What traveling taught me about colonization

A millennial’s awakening to history lessons that are left obscure in textbooks.

Answers from the past

Why is it that some countries are more developed and when did some countries start getting poor and others rich? According to Eric Toussaint, a Belgian historian and political scientist, this growing gap can be traced back to a particular date in history: 1492. This was the marking of Europeans entering the history of the American people. When Italian explorer Christopher Columbus led a Spanish expedition and sailed west to find a new trade route to the Far East(India) but inadvertently landed in a beautiful Bahamian island of South America which later came to be known to Europeans as the “New World”.

Colonial powers treating world map as a Monopoly board.

21st Century: the post-colonial era

Growing up as a 4th generation independent (a.k.a post-British) Indian, I never really fully grasped the effects of colonization. To a naive me, it seemed that colonization was something that happened in the “past” and only exists now as boring chapters of our history textbooks. I dared to believe that it no longer affects our present. How can something that happened so long ago still be affecting the world we live in?

The aftermath of colonization

The process of decolonization is still a very painful memory for most countries. Mass civil disobedience movements, guerrilla wars and millions of lives lost. Many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America faced political unrest for many years even after gaining their independence. Most countries were ushered into this new independence with huge debts to repay and economies in shreds. They had to rebuild everything on the debris of chaos that was left behind.

I write about change.

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