50 Horrible Facts About Colonial Governments & Colonialism

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1Tasmanian Aboriginal Population Eradication

During the British colonization of Tasmania, the colonizers infected Tasmanian aboriginal women with venereal diseases that left a significant percentage of the population unable to reproduce. This was one of several factors that led to the complete eradication of the Tasmanian aboriginal people.


2. The Goa Inquisition was a colonial-era Portuguese institution established by the Roman Catholic Holy Office in India, to stop and punish heresy against Christianity in Asia. It persecuted Hindus, Muslims, Bene Israels, New Christians, and the Judaizing Nasranis.


3. In 1834, the British East India Company arrested hundreds of local weavers in Bengal and had their thumbs chopped off to destroy their indigenous weaving industry and favor British textile exports.


4. In 1919, Acting Brigadier-General of British Indian Army Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, without warning, ordered his men to fire their rifles into a crowd of unarmed Indian civilians. The crowd had gathered to peacefully protest the inhumanities of the colonialist government. 379 people were killed in the ensuing massacre which included unarmed men, women, and children.


5. The "Doctrine of Discovery," was promulgated by European Christian colonizers to legitimize colonization. This idea allowed them to inherently hold sovereignty to lands they "discovered" irrespective of those that already lived there. It is still to this day used by the U.S. Supreme Court to justify not returning lands, such as holy sites, to indigenous peoples.


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6Belgian Colonization of Congo

During the Belgian colonization of Congo, the colonizers demanded severed hands as punishment for Africans who failed to fulfill rubber collection quotas. Because the quotas were so unrealistic, severed hands themselves became a currency. Soldiers were paid their bonuses based on how many hands they collected.


7. Potentially 15 million Congolese were the victims of genocide under the colonial rule of Leopold II of Belgium from 1885 to 1908.


8. The brutal colonial practice of mutilation (e.g. cutting of hands etc.) did not just occur in the Congo Free State under Leopold II, but also in British Sierra Leone, German Kamerun, and French Equatorial Africa.


9. Between 1718 and 1775 over 52,000 convicts were transported from the British Isles to America, mainly to Maryland and Virginia, to be sold as slaves to the highest bidder.


10. Lake Mareotis in Egypt (seen in Assassin's Creed Origins), became a saltwater bay after the British cut the fresh-water canal and destroyed the dykes separating it from the sea during the Napoleonic Wars. The subsequent flooding destroyed 150 Egyptian villages.


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11Indian Scalping Bounty

In 1600s, early colonies of America offered bounties for the heads of natives, and later for just their scalps. The bounty in 1746 was offered to British-allied Indians for the scalps of French-allied Indians. In 1755, the price was £40 for a male Indian scalp and £20 for scalps of females or children.


12. When King Leopold II of Belgium personally acquired the "Congo Free State" in 1885, it was 76 times the size of Belgium. He claimed the land at the 1884-1885 Berlin conference promising to improve the lives of the locals but ended up enslaving them to gather ivory and natural rubber.


13. During the British conquest of Tasmania, the British Lieutenant-General declared Martial law which allowed the British colonists to kill the aboriginal Tasmanians with impunity. Historians still to this day debate on whether to label ‘The Black War’ as genocide.


14. The Indian Rebellion of 1857 started because the East India Trading Company was asking its Hindu and muslim soldiers to bite the seals of their ammo cartridges, which were sealed with pork and beef fats. This was against their religious beliefs.


15. The Spanish colonial authorities in Cuba castrated "sodomites" and forced them to eat their testicles covered in dirt.


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16Herero Genocide

The first genocide of the 20th century was committed by the Imperial State of Germany in 1904. When the Herero tribesmen of Namibia rebelled against the German colonial rule, the German colonizers in turned killed 65000 Herero tribes-people by trapping them in a desert with poisoned wells, while they fled.


17. Each mile of Indian railway construction in the 1850s and 1860s cost an average of £18,000, as against the dollar equivalent of £2000 at the same time in the US. The extra costs were collected by the British colonizers from the Indians through added taxes and revenues. This was a prime example of "British Colonial Looting."


18. The Great Bengal Famine of 1770 resulted in the deaths of 10 million people, approximately one-third of the population of the affected area. The famine occurred or was made more severe largely due to the British East India Company's policies in Bengal. Winston Churchill even asked Leopold Amery "why, if the famine was so horrible, Gandhi had not yet died of starvation."


19. The Bengal Famine and the American Revolution are directly related. After the Bengal famine eliminated one-third of the population of Bengal, there was a huge reduction in land revenues of the British East India Company, which then influenced the British to pass the Tea Act to reduce its troubles which led to the Boston Tea Party.


20. During the height of the Bengal famine of 1770, the ruling British East India Company raised taxes on land from 50-60% and forbid farmers from eating their crops, maximizing company profits while nearly 10 million people died.


21Great Potato Famine

During the Great Potato Famine, the Ottoman Empire sent ships full of food to Ireland, but they turned away by the British. These ships were then snuck into Dublin illegally to provide aid to the starving Irish.


22. In the Portuguese colony of Macau, many slaves during the 1500s had slaves of their own. A Portuguese master often owned an African or Southeast Asian slave who in turn had their own Chinese or Japanese slave.


23. The music of Nauru in Micronesia has been scantly recorded and documented, partially as a result of a ban on traditional dance which was enforced by the German colonial authorities after the 1888 annexation by Germany.


24. Kohinoor is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world. It is 105.6 carats and is currently part of the British Crown Jewels. It was willed to the East India Company by Indian king Ranjeet Singh but after his death, his will not was executed and the diamond was given to the Queen.


25. The Thirteen Colonies were used as penal colonies for English criminals between the 1600s and 1776. Historians estimate that anywhere from 50,000 to 120,000 criminals were transferred to these colonies. After America's independence, the British tried to substitute America with Ghana and Senegal, but ultimately deciding on using Australia as penal colonies.

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