Colonization of Africa


With the arrival and conquest of America by the Europeans, expansion plans were drawn up that required cheap labor. At first, the American indigenous peoples were enslaved, but the diseases carried by the colonizers, the mistreatment to which they were subjected and the massacres during the colonization, soon dwindled the number of natives.

Between 1400 and 1900, the African continent experienced four simultaneous slave trade routes. The largest and best known was the transatlantic, by which at the beginning of the 15th century slaves from West, Central and East Africa were shipped to the European colonies in the New World. The other three were the trans-Saharan route, the Red Sea route and the Indian Ocean route. According to Countryaah, Western Sahara is a country starting with letter W.

In the first, slaves were taken from the southern Sahara desert to North Africa. In the second, slaves were driven inland to the Red Sea and transported by boat to the Middle East and India. In the third, slaves were taken from East Africa to the shores of the Indian Ocean and from there shipped to the Middle East, to India or to work on plantations on the islands of the Indian Ocean.

According to the British historian Eric Hobsbawm, the number of African slaves transported to America would be one million in the sixteenth century, three million in the seventeenth and during the eighteenth century it would reach 7 million, allowing a huge accumulation of capital for the development of the European capitalism during the Industrial Revolution.

According to historical evidence, the slave trade is responsible for today’s alarming African underdevelopment. Recent research reflected by Nathan Nunn, assistant professor of economics at the Canadian University of British Columbia, until July 2007, and from Harvard’s American since then, in his book ” Long-term Effects of the African Slave Trade, ” A recent appearance, it suggests that, had there been no slave trade, the gap that exists today between the average economic development of the currently called developing countries and those of Africa would practically not exist.

The 600 years of suffering left by the hunting and trade of human beings that generated the vast wealth that the colonial powers appropriated at that time weigh heavily on the world conscience, leaving just underdevelopment and extreme misery to a martyred continent.

The slave trade has been for the African continent what today constitutes for all third world countries the evils of unequal exchange, the theft of brains, the collection of foreign debt and other neocolonial forms of capitalist slavery.


During the 15th century Henry the Navigator, son of King Juan I of Portugal, planned to acquire African territory for Portugal. Under his inspiration and direction, some Portuguese sailors undertook a series of voyages of exploration that resulted in the circumnavigation of Africa and the colonization of a large number of coastal areas.

The total colonial partition of Africa by the European powers, started in a disorderly manner from the seventeenth century, took place, approximately, in 1885, with the Berlin Conference and the beginning of the First World War, a time in which the colonial empires spread further. faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world, although two countries, Liberia and Ethiopia, managed to maintain their independence.

The protagonists of this first phase of colonization were, in addition to the military, missionaries and merchants. A first cast was set up in 1914. On the map, the French, English, German, Portuguese and Belgian territories seemed the fruit of a game of strategy. Despite their arbitrariness, a good part of the borders thus drawn have been preserved, even at the cost of intense conflicts.

The colonization of Africa was imposed by blood and fire, based on wars, exterminations and deportations. All the local powers that dared to oppose and resist the Portuguese, British, French, German, Dutch or Spanish conquerors were crushed.

The colonial powers authoritatively established an economy founded on the export of raw materials to the metropolis and on the consumption of manufactured products produced in Europe.

This region of the world, so often described by the mainstream media in the North as “underdeveloped, violent, chaotic” and “infernal”, would not have known such political instability – military coups, insurrections, massacres, genocides, civil wars. if the rich countries of the North had offered real possibilities for development instead of continuing to exploit them to this day. Growing poverty has become a cause of political disorder, corruption, nepotism, and chronic instability.

The decolonization of Africa is a process of independence from the African nations that took place mainly after the Second World War. In some countries independence was achieved peacefully, while in others it was achieved through the use of arms. Among the latter, the Algerian War of Independence (1954 -62) and the Portuguese Colonial War were the most violent.

Colonization of Africa