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Jamie Kutey

HIST 1401
Dr. Chima Korieh
10 November 2016
Reflection 5: Noteworthy Changes in Africa After European Arrival
Most of the changes after European arrival included enhancements of the Industrial

Revolution; such as the construction of railways from the coasts to the cash crop zones or in

mining areas in the interior, and introducing European currency system to Africa (Laumann, pg.

18). These were key changes in the development of the colonial economy the Europeans hoped

to create, but the Africans collaborated and resisted for fear that their country would become

disregarded. I will explain later in this paper the important changes the Europeans brought with

them, the intended and unintended consequences that were associated with that change. I will

also explain how some Africans resisted to these changes and how some collaborated with their

peoples to adapt to these changes.

The Scramble for Africa began in the 1870s and the Berlin Conference of 1884 initially

set the framework for the partition, invasion and colonization by a variety of European powers.

These authorities brought ideas of improving railways and mining sites during the Industrial

revolution. This allowed for the expansion of railways, which provided additional employment

opportunities in export-processing (Korieh, pg. 218). The intended consequence of the building

of railroads and mining systems allowed for the discovery of advancements and advanced trade,

which would permit the intended area to flourish. After the discovery of diamonds in Kimberly,

railways from the southern ports of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban were

constructed to supply the minersand ensure the mines became part of the British EmpireThe

extension of the rail line advanced British power into Southern Africa (Korieh, pg. 208). The

unintended consequences of these advancements included the outbreak of the South African War

in 1899. In areas like Ghana, Africans resisted the European urge to take over their country. The

unintended consequence of the railroads and mining systems permitted European powers to

export slaves to different areas of Africa, and used them forced labor. However, South Africans

adapted to be one of the most successful skilled and most versatile of Africas agricultural

exporters because they learned to use the railroads and mines as advantages to trade, and they

then used new methods of plant selection to make their exports desired.

Another major change that was brought to Africa by the Europeans after the Scramble

was the European currency system. The new coins as well as the currency notes served as a

practical method of consolidating European power and control, and implied the elimination of

African currencies (Korieh, pg. 276). Economic historians came to an agreement that even

though at firstthe currency revolution was unpopularit later marked a progressive step

towards modern commercial expansion because it facilitated trade and led to a remarkable

increase in the number and variety of possible transactions including modern banking

transactions (Korieh, pg. 277). This was an intended outcome the Europeans had to give

employment to a greater number of intermediaries who were needed to collect and export crops.

Africans collaborated to this change so that they could modernize their country. An unintended

consequence of the European currency system was that wholesalers would now have to try to

pass on price changes (which they had been forced to accept themselves) led to legitimate

commerce. This affected the barter system and facilitated the way trade was instigated between

Europeans and Africans.

The advancements of the Iron Revolution; railways, mining systems enhanced Europes

sources of raw materials and exports. The Europeans introduced a currency system, which

aimed to serve as a practical way to organize currency. In reality, this transformed the African

Economy and economic life that led to modern commercial expansion and increased trade. The

imperial conquest of Africa was undertaken to tap African resources in order to help resolve the

economic problems of Europe (Laumann, pg. 1). Although the Scramble for Africa was seen as

dominance without hegemony, we see that even though African resistance these changes are

evident across Africa today.


Korieh, C. J., & Njoku, R. C. (2013). African history. San Diego, CA: Cognella Academic


Laumann, D. (2012). Colonial Africa: 1884 - 1994. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.