Civilization and Development in Africa Prior to the Advent of Europeans: Walter Rodney, Chapter 2

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In his concluding remarks to the second chapter of his groundbreaking book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1982, 69), Walter Rodney asserts that “After surveying the developed areas of the continent (of Africa) in the fifteenth century and those within Europe at the same date, the difference between the two was in no way to Africa’s discredit. Indeed, the first Europeans to reach West and East Africa by sea were the ones who indicated that in most respects, African development was comparable to that which they knew.” Using this assertion as your starting point, discuss some of the ways (as narrated by Rodney in the reading) in which Africa was developed and civilized before the advent of Europeans. In your considered opinion, why did it become important for European colonizers to argue that Africa was uncivilized and undeveloped before their arrival? Your response should be 500 words long and both parts of the question must be addressed.

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