African Scramble Essay

944 words - 4 pages

Scramble for Africa, a phrase used to describe the frenzied claiming of African territory by half a dozen European countries that resulted in nearly all of Africa becoming part of Europe's colonial empires. The Scramble began slowly in the 1870s, reached its peak in the late 1880s and 1890s, and tapered off over the first decade of the 20th century. Between 1885 and 1900, European powers were, at times, racing each other to stake claims in Africa. Most Africans resisted being taken over and ruled by foreigners. Thus, much of the latter part of the Scramble involved European armies using modern weapons to crush opposition and install authority over the continent's inhabitants.Before the Europeans began the New Imperialism (this particular phase of overseas expansion has been labeled the "New Imperialism" in order to distinguish it from the "Old Colonialism" that supposedly ended in the late eighteenth century) in Africa, very little was known about the inner parts of the continent. However, after some explorers delved deeper into the heart of Africa, the Europeans soon realized how economically important this area was, and how much they could profit from it. After the end of slavery in Africa, Europeans wanted to expand their empires for industrialization and commerce to ensure the movement of goods and services. Economic, social, and political climates in Europe created a sense of urgency among competitive nations to stake claims in and division of the "Dark Continent". To try to create some organization during the scramble, the Berlin Congress was held and European countries "sliced" up the African countries like a cake, each country got a portion of land. The main countries involved in the colonization of Africa included France, England, Portugal, Germany, Great Britain and Denmark. Great Britain was the greatest power on earth at this time, and during the Scramble for Africa, it was the British who did most of the grabbing. The five main reasons for the imperialism were believed to be political, military interests, humanitarian and religious goals, ideological, exploratory, and lastly, but most importantly, economic interests. One example of the economic interest was the Industrial production. Production was reaching such high levels, Europeans worried about over-production and finding consumers for all the goods in Europe. Their economy was primarily based on trade, and because colonies could be added as a form of imperial control, it only furthered and expanded trade.England had trade agreements with nations in Africa sometime before the scramble started. These agreements were clean and let trade occur with many parts of Africa with no hassle. The role and importance of Africa to England soon changed due to imperial competition between countries. Germany under the aggressive policies of Bismarck also set out to take a leading role in Africa and to catch up to other European powers such as Britain and France in terms of...

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