British Imperialism In Achebe's Things Fall Apart

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Things Fall Apart Whether British Imperialism in Africa was good or bad is still a hot topic today, despite the fact that it happened a century ago. Imperialism is when the Europeans invaded Africa and colonized it and forced their culture onto the natives. Even though there were definitely some positive effects for Africans, the effects of imperialism in Africa were mostly negative; borders weren't placed well, native Africans were made as slaves, and religion was forced upon them. Some positive results are the following: Europeans brought new crops, some political stability, education/ literacy, and better medical care including hospitals and medicines. These were indeed beneficial to the African people, but the long term negative consequences…show more content…
Even though the Europeans brought education and common languages, they forced their traditions of learning upon the indigenous peoples. They made the people learn the languages of the imperialists because the natives seemed to not have any language. This is not true, however. Different tribes had different forms of language and/or communication. In Chenowa Achebe’s book, Things Fall Apart, the tribe of the Igbo had a language for themselves. “Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly. (Achebe 2)” Though the Europeans offered them education, they often taught them things in a way that would make them learned in European history and religion. These things are still being taught today. Julius Agbor from the Brookings Institute says in an interview that “they need to reform their educational systems to allow people to learn things that matter for them.” In his hometown of Cameroon, they were being taught French history. He poses the notion that they should be taught the history of Cameroon and the great people of their land that did great things because French history really has no importance or meaning to them. Likewise, the imperialists’ religions were also forced upon the African peoples. Most ethnic groups had their own form of religion and ways of worship, but when the imperialists came, they brought missionaries to “preach” to the natives and convert them (usually by…show more content…
They genuinely thought they were doing good and helping Africa, but they were actually just hurting it in the long run. “How can [the white man understand] when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? (Achebe 129)” Chenowa Achebe speaks his thoughts on imperialism here by saying that even though the white imperialists thought they were doing good, they didn’t bother to even try to understand the natives’ feelings towards them. Although imperialism brought government stability and education, the long term effects of imperialism in Africa were negative because natives were made slaves, borders were poorly placed, and European religion/education was forced upon them. All in all, British Imperialism hurt Africa much more than it
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