Nov 20, 2020 in Law

Post-colonial societies and colonialism

It could be clearly said that post-colonial societies are still shaped by their experiences under colonialism. Colonialism in Africa and other developing countries of the world has been discussed in different dimensions by various scholars. The whole idea of colonialism has become an integrated aspect of European antiquity since early modern periods of decolonization. Decolonization led to unmanaged conflicts in many areas that were once colonized by Western European or Soviet powers (they included Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, South East Asia, and South Africa). The source of the majority of these protracted conflicts lies in past colonial or Soviet policies. They are especially connected with territorial boundaries, treatment of indigenous populations, local government infrastructures, prevailing of some groups of people over the others, formation of non-democratic or non-participatory governmental systems, and uneven distribution of wealth. Transfer progressions in Europe and other regions clearly indicated that not only actual colonial rules (Spain and England among other Western powers) contributed to the ancient procedure of colonial growth with the Europe shaped globe history, namely post-colonial societies, but also Germany. These genuine colonies were hegemonic due to the way they involved the whole world in validating the accord of Tordesillas on 7th June 1994.

Most of these colonies began expanding their territories. For example, Portuguese and Spain explorers conquered and occupied West Indies for over 400 years. It contributed to the beginning of World War and consequently to colonial development which ended up into colonization. These Western powers did not only colonize Africa, the Middle East, and many parts of Asia, but also competed to acquire the available resources and fertile lands without considering the geographical and cultural borders of the peoples in those zones. Those areas that distinguished themselves on cultural and religious heritage, as well as ethical considerations, were forced to become one single identity as a nation. Such formations were easy to uphold and control through the use of violence and forceful implementation of their laws, as well as imperialist policies, which promoted ethical rivalry by favoring one group of people over the others. This kind of preference promoted inter-group rivalries due to the British rule. Their imperialist policies also led to unequal distribution of resources, discouraged democratic government, and hindered local participation in governmental actions and decisions. They forced some populations to be denied to practice political issues, cultural rights, and social norms and were also limited in their human rights. Since colonial period, these inhuman policies are still being experienced in current societies.


In the West Indian islands, religion was changed and possessed by Spanish colonizers between 1451 and 1506. In India, colonialism was and is still present, due to which certain colonies and colonial countries had a strong impact on each other. It led to the emergence of rulers titles and the establishment of commercial relations with the South Indian port of Calicut. Through trade, King Manuel I made him Lord of Arabia, Persia, and India, which has been affecting India up to date. On the other hand, colonialism, as a historical issue, contributes to developmental differentials due to hegemony leadership. India was colonized by the British Empire. The Spanish used Indians, a category they invented, to designate all of the people indigenous to Americans. In India, indirect colonialism was fused with direct colonialism because they were easily controlled by a central bureaucracy. Unlike in South Africa, indirect colonialism went together with settlement. Forms of hybrid colonialism combining indirect and direct rules were used in colonial India, growing out of Britains unwillingness to dominate vast and high occupied territories through direct means. Despite the fact that some of the empires in India declined the British colonialism, some of these kingdoms displayed substantial economic and political power. Due to this, India shaped their colonial experience and is now experiencing low to intermediate levels of colonial influence.

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South Africa was a British colony which was characterized by complex and populated pre-colonial societies that discouraged British migration and institutional formation. Therefore, the British pursued indirect rule, exercising supremacy via customary bodies and without displaying existing partisan structures, magistrates, and landholding designs. In South Africa, the British established a hybrid form of the indirect settlement colonization. In South Africa, segmented economies and divided legal-administrative institutions were present, but these patterns appeared because of the racial segregation, not because of amalgamation of colonial regions with different forms of colonial rules. Here, the white terrains featured real legal-clerical organizations and splendid economic substructure, while the black zones were deserted and controlled by great chiefs who cooperated with the apartheid rule. Hence, economic growth has been delegated in South Africa. The British colonizers in South Africa pioneered spatial segregation between the Africans and the Europeans; intra-white conflict between the Dutch and the British further entrenched ideas about the white supremacy in the societies and values, paving the path for the application of apartheid.

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These colonial and Soviet powers only created situations that encouraged ethical rivalry by establishing boundaries that separated members of the same ethnic groups into different multiethnic religions. It enabled the Soviet authorities to be continuously called upon by other people of the region to help them solve and settle. They were bound to emerge due to artificial divisions. Colonial and Soviet satellite borders of India and South Africa were created majorly through negotiations between empires or kingdoms, through conquest, or by administrative action without putting into consideration the communal and cultural traits of individuals living in that area. Most of the governments and leaders of post-colonial and post-Soviet states did their best by fighting to keep their territorial boundaries so that they could be created by imperialist governments in order to establish economic and political dominance over the other minor nations. It has contributed to the emergence of a sum of boundary battles in the post-colonial zones because most of these leaders do not consider the boundaries during ancient history, but those reputable during the colonial era.

Promotion of inter-group rivalries through dominance of one cultural group over the other, racial discrimination, and favoring of one ethnic group, religion, or race has added to unequal supply of resources. This happens because a favored group of people will have dominance and control over crucial resources that will make them rich at the expense of the other dominated group of people. It will make the dominant group gain power over leadership in government which could allow them to achieve more of the developmental shares and advance their own areas leaving other areas undeveloped. It makes the nation remain the power due to poor management of resources. Today, most of these post-colonial nations, India and South Africa being among them, continue to exercise tribalism, racism, preferring one unit over the other, or leaders favoring their own ethnic groups and marginalizing others. Many of the post-colonial and post-Soviet states do practice favors, for example, favoring of the minority European settler population in South Africa and also favoring of the internal ethnic group in India. It has brought and contributed to numerous conflicts that are mostly triggered by the dominant groups in the government that distribute resources unequally all over the country both politically, socially, and economically.

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Most of the human rights of people living in colonized areas were violated and are still being violated by the privileged and wealthy people of the colonial ruling populations. This violation is majorly through upholding of policies that infringe home rights. Poor policies are subjected to dominated people forcing them to lose their land, religious identity, cultural norms, and resources and also to the extent of losing their lives. For example, apartheid in South Africa and religious mass-killing in India led to the loss of many human lives, property, resources and culture. Today, most of these leaders have adopted the ruthless colonial practices and policies as a way of threatening the minor groups or ethnic groups through infringing their rights. These people are denied most of their rights, for example right to speak the cultural language, right to own land, and right to resources. It makes people feel marginalized under post-colonial government. Due to the violation of their rights, some people are killed in mass-murders ad genocide in the post-colonial government, for example, in South Africa.

Lastly, poor governmental institutions, skills, and experiences have been adopted by the dominant groups since colonial days up-to-date. Though these nations gained independence, people are still being ruled by restrictive and oppressive regimes. A good example is South Africa, which is characterized as a transition from controlled change to changed control. Post-colonial experiences have shaped and are still shaping contemporary societies. Up-to-date, most of the nations, for instance, India and South Africa, are still governed by colonialism. Poor policies have being applied forcing people to lose infrastructure, religion, social relations, or self-identification. Introduction of these colonial practices have in many ways made people forget their own cultures and adopt other cultural norms. People are still ruled under harsh conditions, and it shows that the colonial policies continue to be practiced in the legislation.


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