of Racial Superiority in Africa “I gave orders that every living thing except the children should be killed without mercy” (Meinertzhagen 260). As illustrated by Richard Meinertzhagen in his diary, extreme violence as a result of racism was the mindset of Europeans as they pillaged Africa during the age of colonialism. The powerful European countries invaded Africa, took over their villages, plundered their land and resources, and virtually enslaved their people.

The destruction of Africa and its native culture took place in the name of economic prosperity and racial superiority European powers. European countries began colonizing in Africa with the goal of expanding their empires and growing economically. During the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution took place and suddenly countries like Germany and Great Britain were experiencing population booms and increased production like never before. Now on an individual and national level, life was not about survival, it was about growing wealth and success. As such, European countries looked outside their borders to supply their countries with natural resources and labour. With cheap labor, limited competition, and abundant raw materials such as copper, copper, rubber, tea, and tin, Africa embodied the perfect land for colonization (“Scramble for Africa”). And so, with little regard for the people living there or their way of life, Europeans claimed Africa as their own. To the white man, colonization was vital for the success of their country because, as Joseph Chamberlain of Great Britain stated, “The Empireā€¦ is founded on commerce and could not exist a day without commerce” (Chamberlain 244).

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As such, merchants would establish trade posts in areas of great transportation, and worked to control “choke points” like the Suez Canal in Egypt, where one country would control the majority of trade with all other countries wishing to access that point (Clearly). Great Britain became so reliant on trade with its colonies that, according to Chamberlain, if it were to lose all its colonies at once “half at least of the population of Great Britain would be starved” (Chamberlain 245). The plundering of Africa’s resources and labor was vital to the economic growth of European powers. In addition to increasing the wealth of their empires, Europeans saw the colonization of Africa as a duty or right given white man’s racial superiority. Social darwinism established racial superiority stating that natural selection would result in the survival of the “fittest” ethnic group in an attempt to improve the global population.

Thus, Europeans, viewing themselves racially superior, believed their plundering of Africa was in the best interest of the evolution of the human race (“Social Darwinism”). Joseph Chamberlain described Britain’s rule over its African colonies as the “work of civilisation” which would fulfill the “national mission” (Chamberlain 245). The theory of the white man’s burden perpetuated this idea that Africans were seen were an inferior race that needed to be civilized by the white man. Richard Meinertzhagen, a young soldier stationed in Kenya, spoke of how he felt he was “lowering his plane to that of the savages” as if to say spending time in African culture was decreasing his sophistication and intelligence (Meintertzhagen 262).

Furthermore, indigenous people were essentially treated as wild animals and were placed in “human zoos” where they were studied and gawked at as “scientists” formed racist theories attempting to further prove the “pseudo-hierarchy of the races.” By claiming racial superiority, European powers justified in any and all violent and immoral actions to control and devastate Africa’s land and resources. European colonialism existed both as a time of great prosperity to the European powers and as one of complete devastation for African countries. European empires grew as they gained control of more and more parts of Africa’s land, labor, and natural resources. Unfortunately, this increase in wealth and power came at the expense of African culture and livelihood as Europeans decimated these “racially inferior” people. Decolonisation did not begin until after World War II when African independence movements increased leading to almost total decolonisation by 1980. Thanks to the United Nations which has created a committee dedicated to decolonisation and protecting colonised people, colonisation is no longer a threat to underdeveloped countries around the world.

Works CitedChamberlain, Joseph. “The White Man’s Burden.” Sources of the Western Tradition. From the Renaissance to the Present. By Marvin Perry. Joseph R. Peden, Theodore H.

Von Laue and George W. Bock. 7th edition. Vol.2. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2008. 244-45.

Print.Cleary, Vern. “Motives for Imperialism.” Motives for Imperialism, webs.bcp.

org/sites/vcleary/modernworldhistorytextbook/imperialism/section_2/motives.html.Meintertzhagen, Richard. “An Embattled Colonial Officer in East Africa.” Sources of the Western Tradition.

From the Renaissance to the Present. By Marvin Perry, Joseph R. Peden, Theodore H.

Von Laue, and George W. Bock. 7th ed. Vol.

2. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2008. 260-62.

Print.”Scramble for Africa.” Scramble for Africa – New World Encyclopedia,”Social Darwinism Emerges and Is Used to Justify Imperialism, Racism, and Conservative Economic and Social Policies.” World History In Context, Gale Cengage Learning,


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