Effects of colonialism

Do you fully understand what colonialism is? Do you know how many negative effects are caused by colonialism? Most of the things that pop out of people’s mind about colonialism are Europe, Great British, Africa, War and money, but this is just the “tip of the iceberg”. Colonialism is defined as one powerful country controlling another weaker country and making profits, often while forcing its own language and cultural values upon its people. “By 1914, most of the countries in the world had been colonized by the Europeans at the same point (Blakemore, 2019)”. In the middle of the 15th century, central and southern Africa was still unknown to Europe. Europe is more interested in profitable trade routes from Asia, especially the import of silk and spices. In the beginning of 18th century, slave trade becomes the most profitable business. European ships buy slaves in Africa whom they exchange in America for gold and local products such as sugar and coffee. In the late 18th century, after the second industrial revolution, the European countries had led the world for many decades. Also, Berlin Conference (UK, France, Germany) which sets the right of conquest for the scramble for Africa. Most of the Africa area had been colonized by European countries such as Italy, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain. Indigenous people are subject to taxes but have no money to pay them. So, they find themselves working in the fields or in mines, which become a form of forced labor. The reasons that we shouldn’t support colonialism appear in the futures is because the history events of forced labor and mortality in Java, Discrimination and Stratification in Africa, India transitioned from a prosperous nation to an underdeveloped nation. Those examples will warn the people now that colonialism should disappear forever.

In the 19th century, Java, Indonesia was under control by Dutch. De Zwart, a professor of economic history and colonial history, states that “Dutch government proposed a system of forced cultivation of cash crops in which the colonial government set specific targets for various cash crops that had to be produced in each residency (the largest administrative unit of the Dutch East Indies), which then translated into targets at the district and village levels.” Since Java land was abundant and agricultural productivity was high, the colonial government put more pressure on the colonists to produce crops. This is known as forced labor. Also, “colonial system had a negative impact on regional health since labor demands are strongly associated with higher mortality rates” (De Zwart, 2015). The reason why it creates a negative impact of forced labor is because people work too long in the field with little rest. People inhale a lot of dust from the fields into their lungs and lead to various diseases. Furthermore, “Our estimates suggest that without the abolition of the Cultivation System average overall mortality in Java would have been between 10 and 30 percent higher by the late 1870s” (De Zwart). This shows that the Cultivation System really impacts the people that live in Java, which has a high mortality rate in Java because of the Cultivation system. Cultivation system that was implemented by the Dutch colonial government in nineteenth-century Java, Indonesia, which is a policy to expand the productive capacity of the colony. Although Dutch only want to make profit from Java, and without help they develop better. Therefore, Colonialism should be prohibited from now on.

If people saids the success of Europe is inseparable from Africa, that would be definitely true. The worrying concern is that Africa has been the richest region in the world in terms of natural resources, yet the poorest economically. Colonialism began in Africa in the 14th century, with the primary objective of making profit by expense of African peoples. In order to make it profitable, some European countries obliterated African autonomy by creating colonial territories for taking Africa’s natural resources without constraint to expand their economic systems. Although Africa helps European countries develop faster and become successful, they don’t treat African people as benefactors. One example is “Taxation was alien to the African peoples, as their form of tax was payable in kind using, for example, yams, cocoa-yams, livestock, or palm oil. The colonialists made taxation payable only in the colonial currency, which the African peoples were constrained to earn by working in plantations, mines or industries to be able to comply with the tax rules” (Munyai, 2018). This shows how evil and greedy European countries are. Although European countries control most of all the natural resources in Africa, they still want to tax them a lot and earn benefits from the African workforce. This is unreasonable since Africa benefits the whole world, nobody is trying to benefit back to Africa. That is why colonialism should not be allowed anymore.

In the early 1600s Great Britain, Dutch, and French created private companies dedicated to exploring and extorting East India. One of the most famous companies made by Great Britain is the East Indian Company. “The East India Company was incorporated by royal charter on December 31, 1600 and went on to act as a part-trade organization, part-nation-state and reap vast profits from overseas trade with India, China, Persia and Indonesia for more than two centuries. Its business flooded England with affordable tea, cotton textiles and spices, and richly rewarded its London investors with returns as high as 30 percent, but the mortality rate for an employee of the East India Company was a shocking 30 percent” (Pandey, 2017). Although the East India Company makes a lot of profit for Great Britain, the mortality rate for the employee was unacceptable. The employee has no right to quit their job because they were oppressed by the British. Britain shouldn’t sacrifice other people’s lives for profit. Furthermore, “One research paper categorically refuted British moral assertion. Pandey concluded that Britain plundered almost $45 trillion from India between 1765 to1938, based on nearly two centuries of precise tax and trade data. This amount is almost 17 times the current combined GDP of Britain and India” (Pandey, 2017). This is a huge amount of money that India made profit to the British between 1765 to 1938. However, India didn’t earn any benefit from the British but gave them more negative effects such as high mortality rate and economic recession. India should have been developing better now without British colonization.

Some people think colonization has some positive effects. “It’s true that colonial governments invested in public services and infrastructure such as hospitals, railroads, roads and schools” (Kendhammer, 2015). However, those infrastructure are the tools for colonial power to make more profits. Also, the tax for farmers and workers far exceeded any reciprocal investments in public goods. Those public good is not enough to make positive effects on the colonists. The other positive effect that people think is “Colonialism in Africa also introduced a common central bank in the French colony. Though this is with the exception of Guinea. The introduction of a central bank which supplied all the French colonies the same currency helped to promote inter-state trade among the colonies” (Kendhammer, 2015). Banks were created to keep money, and it can solve a lot of problems with the trade by barter system. But all the money was under control by the colonist power, that means they can take people’s money very easily. Compared to the positive effect that the people think is complete defeat by the negative effect that people have proved.

In conclusion, the forced labor in Java, taking all the natural resources from Africa, and using India to make profit are showing many negative effects of colonialism. Since the colonies benefit the whole world without having any benefit back, Colonialism should be banned immediately. In the end, the first and second world wars occurred because of the consequences of colonialism that helped European countries develop, and to develop new weapons for warfare. So, no country should try to start colonialism again because no one likes to live under World War III.

Blakemore, Erin. “Colonialism facts and information.” National Geographic, 19 February                                                                                                                   2019,https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/colonialism

De Zwart, Pim, et al. “The Demographic Effects of Colonialism: Forced Labor and Mortality in Java, 1834–1879.” The Journal of Economic                       History, vol. 82, no. 1, Cambridge University Press, 2022, pp. 211–49,

Kendhammer, Brandon. “Analysis | A controversial article praises colonialism. But colonialism’s real legacy
was ugly.” The Washington Post, 19 September 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-                                                                    cage/wp/2017/09/19/colonialism-left-behind-a-long-legacy-most-of-it-bad

Munyai, Anzanilufuno. “African Renaissance : Effects of Colonialism on Africa’s Natural Resources and
the Right to Development.” Tydskrif Vir Regswetenskap, vol. 45, no. 1, University of the Free State,
2020, pp. 1–27, https://doi.org/10.18820/24150517/JJS45.i1.1

Pandey, Popy. “How Britain Looted $45 Trillion From India.” History of Yesterday, 6 July 2021,

Singh, Manmohan. “Did India Benefit From Colonial Rule? « CCS Researching Reality Internship.” CCS
Researching Reality Internship, 30 June 2015, https://ccsinternship.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/did-india-benefit-from-colonial-                  rule/