What is one African nation today that was previously a European colony? What were the effects of colonialism in that nation? Did the nation benefit from the colonial institution?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One example of European colonialism in Africa is the colonization of the Congo by the state of Belgium. Belgian colonization was ultimately harmful to the Congo. Congolese people were forced to labor in Belgian rubber companies while facing violent abuse from state and company officials, and the land was exploited for its natural resources. Forced laborers who harvested insufficient amounts of rubber faced punishments including amputation, the kidnapping of family members, and sometimes even death. These laborers were forced to work such long hours that they were unable to cultivate their food supplies, and many starved to death as a result. The introduction of the rubber trade to the Congo additionally had a detrimental effect on local economies, as Congolese people were forced to work for and depend on Belgian rubber companies. Despite decades of attempted reform by the Belgian government, Congolese people began protesting and rioting against the colonization of their land in 1959. By 1960, the Congo was granted independence.

This example of colonization exhibits no apparent benefits for the colonized people. Belgian occupation resulted in the abuse, death, and exploitation of many forced laborers, and it wrecked local economies by creating a dependence on European companies.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial