Answer to Question #205704 in History for Nokwanda Shwala

Question #205704

Examine the impact of colonialism on china, japan and the congo, as well as how these countries responded to imperial influence

Expert's answer


The most devastating impact colonialism had on China in the 19th and early 20th century was the ruined legitimacy of the Qing state. Colonialism activities forced the Qing dynasty to sign a range of unequal treaties depriving China of its freedom to a certain extent, with negative implications on economic growth. The conditions of treaties gave freedom to foreign businesses operating in China from paying taxes and adherence to most of the legal requirements. They also legalized sale of imported opium in China, leading to millions of opium addicts in China. Due to its ruined legitimacy in leading China, Qang dynasty faced several political repercussions such as shattered military and administrative power and the rise of domestic rebellions. Positively, imperial forces influenced infrastructure development, machine-based factories, foreign trade, knowhow and modern education systems among others to a small extent.

China response to imperial influence was rejection from the beginning. China ignored Britain’s order calling for opening its region to external trade. The people launched a series of attacks against the imperialists and complicit government officials. They initiated the Taiping Rebellion and the Boxer Rebellion. The Qing government initiated the Opium War. China lost all its fights against imperial powers.


Japan, just like China, was subjected to unequal treaties by the Western imperialists, which forced it to open its ports and cities to foreign businesses. However, it expressed willingness to collaborate in the encroachment of industrialized western powers in search of raw materials and markets. Due to fear after the imperialists’ victory in China’s Opium War, Japan responded to imperial influence by yielding to western pressure to open trade. Resultantly, the impact of imperial influence on Japan was highly beneficial. It gained information and knowhow from the West, successfully modernized and became an industrial power. It abolished feudalism, established new taxation and coinage systems and adopted western infrastructure and institutions such as banks and railways.


Colonialism in Congo created extractive institutions that led to very poor and devastating long-run development outcomes. The brutal Belgian rule led to slavery, economic exploitation and massive loss of Congolese lives. Millions of enslaved Congolese people died from hunger, disease, starvation, violence, overexploitation and other inhumane conditions. Even today, Congo is one of the poorest countries across the globe and has retained a particularly infamous colonial-era resource exploitation history marked by concessions, violence and indirect rule. There is still a lot of wars and political instability over access to mines, with the violence financed from illegal extraction of minerals.

During direct imperial rule, inhumane policies drove many villagers of the Congo to resist and revolt the colonial rule I many different forms. Localized armed risings such as the Revolt of the Pende and mutiny in Luluabourg arose up to 1945. There were also passive forms of resistance and expressions of an anticolonial subculture. In the struggle for independence, Congo people held major riots in Leopoldville. 

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