All About History

DISENCHANTMENT AND A NEW AGE

he Age of Reason was closely tied to the Age of Discovery, the colonial era in which Western powers, buoyed by their advanced technology, conquered and commandeered vast tracts of the rest of the world. In these mysterious new territories, notably Africa, European colonists came across indigenous religions and practices. With overwhelming arrogance, the patriarchal European power structure showed no interest in learning about these rites and beliefs, instead syncretising them with the assumptions that had been made about European folk magic in the 16th and 17th centuries. At best, they were seen as foolish anthropological quirks, symbolic of the misguided notion that the conquered peoples were intellectually inferior to and culturally less advanced than their oppressors; at worst they were seen as proof that these people practiced witchcraft, devilment and heresy that should be harshly suppressed by the colonisers for the sake of the natives’ souls. Their ancient magic was

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