Most European nations formed empires by controlling and ruling other nations. Among the nations that extended their empires and dominion include the Britain and the France. Colonialism involves having administration powers and control over other countries. It often involves ignoring the subject country from matters pertaining to administration. The countries whose administration has been taken away by the colonialists are known as colonies. Colonialists often take control of the resources of their colonies. They dominate in the markets and influence patterns of labor, often characterized with forced labor. History has established that colonial nations get interested in their colonies due to several reasons among them presence of minerals and precious stones, good sites for industrial development and agriculture among others (Blyden, 2007).
Colonialism is also characterized with various aspects such as imposition of ways of life, and structures of language and religion. This often occurs under the basis that the cultural practices of the colonized country are primitive and should be done away with. This is common with religious practices whereby colonialists, like the British, believed that African countries had religious practices that were not relevant. Racial discrimination resulted from the expression that nations that colonized others are more superior to the colonized nations. Consequently, colonized nations started to rebel against the colonizers. Due to rebellions, the great colonizers, British and France started to lose their empires and this became considerably faster after the Second World War (Fage, Roberts & Oliver, 1986).
The British and French colonialists settled in many countries especially in the Africa. It is shown that they started moving out more rapidly after Second World War due to various reasons. After World War II, many colonized countries realized that the administrative procedures of the colonialists were oppressive. They had initially presented themselves as people of good faith who wanted to assist others to grow but it turned out that they were after personal gains. These colonialists often used the resources of the colonized countries to enrich their mother countries. When the colonized countries realized those intentions, they started hating the colonialists and looked for ways of sending them away. For example, the British colonialists found Kenya to be a well-endowed country in mineral resources, tourism sites and good market place due to Indian Ocean. There was slave trade and transportation was easily facilitated through Indian Ocean. These are some of the factors that attracted British colonialists to Kenya.
When Kenyans realized the intentions of the British government, they formed movements that were meant to drive the British colonialists away. One of such a movement is known as Mau Mau whose main work was to fight and kill colonialists. They, therefore, resisted the British rulers through violent actions. There were several cases of murder with the Kenyan movements and British colonialists killing each other. Several leaders of the rebel groups were arrested for several years only to be released later prior to independence. Those who actively participated in driving the colonialists away are regarded as freedom heroes and some of them include Jomo Kenyatta, Dedan Kimathi among others. When the British were unable to resist the rebellion from the African leaders, they moved out and the country gained its independence in 1963 (Bannister, 2007).
After the Second World War, colonizing countries realized that the colonized countries are able to govern themselves. Initially, a notion had been created that the colonized countries were not able to form good governments. Thus, colonialists had decided to rule those nations until they are capable of forming effective administrative bodies. It was assumed that African countries could not lead themselves into economic development and thus needed the intervention of the colonialists (Harris, 2007). This especially took place in countries where the colonialists saw potentials of development such as those that were well endowed with mineral resources. Therefore, after the colonialists taught their colonies how to establish formal governments following their own cultures, they gave them independence to form governments.
Uganda is another country that was under British colonization. The British formally colonized Uganda in the year 1894. They first came with intentions of exploring the place for business and industrialization. However, they continued to control Uganda for some years until 1962 when they offered the country freedom to rule itself. It is observed that violence did not take place as that exhibited in Kenya. Therefore, the transition of Uganda to its independence was peaceful and did not include cases of deaths.
France colonized several countries especially in West and Central Africa. One such a country is Algeria. Algeria is the second largest nation in Africa following Sudan. Algeria is well endowed with petroleum and other mineral resources. Due to this, French colonialists settled in Algeria to bring about economic development. They colonized the country for some years until a time when Algerian people could not accommodate them anymore. They, therefore, rebelled against the colonialists and this led to a war between the years 1954 and 1962, which ended colonization. Therefore, independence of Algeria came as a result of violent resistance towards French colonialism. However, this colonization left an economic effect that Algeria is trying to free itself from through the sale of petroleum products and other mineral products. It should be noted that the French colonialism in Algeria affected the national identity of the country. It also influenced cultural practices in the country (Ajayi, & Crowder, 2008)
Cameroon is another country that was colonized by France. However, it should be noted that the country was also ruled by Germany and British after the First World War. Nevertheless, the effects that are more felt are those of French colonialism. Cameroon a West African country and it is well endowed with mineral resources that include petroleum, natural gas, iron, uranium among others. Cameroon is also a good agricultural country in which a wide range of crops are grown both for domestic use and for commercial purposes as is the case with cash crops. To its west is Atlantic Ocean, which makes transportation easier especially for exports and imports. These are some of the main reasons as to why Cameroon became of much interest to its colonizers. However, Cameroon became independent in 1960 and formed a government led by an African leader (Mbaku, 2005).
Colonialism led to various impacts in the countries that were colonized. Some of the impacts are experienced in the government. For instance, the British colonialism brought about the policy of divide and rule. This form of administration has impacts in the people of a nation. For instance, the divide and rule administration adapted by the Kenyan leaders from their colonial masters has led to tribal clashes. It is obvious that culture transmits slowly in a society and its effects are felt with time. In addition to divide and rule policy, colonialists brought about other policies that took care of individual interests. These policies include those dealing with land, which eventually brought about tribal conflicts. These conflicts are seen in African countries where different people fight for land.
However, there are positive impacts brought about by colonialism especially in the African countries. Despite the notion that African countries were backward and needed much revival, colonialism brought about education. Education has proved to be very useful in human life and it is eventually part of life. With the diverse benefits obtained from education, we can say colonialism contributed towards the improvement of the human race. We can correctly say that education has made the world to become one global village. Same language adoption among different countries, overseas education and employment has contributed to unity of humankind and this is attributed to colonialism. In addition to education, colonialism brought about improved health care institutions and services, which are helpful to all humankind. Colonialism also brought forth modernized institutions of governments. Religious contributions made by colonialism are very significant and cannot be neglected (Harris, 2007).
European countries aimed at developing empires in different other countries and most of them succeeded. They conquered and ruled other nations taking control of their resources among other things. Britain and France were the leading colonizers of various parts of the world especially African countries. However, after World War II, they started to lose their empires in a rapid manner. Some of the reasons as to why this happened include the rebellion of their colonies after they realized that the colonial masters were after benefiting their mother countries. This especially led to violent resistance, for example in Kenya. Another reason as to why the colonialists lost their empires is because the indigenous people learnt on how to form governments and this prompted the colonizers to allow their colonies to govern themselves, for example in Uganda.
Ajayi, J. F. & Crowder, M. History of West Africa. Longman, 2008.
Bannister, S. British colonization and colored tribes. W. Ball, 2007.
Blyden, E. W. The origin and purpose of African colonization discourse. Oxford University, 2007.
Fage, J. D., Roberts, A. D. & Oliver, R. A. The Cambridge history of Africa, Volume 7 Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Harris, N. D. Europe and Africa: being a revised edition of Intervention and colonization in Africa. Negro Universities Press, 2007.
Mbaku, J. M. Culture and customs of Cameroon. London: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005.