Colonialism: Key Concepts

  1. Colonialism was a new stage in relationships that had been going on for 1,000 years between many of the African and European nations.
  2. Conquest was precisely that—by force, sometimes by trickery, sometimes by “agreement”—so that the African nation could bargain for some rights.
  3. Racism played a role in conquest and in colonial rule.
  4. The colonial period was relatively short, roughly 1870–1960—but it has had a heavy and lasting impact on economic, social, and political affairs.
    • Colonialism fostered economic dependency, with long-term effects
    • Colonialism was authoritarian and fostered indigenous authoritarian rule, with long-term effects
  5. Colonial rule led to resistance and, ultimately, to independence
  6. African voices (not just restatement by others of African views) are necessary for understanding this period of history.

A very fine book of short readings, with a focus on African voices and perspectives, is Leon Clark’s Through African Eyes, v. 1