HOW TO ANSWER HISTORY ESSAY QUESTIONS
When answering history essay type questions you should adhere to the following procedures
1. Read the asked questions thoroughly so that you can detect what exactly the said questions demand. In order to know exactly what the demand of the question try to observe the terminologies used in the question.
2. Make a recall on the points necessary in answering the given questions.
3. Start writing your essay by providing introduction: Normally, an introduction should clearly define the key words, giving periodisation, as well as other relevant issues based on the asked questions.
4. Then, create a coherent (linking) words/statement in order to draw attention to the one who will be reading your essay.
5. Put your points at the beginning of every paragraph; never hide your points by putting it at the middle of your paragraph. Normally the given point has to be well explained followed by relevant and plausible examples basing on the asked question.
6. Create a relevant conclusion, when concluding avoids making repetition of the given points, you should give your general comment/judgment. Most of the students fail to score in this part since they provide conclusion, which do not qualify in academic writing.
7. Make sure that you maintain tidiness and cleanliness by having good handwriting, using simple and well grammatical English so that your work can be more attractive to anyone who sees it.
8. Be precise in choosing the right question. Sometimes a question carries two sides for example, a candidate may be asked to discuss the causes and effects of First World War. In this regard, the allocation of marks will base on causes and effects thus do not put much focus on only one side rather both.
9. Alternatively, if there are other questions that you may opt it is potential to skip a question that has two sides and instead attempt a question that direct ask a candidate to produce only points basing on one side example, Explain the roles of agents of colonialism to the colonization of Africa.
HOW TO ANSWER HISTORY ESSAY QUESTIONS
To enable your competences in writing good and scholarly essays, read the given sample essays to guide you.
1. Analyze six characteristic features of first non-exploitative mode of production
Communalism refers to as the first mode of production, which was non-exploitative in nature. It implied the communal ownership of major means of production by all members. Each specific group was assigned communal works to perform according to their age, size and capabilities. It was mainly practiced by societies like Tindiga, Hadzabe and Dorobo.
The following are the characteristics of the communal mode of production.
It was characterized by communal ownership of major means of production. This is because all major means of production in terms of land and labor were owned and controlled by the whole society, additionally, there was no private ownership of major means of production and the products obtained were equally divided to all members in society.
Production relations was based on cooperation as there was no exploitation of man by many people cooperated during production without allocating specific task to individual person and the product obtained especially out from the harvest or hunting exercise was further equally shared by all members.
It was characterized by low level of development of productive forces such as tools (hoe and axes) developed to be used in production was so poor (crude), this forced them to perform subsistence agriculture in which production is only meant for food source and surplus if present is sold.
It was characterized by low level of development of political institutions such as political institution by this time like armies were hardly developed, there was no any army or court that was prepared but for the case of emergency the whole clan or communal area would have to go into war to their interests.
Societies lived in small kingship according to the blood relations. This was seen through clan expansion in a small area as people lived basing on the relationship existed.
Generally, communalism did not last for long time because of the social changes that occurred, the increased in population and need for surplus production was few factor to mention that spearheaded the need to change mode of production to slavery mode of production, which was indeed exploitative in nature.
2. Elaborate six techniques used by colonialists to obtain laborers during the colonial period
Colonial labor refers to the labor that was employed (used) by the colonialists in various colonial sectors for instance in mining, agriculture, industries and even in the whole process of building/ construction of infra structures like, roads, railways, and office work. The colonialists made use of African laborer deliberately as it was difficult and expensive to get labor from Europe in thus colonialists had to think on how they could meet this challenge African laborers became a solution to this phenomena as colonialists exploited heavily their energy by paying them how wages.
The notable techniques used by colonialists to get laborers during colonial period were as follows;
They imposed different taxes to the Africans; this was because colonial government imposed poll, cattle and head taxes to Africans. The introduced taxes were to be paid in cash and it was difficult for the Africans to get cash needed to meet the introduced taxes Africans were eventually forced to sell their laborer power to the white settlers’ plantations and mines order get cash for paying tax.
Colonialists passed legislation (laws) that aimed to force Africans work for them. Good example in 1920’s the British colonial government passed Master servant land act popularly known as Kipande system in Kenya in which Africans in Kenya were forced to work in settlers’ farms for a certain agreed number of days (90 -180 days) per year and there was a special identification card (Kipande) which mark the a completion of assigned task.
Colonialists Introduced foreign goods especially luxurious items in terms of clothes, food staffs and ornaments. Africans being made a market for European manufactured goods from Europe made up from African raw materials it later motivated them to provide their labor power so that they can have access to possess these finished European goods.
Colonialists introduced land alienation and this was manifested with Master ordinance land act of 1915 especially in Kenya in which the British colonial government forced Africans to surrender all best land to the white settlers and who ever went against this law could be severely punished by being sentenced to prison, in course of time Africans remained landless. This act brought much consequence to Africans having been removed from their area, which were fertile, and being squeezed into unfertile (marginalized) area, they started living by depending on their labor power especially by working to the whites to earn a living. (for survive).
Colonialists created labor reserves centers (regionalism). This was because some area were made to act as a source of their labor for instance Kigoma, Ruvuma, Rukwa and Dodoma were made to produce labor where as Morogoro, Tanga and parts of Kilimanjaro were for plantations, similarly, in Uganda especially northern region was made to provide their labor. This enabled the colonialists to have access in getting needed laborers who would in turn work in their farms.
They destroyed the Africans economies such as industries and replaced with European imported goods. In so doing African self-sufficient economy like barter trade that in a sense enabled them to have equal exchange of goods among Africans particularly for their immediate consumption (demands) like food later European destroyed it and introduced system of money economies forced all transactions (buying of goods) to be done through cash bases this forced Africans work in colonial plantations as a solution of getting money.
Briefly, African laborers were extremely undermined by the colonialists as seen on how African laborers were poorly fed, accommodated and lowly paid. Besides, the act of utilizing African laborers during colonial period can be counted as the root cause for the underdevelopment of African continent because Africans economies lacked needed laborers to work for them.
3. Elaborate six roles of agents of colonialism to the colonization of African continent.
Colonialism refers to the process whereby one powerful nation dominates the weaker nations in all aspects of life that is socially, politically as well as economically. This was very much common due to the imperialist nations like Britain, France, Belgium and Italy dominating the African colonies during the 19th C. Colonialism was facilitated by the agents of colonialism of which were the ones of whom persuaded/penetrated the rise of colonization in the African continent. This involved the explorers like David Livingstone, John Speke, Mungo Park, and Missionaries like Dr. Living Stone, Ludwing Kraft and John Rebman. Also the Merchants like William Mackinnon under IBEACO (Imperial British East African Company), Cecil Rhodes under BSAC (British South African Company), and George Goldie under Royal Niger Company, all with the aim of causing colonization.
The following were the contributions of the agents of colonialism to the colonization of Africa.
They abolished slave trade (1873); this was the strategy of the imperialist nations due the industrial revolution in their nations. In this way, missionaries were sent to African continent to remove the slavery and slave trade. In addition, some of the British abolitionists like Moresby (1822), Harmeton (1845) and also Barrle feere (1873). This was to concertize their interests of coming in Africa and colonizing it easily by the imperialists.
They signed bogus treaties; this involved the work done by the explorers and some of the traders/merchants in many parts of Africa. This was to encourage the officialization of the resources like land from the chiefs, for example, Karlpeeters of GEACO (Germany East African Company) made a bogus treaty with sultan Mangungo of Msowero, and Cecil Rhodes of BSACO (British South African Company) made a bogus treaty with chief Lubengula of Ndebele in Southern Rhodesia.
They exposed the hinterland of (interior) to the external world; this involved the collection of the various information from the African continent towards their mother countries. Explorers of whom they sent sensitive information of land scenery mainly did this. For example, John Speke went back in his mother country with the information about source of river Nile of which was Lake Victoria, David Living Stone discovered the Victoria Falls (Zambia).
They spread Christianity, this was the role played by the missionaries in the African colonies so as to allow the prevention of colonialism. It was through the civilization of the Africans towards imperialists’ colonization for example, Dr. Ludwing Kraph formed the Crus at Rabai mpya at Mombasa in 1844. In addition, there were several church societies like the Holy Ghost fathers, London Missionary society, UMOA and white fathers.
They introduced cash crop production; the missionaries in the African colonies mainly did this by putting more emphasis on cash crop production like the coffee, cocoa, sisal, tea and tobacco, these were the raw materials for the imperialists, as they would come to the African areas to colonize for imperialistic interests. For example, the missionaries in Ghana motivated much on the cocoa production as the raw materials.
They sent important information to their mother countries this involved the sending information of the strategic areas towards the imperialists. The explorers did this and also some traders from companies for example, De Braze of Congo of whom was working for King Leopold II of Belgium, Cecil Rhodes in Southern Rhodesia under B.S.A.Co, George Goldie of Royal Niger Company in the Niger Delta potentiality.
Generally, the agents of colonialism led to the occupation of African continent towards the imperialists during the 19th C. this is whereby it was after the Berlin conference of 1884-1885. The evils of colonialism were the effective exploitation of the African resources, destruction of the African culture and also the inferior of African race.
4. Examine any six reasons as to why Mandika resistance took long time than any other resistance in Africa.
Colonialism refers to the situation whereby developed nations like France, Britain and France control or rule another weak country in social, economic and political affairs. Colonialism started during the 19th C due to the development of capitalism in its monopoly stage. On the other hand, Mandika resistance was a type of African resistance against the establishment of French rule in Guinea. Samoure Toure led the movement from 1891 to 1898.
The following are the reasons as to why Mandika resistance took long time;
They had strong army called “sofa” that were well drilled and disciplined, so, they developed their efforts to fight against the French encroachment from 1891-1898.
They had an efficient system of calling up the reserves who then calves underwent annual military training. Each time the number of soldiers could be decreased in the battle while others would be called to fill the gap and confront the French.
They already had an efficient trade network of getting fire ours from the coast, even from French trades. He used such weapons to fight against the French. Samoure Toure also opened up his Owen armories, which not only repaired his weapons but also manufactured effective copies of them.
They used good military technique that is scorched earth policy. As the army fought the soldiers burnt all the crops on the way of the French they could not have food for their troops. This eventually weakened French soldiers since they faced with hunger and starvation.
The Mandika people had a very efficient administration of his empire so that when he was defeated in the battle he could move the headquarters without too much destruction for example; he moved his whole empire eastwards to a completely new area in the face of French successes. The French could not capture Samoure Toure easily. He held off French advances while he rebuilt his empire.
The use of guerilla was tactics helped Samoure Toure and his people so much. His soldiers did not only confront the soldiers in open battle but also crushed them bunch which his troops known much better that the French army.
Generally, the French army defeated Samoure Toure and his people since they used the modern weapons than that of Mandika people, the emergence of natural disaster, which affected the Mandika people, and other weaknesses that faced Mandika people fueled to their defeat.
5. Inherited problems from colonial past are major hindrances to the development of African countries. Justify this statement.
Development is a gradual change from low to higher stage. Imperialists mostly colonized African countries for quite long. The colonialists only aimed at exploiting African wealth such as minerals and raw materials such as ivory, gold, iron, cotton and wax. In this way, the colonialists left Africans with number of problems that now become hindrances to African development.
The following are some inherited problems from colonial legacy.
Poverty and unstable among African countries is among the challenges facing most African countries right from the attainment of independence in a sense that colonialists heavily exploited Africans to the point of remaining extremely poor and thus live in bad conditions. In addition to that, Africans still live by depending on foreign countries led by Britain, USA and the like. This has become an obstacle to the development of the continent because Africans cannot decide on their own matters, majority also still living under dollar they cannot afford meeting a balanced diet and other social demands.
Poor social service is another challenge mostly encountered African countries right from the independence. This is because during the colonial era colonialists posed it purposely and unevenly depending on the site of colonial economy like plantations and mines, however, these services were poorly provided. The education given to Africans meant to train few Africans who could serve for the colonial interests as messengers, clerks and teachers. This situation made it difficult to get well-trained African personnel who would work for their favor. Besides, the health services provided by then were poor.
This trend still facing many African countries despite the attainment of their independence because transport system is indeed poor, hospitals still lack experts worse still Africans’ education still of European curricular.
Gender imbalance is another problem facing African countries to development. This has its roots right from colonial social services where education was provided basing on gender lines. Equally important, after independence women still remaining in backwardness as they are less regarded and majority regard them terrible comparing to men.
In Tanzania for example, many women are only responsible for family taking care rather than contributing in national building. Imbalances in gender have been acting as a barrier to development of a given nation in Africa.
Ignorance and illiteracy is among the stumbling factor to the development of African continent. This is because most people in Africa are un educated and the root cause of this phenomena emanated from colonial era where few especially sons of chiefs had access to education. This trend has in turn created a big gap among Africans where the educated among Africans exploit no-educated class causing chaos and mistrust among them.
New-colonialism as a situation in which an independent country becomes less free in deciding her own matter in terms of resources (both human and materials) utilization is a critical problem that hinders the development of African countries because mostly, Africans still depending on donors from developed countries through being granted aids and grants this in turn creates the exploitation our valuable resources particularly minerals and raw materials due to the fact that the prices for our produce are determined by foreigners, also the exchange of money is un fair and unevenly to Africans. More than those African leaders are being remote by foreigners in leading their countries. In this case whatever decided by African leaders aim at meeting foreign interests.
To bring to a close the above discussion it may be concluded that African countries have been employing several accounts aiming to mitigate the problems that impinge them particularly the declaration policies like Ujamaa and self-reliance in Tanzania. Others decide to establish campaign for national buildings like Harambee in Kenya as well as humanism in Zambia are few examples to mention in this regard. In addition, they have keenly involved in regional groupings like COMESA, ECOWAS, SADC, EAC and the likes. All these have been aiming at maintaining African development.
6. Appraise six roles played by the colonial state to support Settler agriculture in Kenya
Settler agriculture was a type of colonial agriculture established by Europeans who came to settle in Africa and later they engaged in production of raw materials. It was much developed in Kenya and Zimbabwe where it was characterized by land alienation, existence of taxation, forced labor, low wages as well as existence of monoculture.
The following are the central arguments on the roles played by the colonial state to support settler agriculture in Kenya.
The settlers were given improved social services like education, health services and water supply. This was done as the way to motivate the white settlers to engage in production of raw materials like cotton, sisal, rubber which were indeed needed as raw materials in capitalist’s industries from Europe.
The colonial government ensured constant supply of labors to the setter farms. To this, accomplish this, the colonial government introduced land alienation, forced labor and taxation. For instance, Kipande system, low wages were put in place in order to encourage the natives to provide labor in their farms.
The colonial government exempted (excluded) the white settler from paying taxes. This was to encourage settler production where setter was not allowed to pay any kind of tax. This was deliberately reserved to Africans who were forceful to pay it.
The colonial government did not allow the natives to grow cash crops. This was because the colonial government wanted to avoid market cooperation between Africans and white settlers. In addition, they wanted to ensure availability of labor in settler farms.
The colonial government provided subsides during drastic climatic change. The white’s settlers were given soft loans, fertilizers and pesticide so as to encourage them to engage in production of raw-materials such as cotton, sisal and coffee which were highly needed so as to solve the industrial needs in Europe.
The colonial government introduced and improved the introduction of modern infrastructures such as railways and roads, which passed through the white settler farms. The whites later on used these infrastructures as a means to transport their crops to the coast ready for export of raw materials and labor.
To sum up the settler agriculture in Kenya has both positive and negative impact in Kenya. This is because, issues like introduction and improvement of modern infrastructures like railways, improvement in provision of social services, intensive exploitation forced labor and low wages.
7. Examine six contributions of welfare associations to the rise of nationalism in Africa.
African nationalism refers to the political desire of Africans to unite as the nation so as to eliminate the foreign rule with the intention of ruling themselves in social, political and economic affairs. The movement gained momentum after the Second World War due to the internal pressure such as the role played by African elites like Nelson Mandela who championed for the decolonization of African country, intensive colonial exploitation.
Apart from internal influence, there were external factors as supported by the role played by ex-soldiers, the role-played United Nations Organization (U.N.O. Welfare associations were the workers associations which formed by the African who were employed in various colonial economic sectors like mining industries and plantations. Examples of welfare association formed by Africans were Tanganyika African Association (TAA) and Kenya African Association (KAA).
The role played by welfare associations to the rise of nationalism in Africa were as follows;
They opposed racial discrimination, which was practiced by Europeans. The formation of welfare associations such as Tanganyika African Association started to oppose the racial discrimination hence this action raised self-awareness to Africans, thus they started to demand for their lost independence from the colonial government.
They created foundation for education. This was because the formation of welfare associations demanded the Africans to get access to education so as to oppose the use of African chiefs as the puppets during the system of indirect rule. They wanted their posts to be run by elected Africans hence it raised African nationalism so as to demand their lost independence.
They showed the evils of colonialism to their fellow Africans such as force labor, raised discrimination, low wages and land alienation. These factors created the rise of self-awareness to Africans and they saw the need of uniting so as to oppose the colonial government. from the point is where the Africans started to demand for their lost independence from the colonial government.
They facilitated the formation of political parties. This was as the way of uniting all Africans regardless of their job, religion or color in order to achieve this situation is where most of this welfare associations changed to political parties for instance, the Tanganyika African Association changed to Tanganyika Africans Nationalist Union (TANU), which enabled the attainment of independence on 9th December 1961.
They exposed Africans political feelings to the colonialist. Through this way is where colonialist discovered the needs of Africans towards achieving their major roles. Again, these factors created self-awareness to Africans hence they started to force various as the way to demand for their majority rule.
Most of welfare associations opposed colonial intensive exploitation. For example, peasant co-operatives disliked low prices of cash crops, the workers associations demanded high salaries and opposed low wages.
Generally, welfare associations contributed greatly to the attainment of African independence after the change of these associations to political parties for instance the change from Tanganyika African Association (TAA) to Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) a political party that spearheaded the attainment of the independence in Tanganyika due to its effort to cement a solid unity among the Africans.
8. Why did Ethiopians managed to defeat foreign encroachment and give any six (6) reasons for the success of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia resistance was a type of African resistance against the establishment of colonial rule in Ethiopia. Menelik II led the resistance from 1986 over the Italians. The Ethiopian leader was able to unite his people by encouraging strong unity and solidarity so as to fight against the Italian in order to preserve their culture and protect their trading interest. They aimed at promoting social political and economic development of their country.
The following are the central arguments as to why Ethiopians managed to defeat foreign encroachment and access their resistance;
The geographical advantage. This factors influenced greatly to the success of Ethiopian resistance since the country consists of mountainous great valleys, semi desert which hindered penetration of Italians.
The existence of strong unity and solidarity motivated the success of Ethiopian resistance since it enables them to have the common goal to fight against the Italians. The strong unity and solidarity was influenced by the spread of Christian religion to many Ethiopians hence, they were able to fight against the Italians.
The emergence of strong and outstanding leadership of Menelik II. The presence of strong leadership motivated the success of Ethiopian’s resistance since he was able to encourage strong unity and solidarity also he could encourage the people to fight against the Italians. He was also able to organize his people on their way to fight the Italians.
The existence of strong standing army, which contributed to the success of Ethiopian resistance since it, managed to defeat the Italian’s army.
Italy was still poor and weak nations, this factor motivated the success of Ethiopians resistance since they were not capable to fight against the Ethiopians because of being economically weak. This in turn made them to have poor organization to defeat the Africans.
Menelik II adopted military weapons and fighting tactics from other European nations such as Britain, Russia and Portugal who in turn encouraged and motivated the Ethiopians to fight against the Italians.
Generally it may be concluded that, although Ethiopians were succeeded to defeat the Italians encroachment still they were badly affected by the war taking into account that they faced economic stagnation, death, massive destruction of social and physical infrastructure like roads and health services.
9. Account for the challenges that were faced by the traders in the Trans-Saharan trade.
Trans-Saharan trade was the trade, which was conducted across the Saharan desert between the people of North Africa and West Africa. It also includes the people around Mediterranean Sea Arabs from Asia. The trade started during the 8th century and developed in 10th century after introduction of camels.
In connection to the main body, the following are the central argument on the challenges that were faced by the traders in the Trans-Saharan trade.
The introduction of Christian religion in West Africa societies. The introduction of direction religion led to the emergence of religions conflict among the Muslims and Christians. The situation resulted into the emergence of political unrest among the West Africa societies, which resulted into the decline of Trans-Saharan trade.
The introduction of slave trade by the European. Slave traders. This factor caused the transportation of slave who was taken to America to work in mines and plantation such as sisal and coffee. This situation caused the emergence of depopulation to the decline of Trans-Saharan Trade.
The introduction of European manufactured goods. The introduction such as clothes, beads and alcohol discouraged market for Trans-Saharan Trade as their products lacked market. In addition, it created fear and insecurity to trade. This was much influenced by the coming of European traders who were capturing the African traders hence the Trans-Saharan trade was no longer developed.
Fall of Western Sudanic States like Mali, Ghana and Songhai. These were trading centers for Trans-Saharan Trade and the source of market for the commodities from North Africa. Hence the trade was no longer developed.
The introduction of Triangular Slave Trade, this was because, the Triangular trade changed its direction of trade routes instead of going to North Africa the trade route changed to European, this made Trans-Saharan trade to collapse.
Despite its decline, Trans-Saharan Trade contributed greatly to the availability of strong armies due to the presence of guns from the Arabs. However, more importantly, cities like Gao, Timbuktu grew steadily because of high population, which acted as a catalyst for the state formation.
10. Why did centralized states developed in interlacustrine region and not in arid areas?
A state means the political unit with the centralize power to provide necessary services like security needed by the people as well as collecting taxes. Interlacustrine regions fares to the areas around Lake Victoria. Basically, in interlacustrine region there was for motion of centralized states like Karagwe, Buganda and Bunyoro, which were influenced by geographical setting to the area. The formation of these states was due to the influence of pre-colonial societies to create social, political and economic development.
The following are the central arguments on the reasons as to why centralized states developed in interlacustrine region and not in arid areas.
Development of agricultural activities like bananas, maize. This was the one of the factor that facilitated the formation of centralized state in intercustrine regions since the agriculture was developed as these areas received high amount of rainfall throughout the year compared to semi arid areas, which has a tendency of receiving low amount of rainfall in this case arid areas did not support agricultural development.
The emergency of large population influenced agriculture, which went hand in hand with the emergence of surplus population. The emergence of large population facilitated the emergence of centralized states in interlacustrine region since the population provided labor in production activities as well as acted as market contrary to arid areas, which tend to have low population due to poor production.
The emergence and development of trade especially long-distance trade. This was a contributing factor for the development of centralized states in intercustrine region since the trade facilitated the growth of population, which is contrary to semi arid region where the trade was not developed.
The emergence of good geographical location especially equatorial region. The regions around Lake Victoria had a tendency of receiving high amount of rainfall throughout the year, which is unlike to semi- arid region. Due to this reason, it contributed greatly to the emergence of centralized states to the intercustrine region since the geographical location encouraged population growth, which in a sense promoted the development of agriculture as well as development of of trade within these regions.
The presence of strong leadership like Rumanyika. The emergence of strong leaders like Rumanyika, Kabaka Mutesa motivated the formation of centralized states since they were able to encourage unity and solidarity among the people, which is contrary to semi-arid region.
Generally, the emergence and development of centralized states in intercustrine region verify (signifies) the development of political system in pre-colonial African societies as the European claimed that there was no development of any kind before the advent of colonialism which is not historically fact.