British Colonial Violence in the 20th Century

What is colonization in general sense?

To know the root level meaning of colonialism we referred to the Collins English Dictionary and The Merriam-Webster where we found the definitions of colonialism as "the policy and practice of a power in extending control over weaker peoples or areas." and "control by one power over a dependent area or people" respectively.

Colonialism is the forming/ building/ establishment of a colony by a political power of a territory in another territory. This entitles that the dominant group maintains and expands and also subsequently exploits the natives of the colony out of greed. One of the ever present facts of colonialism is the unequal distribution of power between the colonial power and native people and establishment of dominance by colonists. In colonialism it is seen that the foreign invaders or colonists forcibly import slaves and labor from other colonies an exploit them to further form more colonies. Therefore the colonists are convinced of their superiority on the natives and hence have a mind of implementing rules and orders on the natives. They reject cultural compromises with the colonized population and impose their own culture.

During the era of The European colonial period starting from the 16th century and lasting to the mid-20th century history has seen large scale colonialism in the continents of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. At first the colonies adopted the strategy of mercantilism where in the main motive is to strengthen the economy of the mother country at the expense of the colonized country and hence the colonized natives were only allowed to trade with mother country. By the mid-19th century, the concept of free trade came into force with only few restrictions and tariffs.

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Relationship between Colonialism and imperialism

Imperialism is closely related to colonialism as in most of the cases colony is a part of an empire. The difference between colonialism and imperialism is that imperialism is a concept where as colonialism is a practice. To differentiate it more we observe that colonialism can be established along with expanding capitalism through an empire whereas on the other hand a capitalist economy naturally enforces an empire.

Violence during British Colonialism

As much as the colonizers refuse to accept that they had used violence of all sort to overpower the underdeveloped countries and call it all a part of “civilizing process” the truth does not change that violence was used on masses to mentally and physically weaken them and make their dominance easy. Here are some types of violence that the colonizers inflicted on the natives of their various colonies:

1. The basic tactic of the British colonizers was to divide and rule. They did it by favoring one ethnic, religious, racial, or other cultural group over others in the colonized territory who may be rivals or just two normal groups, by giving them a higher status. This in turn created inter-group rivalries often leading to unequal distribution of resources and mass discontentment among people for the favored group.

2. During the British colonialism violation of human rights was a common notion due to a special sense of superiority among the colonizers. This was also a kind of mental violence which was seen in the form of unjust policies which made people helpless as they would then lose their lands, resources, cultural or religious identities, and sometimes evens their lives. Some of the examples of such kinds of brutal policies were: British-controlled West Indies, apartheid in South Africa, etc.

3. Physical violence is the most common kind of violence in the colonial era. In those times if the colonizers perpetrated this weapon as a method to pacify the colonized population and to easily make them accepting of all the unjust laws and orders. This type of violence came in form of wars or through other acts of physical violence on masses.

4. Psychological violence is on in disguise of ‘civilization’ which includes form such as brain washing, indoctrination and threats. These are what work on the mind, heart and soul of individuals. This also includes the conscious and subconscious efforts creating superiority of colonizers in the minds of the colonized. The colonized are forced to change their perspectives and to see the world through the ‘superior western eyes’ and promoting western value system.

5. Another weapon in the arsenal of violence of the British colonizers was the epistemic violence. In this type the colonizers forced upon the masses the language of their mother country and abolish the use of native language. This is because colonizers understood value of language as medium of expression of culture and it was necessary to separate them from their culture to rule on them. By imposing their language, they are in turn imposing their culture on them and removing the native culture.

One such prominent example of violence during the British colonialism was during the Mau Mau movement. Mau Mau movement was an anti-colonial movement to revolt against intolerable pressures on land and resources resultant from white and was mainly done by the Kikuyu in Kenya. The Mau Mau movement people had a use of ritualistic oath-taking which was aimed at allocating responsibilities to various people for the gruesome murder of some European settlers and many more Africans working for the British or seen to profit from British rule. This generated fear amongst the white population of Kenya and British colonial officials. Therefore The British then responded to this as a guerrilla war against Mau Mau insurgents. They did mass detention, interrogation and ‘civilization’ of large number of Mau Mau suspects in prison camps. The captured people were subjected to Hard labor, degrading treatment; semi-starvation and corporal punishment were used systematically. Brutal and inhumane Methods were used to extract information in these prison camps. These tortures included rape and mutilation. Not only this, to create psychological impact, tens of thousands of people were killed by the British or detained in the camps and thus this was how the British had tried to suppress it.

The above article focuses on violence in the 20th century British colonialism. It contains all the types of violence which was inflicted upon the colonized populations of colonies and brings light to the dark ways of asserting control. To study or making assignments on such topics needs extensive research and a proper knowledge, and can be very time consuming and boring. It becomes very hard to complete assignments with little time to spare and approaching deadline. Therefore is there to help you. We are the best assignment help providers in Australia. Our motto is to provide the best assignments and we assure you that you will never be disappointed in us. We have a 24/7 helpline where you can contact us anytime and we’ll help you at all times. Also we have an expert team of tutors and professional writers who are experienced in their respective fields. We assure you that your assignments will be plagiarism free and totally original as we write each assignment from the scratch, do our research from the base level according to the requirements of each individual. If you don’t believe us you can check for plagiarism on any software on the internet! We also provide you online tutorials for better understanding. To give you an idea of our work we have sample assignments on our website which you can see, our website We do our work with full dedication and will. Not only this we have very reasonable fees as we understand the restraints of each student. Availing our service is very easy, All you have to do is log on to submit your assignment to us and put a deadline and be tension free. We will complete and give it back to you by the deadline.

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