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> The Soviet Union under German occupation, Genocide policy
sid guttridge
Posted: March 22, 2008 10:17 am
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Hi Saudades....,

Undoubtedly a main underpinning of European colonialism in Africa was racialist. However, I would dispute that deaths through famine and destitution were greater under British or French colonialism than before or after it. The bottom line is demographic trends, and these were consistently up all over Africa after the establishment of colonialism. (See The Atlas of Population History by Colin McEvedy).

This doesn't mean that colonialism was aimed at benefitting the African population, but its bye-products were much to African advantage in terms of life expectancy.

The same is true of India. The population grew consistently under British rule. The Great Mutiny was, indeed, put down with great brutality, but not on a scale that made even a blip in demographic trends across the subcontinent. In fact, it only affected part of one of the three "presidencies" into which British India was then divided, and British India comprised barely half the subcontinent.

What really hit African populations in the 1880s and 1890s was the cattle disease rinderpest, which the Italians accidentally introduced to Eritrea. It caused enormous population losses in sub-saharan pastoral societies and made it much easier for the European powers to establish their colonies.



This post has been edited by sid guttridge on March 22, 2008 10:19 am
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