Sunday 23 July 2023


“Colonization is really just a blip in the history of Africa but it had such an outsized impact on African realities.” Bomi Fagbemi

Between 1885 and 1910, the whole African continent was occupied by seven European powers: France, Britain, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, and Spain. In retrospect, colonialism—which basically ended in the early sixties—represented a relatively brief period in the history of Africa (sixty to seventy years), but it had an extremely profound and enduring political, economic, social, and cultural impact on African peoples and societies that is still felt today.

A number of factors directly linked to colonialism contributed to the steady depopulation of Africa between 1900 and 1960, including military conquest, diseases, epidemics, famine, repression, forced labor, and conscription.

African leaders did not willingly relinquish political control of their territories to Western invaders. As the cases of Al ‘Haji ‘Umar Tall’s Tukulor empire, Samori Touré’s Maninka empire, and the Ashanti kingdom demonstrate, African rulers bravely and steadfastly resisted colonial penetration, only to be overcome by superior European military technology. The repression that ensued was generally brutal and deadly.

Analysis by Muni Wa Muiu

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