This week we talked about Colonialism, which is when a country expands their empire for personal gain. Europe tended to dominate the colonialism process early on. The countries in Europe were able to do this for several important reasons. The countries were mostly surrounded by water, which created a body of citizens interested in seafaring. There were also many countries in a small area, which created a sense of competition and a push to dominate. Many of these countries were Christian nations, and Christianity pushes its followers to spread the religion, which was also a major factor in colonialism.
Colonialism meant that a country gained a colony and its resources for that country’s own economic use. Eventually, when Europe began competing in earnest, colonialism was used to heavily exploit those colonies. The people there were seen as subjects, not citizens, and their human rights were set aside in favor of exploitation. The colonists believed that the people in their colonies didn’t appreciate or use properly the resources they had. It brings to mind the movie Pocahontas, and how the people of Jamestown thought that the “gold” (corn) Pocahontas offered was useless and that she had actual gold but didn’t recognize its value. An objects worth is determined by the amount of significance we give it, and it seems extremely egotistical to me that these European countries believed themselves the only ones capable of defining worth in the world.
The process of colonization was dangerous and harmful to the colonies. Even today we see lasting effects of colonization in the racism still evident in many countries affected by slavery, and in the idea that still proliferates of Africa being a backwards and uncivilized place, though many countries there have developed very modern cities. My opinion is that colonization did very little to help the world modernize, and created many long term toxic effects.