50 Horrible Facts About Colonial Governments & Colonialism

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26International African Association

The Belgian colonization of the Congo occurred under a front organization known as the International African Association, which portrayed itself as an altruistic and charitable organization and received donations from families such as the Rothschilds and Viscount Ferdinand de Lesseps.


27. The Ottoman Empire had an overseas colony in Indonesia called the Aceh Sultanate. It was first colonized in 1496 and was lost to the Dutch East Indies in 1903 during the Aceh War.


28. The British parliament outlawed slavery in 1833, except in India and Sri Lanka which were under the possession of the East India Company.


29. Bombay (modern Mumbai) was given away as part of a dowry to Charles II (r. 1660–85) when he married Catherine of Braganza in May 1662. The Portuguese king leased it to the East India Company for 10 pounds of gold per year.


30. The Dutch East India Company was the most valuable company in history. At its peak it was worth 78 million Dutch Guilders, which adjusted to dollars, at present, it would be worth $7.4 trillion.


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31Britain, The Biggest Drug Dealer

Britain had become the biggest drug dealer ever by the turn of the 20th century; at the expense of China, which had developed the biggest drug addiction problem ever. In 1906, 23.3% of the adult Chinese men were addicted to opium.


32. Britain and China fought two wars because China kept trying to stop the British East India Company from smuggling opium into the country.


33. In the 1800s, the British commissioned a wall of thorny hedges and sharpened wooden stakes 12 feet high, which ran for hundreds of miles across India, dividing people from their neighbors. They did this to stop salt smugglers.


34. Salt taxes made up a significant percentage of British tax revenue from India, while also driving up prices and thus contributing to high rates of salt deficiency across India. This exacerbated the poor health of many Indians during the colonial period. In the 1930s, Gandhi organized mass protests against salt taxes. The British responded by jailing tens of thousands of protestors, and in several cases, opened fire on non-violent protesters.


35. Right after the abolition of slavery by Britain, half a million "Indentured Servants" were transported by the English from India to make them work in the Caribbean plantations. By 1917, the total number of these "servants" in the Caribbean had reached 3-4 million.


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36Mau Mau Uprising

Anywhere between 320,000 to 450,000 Kenyans were held in British Concentration Camps, with widespread Human rights abuse occurring in them, during the Mau Mau Uprising between 1952 and 1960. Various tribes in Kenya came together to fight against the white European colonist-settlers in Kenya during this uprising.


37. In 1944, the French Army murdered dozens of its own West African black troops for demanding fair pay and better living conditions. The victims of the Thiaroye Massacre were both volunteers and conscripts of the Tirailleurs Sénégalais units of the French army fighting in World War 2.


38. Portuguese and Spanish empires were once so powerful that in 1529 they signed the Treaty of Tordesillas to split the world into two parts. The border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea was indirectly set by the Treaty of Zaragoza.


39. The locals of the Yap islands use large donut shaped stones weighing up to 4 tons as currency. Rather than exchange them, they just note who the owner is. When Germany colonized the island, they imposed fines on the Yapese by marking these stones with paint indicating that they belonged to Germany. The islanders who "lost their fortunes" quickly acquiesced.


40. The 1947 British partition of India was driven by fear of civil war. Yet, in haste, borders drawn by the English colonial rulers went unannounced for days after independence. As a result, Hindus didn't know if they would wake up one day in Pakistan, or Muslims in India. 15 million people were displaced and over a million died in the chaos.


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41Chapati Movement

In 1857, the British rulers panicked when they found a network of Indians passing Chapatis (flatbread) from village to village for no reason. The 'Chapati Movement' was credited when rebellion broke out later that year. Historians now say that the events were completely unrelated.


42. The Benin Walls were four times longer than the Great Wall of China and consumed a hundred times more material than the Great Pyramid of Cheops. They were ravaged by the British in 1897 during what has come to be called the Punitive expedition.


43. In 1937, two men in the Italian occupied Ethiopia tried to kill the Italian Viceroy. In response, the Italian army and Italian civilians went on a killing spree, burning down houses, and killing an estimated 20% of the population of Addis Ababa including sympathetic Ethiopians. Estimates of death range from 19,200 to 30,000 Ethiopian. Italy still downplays the massacre.


44. In 1603, the Spanish and Japanese massacred an estimated 20,000 Chinese in the Philippines during the Sangley Rebellion.


45. As part of the Briggs Plan, the military forces of the British Empire interned 10% of Malaysia's population in an attempt to cut off support for guerillas during the Anti-British National Liberation War.


46British Invasion of Tibet

In 1904, when the British invaded Tibet, Tibetan forces opposed them with matchlock rifles whereas the British had machine guns. One of the battles ended with 12 injured British soldiers and somewhere between 600 and 700 dead Tibetans.


47. In 1781, the crew of the British slave ship Zong threw 133 slaves overboard into the Caribbean Sea, in part because they were running low on fresh water, but also to collect insurance on them at £30 ahead.


48. Wall Street was the site of an actual wall that the original Dutch settlers built, using slave labor, to defend against Indigenous and British forces. It also contained a slave market for 50 years, in which New York City collected taxes.


49. Operation Legacy was a cleanup project where to avoid embarrassment, the British Government destroyed and concealed thousands of files on their colonies that showed them in a negative light, including records on their racial and religious biases.


50. France wanted to destroy the Rosetta Stone and other Egyptian Artifacts to prevent them from falling into British hands. The only reason why we still have the Rosetta Stone and other artifacts taken by the French is that the UK refused to stop a siege on the French until they gave them up.

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