The Scramble For Africa Essay

1348 words - 5 pages

The scramble for Africa represents the most thorough and systematic process of colonialism in world history. The European colonial powers managed to conquer and control almost the entire continent of Africa in a short, twenty-five year period from about 1875 to 1900. Some of the European states involved were already well-established global powers; the others were up and coming nations that desired to emulate and compete with the dominant imperial states. Various factors allowed for and contributed to the conquering of the whole of Africa by European states. The slow, but ever-growing European presence on the perimeter and the completion for dominance between the major European states acted as the platform for the inevitable quest for the middle. The obstacles brought on by indigenous resistance were no match for the European military might and technological superiority. The idea that indigenous territories were in need of Western intervention aided by scientific racism served to legitimize colonialism, especially in the face opposition within the imperial powers. The spark that set off the chain reaction of conquest was the Belgian occupation of the Congo by King Leopold II. Scramble for Africa was bloody and eventful end to the Long 19th century that was brought on by colonialism and that left the continent of Africa in a state of shambles up unto the present day.

Beginning in 1750 with the British occupation of India and culminating in 1914 with the Great War, The "Long 19th century" was a period that was bound by a theme of confrontation caused by colonialism and imperialism. Imperialism can be looked at as one nation's economic and political control of a territory. Colonialism would include the tenets of imperialism with additional cultural and social influences. Confrontations characterized by middle-class idealist throwing off the chains of their colonial oppressors swept the world as a backlash to political, economic, and social dominance. The British colonies succeeded in winning independence as a sovereign nation and the French Bourgeoisie overthrew the monarchy, serving as the universal model for revolution. The imperial powers of Europe were seeing their sources of raw goods disappearing as periodicals containing French ideals of liberty, fraternity and property reached the corners of the colonized world. Naturally, the European colonial powers needed to actively seek new untapped territories.

Only a small portion of the African coast had been colonized by the late 1870s, French Algeria and Senegal, Portuguese Angola and Mozambique, and British and Dutch South Africa were the only significant settlement holdings. The interior had yet to be conquered, however some information had been gathered by a handful of explorers. Dr. Livingstone had explored the interior in the interest of missionary work. Henry Stanley had collected geographical information on his journalistic quest to find the at large Dr....

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