Colonialism is the process whereby a country takes administration or control of parts or the whole of another country’s authority mostly with the intention of economic domination.
In colonizing a country, the colonial master may impose on their colony their way of life, economic model, religion and their general way of life on them. The colonial masters normally rule the territories in order to achieve their own interests at the expense of the country being colonized by extracting their resources and putting up unfavorable conditions for the indigenes to prevent them from competing on a level playing field with.
Initially, the European colonial powers followed the model of mercantilism which was aimed at strengthening their home countries by limiting trade agreements between the host country and their home country. But by the mid-19th century, the British Empire decided to jettison this policy and adopt free trade which contained no tariffs and had few restrictions.
TYPES OF COLONIALISM
Colonialism is generally considered by historians to be in four main types; exploitation colonialism, internal colonialism, surrogate colonialism, and settler colonialism.
• Exploitation Colonialism includes small numbers of colonists and instead focuses on exploiting natural resources or the populace as working tools to benefit their home nation. This group includes trade outposts and larger colonies where the colonists control much of the political and economic administration.
• Internal Colonialism is about the uneven structural power in a state. This source of exploitation occurs within the state. This is shown in the way exploitation and control moves from whites in the colony to the white immigrant populace within a newly formed independent nation.
• Surrogate Colonialism talks about a settlement project which is supported by a colonial power in which most of those settling there do not come from the same ethnic group as those ruling.
• Settler Colonialism includes large-scale immigration mostly motivated by political, religious or economic reasons. It aims at replacing the original populace. In this type, a large number of people move to the colony to stay and cultivate the land. Canada, Australia and the United States of America fall within this category.
At the height of their colonial reign, the British Empire controlled most of Africa including present-day Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Egypt, Gambia, Botswana, Namibia, and others. The French also controlled Cote Divoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Algeria, and others. Other smaller colonial powers at the time in Africa were Belgium, Portugal, and Germany.
EFFECTS OF COLONIALISM
Colonialism had both good and bad effects on the colonized countries which made it a double-edged sword, a bit good and bad. Some notable effects include:
1. Colonialism brought about western education to the colonized countries.
2. It led to loss of identity for most of the countries colonized especially in Africa.
3. Dependence on colonial masters has been an issue which has persisted till even today and shows no sign of abating anytime soon.
4. Colonialism also introduced modern forms of agriculture which proved to be more effective than the traditional hoe and cutlass.