Scramble for Africa

1841 Words Mar 18th, 2012 8 Pages
What were the major historical factors explaining ‘the scramble for Africa’?
In order to approach this essay question, my analysis will be divided into two parts. The first section will define what the scramble for Africa means. In the subsequent sections, I will refer to the case history of colonization of Africa by some European countries, the motives behind their actions and its consequences on Africa particularly.
The scramble for Africa was described as the golden period of European expansionism in the 19th century. It was an age in which the continents of Africa, Asia and Middle Eastern states were brought under the control of European powers following the Berlin Conference from 1884 to 1885. Hobsbawm (1987: 56) describes the
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(Padmore, pp. 164 -165).
As argued by H. L. Wessseling (1996: 366), the historical interpretation of the partition was based on imperialism due to entrepreneurship and therefore, “primarily a struggle for profitable markets of investment”. He opined that aside from the economic motives upon which the partition was based, there was indeed, consideration of strategic and political motives as well. From his perspective, the political elites in Britain had no plan for Africa; instead they were promoting their own preferences in Asia which was aimed at defending the crucial stake in both India and the East (p. 366). Furthermore, the development of transportation was paramount to the Middle East war because it promoted the development of Africa transportation network which was used to transport “bulky supplies” from Congo Rivers, through Juba and Egypt (Hargreaves, 1988: 54).
Certainly, there was no question of the strategic and commercial importance of Africa, Asia and the Middle Eastern territories to the Allied Powers prior to, and during, the Second World War. “acquiring a colony which further lead to an empire was significant factor in proving the status and importance of a country” (Chamberlain, 1985: p. 3). Whilst huge merit pertains in this argument, there is no doubt the policy of imperialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East is different from one nation to
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