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Old 05-30-2014, 07:45 PM
9 posts, read 14,292 times
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I know why most african and Asian colonies didn't go the same way as the America and Canada and Oceania because they were economic colonies that weren't intended for settlement by Europeans.
But South Africa, Portuguese Africa had large settler populations but in the end they retained their native african character. Whereas nowadays when one thinks of the USA or Australia you don't think of the Iroquois or the Aborigines but a primarily Euro influenced culture.
Why is it that European culture replaced Indigenous culture elsewhere but just separated itself from african culture without replacing it? I'm not condoning it but I'm just wondering why South Africa didn't become like Australia or Canada or America etc
Is it that the native African population was much larger than say the Aborigines or the Native Americans? Is it that they were more resistant to cultural colonialism? Is it that the settler population wasn't as big or influential?
I'm from the UK but I've spent time in America and now I'm moving to SA with my partner for his work so I'm just curious
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Old 05-31-2014, 12:09 AM
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Most of Africa, exceptions for the desert areas and a big chunk of modern South Africa, had fairly large populations. In the Americas and Australia you don't see that much outside Aztec, Mayan, and Incan areas, and the Mayans seem to have already been dwindling in their remaining areas by the time Europeans arrived. Just as an example the US mainland outside Alaska and Hawaii is estimated to have only had between 1 and 2 million people in 1492 by most researchers, and its largest city only had about 50000 people. That city collapsed before Columbus ever arrived, and it was far larger than the second largest. Australia was even less populated than that due to its native peoples not having agriculture to support settled populations.

Africans had also been exposed to the diseases that Europeans brought to the Americas and Australia as long as the Europeans had themselves. So we have exmples of explorers in the Americas reporting areas to have towns and villages at one point, and then 5 or 10 years later the next person through says everyone has died. That never happened in Africa. Malaria as well as other tropical diseases also killed a great number of European settlers throughout Africa (and Asia and the Americas), and if you look at places in Africa where large numbers of white settlers did stay (South Africa and the highlands in Kenya) it matches up quite well with the places in Africa where malaria does not occur.

Finally the two major states in the Americas (remember no agriculture means no major states in Australia) succumbed to European conquest quite quickly and could never adopt European technology. Those tribes far enough from the coast to acquire European weapons and horses tended to better acquit themselves and held out long enough that their culture survives today even if it is a much changed a diminished form. Most of coastal Africa fell into trade networks and a few states that usually worked with the Europeans in one way or another (the very accidental nature of many of the European acquisitions at this time is often overlooked) so Europeans didn't look to take more than a bit of land for coastal forts and trading centers, and by the time they were trying to really conquer large swaths of land Africans had a fair number of firearms and could fight Europeans on somewhat equal terms.
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:03 AM
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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I would actually say South Africa is in between other African colonies and the settler colonies, especially some parts of it like the Cape colony. The large native population was of course resistant and often quite well prepared for the enemy, plus the British and Boers often fought too.
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