Motivations for and Effects of European Colonialism in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa
From the 15th century onward, European colonization of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, respectively, was motivated by economic greed, and (to a lesser extent) by religious zeal on the part of European nations (e.g., Spain in particular) wishing to spread Christianity to “uncivilized” indigenous peoples. As a result of New World colonialism, Spanish influence, for example, is still strongly felt throughout the Americas today, and British; Dutch; French, and Portuguese influence is all still strongly evident within many parts of Africa. Widespread European colonization (and domination) of the two regions was, from the 15th century on, driven neither by intellectual curiosity nor any desire to help or learn from indigenous peoples, but rather, by wave after wave of pure European exploratory zeal, with mostly economic roots. All in all, European colonization of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa created massive changes (most of them much for the worse) in physical landscape and economic distribution of wealth and resources on both continents, which continue to strongly affect the people, the resources (or the lack thereof) and the overall conditions of those areas today.
In the early 1500’s, when widespread foreign exploration of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa (and various other areas) first began in earnest, many scientific facts were also, for the first time ever, being empirically proven and acknowledged throughout Europe, e.g., gravity; electricity; purely medical cures for disease, etc. As a result, long-held beliefs that natural occurrences and phenomena (e.g., floods; earthquakes; plagues), could only be explained as manifestations of God, were being challenged (and often disproved) for the first time. New discoveries and ideas, scientific and otherwise, increasingly made old “truths” seem (depending on who insisted on them, and in what circumstances) simple-minded and anachronistic, if not dogmatic, especially when they could be concretely proven false. One such well-known example was the belief, proved false by Christopher Columbus in the late 15th century when sailing to the New World from Spain, that the world was flat.
These times of initial world exploration were eras of European conquest and self- actualization (to use a contemporary term). However, the protracted period of ruthless pillaging of Latin America and Africa and coercive domination of their peoples left both areas and their peoples depleted, of both human and natural resources, and therefore vastly worse off than before. Moreover, despite Latin America’s and Sub-Saharan Africa’s vast geographical distance from one another, and their diversity of natural resources; flora; fauna; climate, etc., both were essentially colonized by Europeans for the same key reasons, that is, to mine those areas’ rich untapped natural resources (e.g., gold; silver; diamonds; minerals, etc.) and thereby enrich the colonizing nations; and to expand geographical and political power, generally through coercion of native peoples.
A try and by the equally ruthless Portuguese, within Brazil (Bradshaw). Portugal was the first European nation to actively export slavery. According to Bradshaw et al.:
The Portuguese were the first European colonists [of Africa], reaching Angola in 1843, and establishing relations with the local Koago ruler. They visited the Mozambique coast in 1848 and ousted the Arab traders who had built coastal cities as centers for their Indian Ocean trade. The slave trade devastated both Angola and Mozambique as over three million slaves were taken to Brazil from Angola alone. (p. 369)
European colonization of Africa was also largely responsibly for African tribes’ migration, from outlying areas relatively distant from one another, to bigger (European-style) cities, creating more crowded conditions and resulting health problems, including malaria (to which African tribes, living far away from one another in the past, had been generally resistant, even though European colonizers themselves had not been so), and, more recently, but for that same reason, the epidemic spread of AIDS, throughout Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, among Sub-Saharan African nations. In the 21st century, such widespread poverty and disease have turned these once rich and vibrant African nations into wastelands. In around 1483 according to Bradshaw et al., “The slave trade devastated Angola and Mozambique as over 3 million slaves were taken to Brazil from Angola alone” (p. 368). from Sub-Saharan Africa during its colonization of Brazil. Sub-Saharan Africa itself was colonized not only by the Portuguese slave traders, but also by the Dutch; the British; and the French. As Bradshaw et al.
During colonization of both Africa and Latin America, European nations and their personal representatives (e.g., the Spanish conquistadores) were motivated by greed and (although to a lesser extent, and perhaps as a spiritual rationalization for that greed) a zeal to spread Christianity to “uncivilized” areas. To Latin America in particular, the Europeans also brought smallpox, which spread and wiped out vast numbers of indigenous New World populations (Diamond, 1999).
As Bradshaw et al. (2003) note similarly, colonial occupation of Latin American nations, by the Spanish and Portuguese:… “dramatically reduced the numbers of Native American peoples and consigned the survivors to an underclass left a legacy of ethnic strife and hindered economic development. Habits and attitudes born under colonialism affected the region’s countries for decades after colonialism.” (p. 451)
Bradshaw et al. further point out (pp. 421-426) that in particular, the Spanish conquerors of Mexico and Latin America, the most famous (or infamous) being Cortez in Mexico, and Pizarro in Peru, were mainly after gold, silver, and other indigenous natural resources.
Toward that end, the Portuguese aggressively harvested indigenous natural resources of Brazil in particular. The Portuguese were helped in this effort by their forced importation of millions of African slaves. They also enslaved indigenous Brazilian peoples for this purpose (Bradshaw, 2003; Diamond, 1999). Further, because of that, as Bradshaw et al. (2003) point out: “Large numbers of present-day Brazilians trace their ancestral heritage to African slaves” (p. 426).
The Spanish and Portuguese, however, were not the only nations to wish to capitalize on the rich natural resources of the New World. “French, Dutch, and British attempts to colonize Latin America came later, and were largely resisted by the Spanish and the Portuguese” (Bradshaw et al., p. 425)
Like Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa has mainly suffered, politically, socially, and economically, as a result of being colonized by outside forces. Today as a result, “Many countries in Africa south of the Sahara are short of the basic human resources and infrastructure needed to achieve slower population growth, faster economic development, and political democracy” (Bradshaw et al. p. 372). Further, as Bradshaw et al. state:
The history of African peoples before the coming of Arabs and Europeans was rich and sophisticated. It included organized kingdoms and empire with trading connections across the continent… However, the extension of global links with Arab, Asian, and European people in the last 1500 years was often to the disadvantage of the Africans. The slave trade and the arrogance of external powers brought undeserved low expectations of African abilities.
African people, whose ancestors were moved as slaves, now form significant populations in other parts of the world. (p. 364)
Moreover, the tendrils of massive European colonization of the regions today cling stubbornly to these areas, their largely depleted economies, and their peoples. Before European colonization, advanced civilizations like the Inca, Aztec, and Mayan ones flourished, as did similarly advanced African kingdoms. As Bradshaw et al. (2003) remind us: The history of African peoples before the coming of Arabs and Europeans was rich and sophisticated. It included organized kingdoms and empires with trading connections across the continent. ” (p. 364). Today by comparison, Africa is viewed by most of the world as a continent plagued by infectious diseases; by famine (see Bradshaw et al., p. 373); by tribal wars, and by widespread poverty, with comparatively little in the way of trade or natural resources to offer other parts of the world. Africa still suffers, also, from the erroneous perceptions, by European colonists of past centuries, that its people are backward, primitive, and unintelligent, and therefore “in need” of foreign intervention into their lives, traditions, customs, and values.
Latin America today suffers similarly in many ways, also an unfortunate legacy of past European invasion. Perhaps most interestingly, Brazil, the Latin American nation most ravaged by the Portuguese, suffers from an AIDS epidemic equal to those of parts of Africa. Indigenous peoples of Brazil, their numbers severely decreased by a smallpox epidemic brought by European settlers, live today in isolated pockets of Andean poverty. Some of Brazil’s indigenous tribes are so small today that they risk dying out within the next generation. Meanwhile, Brazil’s tropical rain forests continue today to be destroyed in the name of “progress,” wreaking havoc with our worldwide ecosystem.
Mexico, once home to some of the most advanced civilizations anywhere, the Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs (Bradshaw et al., 2003), which was then ruthlessly conquered by Spanish conquistadores for centuries, and then left to struggle on its own after independence from Spain in 1821 (Bradshaw et al., 2000) has suffered, with Spanish rule as a model, from corruption in government ever since. Like many African nations, Mexico today is a poor country, having been stripped long ago of its once-rich natural resources. In the 21st century, American, European, and Asian trans-national corporations (e.g., General Motors; Toyota; Coca Cola; IBM; Nestle, etc., build plants in Mexico and Latin America, where indigenous labor is cheaper than American labor. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of poor Mexican citizens living in poverty struggle to sneak across the borders of the United States, into California, Arizona, Texas, or New Mexico, in hope of finding better lives by working for American dollars, instead of Mexican pesos.
All in all, European colonialism, an outgrowth and direct result of acquisitive worldwide European exploration and expansion, from the time of the Spanish conquistadores through the Enlightenment Period; through the Industrial Revolution and beyond, has done more harm than good within both Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. For the most part, within these regions, colonialism (and/or its long-lasting after-effects) brought disease; poverty, and much cultural coercion to those areas. Natural resources were stolen; human resources were abused or killed, often in the name of religion, but more truthfully, due to economic greed. The heydays of both Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America took place before European colonialism, or for that matter colonialism of any kind. Neither area of the world, moreover, has been at all well-off since. As Bradshaw states at the beginning of his Chapter 3, of Contemporary World Regional Geography (2003) “Europe is a hearth for many contemporary global ideas and practices.” Clearly, some of these, such as democracy, have made the world of the 21st century a better place. Other European ideas and practices, however, colonialism in particular have based on the examples of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, made the world much worse.
Bradshaw, Michael et al. Contemporary World Regional Geography: Global
Connections, Local Voices. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: Norton, 1999.
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more