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The Scramble for Africa Essay

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In the time between 1886 and 1914, there were events called European “scramble for Africa”. They were called “scramble for Africa” because there were a lot of European countries who colonized African countries and tried to seize lands in Africa. Soon, the European countries completely established themselves on the land of Africa making it open to Western exploration. As a result European countries colonized all Africa except Ethiopia and Liberia. Britain, France and Portugal were the main colonial powers in Africa, but Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain were also involved. The following map shows the colonialism in 1914.

With the development of industrialization throughout Europe, competition for raw materials increased. Industrial productions required human resources and naturals. However, most of Europe was resource poor. European countries wanted to control lands that had the raw materials they needed for their industrial economies such as rubber, cotton, copper, tin and tea. They realized that Africa was cheap labor, limited competition and have all resources that they needed. Since these resources were unavailable in their countries, they started to storm Africa.

They also wanted to open up markets for the goods they made because Europe was producing more industrial goods than Europeans could consume. Therefore, industrialists sought markets for their goods around the world. The industrialists encouraged their government to accept colonization of Africa in order to protect markets for their industrial goods. With the opening of these markets, financial services became an increasingly important sector of the British economy.

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European countries were able to impose their will on African countries by using technology. Steam engines, railroads and telegraphs made them able to penetrate deep into Africa and still have contact with the home country. They also had machine guns – greatest weapons at that time. Furthermore, the invention of quinine helped them to against malaria, which struck Europeans. They were also helped by the lack of agreement among African People.

As a result of European colonization, there were a lot of consequences for African people. The African people lost their past glories because of the activities of the foreigners who wanted to become masters of all that they survey. The pattern of trade between Africans and Europeans did not encourage the Africans to develop because the African resources were taken to develop industries in Europe rather than in Africa. Moreover, the effect of the slave trade was that it made the whole African continent generally unsafe. However, the most damaging effect of European contact with Africa was the great loss in population. It was about over 30 million Africans were carried away as slaves to America. This does not include the several millions who died in the exploitative labor.

BBC.The story of Africa. http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/special/1624_story_of_africa/page35.shtml Alistair Boddy-Evans.(July 8,2011).What caused the Scramble for Africa. www.africanhistory.about.com

ST John’s College Cambridge.(2014).The Scramble for Africa. www.joh.cam.ac.uk

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