USM Open Source History Text: The World at War: World History 1914-1945

Conclusion to Africa under Colonial Rule

We have come a long way in this chapter – from the Berlin conference to the Setif Massacre. We have seen the development of colonial rule in many forms, including Lugard’s the indirect rule and the settler‐domination in South Africa, Rhodesia and Algeria. We have seen Egyptians rise up under western‐influenced nationalists to gain independence. We have witnessed the birth of one of the century’s most important Islamist movements: the Muslim Brotherhood.

Though the Europeans brought much to Africa – health and education provisions, technology, and infrastructure – they also created a great many social and political divisions in every territory they ruled. These divisions were along class lines in some places, along ethnic and tribal lines in others. Economically, Africa moved from a continent of subsistence farming and herding to become a part of the Western-dominated economic machine – a transformation that helped some areas and severely damaged others, but overall began a long trend of economic instability and social and political turmoil. Careless or narrow-minded economic development sowed the seeds for future environmental devastation. 

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