The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (2023)

From trade and exploration to colonization:

This section of the tenth grade curriculum was developed in 2009. While much of the content is still relevant to the new curriculum, the focus is slightly different. However, it makes for great additional reading. In this section, you'll see how the expansion of European trade led to the establishment of fortified trading posts and eventually permanent European settlements in the Americas, Africa, and India.

Early European trade and voyages of discovery

The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (1)Bartholomeu Dias, the first European to navigate the southern tip of Africa. Image: SAHO collage

The mighty Ottoman Empire blocked European access to markets in the East. The Ottoman Turks controlled the trade routes to the east.

The main reason why Europeans started looking for a sea route to the east was to avoid expensive fees or taxes. The rulers of every country between India and Europe imposed a tax on the shipment of spices when the goods passed through their country. Europeans used seasonings such as salt, nutmeg and cloves to preserve meat as they did not have refrigerators to keep meat fresh.

During the 15th century, the Portuguese began to explore the west coast of Africa. They established trading posts and began trading gold and slaves in competition with the trans-Saharan trade routes inland.

Diogo Cão reached the mouth of the Congo in 1483 and Cabo de la Cruz in 1486. ​​​​Bartolomeu Dias was the first European to sail around the southern tip of Africa. He arrived at Mossel Bay in 1488 and on his return to Portugal saw the Cape Peninsula for the first time and called it the "Cape of Storms" due to the bad weather that ships experienced there.

D. João II of Portugal was so happy when he heard the news that he renamed it Cape of Good Hope. In late 1497, the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope using Dias' charts. He stopped at several locations along the east coast of Africa. In the port of Malindi he met an experienced Arab sailor, Ibn Majid, who joined the expedition and showed him the sea route to India across the Indian Ocean. They reached Calicut in 1498.

While the Portuguese were looking for a route to India bypassing Africa, the Spaniards were looking for a western route. Sponsored by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Italian navigator Christopher Columbus sailed west across the Atlantic to reach Asia in 1492.

Columbus based his voyage on his calculation of the size of the Earth (which later turned out to be incorrect). He reached the Caribbean islands of what was later called America. He was convinced that he had found the East Indies. Columbus claimed San Salvador, Cuba and Hispaniola for the Spanish crown, where he established trading posts to finance his voyages.

Columbus and da Gama's attempts to find new trade routes to the east encouraged the exploration of other areas. King Henry VII of England encouraged John Cabot's exploration of a northwest to east route. In 1497 he discovered Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. At the same time, Amerigo Vespucci claimed to have discovered a "New World" when he landed on the South American continent in 1497. These discoveries led to European colonization in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The role of companies

The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (2)Jan Van Riebeeck and his crew, flying the flag of the Dutch East India Company, reach the Cape of Good Hope and encounter the Khoikhoi. Image source: Cape Town Archives.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, several companies were established in Europe to further expand trade with the East. These were founded by commercial adventurers who traveled east after discovering the Cape Sea Route. These companies received commercial letters from the governments of their countries. This meant that Europe's rulers were not directly involved in trade. However, they were supportive of business and welcomed the growing prosperity that trade brought to the economy.

A charter is a document that gives corporations authority to take over and control other areas. This control included various government functions such as making laws, issuing currency, negotiating treaties, waging wars, and administering justice. These were the most important of these franchised companies:

  • Danish East India Company;
  • English East India Company;
  • French East India Company.


colonizationis the acquisition of colonies. European powers took the land by force and then settled Europeans on the land. The conquered country came to be known as a colony. imperialismIt is a policy of expanding a country's power and influence through colonization, use of military force, or other means.

In the last 500 years there have been different phases of colonization.

commercial stations
In the early stages of colonization, colonies were primarily trading posts. Portugal and the Netherlands were initially more interested in trade than establishing colonies. They built forts along the coasts of Africa and Asia to protect their trade and did not try to control the inland lands. As colonial trade became more competitive, trading posts became settlement colonies.

settlement colonies
During the colonization phase, European countries sent settlers to inhabit and control large tracts of land. They violently took full control of new territories and enforced European laws. These settlers often excluded indigenous people from their society or killed many of them in violent wars or through disease. In America, many Native Americans died from diseases brought to their land by Europeans. Examples of settlement colonies are the English colonies in parts of the United States, Canada and Australia.

exploration colonies
Worker colonies did not attract large numbers of permanent European settlers. Small numbers of Europeans went to these colonies, mostly looking for employment as farmers, administrators, merchants or military officers. In the workers' colonies, the colonizers used violence to break down resistance and maintain control. They didn't expel or kill indigenous societies; instead, they used their manpower. The colonies of exploration were Indonesia and Malaysia in Southeast Asia and Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa.

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Disputed settlement colonies
In a disputed settlement colony, large numbers of Europeans settled permanently in the colony. In the United States, settlers established their own government and severed ties with their homeland. In some cases, indigenous peoples not only resisted but grew, and their workforce remained the backbone of the economy, as was the case in South Africa. However, when the United States seceded from Great Britain, the indigenous population was virtually wiped out and slave labor had to be imported to do the work.

informal empires
In informal empires, Europeans had influence over the country's rulers without controlling them. During the 19th century, individual Western nations called parts of China their sphere, or sphere of influence. These Western nations even demanded that disputes involving Europeans in these areas be adjudicated by Western courts in accordance with Western law.

reasons for colonization

A quick way to remember the main reasons for establishing colonies is "Gold, God and Glory", but you need to understand each reason in more detail.

economic reasons
Colonies were important sources of raw materials (eg raw cotton) and markets for finished goods (eg textiles). The colonizing country could prevent competitors from trading with its colonies. It's called commerceMonopoly. The exploitation of ores and other resources brought great wealth to the colonizing country. Gold, in particular, was very popular.Merchandise. Individual investors saw opportunities to make a personal fortune by helping to fund the founding of colonies. Both slavery and colonization provided cheap labor that increased profits and increased the wealth of colonizers.

humanitarian reasons
Europeans considered it their duty to spread Christianity among "pagans" (infidels) in other countries of the world. Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries were sent to remote areas to convert people to Christianity. The missionaries also provided the natives with Western education and medical care, which they believed was better than that offered by teachers and traditional healers. They believed they were doing God's work and helping to "civilize" the rest of the world. They were called humanists because they were concerned with the welfare of their fellow men. Unfortunately, many greedy and reckless people hid behind religion to cover up what they were really doing: destroying entire cultures and civilizations to take control of the people and their lands.

Countries with large empires were respected and admired. Increased wealth led to greater military and political power. A small country like England became one of the most powerful empires in the world by conquering vast tracts of land and dominating international trade. Competition and rivalry between colonial powers often led to war as they tried to take each other's colonies.

strategic reasons
Certain colonies were acquired for their strategic importance. This put them in a good position in times of war. They also allowed settlers to control trade routes. Cape Settlement is a good example of a strategic reason to acquire a colony. While the Dutch controlled the Cape, they controlled the sea route to the east. The Dutch built a fortress on the Cape Peninsula to defend the colony from attacks by rival colonial powers.

Conquest, war and the beginning of colonialism in America

the caribbean islands

The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (3)Columbus's first voyage to San Salvador, Cuba and Hispaniola. Source: Wikipedia

On his first voyage, Columbus claimed San Salvador, Cuba and Hispaniola as Spanish possessions. He built a fort and left the Spanish soldiers panning for gold in Hispaniola while he returned to Spain (these men were later killed by the islanders for mistreating them).

On his second voyage, Columbus took a thousand Spanish colonists with him to settle on Hispaniola. This was the first European colony in the "New World". These settlers fought each other and the islanders. They were greedy and complained that there wasn't enough gold to make them rich. They got land and were allowed to force the natives to work for them, but they still weren't satisfied. Colonists were also responsible for introducing foreign diseases such as influenza, smallpox, measles and typhoid, which drastically reduced the indigenous population in the Caribbean over a period of 50 years.

the americanContinent

In the early 16th century, the Spaniards began to conquer the mainland of Central and South America. Vasco NáºÁ±ez de Balboa, Spanish merchant, was considered the first of the conquerors. Balboa is best known for being the first European to see the Pacific Ocean. However, his expedition did not end well, as one of his rivals, the newly appointed governor of Darién (Panama), had him executed. Today, Panama honors the Balboa by naming its currency, the Balboa, after him.

conquest of the aztec empire

You learned about the rich and powerfulaztec empirein the previous section. The case studies that follow will provide more insight into how the Spanish destroyed this mighty empire.

Achievement case study 1

In 1519, Spanish conquistador Herman Cortés led an expedition into central Mexico in search of land and gold. He arrived with five hundred armored men. They brought cannons, mastiffs and sixteen horses. Cortés defeated the Aztecs' enemies, the Tlaxcalans, and then formed an alliance with them to defeat the Aztecs. Thousands of Tlaxcalans, eager to witness the destruction of the Aztec empire, joined him as he rode towards Tenochtitlán, the capital.

The Aztec ruler, Emperor Moctezuma II, greeted Cortés with gifts because he believed he was the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl who rose from the sea. He allowed Cortés into the city to learn more about the Spaniards and their intentions. Seeing large amounts of gold and other treasures, the Spaniards captured the emperor and began to rule the empire. With the support of the Tlaxcalans and after many bloody battles, the Spaniards finally defeated the Aztecs in August 1521. The Spaniards conquered the remaining Aztecs and took over their lands, forcing them to work in the gold mines and on Spanish properties.

The fall of Tenochtitlán marked the end of the centuries-old Aztec civilization. The city was looted of all its treasures, and then the buildings were blown up with barrels of gunpowder. The Spaniards built Mexico City on the ruins of Tenochtitlán. The city's current cathedral stands on the ruins of an Aztec temple, and the Palace of the President of Mexico stands on the site of Moctezuma's palace. The Spaniards called their new colony in Mexico "New Spain".

Conquest of the Inca Empire

The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (4)This is a portrait of Atahualpa drawn by a member of Pizarro's party, 1533. Source: Wikipedia

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Achievement Case Study 2

Francisco Pizarro was the Spanish conqueror of Peru. He left Spain for the West Indies in 1502 and lived on the island of Hispaniola. He was also part of Balboa's expedition to the Pacific Ocean. Pizarro heard tales of a southern land rich in gold. In the 1520s, Pizarro led two expeditions along the west coast of South America and saw the gold ornaments worn by the Native Americans of the Inca Empire of Peru. He obtained permission from the Emperor from the King of Spain, Charles V. conquer this country and become its governor. Pizarro raised an army of 180 men to take to Peru. Atahualpa, the Inca or Emperor, was captured by the Spaniards who held him hostage. His followers were tricked into paying a large ransom in silver and gold. Instead of sparing his life as promised, Pizarro had Atahualpa executed on August 29, 1533 and took control of the city of Cajarmaca.

Pizarro then marched south and captured the Inca capital of Cuzco. After the Spaniards sacked Cuzco, they conquered the rest of the land from the Incas. Without an emperor to lead them, the Incas had a hard time resisting the Spanish invasion. They were divided among themselves and their weapons were not up to the Spaniards' cannons. Only one Inca community, located high in the mountains and difficult to access, resisted the conquerors. It was the last surviving Inca stronghold until the Spanish conquered it in 1572 and executed its ruler, Tupac AmarÁº.

In 1535 Pizarro established a new capital at Lima and, as governor, was responsible for bringing many settlers to Peru. Most of the settlers were involved in extracting the huge amounts of silver and gold that existed in Peru. The Spaniards were allowed to force the Incas to work for them for low wages. They used forced labor in the army to build new cities and mine for silver and gold.

You've heard that conquerors often fought each other. Diego de Almagro, Pizarro's former partner, fought with Pizarro for Cuzco. The power struggle between Pizarro and Almagro led to the War of Las Salinas in 1538. Almagro was executed, but his son, known as Almagro the Boy, continued the war. Pizarro was assassinated in his palace in Lima in 1541 by followers of Almagro.

Resistance to Spanish colonialism

The Aztec and Inca empires covered very large areas and consisted of millions of people. Only after long and bloody battles did they surrender their capitals to the invaders. European diseases that reduced the population of the native peoples of the Caribbean islands also affected the Aztecs and, to a lesser extent, the Incas.

The Spaniards were less successful against people who occupied other areas of Central and South America. These people attacked unexpectedly, taking advantage of the fact that they outnumbered the Spaniards. In 1542, the Spaniards founded the city of Merida in northwestern Mexico, but only controlled part of the land around that city. Most of the peninsula was still ruled by Mayan communities.

Resistance case study 3

The Spaniards met particularly fierce resistance from the Auracanian tribes. After conquering the Inca Empire, a Spanish force moved south to found the city of Santiago in 1541. They gained control of the fertile central region of present-day Chile. The Araucanians lived in southern Chile and resisted Spanish control until the 19th century. The Spaniards built a series of forts to defend their settlements from the constant attacks and incursions of the Araucanians. The Araucanians adapted to the European style of warfare, making spears to fight the Spanish on horseback. The Araucanians were finally defeated in the late 1870s and forced to live on reservations.

Resistance Case Study 4

A special type of resistance in the exploiting colonies was the slave revolt. The most dramatic was the Haitian slave rebellion on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, led by François Dominique Toussaint Louverture. The revolt lasted from the early 1790s until 1804, when Haiti gained independence. There were many other slave rebellions throughout the Caribbean and Brazil. Some of these revolts failed and many slaves who participated in the revolts were brutally tortured and executed.

The legacy of the Spaniards in Central and South America

  • Disease and forced labor drastically reduced the population of Central America. It is estimated that Mexico's population declined by ninety percent in the first fifty years after the arrival of the Spaniards.
  • In Central and South America, Spanish settlers ended up intermarrying with the Incas and Aztecs, as most settlers were men. People of mixed races are known as mestizos and they make up the majority of the population today.
  • The official language of the former Spanish colonies in the Americas is Spanish, but there are many people who still speak their indigenous language.
  • Indigenous people also converted to Catholicism, which remains the dominant religion in Central and South America.

Colonialism in Africa

Early colonialism in Africa, Portuguese trading posts in West Africa

The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (5)The Congo River.

Portuguese expansion into Africa began with King João I's desire to gain access to the gold-producing areas of West Africa. The trans-Saharan trade routes between Songhay and North African traders provided Europe with gold coins, which were used to trade spices, silk, and other luxury goods from India. At that time there was a shortage of gold and rumors circulated that there were countries in southern Africa that had gold. This news encouraged King John's son, Prince Henry, to send expeditions to explore these possibilities.

At first, the Portuguese established trading posts along the west coast of Africa rather than permanent settlements. They built forts in Cabo Blanco, Sierra Leone and Elmina to protect their trading posts from rival European traders. In doing so, the Portuguese diverted the gold and slave trade away from the trans-Saharan routes, causing their decline and bolstering their own status as a powerful trading nation.

In the 1480s, the Portuguese came into contact with the Kingdom of Congo, located south of the Congo River in what is now northern Angola. Congo became powerful through warfare and the capture and enslavement of the people it conquered.

The Portuguese did not conquer this region, but preferred to become allies of the King of Congo. The king strove to use Portuguese teachers and artisans to educate his people. He also allowed Catholic missionaries to work among his people. The Portuguese traded weapons for slaves captured by the Congo in wars against rival kingdoms in the interior. Aside from small amounts of copper and baton materials, the area did not offer any lucrative trade in gold or silver, which disappointed the Portuguese. The slave trade more than made up for this disappointment.

Sugar plantations were established on the islands of Sao Tome and Principe in the 1490s. Portuguese settlers on these islands used slaves they purchased from Congolese traders to work these plantations. Very soon São Tomé became the biggest sugar producer in Europe. When Brazil became a Portuguese colony in the 1530s, the demand for slaves to work on the sugar plantations established there increased. São Tomé became an important stopping point for slaves before embarking on the transatlantic journey to South America.

As the demand for slaves in Brazil increased, Sao Tome traders found a better supply of slaves further south, near Luanda and Benguela. The wars fought in this region ensured a constant supply of slaves. In exchange for slaves, the Portuguese provided the kings of Ndongo and Lunda with weapons, fabrics, and other European luxuries. Cannons allowed kings to defeat their enemies and maintain a dominant position in the region.

In 1641, the Dutch conquered the slave trade in Angola from the Portuguese and managed to control it until 1648, when the Portuguese regained control. Angola only became a Portuguese colonial settlement after the end of the slave trade in the 19th century.

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The legacy of the Portuguese in West-Central Africa

  • The Portuguese introduced agricultural products grown in South America, such as corn, sugar cane and tobacco. Coffee plantations were introduced in Angola in the 19th century. Coffee is now one of Angola's most important exports.
  • The Portuguese introduced weapons into the region that changed the nature of warfare and allowed their allies to dominate other kingdoms.
  • The Portuguese encouraged wars between rival kingdoms to maintain a steady supply of slaves. As a result, the region was constantly at war and millions of young people, mostly men, were forced to leave Africa and work as slaves in the Americas.
  • The Portuguese language is now mainly spoken in the urban areas of Angola. However, indigenous languages ​​survived in the rural population.
  • In modern Angola, about ninety percent of the population is Christian, mostly Catholic, as a result of Portuguese missionary activity in the area. The rest of the population follows traditional African religions.

Portuguese trading posts in East Africa

The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (6)A 1375 map drawn in Spain showing the King of Mali holding a gold nugget. Source: British Library

A well-established trading network for gold and ivory existed between the inland kingdoms of Africa and the cities on the east coast of Africa. For centuries, Arabs traded with African kingdoms like Great Zimbabwe and Mwanamutapa to supply African ivory and gold to Arabia, the Persian Gulf, India and even China. Arab settlers intermarried with native Africans who lived along the east coast. They introduced Islam and influenced the development of the Swahili language. A new coastal society emerged that was a blend of African and Islamic traditions. This prosperous society built beautiful cities along the coast, from where they traded with Arab merchants. The most important of these cities were Zanzibar, Kilwa, Mombasa, the island of Mozambique and Sofala.

In the 16th century, the Portuguese drove the Arabs from the east coast of Africa and established their own trade monopoly in the region. Arriving in heavily armed ships, they demanded that the Muslim sultans (or rulers) recognize the authority of the King of Portugal by paying a heavy tribute. If they refused, the cities were plundered and destroyed. The Portuguese saw this as a continuation of the "Christian holy war" they had waged against the Muslims of Europe for centuries.

Zanzibar was the first of these cities to be attacked in 1503. The city was bombarded with cannon fire from the ships of Portuguese captain Ruy Lourenço Ravasco. In 1505 Francisco d'Almeida arrived with eleven heavily armed ships that destroyed Kilwa, Mombasa and Barawa. To strengthen their position along the coast, the Portuguese built huge stone forts in Kilwa, Sofala, Mozambique and Mombasa. These forts allowed them to control trade in the western Indian Ocean, as well as trade with inland African kingdoms.

From Sofala they traded ivory, gold and slaves with the kingdom of Mwanamutapa. Trading posts were also established in Quilimane, north of Sofala, and in Sena and Tete, along the Zambezi. Further south, Lourenço Marques was sent to Delagoa Bay to establish trade with the Indians who lived there.

Portuguese control of trade in the Indian Ocean

The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (7)In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal was a world leader in navigation and exploration, and it believed it was its duty to spread the Catholic religion. Portuguese missionaries receive the "indigenous chief" in Elmira.

The Portuguese did not have an easy time on the east coast of Africa. They found the climate inhospitable and many died of tropical diseases. They were also constantly attacked by hostile residents of the area and were unable to conquer the interior of Africa. They managed to maintain control by forging alliances with warring clans and pledging to help them against their enemies.

The Portuguese rulers considered it their duty to spread the Catholic religion. Missionary activity began in 1560. Both Jesuits and Dominicans were active in converting Africans to Catholicism. They even managed to convert one of the heirs of the Mwanamutapa dynasty, who renounced his right to be king and joined a monastery in Santa Barbara, India.

By the early 16th century, the Portuguese had established several bases in Asia, including Ormuz at the head of the Persian Gulf; Goa on the west coast of India and the Strait of Moluccas in east India.

From these bases, the Portuguese could control maritime trade throughout the western Indian Ocean. However, Portugal was primarily a maritime power; was unable to defeat other military powers. When larger European nations such as the Dutch, English, and French arrived in the region, Portuguese power and control ended, and by 1650 they only controlled ports such as Delagoa Bay, the island of Mozambique, and Mombasa. Mozambique (Portuguese East Africa) was not recognized as a Portuguese colony by the other European powers until 1885.

The Portuguese heritage in East Africa

  • The Portuguese destroyed the Arab trade routes in the Indian Ocean between Africa, Arabia and India.
  • The Portuguese replaced Arab control over the ivory, gold, and slave trade with their own.
  • They traded the Zambezi River, disrupting existing internal African trade. Only the kingdoms that cooperated with the Portuguese benefited from this interference.
  • Portuguese is still spoken in Mozambique, but most of the rural population speak one of the indigenous Bantu languages.
  • Only thirty percent of the population are Christians, mostly Catholics. Most of the population practice traditional African religions or do not practice any religion.

The Dutch in South Africa

The Dutch challenged Portuguese dominance in the Indian Ocean trade in the late 16th century, when they began trading spices, calico and silk in the east and gold, copper, ivory and slaves in Africa. In the 17th and early 18th centuries, the Netherlands became Europe's wealthiest trading nation, until challenged by Great Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (8)The close-up of this illustration from Bogaarts' Historical Charms (1711) shows the Khoikhoi way of life. The backdrop shows the Dutch settlement and way of life starting to take hold. Source: National Library of South Africa.

The Dutch East India Company (known by its Dutch acronym VOC) was formed in 1602 to carry out Dutch trade with the East Indies. The headquarters was in Jakarta, on the island of Java. As the eastward journey was too long, European maritime nations stopped at the Cape of Good Hope for fresh water and food. Cape Khoikhoi traded sheep, cattle, ivory, ostrich feathers and shells for pearls, metal objects, tobacco and alcohol. Unlike the Portuguese, the Dutch did not trade in weapons because they did not want the Khoikhoi to use them against them.

In 1652, the VOC decided to establish a permanent supply station on the Cape. Jan van Riebeeck was appointed commander of this station. It was his responsibility to build a fort for his protection and a hospital for sick sailors. Company employees grew vegetables and obtained meat from the Khoikhoi to feed the ships that docked in Table Bay. French and English ships were also allowed to dock at the Cape, but they had to pay very high prices for doing so.

Expansion of Dutch settlements

As the settlement grew, the Khoikhoi lost more and more land and livestock to the Dutch. This brought the Dutch into conflict with the powerful chief Cochoqua Gonnema, who refused to negotiate with the VOC. The Company used rival Khoikhoi clans to raid the Cochoqua herds between 1673 and 1677. This is known as the Second Khoikhoi-Holland War. The Cochoqua were defeated and lost all their cattle and sheep to the Dutch and their Khoikhoi allies. The Boers then settled on their land.

Wheat and grapes were grown in this area for colonization and export to passing ships. Slaves from Madagascar, Mozambique and Indonesia were sold to settlers to work the land.

The neighbors on the promenade

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The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (9)Trek Buren the Karoo. Source: Wikipedia

As the settlement grew, some of the farmers became hunters and pastoralists in the interior of the Cape. They were known as "Trekboers" because they lived in bullock carts and were always on the move. They were each given large tracts of land and grazed their cattle on the land until it was overgrazed and then moved on.

During the 1680s and 1690s, the VOC encouraged immigration of Dutch and French Huguenots to the Cape. The newcomers settled in the fertile valleys of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Wheat and grapes were grown in this area for colonization and export to passing ships. Slaves from Madagascar, Mozambique and Indonesia were sold to settlers to work the land.

Khoikhoi Resistance inside

The Khoikhoi were at a disadvantage in their fight against expanding Dutch settlements in the Cape. They had no weapons or horses and were almost wiped out by a series of smallpox epidemics that had swept the Cape since 1713. Like the Aztecs in Mexico, they were not immune to European diseases and died by the thousands.

The Khoikhoi found several ways to resist Dutch expansion. At first they defended themselves by attacking and raiding Dutch farms. In response, Trekboers formed military groups called "commando" and attacked the Khoikhoi to recapture their livestock. As a result, hundreds of Khoikhoi were killed. Once the commandos returned to their farms, the Khoikhoi attacked again, setting in motion a continual cycle of attack and counterattack.

In the end, the Khoikhoi had two options. They might move to more remote and arid regions of the expanding colony, or become servants to the Boers as trackers, herders and shepherds. Some even joined Boer commandos and attacked other Khoikhoi groups. The Boers were not allowed to enslave the natives of South Africa, so these Khoikhoi serfs remained free citizens but rarely received a wage. They were usually paid in food, clothing, housing, drink and tobacco. They were sometimes allowed to raise livestock, but they lost their independence, and with it much of their culture and language. In the Eastern Cape, many Khoikhoi have assimilated into Xhosa society.

The effects of Dutch rule on the Cape

  • The arrival of Dutch settlers marked the permanent settlement of Europeans in southern Africa.
  • Dutch laws, customs and attitudes towards race were brought to South Africa and the Dutch became the ruling class until the British took over the Cape in 1806.
  • The Dutch did not actively encourage the Khoikhoi, or slaves, to become Christians, as that would mean they would have equal rights.
  • The process of land grabbing by indigenous peoples in South Africa began shortly after the arrival of the Dutch and lasted until 1994.
  • Mixing of races took place on the Cape, but it was never accepted as openly as in colonies such as Brazil and Mexico. There were some legal interracial marriages, but most interracial relationships were between European men and their Khoikhoi female slaves or servants. The children of these relationships formed part of what is now known as the Cape Colored Community.
  • Freed slaves were also incorporated into the Cape Colored community. Many of the freed slaves were Muslim and maintained their Malay cultural and religious traditions.
  • The Dutch language has been simplified as it is spoken by the Cape's multicultural community. The Portuguese, Malay, and Khoikhoi words were incorporated into the common language now spoken, which became known as "Afrikaans".

European control over India Great Britain takes control of India

The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (10)Flag of the British East India Company. Source: Wikipedia

In May 1498, Vasco da Gama sailed to the port of Calicut (present-day Kozhikode) on the Malabar coast of India. The Portuguese dominated the Indian coastal trade routes in the 16th century. The Dutch expelled the Portuguese from India in the 17th century. The Dutch East India Company was soon followed by the British East India Company. Both companies started out trading spices but later switched to textiles. They mainly operated on the south and east coasts of India and in the Bengal region. The French also joined the trade in India around 1675.

The English East India Company established trading posts known as factories in Surat (1612) and Madras (1639) (present-day Chennai) under Mughal rule. Rapid growth followed, and in 1690 the company established a new factory further up the Hugli River in a location that became Calcutta (present-day Kolkata). In 1700, the company expanded its commercial activities into Bengal and took the opportunity to become involved in Indian politics.

As the French and British fought for control of Indian trade, the Mughal Empire was in trouble and regional kingdoms grew in power. Emperor Aurangzeb was a strict ruler who had no tolerance for the Hindu population and often destroyed their temples. He tried to force the Indians to become Muslim against his will. As a result, he was not a popular ruler. Shortly after his death in 1707, the empire began to crumble.

The French and British took advantage of the weakness of the Mughal Empire. They offered military support to regional rulers who were undermining the empire. The British and French continued to expand their own political or territorial power while pretending to support a particular local or regional ruler. In 1750, the French managed to establish themselves in a powerful position in southern India, but a year later, British troops forcibly took the French stronghold in the southeast.

In Bengal, the English East India Company reinforced Fort William in Calcutta (now Calcutta) to defend against possible French attacks. This area was part of the Mughal Empire and its emperor attacked Calcutta in 1756. After this attack, the British governor moved north to Madras and secretly conspired with the commander of the enemy army. The Mughal Emperor was defeated at Plassey in 1757 by Company troops under Robert Clive.

The French tried to recover in India, but were forced to abandon Pondicherry in 1760. In 1774, the British again defeated the local rulers and consolidated British control over the Bengal region.

resistance in india

The Effects of Colonialism | History of South Africa online (11)Batlle en Subzee Mundee, an 1857 watercolor of the Sepoy Rebellion by British artist GF Atkinson.

Between 1800 and 1857, the British East India Company extended British control by waging wars against Afghanistan, Burma, Nepal, Punjab and Kashmir. They used Indian and British soldiers to gain more land.

The Indian population did not like British rule. This led to the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, in which Indian soldiers (calledcipayos) staged an armed revolt. The rebellion failed because it lacked good leaders and insufficient support. The rebellion did not stop British rule, but many lives were lost during this rebellion. The British then focused on governing efficiently, incorporating some traditional elements of Indian society. After 1858, India ceased to be controlled by the East India Company and instead came directly under British rule.

Great Britain did not control all of India at the time. Many princes signed treaties with the British and agreed to cooperate with the British. In other areas, the British made Indian princes and put them in charge. In this way, Britain indirectly controlled the so-called Indian states. Queen Victoria of Great Britain appointed a viceroy to govern India.

The effects of British rule in India

  • Colonial empires became rich and powerful as their empires grew in size. However, running colonies was expensive, especially when it came to war. Wars were fought between rival empires who wanted the same land or to defeat rebellious native peoples.
  • Europe, Britain in particular, was able to industrialize because raw materials were obtained from the colonies and because the colonies provided markets for manufactured goods. Slavery did not start because of colonialism; Slavery has always existed. However, European powers could exploit their colonies and increase their wealth using very cheap slave or native labor.
  • Colonialism did not cause racism, but it did help reinforce the belief that Europeans were the dominant race and therefore superior, and that other races were subservient and therefore inferior.
  • On the other hand, colonialism provided opportunities for people of different races, religions and cultures to meet, live and work together. The result was an exchange of ideas, technologies and traditions.
  • The spread of Christianity around the world was possible thanks to missionary activities. This was aided by the expansion of European colonial empires.
  • Church and state worked together to change the indigenous belief systems of the people they ruled. Colonial expansion also brought Christianity into conflict with Islam as European powers challenged Muslim rulers and traders.

european world domination

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The expansion of European trade led to the colonization of five continents over five centuries. Using military force, each of the European colonial powers dominated world trade at different times. As one colonial power weakened, another challenged and replaced it as the dominant power.

What were the effects of colonialism?

  • Great Britain dominated trade in India after the collapse of the Mughal Empire.
  • The British maintained political control through military force.
  • The British ruled India by controlling the regional rulers.
  • The British built a railway system across India and introduced a telegraph and telephone system.
  • Only two percent of the Indian population speaks English. It is the language of educated businessmen and politicians. The official language of India is Hindi, but today more than a thousand languages ​​are spoken in India.
  • India is now the largest democracy in the world. Although they do not rule democratically, the British bequeathed that legacy to the country when they granted independence in 1947.


What were the effects of colonialism on South Africa? ›

Colonialism made African colonies dependent by introducing a mono- cultural economy for the territories. It also dehumanized African labour force and traders. It forced Africans to work in colonial plantations at very low wages and displaced them from their lands.

What were 3 effects of colonization in Africa? ›

By plundering Africa's resources and carving it up into artificial states, Europe's colonial powers created vicious cycles of violence, poverty, and authoritarianism that are playing out to this day.

What are the effects of colonialism on Africa today? ›

Some of the negative impacts that are associated with colonization include; degradation of natural resources, capitalist, urbanization, introduction of foreign diseases to livestock and humans. Change of the social systems of living. Nevertheless, colonialism too impacted positively on the economies and social systems.

What are 5 effects of colonization? ›

Colonialism's impacts include environmental degradation, the spread of disease, economic instability, ethnic rivalries, and human rights violations—issues that can long outlast one group's colonial rule.

What was the biggest impact of colonization of Africa? ›

Colonial control facilitated the construction of railways, induced large inflows of European investment, and forced profound changes in the operation of labour and land markets (Frankema and van Waijenburg 2012). That is, colonial regimes abolished slavery, but they replaced it with other forced labour schemes.

What were the 3 main reasons for the colonization of Africa? ›

The reasons for African colonisation were mainly economic, political and religious.

What are 3 impacts of Colonisation? ›

For Aboriginal people, colonisation meant massacre, violence, disease and loss.

What are the positive and negative effects of the colonization? ›

While the colonization of the America's was negative for many reasons such as the spread of illnesses, and the forcing of religion upon natives, it was also beneficial to the Native's because it allowed them to have better weapons and to have different foods and goods in their lives.

What problems affected Africa after colonialism? ›

There were several negatives of colonialism for the Africans like resource depletion, labor exploitation, unfair taxation, lack of industrialization, dependence on cash crop economy, prohibition of trade, the breaking up of traditional African society and values, lack of political development, and ethnic rivals inside ...

How did colonialism affect the African economy? ›

The policies of colonialism forced the demise of African industry and created a reliance on imported goods from Europe. Had native industry been encouraged and cultivated by the colonizing powers, Africa would probably be in a much better economic and technological position today.

How did colonialism affect Africa politically? ›

Colonialism not only blocked further political development, but indirect rule made local elites less accountable to their citizens. After independence, even if these states had a coherence others lacked, they had far more predatory rulers.

What is colonialism in South Africa? ›

With colonialism, which began in South Africa in 1652, came the Slavery and Forced Labour Model. This was the original model of colonialism brought by the Dutch in 1652, and subsequently exported from the Western Cape to the Afrikaner Republics of the Orange Free State and the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek.

What are the main causes of colonialism? ›

Causes of Colonialism
  • Discovery of New Lands And Trade Routes.
  • Economic Consideration: The countries like England, France, Spain and Portugal established their colonies primarily for the economic benefits.

Why did colonialism happen in Africa? ›

During this time, many European countries expanded their empires by aggressively establishing colonies in Africa so that they could exploit and export Africa's resources. Raw materials like rubber, timber, diamonds, and gold were found in Africa. Europeans also wanted to protect trade routes.

What were 4 reasons why Africa was colonized so quickly? ›

The major reasons for the colonization of Africa by the Europeans were the search for new markets, the need to obtain raw materials, the desire to invest surplus capital outside Europe, and the claim that Africans needed to be civilized through western education and religion.

What were 3 effects of European imperialism in Africa? ›

Answer and Explanation: Three effects Africa encountered because of European Imperialism were shortages of natural resources, death of Africans from European diseases, and increase of wars and revolutions.

What were 3 positive effects of colonialism? ›

Some positives historians have pointed out are medicine, education, improved infrastructure, Christianity, and boundaries. The growth of the African population was aided by the Western medicine introduced by Europeans. Africans were introduced to formal education by Europeans.


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