European Imperialism in Africa

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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... ... middle of paper ... the coat, communicated with a band of ribbon which Passover the palm of the white brother’s hand, and when he gave the black brother a cordial grasp of the hand, the black brother was surprised to find his white brother so strong that he nearly knocked him off his feet. By such means as these and a few boxes of gin, whole villages had been signed away to your majesty.” This account explains the exploitation the Europeans used to get their lands. Williams’ point of view seems biased against imperialism. This may be because of the clerical background. He probably wrote the letter to show the king the atrocities that were being committed against the Africans. This cultural spread ultimately led to revolts against the Europeans. Many African ethnicities changed their culture to match their European contemporaries and, using the technology had revolutions of their own.

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