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European nations expanded their territories by exploiting other parts of the world. Explain what the effect of this contact was to both life in Europe...


There's no question that the slave trade had a negative effect on the relationship of Europe and Africa, but much less on Europe and Asia.  It was the generally superior attitude of the Eurocentric cultures and their economic and social exploitation of the rest of the globe which has caused the most lingering ill effects.  The British, for instance, were the most influential in the struggle against slavery, and yet their economic exploitation of every non-European culture they ever encountered did not endear them to anyone.  The French were much the same; although not as deeply involved in slavery as Spain or Britain, their blatant exploitation of their possessions in Asia and Africa contrasted with their relatively enlightened actions in North America.

The very concept that the Berlin Conference of 1884-5 divided up Africa among European powers, and with no input from any Africans, shows exactly the arrogance which has led to lingering hatred and fear of Europe and Europeanized nations (US, Australia, etc.) among the "Third World."  The Opium Wars between Britain and China, the invasion of Indochina by the French, the actions of France and Britain in the Middle East and the colonization of India are all reasons why the Eurocentric nations are still distrusted by the rest.

The best depiction of this historic trend and its effect on the 20th century is found in Frantz Fanon's classic book The Wretched of the Earth.

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