Effects Of The Partition Of Africa

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Africa, as it is seen today was carved up and borders were created by a handful of European countries in order to establish colonies. The partition of Africa, also known as the scramble for Africa, was the colonization of African nations by European powers. Beginning in 1873, Europe fell into an economic depression lasting until 1879; the effects of the lasting depression influenced the leaders of Britain, France, Portugal, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain to turn to Africa for cheap materials, fertile land and the opportunity for trade surplus. The Berlin Conference, also referred to, as the Congo Conference or West Africa Conference was an accord between the leaders of the major powers in Europe, creating a set of rules …show more content…
In 1879, Leopold created the Association Internationale du Congo, also know and the International Association of the Congo in English, which was created for the exploration of Congo. Using the Association Internationale du Congo, King Leopold II funded explorer Henry Morton Stanley to go along the Congo river and sign treaties with tribe leaders, giving the association political control, effectively giving the King control over the land. The underhand technique being used by the King of Belgium to obtain land and create borders for his new territory of the Congo was realized by other nations who in turn sent out their own explorers to negotiate with native African leaders. Germany employed it’s own explorer, Carl Peters, who followed in Stanley’s footsteps, helping to create German East Africa. Leopold asked for international recognition of his newly accumulated territory, so the major European powers gathered for the Berlin Conference, which created rules for claiming African land. Once, the King of Belgium’s explorer had gathered enough treaties and territory, the land became known as the Congo Free State in 1885. Once raw materials such as rubber and ivory were discovered and harvesting began, the King and private companies turned to brutal measures to ensure the sale of these products and to maximize profits. The Congolese people were subject to violence, …show more content…
German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck called the 1884-1885 conference to protect Germany’s commercial interests in Africa. Invited to the discussion were all of the dominant colonial powers of the time, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Italy and the Ottoman Empire; there were no African leaders at the conference to voice their opinions or concerns. There were 38 articles under the General Act, some of the most substantial ones being: Article 1, stipulating free trade among nations, Article 6, relative to the protection of the native people, missionaries, travelers and religious liberty, and Article 9, the forbidding of slavery. During the meeting, a map was drawn up outlining the territories held by each empire and further territory expansion had to be agreed upon by all members of the conference. However, as can be expected by empires that hold colonies all around the world, the rules were often ignored when convenient. Although the partition was already underway on the continent of Africa, the Berlin Conference drew the borders of what we see today as Africa and created a set of rules for further expansion to ensure the aversion of war.
The partition of Africa was caused by a number of economic, territorial and political reasons, such as the demand for natural resources, the rivalry for larger colonial territory and a desire for exploration.

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