European Imperialism In Africa Essay

1372 words - 5 pages

Europe, in the late 1800’s, was starting for a land grab in the African continent. Around 1878, most of Africa was unexplored, but by 1914, most of Africa, with the lucky exception of Liberia and Ethiopia, was carved up between European powers. There were countless motivations that spurred the European powers to carve Africa, like economical, political, and socio–cultural, and there were countless attitudes towards this expansion into Africa, some of approval and some of condemnation.

Europe in this period was a world of competing countries. Britain had a global empire to lead, France had competition with Britain for wealth and so did other nations like Germany and Russia. Expansion was a goal that all nations wanted to achieve. Prince Leopold, the heir of the Belgian Throne, in a conversation, explained that “since history teaches us that colonies are useful… let us strive to get on in our turn… to lead to progress in every sense.” Being a prince, Leopold must have had a pro imperialist point of view, because he wanted to keep Belgium strong and prosperous. Cecil Rhodes, in a speech at the chartering of the British South Africa company, said “Philanthropy is good, but philanthropy at 5 percent is even better.” Cecil Rhodes’s quote clearly illustrates a materialistic point of view, owing to the fact that he was the founder of De Beers Diamond Company. Being a businessman, a desire of profit was natural. However, there are other examples that show a condemnation of imperialism for economical reasons. According to William Clark, in The Genesis of Jingoism, “capitalism is international… and it will prove in the long run to be one of the leading factors in breaking down of nationalism.” Owing to the fact that this excerpt from “The Genesis of Jingoism” appeared in the Progressive Review in London, which by name seems to be a more of a socialist publication, we can infer that William Clark could have been a socialist, and thus against the capitalist ideology. The resolution of the German Social Democratic Party Congress also furthers the anti imperialist sentiment that existed during this time, by explaining that “Capitalist exploitation… corresponds first and foremost to the greedy desire of the bourgeoisie for new opportunities to invest in its ever–increasing capital which is no longer content with exploiting the home market, and to the desire for new markets which each country tries to usurp for itself.” Being a socialist organization, this account would be biased against capitalism and thus imperialism. The quote also explains why resources were another factor in the economic expansion into Africa; the empires needed raw materials and resources to keep their empires going and what they didn’t find in Europe, they’d find in Africa. These economic reasons further lead the European powers to carve out pieces of Africa for themselves in search of resources this would lead to new businesses being set up in Africa, leading to a thriving economy and...

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