The good, bad and ugly effects of colonial rule on Ghana
The British came to Ghana (known as Gold Coast before independence) as traders. The Ghanaians at that time did not know that the British wanted to rule them. They said that they wanted to make friends and protect the various states.
The Portuguese who came to the Gold Coast first arrived in January 1471. Other Europeans also came to the country and these included the Spanish, Swedish, Danish and Dutch.
Due to competition from other Europeans, all the other countries left, leaving the British who were the stronger opponents. They remained in the country, traded with the local people and later became rulers. By this status, it meant that the Queen of England was the supreme overseer of all affairs in Ghana and the laws of England were the supreme laws of the land.
The coming of the British to Ghana benefited the country in a many ways, as is seen now as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our independence. Some of these include;Social Development
- They drew a ten year development plan.
- Takoradi Harbour was built during their time from 1921 and opened in 1928.
- The Accra to Kumasi railway line was completed.
- They built a total of 368km of railway lines.
- They built more roads and improved old ones.
- Factories were established to produce lime, bricks and tiles for building.
- Machines of modern and high sophistication were introduced to help artisans with their work.
- Money was introduced as a means of exchange, measure and store of value.
- They encouraged people to set up more cocoa farms.
- During their time, Ghana was able to produce about half of the world’s cocoa and so became the leading producer of cocoa.
- Crops like sisal, oil palm and groundnuts were introduced during their time.
- Formal schooling was introduced. This gave the people the opportunity to become educated.
- They built Achimota College, Wesley Girl’s High School at Cape Coast and Prempeh College at Kumasi.
- They encouraged the education of females.
- • The teaching of local history and languages was encouraged.
- Korle-Bu hospital was built.
- Through white influence, certain harmful cultural practices were abolished such as female genital mutilation.
- Drugs for combating certain diseases and ailments which occurred in epidemic proportions were introduced to improve the health situation of the people.
- • Christianity was spread in the country by the Christian missionaries for the salvation of the people.
Even though they helped the country in so many ways there are some other things they introduced which had negative influences.
- Through colonisation, local authority lost its place and its dignity because chiefs were corrupted and used as puppets. They obeyed the colonialists who told them what to do and only commanded their people to do the same.
- The Gold Coast was plundered of its human and natural resources for the development of Britain and its other numerous interests.
- The people were brainwashed into believing that they had no history and no heritage to be proud of.
- Psychologically, the people were made to devalue themselves and see themselves inferior to the Europeans in everything.
- This mental slavery stifled personal emancipation and the desire for greater personal achievements. Therefore, the country became full of people with little vision, few aspirations and few achievements.
- Colonialism brought about a struggle for freedom; personal, economic and mental which still goes on today.
- This struggle has most of the time diverted the minds of the people from other pertinent life issues and this has further stifled progress.
- We have become Europeanised and subsequently Americanised therefore our country is full of non-biodegradable materials which pollute our environment.
- Further degradation of the environment through forced large scale mining and logging.
- We have become over-dependent on the west for our sustenance which makes us still quite sub-servient to the west and its influences.