In this project on imperialism in Africa, we focused on learning about the primary driving force for the Europeans to colonize Africa. For this project, we wrote a DBQ. The skill I focused on this DBQ was writing a counterclaim. This is an important skill because by writing a counterclaim you are able to acknowledge the other side of the argument and also state why your claim better (so basically it strengthens your argument). One thing I improved while working on this project is my ability to use the evidence in the Mini-Q Packet, because I think that for my reason paragraph had the right evidence that definitely supported my claim. This blog post provides a reflection on my work, as well as a sample of what I accomplished.
I think that this time, I spent my time more wisely than last time, because last time I wrote my essay at the very last moment. I think that I felt less stressed out than last time. This is why I don’t think time was a big issue for me this DBQ, which is cool.
One bright spot I found in my writing is my use of evidence because I think that I cited relevant evidence correctly in different ways.
One thing that I should work on is my analysis because I think that I can elaborate more on the evidence I put in my writing. I also think that I can work on my conclusion.
Here is my writing:
Africa did not start out as a continent with 54 countries. Interestingly, the Africans did not separate themselves into these countries, but a group of people from a different location on earth did. It was the Europeans, during a time known as the European Imperialism. The imperialism of Africa by the Europeans began during the early 1800s and was a time when European countries started colonizing parts of Africa. By the 1880s, most of Africa was conquered by the Europeans. The imperialism of Africa was a massive event which happened for various reasons. However, economics was the primary driving force of imperialism in Africa because resources imported from Africa significantly helped manufacture products for export. Although many people state that technology was the driving force for imperialism, this is clearly not true since most of the inventions which helped the Imperialism were created after the initial raid.
The primary driving force of the Imperialism was the economical reasons as the natural resources obtained in Africa were tremendous help in manufacturing products and gaining profit. The Europeans needed resources to create products, and the abundance of resources in Africa fulfilled those needs. The cotton from Angola to create clothing, the rubber from countries such as Congo Free State and Tanganyika to produce tires, and gold from South Africa to create jewelry and national currency are just some examples from the many different natural resources found in Africa (Doc D). This shows how the natural resources harvested from Africa helped create new products. This was also the time of the Industrial Revolution, which meant that being able to have more natural resources resulted into mass production, something that was unimaginable and impossible just a few years ago. The execution of mass production was extremely crucial for many European countries, as it greatly influenced a country’s economic status. During the 1854, Great Britain earned 3 million pounds from exporting their manufactured products to Africa while using 4 millions pounds on importing natural resources to Britain. In 1900, after the imperialism, they were making even up to 21 million pounds, which using only 8 million pounds on natural resources (Doc E). From this, we can learn that the use of resources from Africa with the mix of the Industrial Revolution tied to it abled the Europeans to make an enormous amount of profit that would have been unimaginable without the imperialism of Africa. Since gaining profit is part of improving the economics of a certain country, it can be safely concluded that the driving force of the imperialism was indeed an economic one.
On the other hand, other people assert that technology was the driving force of the European imperialism because technology enabled the Europeans to successfully conquer the African countries. The development of the steam engine in boats and locomotives (1804) made it possible for a faster form of transportation, the electric telegraph (1837) meant communication over long distances, and the maxim gun (1884), also known as the first machine gun, helped the Europeans take over the African countries (Doc C). This shows that the technology greatly influenced the imperialism because without the technology behind the invasions, the Europeans would definitely not have been able to successfully colonize the Africans. Although this is a plausible claim, economy was a more important driving force because most of the technological inventions were created after the start of the imperialism. The European imperialism began during the 1810s to the 1820s, and yet most of the inventions which were used throughout the European imperialism was created after 1820. The electric telegraph, Bessemer process, maxim gun, and the repeating rifle are all inventions that were very effective in supporting the colonization of many African countries, yet they were invented after 1820 (Doc C). Given this, it is logical to conclude that although the technological advancements massively assisted European countries in invading Africa, it is hard to say it was the driving force, as the majority of inventions were created after the start of the imperialism. Also, as technology was something the Europeans needed to go and colonize Africa, it is more fit to view technology as a great additional “resource” to the act of colonizing Africa rather than considering it as the main intention of the European imperialism. Therefore, even though technology was a very important factor in supporting colonization, it is not the primary driving force for imperialism of Africa.
To conclude, economics was the primary driving force of the imperialism in Africa as the resources imported from Africa increased the European countries’ profits. Technology was also an option as the driving force for imperialism, but it is clearly not since most of the inventions which helped the imperialism were created after the start of imperialism in Africa. The imperialism of Africa brought an immense amount of suffering and abuse for the Africans. The Africans lost their own land to the Europeans and were even forced to work from them. If they disobeyed, punishment followed, some as extreme as cutting off their hands. Nonetheless, despite the horrible acts put upon by the Europeans, imperialism was also the time when Africa grew as a continent. By the Europeans coming in, Africa became a more developed continent than it could have ever been without the Europeans. People should never forget the myriad of damages and developments the Europeans made in Africa.