Brutal Truth: 35 Harrowing Facts About Colonial Governments & the Devastation of Colonialism

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1The Black War

The Black War

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.

2. 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.

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

4. 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.

5. 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."

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6Great Bengal Famine

Great Bengal Famine

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."

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

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11Music of Nauru

Music of Nauru

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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

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16Slavery Abolition Act (1833)

Slavery Abolition Act (1833)

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

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. 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.

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

21Great Hedge of India

Great Hedge of India

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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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.

25. 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.

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