Sound familiar? Would Africa still be so underdeveloped? Europe didn't use Africa for industry, instead it was a mining/farming/resource extraction/tourism type of deal. These numbers depict Africa’s massive labor force loss. Historians tend to avoid this subject like the plague, because of its apparently racist overtones. Why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents for the last 13,000 years? Both groups Prior to the European voyages of exploration in the fifteenth century, African rulers and merchants had established trade links with the Mediterranean world, western Asia, and the Indian Ocean region. The African people were left insecure and scared as their families were torn apart. The Portal for Public History. They also disconnect businesses from their clients. So how is it that countries like England began to progress so rapidly compared to African nations when they had the same amount of time starting from the same point? Trade among European and African precolonial nations developed relatively recently in the economic history of the African continent. Wars disorient people and leave them destitute. Its countries lost all their individual power, which only leads to a loss in ability to also defend one’s culture, identity, interests, and ideas. Do they understand the economic impact of slavery? I was just referring to how by the time the age of colonization came around countries like England, Spain, and France had developed firearms, canons, and warships while most African countries were still in a tribal state. Now, as countries in Africa have gained their independence throughout the years, it is time for them to grow on their own. Can you give specific examples of societies from Europe and Africa to be compared? Exploitation? This means one has to take into account things such as morals, class origins, social relations, and so on, just to determine the state of an individual as a whole. Children’s Bright Future. Some may know about the transatlantic slave trade or triangle trade, but do they know about slave castles? Africa is a harsh place to raise crops and cattle without medicine and strong tools. Please, I mean no offence, but your question asks why did Africa "evolve slower" when you actually mean to ask "why did civilization develop slower in Africa than in Europe". Its countries lost all their individual power, which only leads to a loss in ability to also defend one’s culture, identity, interests, and ideas. Originally from Berkeley, California, I like to think my experiences growing up there have shaped who I am today. Sure, I know that Africa is exploited for resources, such as pre-independent Ghana—or, The Gold Coast. It's spent hundreds of years having its resources siphoned away and having its political systems eroded. At first, buyers only wanted tall, broad-shouldered men, but as they realized the worthiness of women in plantations, the numbers of slaves swelled even more. I know that north African countries like Egypt developed well along with the European nations. Education can be considered something as informal as a mother teaching her children how to be good hosts, or it can be as formal as attending a higher university. All economists have are numbers and historical accounts. Or they believe that everyone lives in wooden huts without roofs above their heads. I know that north African countries like Egypt developed well along with the European nations. In economic terms, Ghana is more developed than most believe. The individuals who are the strongest and most capable will succeed. In a lecture I recently attended at University of Education, Winneba, the professor recommended us all to read “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” by Walter Rodney. Most of Western Africa was used during slavery, mainly because it was on the correct coast to make it easily accessible to the rest of Europe. The colonialism of Africa could also be referred to as the intense exploitation of Africa for the benefit of the rest of the capitalist world. Although Africa has been beat with blow after blow, it is recovering. So whereas in Europe (which is small), civilizations tend to be more similar than they are different (especially the further along the timeline you get, and that’s generally due to a shared inheritance of history), in Africa there’s so much space there’s not necessarily … Of course, hypothetical questions will arise, such as: What if slavery never happened? This number included a large percentage of skilled tradesmen and women fro… When most people think of Africa, they think of poverty and unrest. Ghana now has sanitation and working sewage, all equipped with running water and sustainable infrastructure. Also, I don't think domesticated animals had anything to do with the decline of the sub-Sahara (Mali, Songhai, etc.) In U.S. history classes, students are taught about slavery in terms of how it affected the United States. This meant that these nations were incredibly tied to the few cash crops or resources or tourist sites and any changes in the international market would damage the economy quite a bit, and change it did. When I visited a junior high school in Cape Coast the other day, I asked students to ask me questions about the U.S. One question stuck out the most: Why do white people take things from us that aren’t theirs? In reality, in the period until the 18th century, when all the world was mired in poverty, Africa's economic performance was even worse than other regions. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Regardless, the theory that slavery contributed to underdevelopment must be upheld on the basis that slave trade was an under developing factor for the content as a whole. For me it’s saddening that America has a cure for Ebola while it is indigenous to (certain parts of) Africa and this epidemic … If there was more landmass in Africa around the southern 40° and 50° latitudes, perhaps there would have been sufficient land with good climate to allow for a sedentary civilization to arise a lot earlier. But instead, it was bustling and lined with shops along every street. Some may argue that if slavery was a reason for underdevelopment, there would be a significant disconnection between countries that had captives taken and others that did not. Nearly all of the continent was under colonial administration until the end of World War II. How does a country become underdeveloped? Africa lost its independence overnight, and the consequences of that are just as large as it seems. Please read the rules before participating, as we remove all comments which break the rules. For instance, in an African country like Ghana, which was formerly called the Gold Coast, the first Europeans to set foot in the country were the Portuguese. The Africa Renewal information programme provides up-to-date information and analysis of the major economic and development challenges facing Africa today. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the AskHistorians community. As an international affairs major, studying abroad is part of my academic requirement, so I hope to continue traveling throughout and after college. Press J to jump to the feed. It is common knowledge today that many parts of Africa were once colonized by European countries. In the hopes of offering a better life for their children, many families have … It may not be New York City, but the people love their home just the same. Most of the tropics, if you look at it had few large civilizations in the European sense, but often had Kingdoms like there were in Africa, there were cities in ancient times, etc. Industries collapse, people loose jobs and investors lose confidence in the affected country thus pushing the affected region down the econ… Most importantly, it is recovering without the help of an outside leadership. Europeans began to arrive in the African continent as far back as the early 15th century. The effects of this mass exit of Africans was catastrophic. As someone who has always been intrigued by Africa’s unrest, and loves looking at development economics, I immediately went on a quest to find Rodney’s book. They learn about the haunting experiences of slaves on American soil, but very rarely do students learn about the treatment of slaves before the Africans reached America. In the end, no African country was ever distinctly free from Europe’s reign. You may be interested in the FAQ section Why is Africa "less developed"? Education is crucial for all societies to maintain a social structure and preserve lives. Many might think of the highly disturbing photo of the starving child. Like a good white friend noted in one of our ‘your-people’ conversations, the cure for a disease is often found where it originates. Back when Europe and parts of Asia were experiencing the kind of rapid development that would see them become home to some of the most powerful countries on Earth, Africa remained largely unchanged, and to some extent, remains that way today. Those differing rates constitute the broadest pattern of history, the biggest unsolved problem of history, and my subject today. Countries that have developed—in Europe, America, Japan, Asian countries like Taiwan, Korea and Singapore—have all believed in free markets. When Rome had control of countries like England, the English were "savages/barbarians" that hadn't developed advanced road ways and … Technological innovation and inventions were not shared and implemented fully in the colony, which created technological dependence on Europeans (Ake, 1981, page 55). I’ll admit, before I landed in Accra, I believed Ghana to be quiet and without much infrastructure. The Scramble for Africa, also called the Partition of Africa, Conquest of Africa, or the Rape of Africa, was the invasion, occupation, division, and colonization of African territory by European powers during a short period known to historians as the New Imperialism (between 1881 and 1914). Africa use to be wealthy untile europe had war with them so Africa will most likely be rich in decades and it has lots of resources im pretty sure Nigeria will be developed in like 2050 or something and Egypt will be developed in 2040 or so and im pretty sure Algeria will be developed soon and maybe be the richest country in africa But all that Europe did was strip Africa of its pride by completing halting their development and taking back what Europeans thought was rightfully theirs. In terms of development, Ghana still has a few hurdles to jump over, but it has the outside world fooled. It’s just like the Darwinian evolutionary theory survival of the fittest. Moreover, roads and communication networks are destroyed or barred which further cripples these businesses. But was there a certain reason or event that caused European nations to develop faster compared to central African nations? B. Europe, and to an even greater degree the Middle East and Asia had access to the hot coal fires required to melt stronger metals with higher melting points. Africa lost its independence overnight, and the consequences of … Under the leadership of Europe, Africa lost its power for 70 years. Environment? Its villages have grown into towns, and the country’s children are attending higher universities at an unprecedented rate. Why didn't Africa develop like European nations? Why did Africa never develop? The Americas and Africa did not have the resources for this processes, where as the Eurasian civilizations did. So, the question is why has Africa not been able to develop in the same way that Western, and East Asian countries have been able to do so. IMO, another great factor is that out of everyone that was colonised, the Africans were the most exploited. It will take decades. Of course, north Africa benefits from being linked to the Middle East, both for business and development. Unrest? Some numbers were underreported, others never reported, but estimates range between ten million slaves to over one hundred million. But no one will ever know the answers to these questions. The rest of this post is a summary of what I have learned thus far in both my reading of “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” as well as my own experiences on my dialogue to Ghana. African copper and stone weapons broke on Arab iron. The second argument for underdevelopment is colonialism. I guess I'll keep using England like I have been for the European example, I don't know any ancient central African nations. While other are not confident on the resources that the continent are endowed, even believing that Africa has poor soil which couldn’t feed its population. Answers must be in-depth and comprehensive, or they will be removed. Even more critical than that, Ghana’s loss was comprised of strong, able-bodied young men and attractive young women. The land could no longer be harnessed and tamed for infrastructure, one of the crucial first steps of development. I couldn’t properly answer the question, and I still can’t properly answer it. In an effort to explain underdevelopment, Rodney likens Africa to an individual attempting to succeed in life. One of the most prominent tools for this growth is the reason I’m in Ghana right now: education. All I could give the student was my brief history lesson. But was there a certain reason or event that caused European nations to develop faster compared to central African nations? Starting from the arrival of Portuguese ships on west African shores in 1444, the Europeans set up an elaborate triangular trading system to transport enslaved Africans, import plantation produce, and export European goods to both Africa and the Americas. Education in underdeveloped countries brings social and economic change. There is no mystery there. Slavery saw the people of africa sold off in such numbers that how could a properous civillisation exist,when the brains of a continent were bartered for the brawn of the colonies and the New world.What africa had was commodities people/slaves,oil,diamonds,precious stones,gold.etc.Europe may have had technologies but Africa paid the bill.In Zimbabwe when Europeans lived in caves they … The rest of Africa, including Ghana, continues to have a clone of what looks like the British education system. When economists want to decipher reasons for underdevelopment of a continent or nation such as Africa, it’s common to look at slavery first. The transatlantic slave trade caused the forced removal from Africa of millions of Africans. The exact number of imported Africans remains unclear. Europe colonized Africa under the false pretenses that they were gifting the continent things like social order, nationalistic pride, and a booming economy. Africa lost all of its strongest workers, and the birth rate declined due to the large numbers of women of child-bearing age shipped off. Apart from my love for traveling, I have always had a knack (and thoroughly enjoyed) writing, especially about other people from around the world. Much harsher than Eurasia. Before I delve in deeper, any skeptics who may say that colonialism was beneficial let me say this: Colonialism will never been seen as good in the eyes of the colonized. Under the leadership of Europe, Africa lost its power for 70 years. Africa … When Rome had control of countries like England, the English were "savages/barbarians" that hadn't developed advanced road ways and buildings like the Romans so they were in a state similar to African countries. The argument that civil wars, like terrorism, contribute to poverty is a no-brainer. Violence ran ramped throughout the continent as communities turned on each other. I'm looking forward to stepping outside of my comfort zone and learning about new people and new cultures. You know, there is a huge range between 'on level with the Romans' and 'on level with central African tribes'. The country is much more developed than one might often believe. Formal education for Ghanians began in the slave castles, for the children born in the castles. These scholars put reasons for the under development of Africa with a special focus on blaming its leaders, people’s working habit, geography and tropic diseases. Is it geography? Africans and Europeans are the same species and neither has "evolved" since Homo Sapiens replaced Homo Neanderthalis. For millions of Africans, life often is nasty, brutish and short. as at one point these kingdoms were more advanced and richer than Europe and the Middle East. It's not that Africa hasn't been able to develop, it's been actively undermined. But, this extracted profit formed the base capital for the overall scientific and technological development in Europe, which to date perpetuates the structures of dependency.