THE ROLE OF TRADERS IN THE COLONIZATION OF AFRICA
THE ROLE OF TRADERS IN THE COLONIZATION OF AFRICA | The role of traders in the colonization of Africa pdf | The role of traders in the colonization of Africa essay | AGENTS OF COLONIALISM | The role of traders in the colonization of Africa in Tanzania
AGENTS OF COLONIALISM
Agents of colonialism were the Europeans who penetrated Africa to prepare the Africans to meet the industrial demands such as raw materials, markets for manufactured goods, areas for investments, and cheap laborers in the 19th century.
Colonialism is the direct and overall domination of one country by another on the basis of state power being in the hands of a foreign power. For example, the direct and overall domination of Nigeria by Britain between 1900-1960.
The first objective of colonialism is political domination. Its second objective is to make possible the exploitation of the colonized country. When we talk of colonialism in Africa we are talking of a phenomenon that took place between the 1800-1960s.
It is a phenomenon that is part and parcel of another phenomenon called imperialism. In fact, colonialism is a direct form of imperialism. This is why it is often said that “all colonialism is imperialism, but not all imperialism is colonialism”.
Colonialism began as a result of changes in the mode of production in Europe (For example, the emergence of the industrial revolution). The industrial revolution ushered in a new process of production in place of the earlier slave-based economy.
There were about three groups of agents of industrial capitalism in Africa namely:
The third agent of colonization was the traders and trading companies. European traders came in large numbers to operate in Africa following the successful missions of both Explorers and Christian missionaries.
The most active traders including British and German. Some traders formed small trading companies and associations to operate in Africa such as the Livingstone Central African Trading Company founded by James Stevenson in 1878.
Traders were the last people (agents) who came to Africa with a mission of trading with Africans. They brought manufactured goods such as clothes and guns to exchange them for gold, ivory, cotton and animal hides in many areas. When they come they formed trading companies in many parts of Africa.
The prominent traders in Africa were:
Sir William Mackinnon, 1st Baronet CIE FRSGS (13 March 1823 – 22 June 1893) was a Scottish ship-owner and businessman who built up substantial commercial interests in India and East Africa.
He established the British-India Steam Navigation Company and the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEACO)
Sir Henry Hamilton Johnston GCMG KCB (12 June 1858 – 31 July 1927), known as Harry Johnston, was a British explorer, botanist, artist, colonial administrator, and linguist who travelled widely in Africa and spoke many African languages.
He published 40 books on African subjects and was one of the key players in the Scramble for Africa that occurred at the end of the 19th century.
Carl Peters (27 September 1856 – 10 September 1918), was a German colonial ruler, explorer, politician and author and a major promoter of the establishment of the German colony of East Africa (part of the modern republic Tanzania).
A proponent of Social Darwinism and the Völkisch philosophy, his attitude towards the indigenous population made him one of the most controversial colonizers even during his lifetime.
ROLE PLAYED BY TRADERS IN THE COLONISATION OF AFRICA
1. They opened a new an exploitative system: Therefore, Africa became the target for European interests. This resulted in stiff rivalries and competition among European industrial nations.
2. Introduction of circuit through legitimate trade: This involved the importation of European manufactured goods. Thus, the chain of dependence was created and the African local industries and the arts were destroyed.
3. Traders exposed Africa to the world capitalist system of economy: The use of currency, banking and credit facilities began to be witnessed by Africans. This resulted into exploitation of African resources. The fair and quick turns obtained by traders attracted European colonialists to come into Africa.
4. They opened communication systems such as roads: This laid the foundation for future colonial infrastructure. For example, the road from Lake Nyasa to Tanganyika known as Livingstone road was opened by traders and was used during the colonial administration.
5. They carried out trade in Africa. European traders brought manufactured goods from their countries to Africa. Africans relied on importing goods like clothes from Europe instead of weaving their own cloth, hence created dependency of Africans to Europeans.
6. Traders signed treaties with local leaders; the aims were to prepare the areas to be ready for the white rule. One example was a treaty signed between Harry Johnston and chief Mandara of Uchagga in 1884 to control thirteen square kilometers of land in Kilimanjaro. Also Dr. Carl Peters of the society for German colonization signed treaties with a number of chief between Pangani and Rufiji. These treaties were later used by the German government to control Tanganyika.
General Roles played by colonial Agents in colonizing Africa
Missionaries often invited their home governments to occupy areas they worked.
In case they faced resistance or hostility from Africa they would be assured of security. In society like Buganda Christian Missionaries helped to overthrow Kabaka Mwanga who was then replaced by his son Daudi Chwa because Mwanga hindered in promotion of British colonial interest.
1. The colonial agents facilitated the spread of Christianity.
Missionaries for example soften the hearts and minds of Christian African converts to the extend not resisting colonization.
2. In some societies they contributed to internal division and weakening the state.
Example in Buganda they divided people along religious lines. This caused conflicts and war between Catholic and Protests.
3. They were in the forefront in promoting legitimate trade
In order to protect the economic interest of their home colonial powers as they increased desire for cheaper sources of raw materials and markets.
4. The explorers mapped the interior of East Africa
Example the publication of Jacob Erhadits in 1856 also in 1872, David Livingstone sent several maps to London giving the location of Caravan routes, lakes and major rivers of Tanganyika.
5. They provided important geographical information
for example Rebman discovered Mount Kilimanjaro in 1848, Krapf became the first European to see Mount Kenya in 1849 and John Speke discovered the sources of river Nile in 1862.
6. Explorers established good working relations with African
As they came across with which eased the work of Christian Missionaries, Traders and Chartered Companies. For example through Henry Morton Stanley, the Kabaka of Buganda requested for Christian Missionaries to come and operate on his Kingdom.
Krapf write the first Swahili Dictionary and grammar also translated the New Testament into Swahili, making it easy for the later Christians Missionaries groups.
7. They signed many treaties with African leaders.
8. The agents acted as propagandists and interpreters. For example, Moffat a missionary who stayed in Ndebele land for more than 30 years was a useful interpreter to British South Africa Company (BSAC).
9. They fought for abolition of slavery and slave trade and established legitimate trade which replaced slave trade.
10. Missionaries provided education to the people who later became instruments in the colonization process of Africa