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The Indigenous Institutions Under Colonialism

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Chapter Summary

Much has been written about the iniquities of colonialism and the atrocities perpetrated against African natives. Colonialism was extractive, generally a for-profit operation. The idea that the imperial objective is commercial profit is the theory of economic imperialism. But how profitable colonialism was is subject to controversy. Almost all students of African colonial history assert that the African people were exploited economically and received little social development under colonialism. But their indigenous institutions were largely left intact, although there were some adaptations and modifications. It defies logic to accuse the colonialists of neglecting the indigenous sector and destroying it at the same time, when they hardly spent much time there except to exploit or evacuate mineral deposits or other resources. Colonialism in Africa constituted an imposition of alien rule on the people of Africa, under which they were subjected to degrading acts of human rights abuses and political oppression.

Keywords: African colonial history; alien rule; economic imperialism; human rights abuses; indigenous institutions; political oppression



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