A Brief History of The Scramble For Africa

A Brief History of The Scramble For Africa


Africa is a large continent home to
immense culture and history surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north
the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west it is the
world’s second largest and second most populous continent
it contains 54 countries and is extremely diverse in terms of ethnicity
and language the borders of these countries were largely decided by
European nations during the late 19th and early 20th century in what is known
as the Scramble for Africa the Sahara is a defining feature of
Africa the largest desert in the world the Sahara sheer size and magnitude
actives as a major obstacle for communication trade an exchange of ideas
however there is evidence of Roman expeditions and explorations who were able to move across the desert and into the interior of Africa with the aim to
secure sources of gold salt and spices for centuries Arabs also maintained
trade relations with the vast empires of West Africa such as the Ghana and Mali
Empire establishing trade routes that secured gold ivory and slaves the
Portuguese began expeditions down the west coast of Africa in the 15th century
and history tells us of the profound effect that followed during the 1480s
the Explorer Deigo Cao was the first to establish contact with the Kongo Kingdom situated south of the Congo River the Kongo kingdom was eager to make use of Portuguese teachers and craftsmen and the Kongo king’s allowed Catholic
missionaries to work among their people the Portuguese traded guns cloth and
other European luxuries for slaves who were captured by the Kongo in wars
against rival kingdoms by the 17th century Portugal and other European
powers began to settle on the coast of Africa
Europeans would buy slaves in Africa transport them to the Americas and
exchange them for valuable goods like sugar coffee and tobacco which were then
sold premium prices in Europe arguably between the 16th and 18th century over
12 million Africans were enslaved and transported in harsh conditions to work
on plantations in the Americas in the south of Africa the first European
settlement was established by the Dutch East India Company where merchants used
the location of the way point for ongoing voyages to the Dutch East
Indies they came into contact with a khoikhoi a nomadic indigenous population of
southwestern Africa comprising of hundreds of clans over time the
settlement known as the Cape of Good Hope grew in size
resulting in the Khoikhoi losing land and cattle to the Dutch who adopted the
name Boer meaning farmer to you to a shortage of labour the Dutch imported
slaves from Mozambique Madagascar and many Indonesian islands the Cape of Good
Hope came under the control of the British during the Napoleonic Wars the
abolition of slavery ended slavery in the Cape in 1834 in 1835 the ball was
embarked on the Great Trek as the abolition of the slave trade resulted in
financial catastrophe as a result Dutch citizens known as vote records moved
further inland into Africa they formed the free orange state and Transvaal which
was recognised by the British in the north France launched a war of conquest
against Algeria in 1830 which would last until 1847 meanwhile in the United
States there was a movement to settle Freeborn blacks and freed slaves and
transport them to Africa most whites and later a small minority of blacks
believed that blacks would be better off in Africa the American Colonisation
Society began transporting them to the closest point of Africa to establish a
colony in 1822 by 1847 the settlers issued a declaration of independence and
established the independent republic of Liberia the construction of the Suez
Canal in 1869 verified its importance as a route for trade with India and China
and in 1882 Egypt was occupied by British forces during the anglo-egyptian
war subsequently revealing the potential riches that Africa offered there were
several European explorers who explored the continent perhaps one of the most
famous was David Livingstone a Scottish missionary who attempted to convert the
natives he encountered to Christianity and strove to find the source of the
Nile Henry malt Stanley was famous for his
exploration of Central Africa he worked for king Leopold ii of Belgium
and helped map out the Congo region so why were the no major explorations into
the interior of Africa before this well there were limited seaworthy rivers
tropical diseases hostile natives and weapons were not as as balanced as they
were in the 19th century during the 19th century most European powers experienced
a dramatic growth of productivity triggered by industrialisation European
countries over produce goods and were consequently searching for new markets
interest turn towards the acquisition of land in order to grow agricultural
products for European markets Europeans moved into the interior of Africa to
extract raw materials such as rubber palm oil gold copper and diamonds these
natural resources made Africa a vital resource for the European economy between 1884 and 1885 the Berlin
conference was called by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck 14
representatives of 14 European countries attended the conference including
Britain Belgium France Portugal and Italy notably no African representatives
were invited the aim was to discuss how European countries would claim colonial
and in Africa and avoid war between them each country affirmed that they would
bring civilization in the form of Christianity and trade to each region
they occupied although most of these African colonies were controlled by
nations the Berlin Conference allowed king Leopold ii of Belgium to become the
sole ruler of a vast area that is today the democratic republic of the Congo the
intent was to make it an area of free trade for all Europeans in Africa
however in practice Leopold kept out most European traders and granted
concessions to various corporations to exploit the region’s resources in 1908
it was revealed that under King Leopold’s instructions native people of
the Congo were forced to farm wild rubber as a former tax payment to the
colonial government those unable to carry out these instructions had the
hand or foot severed once news of these atrocities became known King Leopold was
stripped of his colony and a vast Congo region was ruled by the Belgian
government understandably Europe held the technological advantage bands of
just a few hundred men and barely a handful of machine guns proceeded to
overwhelm and obliterate thousands of Africans the machine gun was a
revolutionary gun the five Rapid Shots as an unparalleled
speed the effectiveness of the weapon was obvious in Sudan where a British
force armed with roughly 20 machine guns and a small number of Gumbo’s
overpowered Sudanese forces and effectively opened the door for
colonization but the Europeans in their quest to carve up the continent would
encounter resistance by the early 1880s Abyssinia or modern-day Ethiopia was in
danger of invasion from the British French and Italians Abyssinian Emperor
made a decision to exploit European rivalries after mining concessions to
France in return for weapons Italy grew nervous of the growing French interests
in the country and offered the Emperor Italian weapons throughout the 1880s
Abyssinia grew stronger and stronger securing more modern weapons from the
British and Russians in 1889 Italy claimed Abyssinia as an Italian
Protectorate the Emperor rejected this Italy craving the glory of victory
ordered its troops into battle in 1894 outnumbered the Italians were defeated
in 1896 Abyssinia remained independent the British encountered resistance in
South Africa against the Boers they had previously recognised the independence
of the borough of Republic’s but the discovery of diamonds and the potential
of a German Boer Lions led to war the Boers use guerrilla warfare and utilise
their skills of marksmanship to hinder British advancement but in the end which
his forces prevailed Great Britain dominated the African continent with the
control of Egypt South Africa Nigeria and the Gold Coast the French occupied
vast expanses of West Africa the Germans controlled modern-day
Tanzania as well as Namibia the Italians controlled Somalia and Libya while
the Portuguese exerted full control of Angola and Mozambique by 1914
90% of Africa had been divided between seven European countries with only
Ethiopia and the African-american state of Liberia remaining independent nations
this video has been a collaboration with 26 other history channels on the history
of Africa check out the previous video by history and headlines with his video
on Timbuktu and check out the next video on French Algeria by this is Barris thank
you all for watching this video and a special thanks to my patron Jimmy
Alexander for supporting the creation of this video see you next time

19 Comments on "A Brief History of The Scramble For Africa"


  1. Hey Everyone! This is Project Africa! Thanks for watching!

    Subscribe for some deus vult in two weeks!

    Ehhhh please ignore my spelling mistake of "volunteers"

    Reply

  2. Nice video dude! The youtube history market is a cramped market but your sure to blow up soon. All it takes is one video to do particularly well and you'll be flying. Best of luck.

    Reply

  3. It was nice watching this video after watching one about exploration of a particular place. I'm looking forward to then watching a look at a specific place conquered (Algeria by France) after this one. I am definitely liking how the videos on the playlist were organized! 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

    Reply

  4. Good video! Although I thought the Ottoman Empire and the various caliphates also had African holdings at one point?

    Reply

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