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How Imperial Powers Controlled and Transformed Societies which They Colonized

How Imperial Powers Controlled and Transformed Societies which They Colonized


Colonial powers saw it important to expand the market for their products and the need to exercise power over other countries early enough. They therefore colonized other nations, which were weaker. They also had an aim of exploiting the resources of the poor countries in disguise that that it was their burden to civilize the natives. They used various methods to capture the power over other nations. Once they had that control, they introduced many changes on the social, economic and political fronts. Here below, the various changes are put into perspective.

As already highlighted, the colonial masters used several methods to get power in the native nations. They used missionaries to establish grounds favorable for them to engage their activities. The missionaries preached love implying to the locals that they are never allowed to kill anyone during their lifetimes. This was in preparation for the battle or arrival of the colonialists so that the indigenous people do not fight the colonialists. Some natives believed it, converted to Christianity, and aided the works of this group of people. The use of collaboration with some local chiefs to further their interests was also used.

The chiefs were given goodies and promised many more for their support to the colonialists. These locals thereby aided the exploration of the colonized nations. In addition, the collaborators acted as interpreters for the colonialists and attempted to convince the local residents that the whites were for the good of the locals (Peter, 2008, 1-24). These collaborators served as examples of beneficiaries as they benefited from education and other gifts. This convinced the other locals to follow that same route with the hope of gaining from such provisions. Based on this establishment, the imperialists used education as one approach in changing the colonized societies.

Force was also used to suppress any resistance that was encountered from the native communities. The colonialists had a well equipped army with lethal arsenal and therefore were in a position to see off any challenge from the locals who were inadequately equipped to fight. The locals used machetes and spears compared to the colonialists who had guns that are more powerful (Peter, 2008, 34). This therefore made it easier for the colonialists to defeat the natives and herefore allow them to establish their rule over the colony. The use of force was also an element that changed the shape of the colonized since new weaponry was introduced.

The colonialists also used divide and rule as a tactic to take over and maintain power (Rodney, 1973, 33). They introduced a number of religious affiliations. Such religions included Catholicism, Protestantism, etc. This contributed to the creation of confusion amongst the locals, an aspect that compromised the unity factor. This weakened the locals since they could hardly agree thereby making it easy for the colonial masters to exert their presence. As such, the colonizers introduced religion an aspect that was useful in controlling the natives as well as influencing their ways of life.

The settlers also supported the colonial activities. They provided food and accommodation to the colonial masters and guided them on how they could best tackle the natives. The use of administrative units and posting of rulers helped enhance their presence. They had District Commissioners and Chiefs who executed the duties on the ground (Rodney, 1973, 23-67). Use of a biased justice system like courts also had an effect of promoting the colonial masters’ goals through serving to defeat justice to the locals. By the use of the above means, they established a colonial system of governance different from what the natives initially had.

How the colonial rule transformed the colonized societies

With the establishment of the colonial rule, many changes took place regarding the way of life of the native societies. In the African societies, many locals mostly believed in the existence of many gods. They could offer them sacrifice as a way of appeasing them or seeking reconciliation. Other beliefs permitted practices considered archaic like allowing newborn twins to die as they were seen as abomination.

Women had little respect and regard from their male counterparts. Men whose roles were to provide saw them as possessions. With the invasion of the colonialists and missionaries, Christianity was introduced. The missionaries taught the natives about the teachings of the Bible. This brought attention to the locals that there is only one God to be worshiped and that no one had the right to take away another person’s life. Respect and love were preached. The nneed to understand that women are worthy of respect just like the men was also underscored. This therefore brought wide changes on the social setup of the natives. As Achebe (1958, 120) remarked, “The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

The role of the colonialists also had a huge impact on the economic status of the colonies. There was construction of improved infrastructure including roads, railway lines and canals. This meant that the natives had improved infrastructure, which they could use to further their economic activities like trade and transport (Achebe, 1958, 46). The colonialists also introduced new and improved methods of farming. The old systems of agriculture in which fertility, need for crop rotation and the need to use appropriate fertilizers were never considered was discarded in favor of the imperialists’ approaches, leading to improved agricultural production. This brought increased food production and thereby improved welfare to the natives.

Before the entry of the colonialists, a council of male members administered leadership while religious leaders resolved disputes. The system of governance and administration changed to embrace a centralized form of administration headed by the Queen who was represented by the District Commissioners and Chiefs on the ground. Systems of access to justice were via courts, an aspect that presented a deviation from the old system (Rodney, 1973, 23-67).


The colonialists’ invasion is seen as having had both negative and positive influence upon the states of the colonies. Many changes took place. The positive ones have had a major impact such as the provision of good infrastructure, introduction of religion, education and the medical care. Based on this establishment, support for the invasion grows. The view holds since such activities have had a positive effect upon the native communities to the present days. The imperialists’ activities are therefore seen as having improved the welfare of the local societies despite the wrongs the colonialists may have committed such as interfering with other peoples’ ways of life.



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