Lasting Consequences of Colonization

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is set in Nigerian villages during the beginning of British colonization. One of the overarching conflicts throughout the book is the traditional ways of the villages fighting against the new ideas and customs being brought in from Britain. We see in the book that while colonization is happening, there is great strife occurring within the country being colonized. Some examples of this are disputes between villagers who welcome Britain’s ideas, customs, and new resources and those who prefer the old ways, and ultimately Okonkwo’s suicide. So from Things Fall Apart it is obvious that colonization causes a lot of friction and suffering while it is occurring but what are the lasting effects of this in countries who have experienced colonization today? 

When a nation conquers and exploits another nation, there are going to be long lasting consequences even if the country regains their independence. Some of these consequences can actually be positive. According to National Geographic, “Colonial governments invested in infrastructure and trade and disseminated medical and technological knowledge” (Blakemore). Colonization also often increased the literacy rates, established human rights, and set up democratic governing systems (Blakemore). So, there can be developmental gains made when countries experience colonization. 

Of course, this is not to say that colonization is justified, and there are many negative lasting consequences as well. Some outcomes that former colonies are left to deal with today are poor treatment of indigenous populations, income and wealth inequality, weak governmental infrastructure, and religious conflicts. Many places such as parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Balkans, are currently experiencing major conflicts over issues like resource distribution, human rights violations, and bad governance, which are all lasting effects of colonization (Marker). So although colonization can have the potential to leave countries with a few developmental advancements, this does not outweigh the negative outcomes that post-colonial societies face today from this unjust practice. 


Blakemore, Erin. “What Is Colonialism?” Culture, National Geographic, 3 May 2021,

Marker, Sandra. “Effects of Colonization.” Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: November 2003 <>.


19 thoughts on “Lasting Consequences of Colonization

  1. Hi!
    I was actually super excited when I saw you were talking about Things Fall Apart. I read it in high school and loved it! I find it absolutely insane that people think they can come into a country or are that is not there’s and think it is okay to mistreat people to gain this land. These affects surround our world today and are definitely being discussed now more than every. For my first year of college I went to school on the Big Island in Hawai’i and experienced first hand how the natives are trying to preserve there land from americanization. Its hard to see people who are so passionate about there culture fighting a battle just to keep the land that was rughtfully given to them.

  2. What I learned from the reading is that colonization has its pros and cons and relates to systemic injustices in the world. My reaction to the development of the protagonist, Okonkwo, was a bit surprising because I did not expect how much the meaning of power and control meant to him. In terms of systemic injustices, I had written a diary on Afghanistan and the Taliban control and involvement in the country. Effects on this change, including violence, rights, and governance are observed like the effects of colonization.

  3. You’re comment about how colonization is not justified stood out to me. When a nation is settling and trying to establish control over a group of indigenous people in an area, the nation doesn’t see what is wrong with their actions. They think that it is okay for them to move into a new area where there is a group living and change their culture. Although there are some pros from colonization like improving education and modernizing society, there are long-lasting cons. These cons can include loss of culture and loss of religion for indigenous people. They are losing who and where they are from. If the roles were reverse, the colonizers would not want this to happen to them.

  4. I really like how you examined the possible positives of colonization, while also touching on its consequences and negative outcomes. Reading your post prior to reading the book, helped me to have an open mind and pay close attention to what the colonizers were asking the people in the village to change or give up about their lifestyles. I was then able to focus on how certain characters reacted and analyze their reasonings for this.

  5. One of the most important facets of colonization is the way it continues to disadvantage newly independent countries. Colonialism in general happens because a country decides it absolutely must have the resources of another land. The colonizers invade and attack, enslave, and kill the natives, leaving lasting issues such as those listed above. Once they leave, the country is forced to come back from ruin. The infrastructure left behind was usually created for the sole purpose of extracting resources and making money for the colonizers, which limits its usefulness for the remaining natives. The natives not being allowed to participate in colonial government means that no one knows how to keep the nation running once it is independent. This makes it easy for more powerful nations to continue to influence the newly independent one for their own purposes; this is neocolonialism. Since this unfortunate practice is so common, most previously colonized nations never truly free themselves from the grasp of colonial influence.


  6. I liked how you also brought up the positives of colonization. While the positives don’t always outweigh the negatives, it is important to mention them in order to understand all of the effects colonization has on a group of people. It is unfortunate that countries who may have experienced colonization years or decades ago are still suffering today from lack of structure and conflicting ideas. It shows how colonization leaves places a bit rougher than they were to begin with.

  7. I thought discussing both sides of colonization was very insightful. It is important to understand not only the consequences but the benefits, although many times the consequences outweigh any benefit of colonization. A few examples of disadvantages due to colonization that are lasting effects are racism, economic instability, urbanization or development that negatively affects the indigenous people, and possibly even disease. These outcomes are not favorable and can lead to chaos which is portrayed throughout “Things Fall Apart.”

  8. I think it is important that you looked at both sides of colonization. You did a nice job of showing that there were benefits of something even though we are obviously going to talk more about the cons. It allows for a better understanding of the reasoning and the way everything works. I’m glad I read this before the book in order to have a bigger picture of what is going on and to not just look at all of the negatives. Obviously the negatives outweigh the positives here, but I’m glad to have read about both sides.

  9. I appreciate you staying as neutral as possible when discussing the pros and cons of colonization. Acknowledging some of the positive impacts of colonization helps to not fully vilify the colonizers, which I personally don’t believe is a terrible thing. However, colonization, and especially the forced assimilation of the indigenous people, is awful. Another very big consequence of colonization that has had an incredibly large lasting affect is the redrawing of borders. By doing this, people who do not understand the social, political and cultural history of the region inadvertently create conflict by putting groups of people together who shouldn’t be. Africa has been affected the most from this, and many ongoing regional conflicts in areas such as South Sudan are a result of this.

  10. I think how you divided up the two pros and cons gave insight to not only the negatives but maybe some positives people didn’t know about, including me, I was not aware of a couple of the things you mentioned. Adding the pros of colonization gave a different perspective, and adding where you also state that these pros don’t justify colonization, especially with how colonization starts when a nation takes advantage of another and the horrible consequences that have come from it.

  11. I really enjoyed reading your discussion and being able to see both sides of your post. I believe that mentioning the negative as well as the positive consequences allowed me to take into consideration both sides. I believe that colonialism definitely can leave countries with developmental advancemnets as well as economic instability. I believe that looking at the pros and cons of this topic allowed me to see the positives and negatives in a different light and also helped me not only understand this topic better, but also see the lasting affects and relate this back to the book Things Fall Apart.

  12. Your approach on discussing colonialism is very interesting. When thinking of colonialism, I almost always approach it with a negative connotation. It is interesting that there have been some positive outcomes of colonialism, but I believe it raises a question of if the ends justify the means. What has happened cannot be changed, but I’m sure many people had to abandon their closely held practices and beliefs against their will. The history of colonized nations cannot be ignored, as the practice of invading native land and forcing culture and religion on people who do not desire to change their lives is not morally sound. I would be interested to see if Achebe has a take on the existence of positive outcomes of colonization.

  13. I enjoyed reading your post. I like how you gave us both perspectives of colonization, the positive and the negative. Often when we hear a colonizer colonized a country it always comes with a negative connotation despite the benefit it comes with. Some examples could be developing the colonized infrastructure as you mentioned and also build great government systems. At the end of the day, it depends on the colonizer’s intention whether this goal is to actually benefited the colonized country or just there to control and seek power. No matter what I believe that colonization will always lead to conflicts and separation.

  14. In the “Things fall apart we can see from the prespective of Chinua Achebe, how colonization can affect the tradition, and how European influence change the culture in Africa. Even though there are some advantages like the “invested in infrastructure and trade and disseminated medical and technological knowledge” colonization was a illegimate claim of land by colonizing power and they wiped out native cultures all over the world, also in the novel women rights, justice and equality things are not ideallic.

  15. While I personally agree that colonization is morally not justifiable through the various “pros” that result, I do think at least acknowledging how they can be and are justified to this day is necessary. When we examine these consequences, I believe it’s important to ask ourselves how they are benefitting those subjected to them and if it’s consensually desired. For example, when we discuss literacy rates, we assume they are becoming literate in the language we are capable of teaching (English – which undoubtably is a useful tool globally), instead of the native languages they’ve been accustomed to for generations. Additionally, when we establish more representative governmental systems, are we instilling procedures that enhance their own traditional systems or instilling our own that can occasionally even inhibit representation in the original colonizing countries. That’s not to say that the benefits, (like that of human rights) should never have been or be improved in areas where needed, but that there are other vectors where this can be achieved without pushing outside beliefs on historically established communities.

  16. I never considered the positive outcomes that colonization had on the developing world until I read your post. I think it is interesting that you talked about it from both angles. I do agree that the negatives still outweigh the positives because of all the lasting effects it has had on these countries. For example, the abuse and poor treatment that these countries received from the powerful nations in the West made them weaker and forced them to subdue to these new and foreign cultures and ideas. These unfamiliar traditions and beliefs were basically forced on to these countries and their own culture was soon forgotten about.

  17. I agree that while there are positives of colonialization, such as infrastructure and health care, the negatives of colonialization far outweigh the positives. Besides the obvious negative that there is no justification for considering a culture as subservient to your own, one of the biggest negatives of colonialization is what happens after the colonizers leave. In many cases, colonizers draw up maps for regions after they leave that completely ignore differences in cultural values. This causes a large amount of instability in these regions, as large sections of the population can be significantly opposed to one another. In fact, many of the problems we associate with the Middle East or parts of Africa are a direct effect of the inherent instability after colonial powers leave without accounting for a region’s cultural differences.

  18. Before reading “Things Fall Apart” I was unaware to how communities could be severely affected much time after they have regained their independence. It is interesting to know that this is still a problem to this day in regions like south east Asia. I would like to know more about these long lasting effects.

  19. I find it really interesting how you incorporated the introduction of the idea that underdeveloped civilizations, when conquered by more modernized countries, can lead to some positive outcomes. It’s definitely a variation of something I personally advocate for in today’s society, where most countries in Africa are riddled with disease, poverty, and government issues and would greatly benefit from the implementation of a stable nation’s temporary aid. We know that during the period of colonization this was not necessarily the way things were done, and furthermore not the motivation for why the positive outcomes came to be. I believe most of the countries we see today that would benefit from strong support from other countries are unable to help themselves due to colonization. Too many countries are seemingly abandoned and unequipped to take care of themselves as a consequence of colonizers overpowering every aspect of the government when they had infiltrated the land.

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