Was the scramble for Africa one of the biggest tragedies in history?

Asked by: Adam2
  • That was a messed up chapter in history

    It was one of the biggest tragedies. What do you guys think about this? I think it was a horrific chapter in the history of mankind. I think the countries involved should owe Africa big giant apology. That was really a messed up thing to have done in my opinion.

  • I'm not sure.

    Please give your definition of 'tragedy' and examples of why you believe the scramble for Africa to be an example of one.

    Of course to modern people imperialism is immoral, and western imperialism in Africa was certainly responsible for some terrible crimes against humanity. But was we're talking about a whole continent, it's a complicated story and some places fared better than others. For one thing you could say it gave money to Europeans and kept the peace there so that's no tragedy, right? Also we're not talking about modern democracies here, peasants were being exploited by the rich before, and after the Westerners were there, I don't think it's a huge tragedy that for a while the poor were being exploited by rich Europeans rather than rich Africans.

    You could also talk about the legacy of empire. Of course a lot of it was harmful to Africans but they did leave behind a system of law, democracy, advances in science, technology, medicine & I'm sure a lot else beside which has benefited Africa.

    Do I think Europeans caused more harm than good in Africa? Quite possibly, but it's a complicated story and we need to understand it in the context of it's own time. That is why I'm not sure we can call the scramble for Africa one of the biggest tragedies in history.

  • Of course it was a tragedy, but historically, it's not even a blip.

    Look at any nation before the Europeans found Africa. Slavery was just a thing that happened. If you lost a war, or were conquered, chances are you would be sold into slavery, or else killed en masse. Romans did it all the time. So did most Civilizations, ironically, including African tribes. It's not a new and crazy idea that the evil white man made up.

    It's an ancient practice that until recently was considered to be quite common and unremarkable. Like I said before: Slavery was just a thing that happened.

    It was so deeply rooted in the minds of Europeans that the thought of not doing slavery was bizarre and radical. It can be very hard to understand old societies for these kinds of reasons. We just think so differently now.

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