Analyze Attitudes Toward and Evaluate the Motivations Behind the European Acquisition of African Colonies in the Period 1880 to 1914

1115 Words Mar 4th, 2013 5 Pages
Analyze attitudes toward and evaluate the motivations behind the European acquisition of African colonies in the period 1880 to 1914

During the late 1800’s, Europe was looking for a way to improve themselves as a whole. With growing population and a steady decline in available work, something new had to be done. Countries looked towards Africa to serve as new colonies for the Europeans in order to better their own countries. During the European acquisition of African colonies in the period 1880 to 1914 Europe’s attitude towards Africa was that Africa was the inferior race in comparison to the Europeans. With the help of a strong feeling of nationalism, Europeans were motivated to acquire new lands in order to improve their motherland’s
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Apart from economic growth, Europeans also supported the colonization of Africa because is made the motherland powerful. In Europe, there was no room to have countries expand their borders, meaning colonizing in Africa was the only way to do so. In Document 1, Prince Leopold II had a conversation in 1861 in which he said, “Colonies are useful, that they play a great part in that which makes up the power and prosperity of states… let us strive to get one in our turn…to lead to progress in every sense… [and] prove to the world that Belgians are an imperial people.” Colonies were not only used to gain wealth but they were also a sign of power. The more land that a country can acquire, the more of a threat they can be to other countries. Gaining power is a very big motivation for Europeans to colonize Africa. In this conversation, Prince Leopold strongly suggests that Belgians should see the colonizing as a step toward domination and more power and should support the cause. Another person to encourage the colonization of Africa is Benjamin Disraeli, the British prime minister. In his speech to the House of Commons regarding the Suez Canal (doc. 20) he says, “ I have always and do now recommend [colonizing] as a political transaction, and one which I believe is calculated to strengthen the empire.” Although Benjamin believes that it is not a good financial investment to purchase the land and

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