To review, prior to 1875 less than 1/10 was under European control, by 1895 less than 1/10 was independent. Africa was desired due to the explosion of the Industrial Revolution and the exploration of the continent. The competition in Europe caused by alliances, small wars, and unchecked aggression.
Nationalism: bragging rights amongst European nations to prove who is greater. Nationalism also included the push to find and keep strategic locations to improve colonial possessions.
Cultural Imperialism: belief in pushing advancements and culture of the west to the ‘barbaric’ world.
Racism: belief that one race is superior to another. People believed science made it possible to prove this theory. At the time people were using the findings of Charles Darwin along with Charles Darwin to justify cultural human evolution. Charles Darwin: Origin of Species; pseudo-scientific racism.
Berlin Conference 1884-1885
Meeting among 12 European states along with the United States and Ottoman Empire was held in Berlin from Nov. 1884-Feb. 1885. The cause of the conference was to attempt to keep European countries calm in the mist of economic and political rivalries. No representatives of African territory was invited
The Berlin Conference focused on 5 main points
1. Free trade in Congo Basin
2. Freedom to navigate Congo and Niger Rivers
3. Leopold’s International Association
4. Territorial boundaries of the Congo Free State
5. Definition of “effective occupation” to claim African territory
It is not a surprise that the scramble for Africa intensified with the unification of Italy and Germany. Both of these new nations wanted to prove their relevance as a new nation by attempting to gain land Africa
The French and the British, the 2 leaders at this point in the world approached colonization differently.
The British preferred “Indirect Rule.” No attempt to assimilate Africans to British ways, only educate a small group. Avoid interference with local rule and ways of life. Indirect rule caused deep feelings of revenge once colonization was over.
The French preferred “Assimilation.” The people of Africa are to incorporate and adjust to French culture and language.
The most obvious problems is being ruled by a foreign power, however there were other problems. New colonies had no developed technology. Population, terrain, and climate vary and are sporadic. Budgets are small, and economic demands were large. Africans are denied political rights and ability to hold high office. Exploitation and slavery are known but not addressed or removed.
Portugal saw Africa in terms of trade and economics. They made no real effort to advance their colonies; they treated them as a source of revenue. Brazil in South America was their primary colonial concern. Portugal couldn’t compete with the British East India Company or Dutch East India Company. Portugal couldn’t get past disease, tribal fighting, and they didn’t have a large enough population base to invest in colonization. Portugal was big into slave trading
Spain had very few colonies in Africa. During the early years of exploration, Spain was more concerned about expelling Muslims and pushing them back to Africa. Treaty of Tordesellas eliminated all territory in Africa in 1496.
In 1652 the Dutch created the Cape Colony/Cape Town (South Africa). The Dutch based expeditions to Madagascar and Mozambique in terms of slave trade. The Dutch lost their possessions to the British. Those that stayed in the territory were called Afrikaans and Boers.
Known as the Democratic Republic of Congo today. Leopold II used this territory as his own private estate. Claimed he was going to eliminate slavery and bring in Christian society. At the end of the century, rubber was a valuable commodity, and Congo had it. Africans were paid little and had little interest in collecting it. Agents were assigned to make sure quotas were met. Torture, mutilation, rape, and murder were devises used. Cutting off hands to prove discipline was met and bullets were not used. Leopold had to relinquish Congo in 1908 once the abuses were known worldwide.
Algeria was a former province of the Ottoman Empire was invaded by France in 1830. France held land in North Africa during Napoleons invasion, however much was lost to the British at the end of the Napoleonic Era. Involvement in Algeria started over a debt and a fly swatter. Two Algerians argued over a debt with the French Ambassador. The French Ambassador was hit with a flyswatter. A blockade of the city was ordered and supported by Charles X of France.
France attempted to create a federation of colonies in Africa in 1895 they attempted to merge the following colonies. Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Benin, Mauritania, and Niger. Because of the success with the AOF, the French did it again in 1910 calling this confederation the AEF. Chad, Rep of Congo, Central African Republic, and Gabon
The Dutch were first in South Africa however they lost to the French during Napoleon. Once the French lost to the British, the British collected the lands of both nations. These Dutch were referred to as Boers. The Boers had the settlements; Natal, Transvaal, and the Orange Free State. Even though it has not been mentioned, many African tribes fought back against the Europeans (all lost badly). The Zulu of South Africa were probably the most successful (but still lost). The Zulu would not let the Boers into Natal. The Zulu defeated the British at the Battle of Isandlwana, but lost Anglo-Zulu War (1878-79). The British and Boers fought each other over unification between the years of 1899-1902.
The British always liked South Africa because it was an important stop on the way to India, however in 1867 diamonds were discovered, and gold in 1886. Thousands of migrants arrived and the railroad was developed. After the end of the Boer War in 1902 the British wished to create a self-governing dominion modeled after Canada. Negotiations started in 1908 to discuss terms, by 1910 London approved their constitution. The South Africans wished to keep government with the white minority, London did not see this worth fighting. It was approved. South Africa was permitted to establish the first steps towards apartheid