Describe the effect of European exploration and colonization on African and Native American cultures. How did each group react to confrontations of societies?
Colonization in Africa devastated the continent; from the earliest days of international slave trade in the 17th century to the Belgian presence in the Congo during the 20th century, European colonization resulted in the exploitation and death of African people. The slave trade vastly decreased the population of Western Africa and led to constant war between some nations, due to the economic benefit of selling prisoners of war as slaves to European traders. Enslaved Africans were treated very poorly and often violently abused by their owners and separated from their families. In the 20th century, the "scramble for Africa" led many European countries to claim land in the continent in order to exploit its natural resources. One especially brutal example of this colonization was the Congo Free State, most of which is the Democratic Republic of the Congo today. Belgian King Leopold III used African slave labor to extract the country's ivory and rubber, and the violence of Belgian officials combined with the diseases they spread in the country lead to a death toll that may have constituted almost half of the Congo's population prior to this colonization.
Similarly, European colonization in the Americas resulted in widespread violence, spread of disease, and population decrease for the Native American people. Initially, Native American people aided and traded with the European explorers. However, as they began to settle in the Americas, Europeans began to spread diseases like smallpox which the Native Americans had no immunity to, displace them from their land, and defy treaties. As the U.S. expanded in the 19th century, Native Americans experienced continual displacement. Additionally, many served in the Civil War in the hopes that their service to the U.S. would benefit their people, but soon after, the government passed the Indian Appropriations Act that denied any autonomy to Native American nations. Also in the 19th century, Native American boarding schools were established to take Native American youth from their homes to assimilate them into white American culture.
In reaction to European colonization, Africans and Native Americans practiced some forms of resistance. In the 19th century, Africans began using armed military engagement as well as forms of guerilla warfare against European colonizers. Some African countries managed to drive away European colonizers altogether; for example, the Ethiopian army gained their land back from the Italians and successfully resisted colonization. Native Americans also fought a number of wars against the Europeans, such as the Battle of Little Bighorn and the battle at Wounded Knee. These acts of armed resistance were largely unsuccessful, as many more Native Americans than European Americans died, and they continued to experience displacement and violations of land treaties.