By Joseph B.

“Between 1500 and 1800, European slavers and traders did not venture far from the African coast. During those 300 years it was all about buying local slaves from the chiefs and then getting out of West African waters with your crew and slave cargo alive” (Background Essay). In 1807, the British out-lawed the trans-Atlantic slave trade and in 1833 slavery itself. At this point the only British colony in Africa was the Cape Colony in southern Africa (Background Essay). The driving force behind European Imperialism were economic reasons, such as the desire to obtain resources and trading partners. However new technologies facilitated their colonial impulses.

One reason behind European Imperialism was the desire to obtain resources. Every place a European Colonizer invaded there was some type resource useful that they could take for themselves. The resources they found or came across ranged from copper/ metals being able to make cutting tools, electric wiring, metal alloys, and more. Too rubber and ivory to be able to make soaps/ candles, some food products, tires, and more (Doc D). “The European leaders were becoming very aware of two things: First, Africa was filled with incredible natural resources; Second, a scramble for these riches could lead to war among the European powers” (Background Essay).

Another reason behind European Imperialism was the desire to obtain trading partners. In 1854 imports from Africa were at about 4 million in British pounds and exports to Africa were at about 2.5 million in British pounds. But than by 1900 both of those numbers shot up drastically, the imports from Africa shot to about 8 million in British pounds and the exports from Africa went up too 21 million in British pounds, HUGE jump (Doc E). “In the area of economics, I will allow myself to place before you, with the support of some figures. The point of view of that need, felt more and more strongly by the industrial populations of Europe and particularly those of our won rich and hard working country: the need for export markets” (Jules Ferry’s Speech).

Although economic factors drove Imperialism, new technologies was what actually drove them to be able to actually take over. In 1837 the first “Electrical telegraph” was created and helped so that people could communicate over long distances.  In 1884 the first “Maxim gun” was created and it was the first machine gun. This in fact helped give them more fire power to win battles or wars against anyone they needed. And finally the “Repeating rifle” was created in the late 1800’s to give them even more fire power to win wars, also it was faster-loading and able to fire more shots more accurately than older muskets (Doc C).

The driving force behind European Imperialism were economic reasons, such as the desire to obtain resources and trading partners. however new technologies facilitated their colonial impulses. I believe I’m right because all the resources that Africa had to offer, they weren’t using them and they got invaded to put it to good use.

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In my opinion the things that lead people to invade other people or countries was the resources around them and/or the land their on. The resources they found or came across ranged from copper/ metals being able to make cutting tools, electric wiring, metal alloys, and more. Too rubber and ivory to be able to make soaps/ candles, some food products, tires, and more (Doc D).

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is similar to European imperialism  in Africa because people get “screwed over.” The people in Africa were ran out of their country or killed in their country because of resources around them, and a lot of other countries wanted those resources. This caused war in Africa and from the result of that, many people had died.  Than in “Henrietta Lacks” a study was done with only black families which depending on their landlord they would contaminate each home with different levels of lead paint. The most expensive home would have the least amount of lead paint in it, and the least expensive house would have the most lead paint in it. In both of these “cases” the people in the homes were never informed of the lead paint and the people in Africa weren’t aware of the invasion until it was too late.

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3 thoughts on “Imperialism and Henrietta Lacks

  1. You didn’t really tackle the subject just well just spoke about Africa and not really at all the Henrietta lacks Case other than the picture. Should probably explain the picture.

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  2. The picture showing how everybody is taking a picture of Africa is nice. it’s showing how they all took something from Africa.

    You said new technology helped more people out and made it easier for them to take over Africa. That was a nice way to make a connection between Imperialism and new technology.

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  3. Your connection between Henrietta Lacks and imperialism is a good connection but there is room for more expansion on Henrietta’s side of the story.

    You could consider the lead paint situation as invasion, invading someone’s health for a mere study. Imperialism often also meant invasion.

    Your explanation of imperialism in Africa is perfect and well written. Your in depth examination of slavery could also be related back to Henrietta’s story as slaves were treated as experiments a lot of the time to speed up medical discoveries.

    All round well written. Could use a little more expansion.

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