By 1885, little to no independent countries existed throughtout the whole African continent. This was due to the imperialism done by strong European countries. Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, and Spain are to blame. There are many possible contributing factors as to why the European countries decided to completely carve up Africa, split it up, imperialize the whole of the continent. Because of the need for resources Africa could supply, the European desire for power, and the European's reaction to the White Man's burden, they took control of almost every square mile in Africa through imperialization.
During the late nineteenth century, France and Britain began imperialistic ventures into Africa, which eventually led Leopold II to conquer the Congo. It was Leopold's II presence in Africa that to led the Berlin Conference. The Berlin Conference took place first and foremost to legitimize what was already taking place in Africa (Berlin). Africa had recently experienced the European countries' greed. The British and the French, along with a few other European nations, had started to carve up Africa however they pleased.
The colonisation of Africa occurred in the late nineteenth century, when a small group of European powers became suddenly involved in a “territorial Partition of Africa”. In the time between 1880 and 1900, “90% of the territory of Africa was appropriated by a handful of European powers” . This event sparked an intense historical debate amongst historians as there have been multiple interpretations about the colonisation in Africa. The historical debate is between metropolitan theories (which focuses on the motivations of each European power), for example by Lenin and Hobson, the peripheral approach which looks at the African perspective. Also, what aspects of these African regions made the European powers want to colonise?
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.
The Atlantic System began with the need of available labor sources for large plantations. The transport of slaves through the Middle Passage soon advanced into wider proportions, and the Triangular Trade was established. While Europe and America gained economic, and industrial advantages from the slave route, it is Africa that suffered the most impact culturally, economically, and emotionally. Works Cited - Jerry H. Bentley. Traditions Encounters & A Brief Global History.
Great Britain wanted to spread its culture and religion (Butler). As a result, Christianity was dispersed imperialized countries under the name of Great Britain. Another major reason Great Britain imperialized in Africa was because other European countries that were participating in the “Scramble for Africa” (Berard). This was the time period where certain European countries fought over what countries in Africa to imperialize. Britain wanted more power, and therefore, more land as well.
Western European powers began to split up the land and resources in Africa among themselves. This period of history became known as the Scramble for Africa. The Scramble for Africa occurred because as the slave trade ended, capitalists saw Africa as a continent that they could now exploit through legitimate trade. European capitalists found new ways to make money off of the continent. With greater exploration of the continent even more valuable resources were found.
In the early 1880’s, the powers of Europe started to take control of regions in Africa and set up colonies there. In the beginning, colonization caused the Africans little harm, but before long, the Europeans started to take complete control of wherever they went. The Europeans used their advanced knowledge and technology to easily maneuver through the vast African landscape and used advanced weapons to take control of the African people and their land. The countries that claimed the most land and had the most significant effect on Africa were France, England, Belgium, and Germany. There were many reasons for the European countries to be competing against each other to gain colonies in Africa.
The global network of super powers has claimed many regions through human security, political actions, and economic development. One of the largest landscapes is that of sub-Saharan Africa, in which 50 plus countries make up the geographical landscape (Library of Congress, 2010). In consideration of the long history of changing powers and the colonization of the different countries by Dutch, French, and British influences giving up power after WWII; the prospect of democracy for the sub-Saharan African countries is an ongoing battle (Braithwaite, 2014). South Africa is one example of political changes and the understanding of human security along with economic development. Governance Political change is the strength and legacy of a country.
So, those countries with the most colonies were often perceived as the most powerful. This is why the European powers sought to snatch up regions of Africa for themselves. Historians use the term 'Scramble for Africa' to describe the period of intense European interest in, colonization, occupation, and annexation of Africa between the 1880s and 1914. European powers realized the value of African territory and began trying to take over it. This led to tremendous competition among the European powers, particularly Belgium, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.