Colonialism/Imperialism Case Study
New Imperialism in Africa (Sudan and Egypt)
Iweriebor, E. E. G. “The Colonization of Africa,’ Africana Age, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. (n.d.). http://exhibitions.nypl.org/africanaage/essay-colonization-of-africa.html (Retrieved March, 295th 2012).
This essay provides general information on colonization of Africa from the 1870s to 1900. During this time, Africa was generally subjected to aggressive European intervention via military invasion which political pressure eventually led to “conquest and colonization” so that all but Ethiopia and Liberia were conquered and colonized by the 20th century (Iweriebor, n.d.). There were spurts of resistance to foreign invasion and dominance throughout Africa. Iweriebor (n.d.) points out that colonization of Africa was primarily orchestrated by European powers. The drive for conquest and colonization of Africa was for obtaining economic, political and social advantages among competing European powers. The underlying source of competitive powers among European states was the capitalist incentive. European powers were searching for natural resources, markets and ultimately profits in order to obtain economic, political and social dominance over one another. Specifically, Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal were aggressively attempting to gain dominance in Europe and it was believed that acquiring foreign territories globally would improve economic, political and social prowess. The social problems that colonizing Africa was intended to address were unemployment, displacement, homelessness, poverty and many other social issues arising out of industrialization.
Roger, L. and History Guy Media. “The Wars of Sudan: From Egyptian Conquest to the Present”. Master of Arts Military History, Norwich University, 2011. http://www.historyguy.com/wars_of_sudan.htm (Retrieved March, 29th 2012).
This article presents a useful timeline setting out the facts and experiences of Sudan relative to colonization and imperialism and the conquest of Sudan and its aftermath. Between 1820 and 1839, Sudan was conquered by Egypt resulting in Egypt’s control of coastal area of the Red Sea and the Nile. Between 1875 and 1877, with Egypt’s control of Sudan, Sudan became involved with Egypt’s retaliation when Ethiopia attempted to take control of the coastal area of the Red Sea. Between 1881 and 1885, Egypt was a protectorate of the British. During that time, the Mahdi, a Sudanese religious official started a resistance movement against Egypt’s control over Sudan. The British deployed military aid to Egypt. It was only after a long drawn out war that the Egyptians and the British would withdraw. The Sudanese War lasted from 1896-1899 marking the return of the British and the Egyptians who defeated the resistance movement rejuvenated by the Khalifa, successors to the Mahdi. During the Second World War, Egypt and Britain controlled Sudan. The British in particular, began a movement to affect the liberation of Ethiopia from Sudan. Essentially, division in Sudan during the joint occupation of Egypt and the British had long-lasting consequences for Sudan with civil wars, and uprisings dividing the country most notable was the Darfur War from 2003-2010. 2011, independence referendum resulted in even more unrest within Sudan.
CIA World Factbook. “Sudan.” Central Intelligence Agency. (n.d.). https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/su.html (Retrieved March, 29th, 2012).
Sudan received independence from Britain in 1956 and the consequences of imperialism and colonization of Britain is evidenced by the country’s economic, social and political struggles since that time. Politically, there is a struggle between Islamic and non-Arab Sudanese in the South seeking political and social dominance in Sudan. As a result, Sudan has suffered through two protracted civil wars during the greater part of the 20th century. The results have been devastating as Sudan suffered through famines, displacement of large portions of the Sudanese population. Over two million Sudanese have been killed in wars over two decades. A conflict, which began in Western Darfur in 2003, displaced more than 2 million Sudanese and resulted in between 200,000 to 400,000 deaths. Economically, Sudan is characterized as an “extremely poor country” (CIA Factbook, n.d.). On-going social and political conflicts continue to truncate any efforts of economic growth and stability in Sudan.
Mongabay.com. “Sudan-History”. Mongaybay.com. n.d. http://www.mongabay.com/reference/country_studies/sudan/HISTORY.html (Retrieved, March 29th, 2012).
This article sets out the details of patterns of colonialism and imperialism in Sudan. Essentially, colonization and imperialism was spearheaded by Britain in its assistance of Egypt’s control over Sudan. The partnership between Egypt and Britain was known as the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium from 1899-1855. The Anglo-Egyptian Condominium earmarked the region south of the 22nd Parallel as an Anglo-Egyptian Sudanese territory. The Agreement only emphasized that Egypt was indebted to Britain for its assistance in the conquest of Sudan but failed to set out the details of power over Sudan. Even so, the British established colonial rule over Sudan with a British governor general who primarily exercised control over Sudan. British courts and Sharia courts (controlled and established by Egypt) were set up in the Sudan. Economic development was primarily relegated to the Nile Valley leaving much of Sudan undeveloped. When Egypt received independence in 1922, Britain’s colonial rule over Sudan was orchestrated via indigenous rulers. In the South, the Shaykhs ruled and in the north, tribal chiefs ruled. There was a great division over recognition of the authority of these leaders. This would mark the beginning of a long period of power struggles and truncate efforts for reunification of Sudan.
The British Empire. “Egypt”. (n.d.). http://www.britishempire.co.uk/maproom/egypt.htm (Retrieved, March, 29, 2012).
In the 18th century, Britain first became interests in Egypt after it became obvious that British influence in India was growing and France’s authority was waning. Egypt was deemed to be good geopolitical link between Britain and India as it was strategically located to facilitate quicker routes and keeping up communications between India and Britain. Britain could avoid having to travel around the African continent to India and simply make a trip across land, via Egypt. During the American Civil War, Britain’s interest in Egypt intensified. British mills were suffering from a low influx of cotton as a result of the American Civil war. British companies turned to Egypt as an alternative source of cotton. In 1869, with the opening of the Suez Canal, British interest in Egypt intensified particularly with interest in traveling to India. At the time the Suez Canal was controlled by the Khedive and the French. With cunning and expertise, the British would soon gain control of Egypt bringing it under British imperial rule.
Tour of Egypt. “British Occupation Period.” 2011. http://www.touregypt.net/hbritish.htm (Retrieved 29 March, 2012).
This article emphasises Britain’s direct rule of Egypt from Lord Cromer’s rule in 1883 to Egyptian independence. There was a gradual relinquishment of total British rule, but not to the satisfaction of Egypt’s population. Throughout colonization of Egypt, the population was vastly neglected and subjected to British legal and political structures, all foreign to and incompatible with Egyptian culture. Essentially, the Egyptian economy was developed to further the wider drive for world dominance on the part of the British. The Egyptians benefited little from these efforts. Meanwhile the British did not establish national health services for the Egyptians and education facilities were entirely poor.
CIA World Factbook. “Egypt.” Central Intelligence Agency, (n.d.). https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/eg.html (Retrieved 29 March, 2012).
The impact of British imperialism in and colonisation of Egypt is evidenced by a country profile compiled by the CIA World Fact book. The Suez Canal which was initially an important transportation route for merchants would generate immeasurable debt for the Egyptians once the British took over and used the Suez Canal to advance its own economic and political interest. The British essentially restructured Egypt in a way that was compatible with British interest and alien to Egyptian interests. Once the British left, Egypt, the country has struggled with a rapidly growing population and limited agricultural resources, high unemployment rates and general unrest in society and politics. The Egyptian government has persistently failed to make the necessary reforms for turning around the economy and stress and pressures from the imperialistic ruins culminated in the Day of Rage movement on 25 January, 2011. Protests targeted democratic failures, unemployment, escalating food prices, low minimum wage policies and inflation generally.
Imperialism in Africa, (n.d.). http://www.ocs.cnyric.org/webpages/phyland/files/imperialism 20in 20africa.pdf (Retrieved March 29th, 2012).
This site provides definitions of imperialism, old imperialism and new Imperialism and social Darwinism and what these terms meant for imperialism in Africa generally. Imperialism is described as “the domination by one country of the political, economic, or cultural life of another country” (Imperialism in Africa, n.d.). Old Imperialism took place between 1500 and 1800 and during this time Europe set up colonies in African’s coastal areas. New Imperialism took place from 1870 to 1914 and was motivated by the Industrial Revolution which in turn influenced European power competition and a scramble for Africa. Social Darwinism which recognizes the survival of the fittest is said to have influenced competition for world dominance among Europe’s powers. Short term consequences of imperialism for the colonies are the spread of economic, political and social culture in Africa. There was also the disruption of political and cultural constructs and famines as a result of the depletion of resources for the imperial occupier’s own country and for export for economic gains. In the long-term, there were some improvements in public services, however, economic, political and cultural unrest continue to reverberate throughout Africa.
Griffins, I. “The Scramble for Africa: Inherited Political Boundaries.” The Geographical Journal, (July 1986), Vol. 152(2): 204-216.
Africa inherited a “political geography” that is “as great an impediment” to its “independent development as her colonially based economics and political structures” (Griffiths, 1986, p. 204). Essentially, Africa’s countries are unchanged representing various sizes. European colonization and imperialism in Africa followed a pattern in which cultures of varying types were forced together which gave way to movements for secessions and civil wars. Much of the development was focused on specific areas leaving many parts of Africa poorly undeveloped and impoverished. Africa was exploited and once its raw material was used and left wanting, Africans were left with a little or no resources for survival. This article provides an overview of the political, social and cultural consequences of imperialism and colonization in Africa generally.
Mungazi, D. A. The Last British Liberals in Africa: Michael Blundeli and Garfield Todd. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1999.
British colonists during the era of the New Imperialism used Darwin’s the Origin of Species and the Descent of Man in 1871 to justify the scramble for control of Africans and their natural resources. In particular, Darwinism was held out as the “blueprint” of the opinions of the colonists pursuant to their views of the “Dark Continent” and the perceptions that they were primitive and unsophisticated ( Mungazi, 1999, p. 3). Motivated by Darwin’s survival of the fittest ideology, Europeans would enter the Berlin Conference of 1884 with a mind-set that they could take control of Africans to promote and advance their own political, social and economic motives. Thus the scramble for Africa was characterised by “brutality and the lack of concern for the welfare of Africans” (Mungazi, 1999, p. 3).
Johnston, D. Faith-Based Diplomacy Trumping Real Politik. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2003.
The British conquest and colonising of the Sudan was constructed around a deliberate division between the north and the south. With this division, national harmony was compromised. However, links existing prior to the British conquest of Sudan in trade between the north and the south somehow managed to remain alive during the British rule. However, this link was tenuous as the British began to strengthen its divide and rule regime, and created a class of elites who were more accepting of the British. English became a mandatory language and for the youth of Sudan, it was believed that success in colonial Sudan was largely dependent on the ability to speak English fluently. Thus greater divisions were established with English becoming the dominant language in the south, while Arabic remained the dominant language in the north. Thus the seeds for future political, cultural and social divide were planted.
Louis, W. R.; Porter, A. and Low, K. The Oxford History of the British Empire: The Nineteenth Century. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001.
This book described British patterns of colonization in general. It was the opening of the Suez Canal in the 1880s that draw Britain to Egypt and Sudan. Like the remainder of Europe, Britain in its participation in the Scramble for Africa, targeted territories, conquered or annexed it and engaged in “punitive expeditions” , “suppressed signs of resistance” or “insurrection among peoples” (Louis, Porter & Low, 2001, p. 342). Using its superior military power, the British systematically attacked “indigenous warriors” (Louis, Porter & Low, 2001, p. 342). The resistance offered by the Mahdist Regime in Sudan during 1884-1898 was particularly problematic to the British. The British made weak attempts to balance competing interest and preferred to used taxation and public works to quell the uprising. When those efforts were not possible or unworkable, the British resorted to military curtailment, police brutality and other coercive methods of control.
Hahn, P. L. United States, Great Britain, and Egypt, 1945-1956: Strategy and Policy in the Early Cold War. US: The University of North Caroline Press, 1991.
Although it would appear that Egyptians were primarily controlled and accepting of British control, nationalism emerged by the Second World War. At the time the Muslim Brotherhood which had been formed secretly in 1928 was gaining momentum throughout Arabic states in the Middle East and North Africa. The Brotherhood had made a declaration of jihad/holy war to rid Egypt of Western influence and pledged to bring back Islamic ideology to the Egyptian political landscape. The spokesman, al-Banna increased his efforts and campaigns during the latter part of the 1930s near the Nile Valey and by 1940, he was arrested and charged by the British with “political agitation” (Hahn, 1991, p. 12). Once al-Banna was released he only intensified his efforts and by 1945 the Muslim brotherhood had half a million members. The support was easy to achieve as Egyptian nationalism had been focused on freeing Egypt from the British since the 1880s. As time went forward, the British grip in Egypt grew more and more tenuous and the road to complete independence was well on the way.
Young, C. “The End of the Post-Colonial State in Africa? Reflections on Changing African Political Dynamics”. African Affairs, (2004) Vol. 103(410): 23-49.
The political, economic and social ruins left behind in much of Africa following imperialism under the colonial scramble for Africa is often referred to as the post-colonial era. The term is often used to refer to the political, economic and social paradigm left behind in the transformed states once independence from imperialism was achieved. What stands out is that many of these states were reaching political, economic and social crises by the 1980s. Thus there have been widespread international and national commands for political and economic reconstruction of the post-colonial African states. However, may of the African states have faced so much crises that the definition of state loosely applies to some post-colonial states in Africa. Thus reformation is virtually impossible without some form of occupation. In other words, colonialism and imperialism has virtually destroyed states to the point of no return.
Page, M. E. Colonialism: An International Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2003.
Modern colonialism began in Egypt in 1798 with Napoleon’s invasion. Once the French left Egypt in 1801, Egypt’s colonial experience took two opposing paths. Egypt itself was an imperial power with control over some parts of the Middle East and North Africa. In the meantime up until 1956, Egypt was controlled either directly or indirectly by European powers. Under Muhammad Ali, Egypt’s founder, Egypt was led into invasions of Sudan, Arabia, Greece, Syria and Anatolia from 1805-1848. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire which had controlled Egypt for hundreds of years, the Treaty of London 1841 authorized intervention in Egypt. This intervention would divest Egypt of most of its authority in the Middle East, but would expand its power over Sudan. Divested of its dream of forming its own empire, the Arabi Revolution emerged and this provided Britain with the incentive to invade Egypt in 1882. Britain ruled under the auspices of a thinly disguised protectorate until 1946 when, Egyptians finally offered resistance against foreign interference and influence.
Ayers, A. J. “Beyond the Ideology of ‘Civil War’: The Global-Historical Constitution of Political Violence in Sudan.” The Journal of Pan African Studies, (January 2012), Vol. 4(10): 261-288.
Ayers describes the post-colonial realities of Sudan. Today Sudan is consumed by the ravages of its colonial experiences. It is confronting “intractable social crises”, dealing with tenuous spurts of peace in its southern region, and on-going (although lower level) violence and wide displacement of citizens in Darfur (Ayers, 2012, p. 288). There are on-going conflicts among the regions in the east, north and central parts of Sudan. This problems are either directly and indirectly related to the country’s structures which were orchestrated during the New Imperialism era. In particular, national social and political constructs were destroyed, the country divided and a new political and social culture that were alien to and incompatible with the socio-political and economic realities were forced on Sudan. Thus, the political crises, the violence and social and cultural issues in Sudan are natural constituents of “Sudan’s neo-colonial condition” (Ayers, 2012, p. 288).