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While their motives varied, they tended to be optimistic about the potential wealth of the new territories in terms of both natural resources and labor pools.They also embraced a vague mandate to “civilize,” “improve,” and “develop” the populations they ruled, setting up governance structures that invested officials, usually unfamiliar with the regions, with far more political and cultural power than most Africans possessed .
Colonial efforts to create export economies had similar adverse effects on Africans’ health .
Whether people were enlisted in mining, infrastructure, or agricultural projects, they often had few occupational protections and succumbed to illnesses that resulted from their labors.
At over 11 million square miles, Africa is the second-largest continent (after Asia) and was the last massive region of the world that Europeans colonized (between 18).
The timing and scale of European colonization matter.
Indeed, historical analysis of the unintended—and the willful—harms produced during the colonial period bring to light various lessons for the present since these patterns linger and continue to affect people’s perceptions and practices.
Essay On European Colonization In Africa
Politicians from several European countries oversaw the conquest of sub-Saharan Africa at the end of the nineteenth century, dividing the bulk of the continent between the governments of Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, and Spain.Health activities took on an exalted role given this ethos of improvement since they were a visible and seemingly uncontroversial way to address the needs of the continent’s people.Unsurprisingly, medical projects often received a significant portion of development funds earmarked for social welfare, and medical personnel made up the majority of employees in the technical services of each colonial state [5, 6].Yet Europeans’ efforts to ameliorate the health of imperial subjects were typically beset with contradictions both because disease burdens increased and because health conditions were more difficult to control than officials expected.Conquest was violent and disruptive, radically altering landscapes and lives, and producing what medical specialist Patrick Manson aptly referred to in 1902 as a “pathological revolution” in tropical Africa .These new ideas and techniques increased people’s faith that diseases could be mastered and human lives extended, if only the new knowledge were applied.By exploring the ethical dimensions of medicine in colonial Africa, we can begin to appreciate the moral complexity not only of past interventions but also of international health systems today, given their roots in imperial dynamics.The flies’ habitats had been transformed in the previous decades, bringing tsetses into closer proximity to humans and distancing them from some of the animals, especially cattle, on which they normally fed.Thus, in at least some regions, people became a convenient meal for the flies, increasing transmission rates and spreading the epidemic to new areas .This was a period when germ theories of disease began to predominate in many parts of the world and pharmaceutical treatments and vaccination campaigns were on the rise [1, 2].It was also a time when hygienic regimes in cities became more uniform .