Many of the causes for imperialism in Africa were evident in Joseph Conrad’s turn of the century novel, Heart of Darkness. Successful domination of Africa was not attainable prior to the eighteen hundreds. The obstacles of travel and disease were too powerful to overcome. However, with the development of the steamship and the protection from malaria in the form of quinine, Europeans tackled Africa with a renewed energy (Sanderson “Imperialism notes”). A European council congregated in 1885 and drew up the Berlin Act, which was responsible for the carving of Africa into pieces of land for the major imperialistic powers in Europe (Lehmann “The Scramble for Africa”).
What was the Scramble for Africa? The Scramble for Africa was a period of time where major European countries fought over and colonized land in Africa, stretching from South Africa to Egypt. The scramble for Africa began shortly after the slave trade, and ended at WW1, and is a strong representation of the ‘New Imperialism’. The first country to act was Belgium, who colonized Congo at 1885, but soon, other countries such as Portugal and Great Britain joined in in order to not miss out. Firstly, the European could not colonize Africa easily, due to Africa’s giant land mass and the diseases that spread throughout the land.
Even though the slave trade was beginning to decline by the early 19th century, it gave the Europeans a pass into the whole continent, enabling them to divide the land as they pleased. The division of land was not void of wars and resistance. The Europeans stole the land from the Africans, and imposed their way of life into African society. Imperialists brought military technology along with them, decreasing the likelihood that the Africans could resist their forces of ethnocentric civilization. To make matters worse, each country in Europe wanted their own share of the African continent.
"(page 17 HOD). But in fact, trade is the real cause of colonization rather than enlightenment "They were going to run an over-sea empire, and make no end of coin by trade." (Page13 HOD), even though the mission appears to be “angelic”, but appearances can be deceiving. It is clear that the European civilization claims more than what it is capable of. The only thing that European civilization is capable of is stealing the African wealth.
Explain the ways in which the colonial period affected the political, economic, and social landscapes of Africa. The trans Atlantic slave trade set the foundations for what would become the colonial period. The colonization of Africa brought about significant changes to the landscape of African society, economy and politically. Furthermore, it was the through this time that African tribal groups were replaced by states created by Europeans states. The “Scramble for Africa” marked the official domination of the continent of Africa by the Europeans.
19th century imperialism in Africa was fueled by greed and arrogance rather than the supposed willingness to help by the Europeans. This was reflected in the more negative effects on Africa than positive. “The White Man’s Burden” exposed the realistic intentions of imperialism. Further advancement of European countries was the sole concern.
There is an ongoing debate on how the current political and economic failures in Africa can be traced back to the advent of colonialism. There is a great deal of evidence that illustrates the impact that colonialism and foreign intervention has had a negative effect on the development of present history of Africa. This essay will attempt to examine the geographic, political and ethnic impact European colonialism has played on the development of the African, and how these contributions have put Africa on its current trajectory. Initial European interest in Africa appeared humanitarian. Many of the imperial nations seemed interested in acting on behalf of Africa, on issues ranging from the prohibition of slavery to development and infrastructure projects.
As for the political reasons, Britain simply wanted to remain competitive with other countries, such as Germany and France. At the time, the British had no allies, and the other countries such as France and Germany, were getting economically more stable. By taking over Africa, and setting up colonies, they would have allies and a sense of protection. Germany and France were also some of the bigger powers in Europe, and the British feared them because they needed to keep up with the competition of their rival countries. They were pretty much forced to practice imperialism because of the growing threat of Germany and France.
The final explanation historians offer to explain the Scramble for Africa was largely based on a variation of internal African circumstances and European influences. This reason can be split demographically between areas that were successful after the slave trade and area that failed to successfully flourish after the slave trade. In the areas where African economy blossomed post slave trade, Europeans could be pinpointed as the culprit because of the escalation of demand for mercantile products. The societies that claimed a lackluster economy post slave trade, could only blame themselves as internal conditions could be identified as the reason behind their
It is worth mentioning, nevertheless, that in Germany after 1895; it was the “ruling elite” that had become conceived of the need for colonisation in Africa. This factor applies more towards the theories of “gentlemanly capitalism” rather than the theories of “diplomatic and political aims”. Therefore, as a result, it may be the case that all different elements of theories are valid for explaining the colonisation of Africa. In further analysis, it will become clearer whether this is the case. Germany’s influence on the Partition of Africa cannot be ignored, however there is a great power that Kennedy regarded as the centre of this event.