Explain the effects of colonial legacy on the development of states which were former colonies.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The legacy of colonialism tends to continue to impact foreign colonies.  It makes it harder for them to develop economically, politically, and socially.  These problems tend to be closely intertwined with one another.

Economically speaking, colonizing powers tended to run colonies for their (the powers’) own good.  They set up colonial economies that were based solely on providing raw materials or low-value materials to the imperial power.  What this meant is that the economies never developed.  The colonies never evolved.  When they were granted independence, their economies were still primitive and not capable of competing on the global level.  Once they were that far behind, it would be hard to catch up.

Politically speaking, a similar thing occurred.  The colonial powers typically tried to keep as much power as possible for themselves.  They did not do much, if anything, to train the local people to govern themselves.  When the colonies were abruptly liberated, they did not have a large group of people ready to run the government and they did not have a history of democratic participation.

Socially, we can point to such things as a lack of education.  Colonial powers were typically not very worried about educating the natives.  This meant that the newly-independent nations were left with populations that were poorly educated and therefore not able to create prosperous businesses or run efficient governments.

In these ways, the legacy of colonialism harmed the colonies and has contributed to their continuing weakness.

laura1960 | Student

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