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European background to the scramble for Africa (1850 to 1900)

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Introduction

European background to the scramble for Africa (1850 to 1900) The main European countries that acquired colonies in the scramble for Africa were: > Britain > France > Germany > Belgium > Italy > Portugal Britain At this point in time Britain is on the throes of the Industrial Revolution. This eliminates the need for slaves and introduces a need for markets for their processed goods and raw materials. It has a very impressive navy and has earned itself the title the Queen of the Sea. This enables it to establish colonies in Africa and Asia from which to source the raw materials needed for industry. France France too is experiencing changes brought on by the industrial revolution. Her economy is changing from an emphasis on plantation farming to industry. The country is also recovering from the revolution and slowly adapting to a republican form of government. She needs colonies for the same reasons Britain does: raw materials and colonies. Germany Before 1848 Germany was simply a group of principalities that shared language and traditions and had a form of federal assembly in the Diet that met in Frankfurt annually. In the period from 1848 to 1871, under the guidance of Otto von Bismarck -a Prussian politician, they were united under an emperor (Kaiser). As a new state, Germany wanted colonies as a source of wealth and prestige. Belgium Up to the 1800s Belgium was part of the Netherlands and was ruled by the Spanish Hapsburgs. As a new state, she wanted economic wealth and prestige. Especially since she was the site of many battles and was called the 'cockpit of Europe.' Italy Italy too was nothing more than a bunch of principalities until by the actions of Giusseppe Garibaldi, King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, his chief minister Count Camillo Cavour and strangely enough Emperor Napoleon III of France, it was united to form present day Italy in 1869. ...read more.

Middle

Over the next 20 years he tries his best to persuade the rest of Belgium that they should have a colony. After a lot of attempts and little success, he decides to establish his own private colony. * 11, September 1876, Leopold holds an international geographical conference, consisting of explorers, experts in geography etc. The result is the International African Association, with Leopold himself being the president. * He claims that the intention for this association is to help the African get more involved in trade etc, and to stop the save trade. No one knew about his real intentions. * Leopold gives commission to Henry Morton Stanley to further explore Congo. Stanley's real mission was to establish Belgian sovereignty along the river's south bank and therefore get control over the Congo rubber and ivory trade * He also tells Stanley that it should be "clearly understood that in this project there is no question of granting the slightest power to the Negroes" * 1884 - In November 15 nations (Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Norway, Portugal Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the US) come to the Conference of Berlin in order to share central Africa among themselves. * 1885 - Leopold ends up getting 2.3 million square kilometers on the south bank of the Congo. He names it the Congo Free State. May 29th, Leopold is proclaimed "sovereign" of the new state. Under the terms of the 'General Act of Berlin' Leopold promises to suppress the slave trade, however, over the next 23 years, Leopold will exploit Congo to the fullest and kill and torture more people than Africa had ever seen before * In order to secure his position, Leopold decides to build a native army called the 'Force Publique'. Even though their initial task was to stop slavery, the Force Publique soon turns towards the Congolese themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Congo River (area around the river) issue was also held outside of Berlin, mainly in Britain and France. The conference decided to settle the "Congo Free State" (Leopold Belgium) issue between Britain, Portugal and France. Germany claimed Togoland, South-West Africa and Cameroon. Portugal received a small portion of the area, while France claimed vast areas along the eastern bank of the Congo. The countries came to consensus upon free trade and navigation along the Congo basin and Niger. Claiming an area required notifying the delegates and "effective occupation." Effective occupation included good management and maintenance, also organized commerce. Myth of the Berlin West Africa Conference: Delegates sat around the horse shoe and divided Africa amongst each other as if it were a cake. "slices of the African cake, which might prove dangerously heave on the stomach. [No wonder why people poked fun at the scramble and wondered what Bismarck expected to get out of the conference]." (Pakenham). AIMS ? Settle European rivalries on territory claims and trade. ? Create an "international" consensus on territorial claims and possession. ? Expand territory and enhance Commerce. ? Settle Anglo-French rivalries along the Niger River. ? Ending the Slave Trade. ? Expanding Commerce, Christianity and Civilization (3Cs). "The stated goals of the conference were to be the settling of Congo claims between Britain, France, and Portugal, and of Anglo-French rivalries along the Niger River." IB HL African History Questions from Area 7 Discuss the reasons and motives that were justifiable to the Europeans colonizing Africa during the 1900s. Why was Germany's contact with Africa delayed for so long as compared to other European powers? How was the growth in European traders and explorers related? Give some examples. How did Leopold manage to establish the CFS, and what was the situation like under his rule. What were among the main purposes of the Berlin West Africa Conference? How did technological advancements aid Europeans in conquering the African continent? How did Europeans use African political disability to their advantage? Describe how the construction of the Suexz Canal led to the occupation of Eygypt? ...read more.

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