• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent were humanitarian and missionary motives the most important reason for British expansion into Africa between 1868 and 1902?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent were humanitarian and missionary motives the most important reason for British expansion into Africa between 1868 and 1902? Although there had been British presence in Africa from the start of the 19th Century, with British areas of control including Cape Colony, Orange Free State and areas along the West coast, prior to 1880 Britain had in reality very few possessions in Africa. Only when the 'Scramble for Africa' was triggered did Britain, along with many other European great powers, begin its campaign for territorial acquisition. The fundamental motives for British expansion into Africa were essentially the economic interest Africa held for Britain and its entrepreneurs, the rivalry Africa created between the Great European Powers, its strategic value and what was commonly presented to the British public as being the most important motive, humanitarian purposes. For many, including Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain, it was believed that Britain had a moral obligation to bring civilization and Christianity to the native population who were considered to be 'uncivilized' and racially inferior. Moreover, the Church strongly promoted the idea of missionary work in Africa; the Church encouraged the notion that a fundamental element of imperial occupation was the extension of Christianity which therefore was a motive behind imperialism in Africa. Many missionary societies were created such as the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel which conducted fund-raising activities and lectures. ...read more.

Middle

Until the 1880's Britain felt no real need to establish formal territorial control, instead it relied on an 'informal empire' in which they had established a purely economic influence. Britain had not wished for territorial control in Africa which they recognized absorbed time, people and money but rather economic exploitation at minimum cost. Yet British seizure of Egypt meant that other European nations began to show expansionist interest in the region which in turn threatened Britain's informal arrangement, particularly in West and Southern Africa. For example, Britain had an interest in Nigeria but a danger was that important trade along the River Niger would be under threat from French expansion in the area. Similar pressure came when Germany seized Togoland and the Cameroons in 1884 and the Belgians set up the Congo Free State in 1885. As a result the government granted a Royal Charter to the Niger Company, out of which eventually emerged the colony of Nigeria. It is unlikely that the government would have regarded the interests of the Niger traders very sympathetically had it not been for its determination not to allow France, Belgium and Germany from grabbing land which would threaten British trade, something which was of foremost importance to Britain and it would not allow to be compromised. The scramble in West Africa had also resulted in Berlin West Africa Conference which laid down rules for future annexation of territory. ...read more.

Conclusion

Britain also saw great potential for trade in East Africa; Zanzibar imported significant quantities of manufactured goods from Britain and India. It was a major trading point from which came ivory and leather goods and into which went textiles, brass and steel from Britain. Britain's primary interest was trade and economic gain. Without any economic potential in an area Britain was not interested in colonization, in contrast if a region held great economic investments, for example Egypt, Britain was quick to occupy the area despite its reluctance to extend formal control which it viewed as consuming time, people and money. In summary, Africa's economic potential was clearly the primary reason for British expansion into Africa 1868-1902. Britain was not a solely altruistic nation which became involved in the continent purely to help the people, instead it was driven by its own gains. It is true that rivalry from other great European powers was vital in turning British control in Africa from informal into solid occupation, however essentially Britain's determination not to allow other nations to grab land was to avoid threat to its trade and economic interests in a region. Moreover, Africa's strategic importance was also highly valued by Britain, yet once again its ultimate value lay in its path along the crucial route to India and therefore the protection of Britain's economic interest. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Response to the question

The student has a very good understanding of the terms of the question and achieves a balanced conclusion, but the level of detail is superficial at some points. The question stipulates a consideration of a variety of viewpoints and the ...

Read full review

Response to the question

The student has a very good understanding of the terms of the question and achieves a balanced conclusion, but the level of detail is superficial at some points. The question stipulates a consideration of a variety of viewpoints and the student has responded with that. However, there are more historical interpretations available on this topic, and if time contraints or word counts allow then the essay would improve with consideration of historians such as Schumpeter. The student is on task for the whole piece.

Level of analysis

The student clearly understands the nature of the historical debate around Britain's intervention in Africa. An improvement they could make is naming some historians or their ideas, as this would show a greater depth. For example, instead of simply referring to the strategic value of Africa, they could mention or even quote Gallagher and Robinson, who wrote extensively on that point. In terms of evidence, the chronological understanding is excellent and they use dates effectively. The essay would benefit from further detail in some areas: for example, when referring to Gladstone's policy of non-intervention, deeper exemplification could be achieved by referring to the Midlothian Campaign or his "six principles" of foreign policy. The essay strikes a relatively good balance of evaluative style over narrative style, the latter being inappropriate for A Level standard work. Any more exemplification would probably be too much. It is also important to note that the examples - such as Cecil Rhodes - are perfectly valid but they are the usual examples for this topic. The essay would benefit from further research and more unusual examples, which would demonstrate independent and wider research. Sweeping assertions that lack evidence, such as "of foremost importance to Britain", sometimes harm the essay. The conclusion is balanced.

Quality of writing

The student has adopted an excellent style of writing that is appropriate for the qualification. A particularly strong structural aspect is the summation of the conclusion in the introduction as it shows a clear line of argument. Use of terminology is good but the essay would benefit from words and phrases which show a developed understanding of key historical concepts, such as "causal factor" and "consequence". The paragraphing is fine. Some words such as "uncivilised" and "colonisation" are spelled with the American "z" which should not be copied unless your education system uses American English. The grammar is also very good, although the essay would read better if the student had started a new sentence before markers such as "in contrast", like in examples such as this - "Without any economic potential in an area Britain was not interested in colonization, in contrast if a region held great economic investments, for example Egypt, Britain...".


Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by lordharvey 25/03/2012

Read less
Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Intertextuality in John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman.

    [...]We can sometimes recognize the looks of a century ago on a modern face; but never those of a century to come" (146). Yet, Sarah remains far from the liberated woman of the twentieth century. Jackson points out an important paradox in Sarah's character.

  2. Assess the validity of the view that the Rump and Barebones parliaments had no ...

    Thus, as Hirst concludes, the Rump "always found the doing of business more urgent than the luxury of reform". The Rump was conservative, and since its aim was not revolution and major constitutional reform, it did not fail to achieve by not providing revolution.

  1. Was Charles I Trying to Establish Royal Absolutism during his Personal Rule?

    Perhaps England needed "a kick in the backside" to bring it out of the Medieval Age and into a more modern line of thinking, and this could only be done by using an extreme, in this case Royal absolutism. When absolutism was well-established and uniformity achieved, the government could begin

  2. Millicent Fawcett's significance

    However, several Liberal MP's supported female suffrage including John Stuart Mill, Henry Fawcett and David Lloyd George. It was John Stuart Mill who sparked Fawcett's interest in the campaign for women's right, after hearing a passionate speech made by him, Fawcett was immensely impressed with his speech and became a faithful follower.

  1. How Significant Was WW1 In Bringing About Votes For Some Women In 1918?

    votes for women and it was likely that the topic of female suffrage would also be raised. Therefore in this case it can be seen that the war helped votes for women to be granted because without the war the Speakers Conference would not have taken place and so the

  2. Louis XIV - Consider the significance of the Edict of Nantes 1598.

    which probably indicates that he still had allegiances to the Protestant beliefs despite his conversion to Catholicism. Henry's tactical manoeuvres were also significant in another way. Basically, he prevented the Wars of Religion from continuing and restarting again. The irony is that his tendency to sit on the fence on

  1. To what extent was the Henrican Reformation imposed from 'above'?

    One important factor to note is that most of this wealth was going upwards, in the sense that none went into the pockets of the laity. It was a reform that whilst attractive for religious reformers was concerned with the filling of the crowns pockets.

  2. The changing position of women and the suffrage question. Revision notes

    * The 1869 Contagious Diseases Act extended the 1866 Act to all garrison towns and allowed suspected prostitutes to be locked up for five days before they were examined. * The execution of the Acts was cruel and degrading, it was difficult in borderline cases for the police to distinguish

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work