geography

Topics: Colonialism, Indigenous peoples, Africa Pages: 9 (2186 words) Published: October 9, 2014
With reference to specific geographic regions critically discuss the legacy of colonialism for LDCs

Colonialism in the dictionary of geography (Clark, 2003) has four definitions, two of which really jumped out to me, “the economic, political and social policies by which colonies are governed by the sovereign Metropolitan country (the colonial power), usually based on the maintenance of a marked distinction between the governing country and the subordinate (colonial) population.” As well as “in a derogatory sense, an alleged policy of exploitation of weak peoples by a large, strong power, which has the effect of perpetuating the economic differences between the colonies and the governing power.” the second definition is more so along the lines of how I’ve interpreted Colonialism in this essay. This essay will look at colonialism in Latin America and Africa and the legacy that was left behind. It will briefly discuss the domination that Europe had over these regions at the time as well as look at how that dominance has stayed on and shaped what the region is now today. The term post colonialism can also be given when discussing the ‘legacy of colonialism’

The late 15th century was a time of ‘Great Discoveries’ for European exploration and colonization and the colonial conquests of Spain and Portugal in the Americas was a great historical feat. The indigenous people of the land- approximately 100 million maybe in 1492 (Lockhart and Schwartz, 1983, p.36)- had been isolated for so long that they had no inherited immunities to “Old World” pathogens and were completely vulnerable to ‘virgin soil’ epidemics. Stricken populations could not resist alien conquest and within a single generation of Cortès’s expedition to Mexico (1519-22), most densely populated regions had been brought under Spanish rule. (Waites, 1999, p. 24) colonial powers at the time wanted to change the societies of these countries to mimic that which they left behind. “The conquerors sought to replicate the social order they had left behind in Europe by grafting the urban institutions of Castile onto the new world.” (Waites, 1999, p. 24)

As a result of this colonization, they forced upon the ‘Indians’ their beliefs and had them converted and transformed, and they would be made to conform to European notions of work and incorporated into a monetized and wage labour economy (Elliott, 1984a, p.204).

The Indian historian Ranajit Guha, the founder of the South Asian Subaltern Studies Group made a comment about South Asian that refers to the “salient aspects of modernity’s intersection with colonialism” (Guha 1982b, 41) can also be applied to that of Latin Americas condition, the fact that “the colonial experience has outlived decolonization and continues to be related significantly to the concerns of our own time” (Guha 1982b, 42). Whether it is in the colonized or in the colonialist parts of the world, even after political decolonization, the impacts of colonialism live on, integral not only in politics but also in the ordinary, every day lives and experiences of the people.

“Colonies had typically been seen as providing resources to enable the development of Western economies…” (Young 2008, 49) this statement is so true when looking at Latin America and its history of colonialism. Postcolonial nations, especially Latin America initially accepted this prescription of the need for modernization in their desire to develop economically and increase wealth. Underdevelopment was seen as one of the effects of the aftermath of colonialism. “Underdevelopment was the complementary product of western development…” it has been the root of many social inequalities in Latin America.

The colonization and decolonization of Latin America had many profound effects on the region. For one, it brought about Marxism ideology, “…after the Russian Revolution communist parties were rapidly founded, in Mexico in 1919, in Argentina in 1920, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay in...
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