How Europe Milked Africa for Five Centuries; Still Europe Is Not Satisfied.
A-332-years of continuous raids on Africa for slaves; caused depopulation; deprived Africa of biologically strong men and women shipped out to the Americas. Africa lost its productive population between the age 10 to 40 years. Large-scale murders from annexation and occupation of African lands; examples in Congo, Zululand, Xhosa, Southern Nigeria.
The ignoble role of religion to help conquer Africa. The Berlin Conference and African Colonization. Post-independence Africa and new imperialists’ game. The death of George Floyd has opened the centuries of old wounds, which has refused to heal.
The wound began with trans-Atlantic slave trade some five hundred years ago; culprits were the seven European nations: Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Italy; the immediate victims were more than sixteen million Africans forcibly removed from their homelands in the south, east, central and west to unknown lands to build homes, they would never inherit. Second, the distraught, distressed and traumatized families, communities, towns and larger societies left in pain and mental torment of not seeing their loved ones again.
More painful, Africa was left in ruins, dislocated, and in detritus. For centuries from 1518, when King Charles 1 of Spain passed the edict for slave shipment to Spain and its territories in North America, direct shipment of slaves to North America negatively affected Africa. It powered-down African socio-cultural and political systems, more so, turned off Africa’s distinctive light of civilization for foreign culture that set Africa back by centuries.
African lands became harvest farms for biologically strong, active men and women; economically viable populations, which gave North and South Americas and the Caribbean a guaranteed future.
1503 – 1900
Four different horrible things happened in Africa during this period; however, we must remember, transatlantic slavery ran for more than three centuries (1503-1835); between 1835 and 1885, annexation and direct occupation began; from 1885 and beyond colonization started in Africa.
African lands suffered depopulation with a net loss of over 20 million people from southern region through east/central to the west between 1503 and 1835, when slavery abolished. The African system, which revolved around ageless or timeless culture, pulled down by transatlantic slavery. The Transatlantic Slave Trade prepared the ground for colonization, scramble, and partition of Africa in 1885 by Europeans; and the looting of African natural resources for another century. For another 90-100 years of direct rule through artificially created boundaries in Berlin and colonial lordship, African human and land resources, water, airspace, land came under the grip and control of Europeans. African political system destroyed; African legal and communal life ruined; African social system stymied and incompatible foreign cultures introduced.
From time to time, the original transatlantic slavery continued to metamorphose, evolve, and transform, which suited Euro-American capitalist needs ever so often. Slavery or servitude continuously evolved from physical abuse into a social engineering, which excluded blacks from all elements of society. A strong policy framework for the subjugation of blacks in western world and the externalization of imperialism in Africa. From studies, there are five different eras of Euro-African relations with consequential damages:
From 1503/1518 to 1835 (start and end of slavery-332 years) over 16 million Africans were shipped to Americas as plantation workers, domestic servants, human breeders, wet nurse, and utility workers. It left Africa without labor; deprived Africa of virile individuals to perpetuate lineages, as many family lineages, wiped out; it caused disruption to African social system.
From 1835-1885 (annexation, seizure, occupation, invasion, expropriation, military conquest, and takeover of African lands) era marked every form of rascality, abuse, roguery by European powers, and their business paramours, who wanted a replacement for slavery the old cash flow. Unfortunately, the new system-Annexation and Occupation-through wars and large-scale murder in African lands caused more harm than three centuries of slavery. The crimes committed by King Leopold II in Congo alone were so horrendous; British activities in Southern Nigeria, especially in Lagos/Yoruba, and Bini were awful.
French activities in the Afrique-Occidentale française (AOF) were nothing, but shocking. British dealings in Zulu land and Xhosa in South Africa were abhorrent. Cecil Rhodes’ activities in South Africa, from Jameson Raid to black disenfranchisement, century after his death, Rhodes is seen as British imperialist. Germany in East Africa land of Tanzania and Portuguese in Angola were no different. These foreign lords created disruptions Africa never recovered.
The role of Roman Catholic Church and other organized religions from 1835-1900 in Africa. Slavery had become a moral burden in Europe and America. In 1807, Britain abolished slave trade, but slavery continued until 1833, when Abolition Act outlawed slavery in all British Empire. America followed with Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Scanty evidence, showed, religion in Europe sided with abolitionists to end slavery. Nevertheless, European religions joined in the rush to Africa; it may appear the new Judeo-Christian religion in Africa came for evangelism, winning souls and delivering “primitive” people from perishing; unfortunately, though, religion had ulterior motive, similar to what political and economic groups had in mind. To have a piece of the pie; religion through gospel of damnation extracted obedience, submission, and compliance from AFRICANS. The Church entered into Africans’ hearts, after declaring everything African was evil. The Church made African lose self-respect and dignity; the Church made Africans look inferior, even sub-human, it taught a message of peace whenever it suited it, but the Church looked the other way when violence and looting gained ground. Through misinformation and catechism of deceits, by creating fear of fiery hellfire, religion gained Africans’ heart; and their friendship with political and economic classes robbed Africans of AFRICA forever.
From 1884 Berlin Conference to 1960: Era of Colonization. All European nations were in Africa in a race to outdo one another in trade, commerce, business, treaties, even in wars with the natives. Feud and squabble about to start among European nations on who owned what in Africa. Britain was threatened by movement of France to Central Africa toward Ethiopia, the Nile and Suez Canal. Same France had held on most lands in West Africa, a threat to British economic interest in the Bight of Benin. Portugal controlled most of the coastal lands in Africa, another threat to British superiority at sea. To prevent wars among Europeans to Africa, the German chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck organized a conference in Berlin following an understanding with King Leopold II of Belgium, and France. He sought support from Britain, Portugal, and Italy.
In all, representatives from 12 European nations, one from the Middle East (Ottoman Turk), and the United States gathered in Berlin from November 15, 1884 to February 26, 1885 to apportioned African lands among themselves. Even though, about half of the nations at the conference had no territories in Africa.
From faraway Berlin, Europeans took African lands away without resistance; and for another 100 years, Africans were foreigners in their lands.5. From 1960 to Date: Era of Imperialism: African nations ended the colonial era between 1950 and 1975; but only for erstwhile colonial masters to open a new door for a new era, which began in the 1970s to date. Egypt became the first African country to gain independence in 1922, followed by Libya in 1947; Morocco and Tunisia in 1956, Sudan (formerly North and South Sudan) in 1956: Ghana, formerly Gold Coast in 1957. About sixteen other countries in 1960. As years progressed, many more nations became independent. Should Africans be happy for the independence granted them by former masters? Some might say yes; however, Africans then with insight would say, NO.
Because the shackles from colonization continued, the political, economic, and social control-by western nations represented-by their principal cities: London, Paris, Brussels, Lisbon, Madrid, Rome, and Berlin continue unabated. Imperialism-a subtle means of control-by stronger nations over weaker nations quietly replaced colonialism, which most people did not notice. Before they left, most colonial masters committed Africa nations into PACTS AND TREATIES that gave Africa’s future away. As new nations came out from ashes of foreign rule, global and multilateral organizations controlled by former lords already waiting to put a new noose on their neck to continue with servitude paper independence terminated. Trade bodies, military alliances, regulatory and standardization bodies; scientific and academic organizations; Advanced Sciences and Technologies are Allies and friends to former masters, who use these platforms to control once colonized territories in a more brutal or lethal manner. In fact, the old masters only changed in names not in practice and action. It is an old wine in a new bottle.