European Colonisation Of Africa During The 19th Century Essay

European Colonisation Of Africa During The 19th Century Essay

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In 1850, only a small chunk of Africa was governed by foreign rulers. By 1914, almost all African land was owned by European powers. The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a huge competition for land as European countries such as Britain, Germany, France, and Belgium competed to claim African land, and thus power and resources. After abolishing the slave trade, European countries continued to trade with Africa for various exotic resources. European businesses would often create treaties with African leaders to gain exclusive trading rights in a region. Eventually, foreign governments began attempting to gain control over these regions. Over time, disputes over land between European powers occurred, leading up to the Berlin Conference which was held in the city of Berlin, Germany between the years 1884 and 1885. During the Berlin Conference, definite borders and laws were created to prevent further altercations between the European powers. Although European colonisation of Africa did improve the quality of life for Africans in some ways, the majority of changes Europeans brought to Africa negatively impacted the lives of Africans as they limited Africans’ political power, robbed them of their land, and robbed them of their culture.
An example of the negative effects of European imperialism is the concept of foreign rule. Most European nations practiced either indirect or direct rule. Direct rule is when a foreign power replaces the government of a group of people with their own government, directly ruling the population. Indirect rule is similar, but instead of overthrowing the current government, the foreign government uses “puppet” traditional leaders in place of foreign leaders so as to effectively rule the population with...


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...of their land outweighs the positives of imperialism. Due to their political limitations, most of Africa was not able to gain independence until some time after World War II, and even after gaining independence, the majority of independent African nations were left without any experienced rulers. This resulted in major power struggles and instability. The robbing of African land left many unable to feed themselves and in poverty. All of these problems which stem from European imperialism create an illusion that Africa is a poor country with an unstable government that cannot support itself. In reality, Africa is a beautiful continent comprised of a number of smaller countries which each have their own problems. Though some countries do fit this stereotypical depiction of Africa, a large number are modern and rich countries which are home to a diverse group of people.

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