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European Imperialism and Its Effects on Colonies

The effects of European imperialism have been truly devastating, causing multiple smaller ethnic communities to deteriorate, as well as sending ripples through centuries and affecting the present-day landscape of political and sociocultural relationships between communities to a tremendous extent. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the need for expansion and obtaining a greater amount of raw materials for increased production have driven European countries to seek cheap opportunities overseas, which has defined the mercantile nature of the relationships between European states and the countries under the colonial rule. Particularly, due to the focus on the Industrial Revolution and the related opportunities that it has entailed, European imperialism has defined unprecedented exploitation of colonized countries by European entrepreneurs.

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Since European countries saw their colonies mostly as resources for their economic and technological progress, neglecting the needs of local residents and righteous owners of the resources in question, European colonists with their imperialist ideas affected the societies under colonial rule mostly negatively. Apart from draining resources from colonies and, therefore, removing their economic agency and potential for future development, European entrepreneurs driven by the ideas of imperialism have affected the cultural progress of colonized states by foisting European cultural values and traditions onto them.

At the same time, one should note some of the unexpectedly positive long-term effects of European colonialism and imperialism on the colonized countries. For instance, the chance to participate in global trade and develop the relationships that would, later on, be used as the premise for global trade, was one of the key positive phenomena (Maseland 261). However, the specified implication was hardly ever seen as worthy of consideration for European countries involved in trade; rather, European entrepreneurs never viewed colonized states as legitimate trading partners, instead, considering them as a vessel for their further economic growth and the source of cheap raw material (Maseland) 263. Therefore, the described outcome should not be credited to European states exploiting their colonies.

Additionally, the detrimental effect of the colonial rule on the cultural progress of the countries that were captured by Imperialist Europe should be mentioned as one of the major negative consequences. Namely, in the age of Imperialism, multiple colonies, particularly, those located in Asia, suffered the suffocating effect of European culture being forced onto them, whereas their own cultural values and ideas were largely represented as regressive and were eradicated from the Asian community (Keukeleire and Lecocq 277). Specifically, a range of cultures was destroyed as a result of colonialism and imperialism (Keukeleire and Lecocq) 279. Therefore, viewing other cultures as inferior and forcing indigenous people to accept the standards and traditions of European culture, colonists, primarily British people, contributed to the destruction and elimination of indigenous cultures (Keukeleire and Lecocq 280). The specified outcome of imperialism on colonized countries in the 19th century has also had a noticeable effect on the present-day development of the countries in question. Namely, the fact that a range of developing states still struggle to promote the development and acceptance of their cultural identity despite having gotten rid of the suffocating effect of colonialism indicates that recovering from the outcomes of imperialism is a complicated process taking a significant amount of time.

Finally, among the key effects of colonialist attitudes of European states on developing states under colonial rule, political problems deserve to be discussed. Specifically, due to being under the continuous political control of Europe, mostly the United Kingdom, a range of colonies have failed to develop a self-sufficient and reliable political system (Ziltener et al. 156). As a result, a range of former colonies has been struggling to maintain political leverage both in the global and domestic settings, as recent studies prove (Ziltener et al. 159). Furthermore, being typically inconsistent with the culture and traditions of colonized states, European political structures and hierarchies have contributed to the rapid deterioration and, in worst-case scenarios, the political downfall of former colonies. The example of Southern Africa is, perhaps, the most egregious one since it showcases how the political power of wealthier states can allow them to devour countries of lesser economic and political impact. Namely, the case in point illustrates the erasure of religious and cultural values of colonized nations (Damoah et al. 19). Therefore, while the Industrial Revolution was an undeniably important contribution to global development, European states have also produced much harm in their effort to forward their economic growth and expand further by exploiting countries of lesser political and economic power.

Due to the focus on the enhancement of the Industrial Revolution and the search for cost-efficient opportunities for European companies, European imperialism has predetermined that the eh role of countries under colonial rule should be restricted to that one of a raw material supplier. Therefore, developing countries were significantly restricted and, in effect, rigidly controlled by European entrepreneurs due to the power of imperialism. As a result, the economic potential of the developing countries in question was significantly curbed, causing them to ignore their opportunities for economic development. Thus, the effects of European colonialism on the countries that experienced the colonial rule are highly negative due to the restrictions on economic growth and political development, as well as the stifling of cultural progress within the countries in question.

Works Cited

Damoah, Isaac Sakyi, et al. “Corruption as a Source of Government Project Failure in Developing Countries: Evidence from Ghana.” Project Management Journal, vol. 49, no. 3, 2018, pp. 17-33.

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Keukeleire, Stephan, and Sharon Lecocq. “Operationalising the Decentring Agenda: Analysing European Foreign Policy in a Non-European and Post-Western World.” Cooperation and Conflict, vol. 53, no. 2, 2018, pp. 277-295.

Maseland, Robbert. “Is colonialism history? The Declining Impact of Colonial Legacies on African Institutional and Economic Development.” Journal of Institutional Economics, vol. 14, no. 2, 2018, pp. 259-287.

Ziltener, Patrick, Daniel Künzler, and André Walter. “Research Note: Measuring the Impacts of Colonialism: A New Data Set for the Countries of Africa and Asia.” Journal of World-Systems Research, vol. 23, no. 1, 2017, pp. 156-190.

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