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Colonialism shame?

above boats

scenario Scenarios

  • We should be ashamed of colonialism

oneliner One-liners

  • Which part?
  • Traders not invaders
  • England was too small to conquer places
  • It suppressed slavery
  • What about the Commonwealth?

body In-brief

  • Britain had a population of 6 million in the 1750s (about the size of Denmark's today), but it had energy, initiative, scientific curiosity, supportive institutions, technology, an emerging banking system, Christian revival (Wesley) and thus ethical reform – so the basis for enterprise, which generally benefited the places they went.

    There is a tendency to assume that these places were innocent paradises with colourful local customs. In practice they were harsh environments with arbitrary laws, debilitating disease, infighting and far from pleasant customs. All this is well documented. Few suppressed activities have been reintroduced post-independence.

    Britain could not have sustained a presence in these countries without some mutual benefit. Sometimes the protection of 'British interests' went too far in terms of local control or geo-political strategy (keeping others out!), and in the end, local elites and people wish to rule themselves, even if less to the general material benefit (our mess preferred to your order).

    Many leaders of countries Britain traded with were educated in the West and sought to bring 'modern' ideas back with them. Some made effective reforms though it takes substantial time and political will to create genuine benefits.  Others bought back revolution which has not served them so well.

    Missionaries bought medicine, schools and knowledge of God, much of which is celebrated today.

shield Shield verses

  • and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’ Gen 22:18
  • Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed. Prov 11:11
  • if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, “As surely as the Lord lives,” then the nations will invoke blessings by him and in him they will boast. Jer 4:2

deeper Digging deeper

Stream: History / Section: Colonialism

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