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. Some may know about the transatlantic slave trade or triangle trade, but do they know about slave castles? But was there a certain reason or event that caused European nations to develop faster compared to central African nations? I'm looking forward to stepping outside of my comfort zone and learning about new people and new cultures. Why did Africa never develop? Also, I don't think domesticated animals had anything to do with the decline of the sub-Sahara (Mali, Songhai, etc.) In the end, no African country was ever distinctly free from Europe’s reign. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the AskHistorians community. It may not be New York City, but the people love their home just the same. 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? I know that north African countries like Egypt developed well along with the European nations. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Many might think of the highly disturbing photo of the starving child. The Portal for Public History. In the hopes of offering a better life for their children, many families have … Of course, north Africa benefits from being linked to the Middle East, both for business and development. Europe didn't use Africa for industry, instead it was a mining/farming/resource extraction/tourism type of deal. Although Africa has been beat with blow after blow, it is recovering. The argument that civil wars, like terrorism, contribute to poverty is a no-brainer. All economists have are numbers and historical accounts. 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. As an international affairs major, studying abroad is part of my academic requirement, so I hope to continue traveling throughout and after college. 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. Education in underdeveloped countries brings social and economic change. 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. Nearly all of the continent was under colonial administration until the end of World War II. The country is much more developed than one might often believe. 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. Now, as countries in Africa have gained their independence throughout the years, it is time for them to grow on their own. 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 … Those differing rates constitute the broadest pattern of history, the biggest unsolved problem of history, and my subject today. Under the leadership of Europe, Africa lost its power for 70 years. 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. When most people think of Africa, they think of poverty and unrest. 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. When economists want to decipher reasons for underdevelopment of a continent or nation such as Africa, it’s common to look at slavery first. Why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents for the last 13,000 years? It is common knowledge today that many parts of Africa were once colonized by European countries. When Rome had control of countries like England, the English were "savages/barbarians" that hadn't developed advanced road ways and … 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). Violence ran ramped throughout the continent as communities turned on each other. Trade among European and African precolonial nations developed relatively recently in the economic history of the African continent. Africans and Europeans are the same species and neither has "evolved" since Homo Sapiens replaced Homo Neanderthalis. Of course, hypothetical questions will arise, such as: What if slavery never happened? 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. In terms of development, Ghana still has a few hurdles to jump over, but it has the outside world fooled. Its villages have grown into towns, and the country’s children are attending higher universities at an unprecedented rate. The individuals who are the strongest and most capable will succeed. Originally from Berkeley, California, I like to think my experiences growing up there have shaped who I am today. I guess I'll keep using England like I have been for the European example, I don't know any ancient central African nations. Under the leadership of Europe, Africa lost its power for 70 years. 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. Why didn't Africa develop like European nations? 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. But instead, it was bustling and lined with shops along every street. These numbers depict Africa’s massive labor force loss. Industries collapse, people loose jobs and investors lose confidence in the affected country thus pushing the affected region down the econ… Environment? 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. Formal education for Ghanians began in the slave castles, for the children born in the castles. African copper and stone weapons broke on Arab iron. Exploitation? Europeans began to arrive in the African continent as far back as the early 15th century. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. 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. They also disconnect businesses from their clients. as at one point these kingdoms were more advanced and richer than Europe and the Middle East. I know that north African countries like Egypt developed well along with the European nations. This number included a large percentage of skilled tradesmen and women fro… Africa lost its independence overnight, and the consequences of … But no one will ever know the answers to these questions. Answers must be in-depth and comprehensive, or they will be removed. In economic terms, Ghana is more developed than most believe. Sound familiar? The effects of this mass exit of Africans was catastrophic. Apart from my love for traveling, I have always had a knack (and thoroughly enjoyed) writing, especially about other people from around the world. For me it’s saddening that America has a cure for Ebola while it is indigenous to (certain parts of) Africa and this epidemic … 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. Can you give specific examples of societies from Europe and Africa to be compared? You know, there is a huge range between 'on level with the Romans' and 'on level with central African tribes'. 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. The Americas and Africa did not have the resources for this processes, where as the Eurasian civilizations did. It’s just like the Darwinian evolutionary theory survival of the fittest. It's not that Africa hasn't been able to develop, it's been actively undermined. I’ll admit, before I landed in Accra, I believed Ghana to be quiet and without much infrastructure. For millions of Africans, life often is nasty, brutish and short. Historians tend to avoid this subject like the plague, because of its apparently racist overtones. Education is crucial for all societies to maintain a social structure and preserve lives. Unrest? It's spent hundreds of years having its resources siphoned away and having its political systems eroded. 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. 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. How does a country become underdeveloped? But was there a certain reason or event that caused European nations to develop faster compared to central African nations? You may be interested in the FAQ section Why is Africa "less developed"? The rest of Africa, including Ghana, continues to have a clone of what looks like the British education system. Press J to jump to the feed. The exact number of imported Africans remains unclear. Even more critical than that, Ghana’s loss was comprised of strong, able-bodied young men and attractive young women. In U.S. history classes, students are taught about slavery in terms of how it affected the United States. Much harsher than Eurasia. 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. The transatlantic slave trade caused the forced removal from Africa of millions of Africans. One of the most prominent tools for this growth is the reason I’m in Ghana right now: education. Like a good white friend noted in one of our ‘your-people’ conversations, the cure for a disease is often found where it originates. Children’s Bright Future. Some numbers were underreported, others never reported, but estimates range between ten million slaves to over one hundred million. Africa is a harsh place to raise crops and cattle without medicine and strong tools. Most importantly, it is recovering without the help of an outside leadership. 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". Please read the rules before participating, as we remove all comments which break the rules. Do they understand the economic impact of slavery? 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 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. Would Africa still be so underdeveloped? Or they believe that everyone lives in wooden huts without roofs above their heads. The African people were left insecure and scared as their families were torn apart. Both groups 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. Is it geography? Africa … The land could no longer be harnessed and tamed for infrastructure, one of the crucial first steps of development. The second argument for underdevelopment is colonialism. 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. 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. Moreover, roads and communication networks are destroyed or barred which further cripples these businesses. Technological innovation and inventions were not shared and implemented fully in the colony, which created technological dependence on Europeans (Ake, 1981, page 55). 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. 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. All I could give the student was my brief history lesson. Wars disorient people and leave them destitute. I couldn’t properly answer the question, and I still can’t properly answer it. The Africa Renewal information programme provides up-to-date information and analysis of the major economic and development challenges facing Africa today. 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. Europe colonized Africa under the false pretenses that they were gifting the continent things like social order, nationalistic pride, and a booming economy. 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. 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 … IMO, another great factor is that out of everyone that was colonised, the Africans were the most exploited. Africa lost its independence overnight, and the consequences of that are just as large as it seems. In an effort to explain underdevelopment, Rodney likens Africa to an individual attempting to succeed in life. There is no mystery there. 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? Sure, I know that Africa is exploited for resources, such as pre-independent Ghana—or, The Gold Coast. It will take decades. Ghana now has sanitation and working sewage, all equipped with running water and sustainable infrastructure. Countries that have developed—in Europe, America, Japan, Asian countries like Taiwan, Korea and Singapore—have all believed in free markets.