To solve the economic and political problems facing Great Britain, their government decided to expand their nation into foreign territories. This lead to imperialism, or the spread of one nation’s power and influence over another through military might or diplomacy. The goal of Great Britain’s imperialistic drive in Africa was to spread and protect its nationalism, support advances in technology, and ultimately improve its economic position in the world. With the population growth in Great Britain and surrounding nations, it became necessary to colonize other territories to grow and expand their power.
What was the driving force behind European Imperialism in Africa? Between 1500 and 1800 the Europeans knew little about the interior of Africa their presence was to buy and sell slaves for pots, cloth, and weapons and set sail to America. Late as 1870 ten percent of Africa was under Europeans control and most was along edges by 1914 ninety percent of Africa was in control four years later. Due to the countries that held African colonies in 1914 that involved the British, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spain, and Belgian. France and Britain were the main conquer in African colonies, because there conqueror of land in Africa.
During the 1800’s there was a race to claim the abundant resources in Africa and to force imperialism in the colonies. Before these European countries used the west coast of Africa for gold, slaves, and ivory they did not travel into the inside of Africa due to malaria and other tropical diseases until the 1800’s. So what exactly was the reason for European imperialism in Africa? The biggest reasons for imperialism in Africa are the vast and abundant resources available, nationalism, and the industrial revolution. National pride caused the need to expand their countries and become better than the other European countries.
Britain didn’t want this surplus population to go to waste, so the colonization of Africa was a good excuse to export these people so that they could help in taking over Africa. Overall, the reason for Britain’s colonization campaign for Africa was to show superiority to other nations, for natural recourses, and oversight on African trades. It’s clear that they were driven by economic and strategic
These regions are hard to reach, making exportation costs higher and due to geographical location, making exportation to Europe harder. Brazil was making sugar exportations via Sao Tome with the collaboration of Portuguese. Later on, after the Dutch-Portuguese war Dutch occupied Pernambuco, one of the major sugar exportation centre’s. As Allen stated in his book “When they left, they took the knowledge of sugar production with them, and its cultivation was introduced into the Caribbean. Caribbean producers were closer to Europe and could undercut their rivals in Brazil: the price of sugar in Amsterdam dropped from three- quarters of a guilder per pound in 1589 to one-quarter of a guilder in 1688.
However, C Knick Harley work ‘Slavery the British Atlantic Economy and the Industrial Revolution’ and Jan Luiten Van Zanden’s ‘The Long Road to the Industrial Revolution’ emphasize that the creation of capital was stimulated through mass urbanization, a powerful and growing merchant class and technological advances. They highlight the importance of the Atlantic Slave Trade in success of the colonies in the Americas but question its significance in underwriting the industrial
Economically this occurred because Africa is rich in resources such as gold, diamond, and other minerals. So basically what this “Scramble for Africa” was the competition between European powers for colonies in Africa. The availability of raw materials and labor meant that most of Africa was invaded and divided up. The Berlin Conference of 1884 regulated European colonization
Britain had strengthened their power by adding countries such as India, Australia, and parts of Africa into their empire. It had positive consequences, which allowed trade to be more productive, their countries were industrialised, and their citizens were given freedom and security. It also had negative effects, that mainly impacted their citizens in the countries they controlled, but the benefits of the British Empire heavily outweighed the negatives. In 1871, Dadabhai Naoroji, an Indian political leader, had recounted on the positives and disadvantages of living in India under British control. The negatives he stated was that the British didn’t give the Indians a share of control over India, they were exhausted in making materials for trading, and they did not have many means to pay their taxes.
Under the direction of Jules Ferry as France’s premier in “1880-1881 and again in 1883-1885, France occupied Tunisia, extended its rule in Indonesia, seized Madagascar and penetrated the Congo.” (768). The new colonies provided France with the vast amount of raw materials needed to support the industries back home, therefore strengthen France’s economy and role as an elite trade nation. But France’s prosperity did not come without a headache. Many opponents of imperialism passionately argued that France should stop its colonial expansion, because they insisted that colonialism weaken France’s position against its struggle with Germany.
The Europeans did not capture these slaves; instead, African rulers provided these slaves mainly captured from warfare among African nations to expand their territories. For example, Benin sold captives to the Portuguese in the late 15th century during their military expansion. Specialist African and Afro-European slave dealers sold them to the Europeans. Not only did the African rulers make a great fortune through the slave trade, the European merchants also profited from the triangular trade, which in turn financed the capitalist factory system of the European industrial revolution.
For the mercantilist European nations, their colonies were important as they produced raw materials - grain, sugar, or tobacco - for the nation, which otherwise they would have to import. The colonies also gave the European nations an outlet for exports, which increased jobs and industrial development. Although, if the colonies traded with other countries other than their “mother country,” none of that would happen, therefore Britain took legal steps to force its colonists to buy and trade only with England by introducing the Navigation Acts. For example, tobacco and other raw materials had to be shipped to england to first be taxed and/or
Even out of the Age of Imperialism, cultural powers in the world continue to impose their influence on weaker nations. In the 20th century the British used India’s resources for trade, several world powers colonized Africa, and Japan was forcefully Westernized. Imperialism and its perceived benefits are harrowingly outweighed by the loss of culture, sovereignty, and freedom that the colonized group faces. The British Raj was in operation for almost a century. Britain stumbled blindly upon the acquisition of India while attempting to expand their tea trading network and resources.
The Scramble for Africa 19th century imperialism in Africa was mainly caused by Industrial Revolution and political motives. The Industrial Revolution prompted a need for materials and markets that could be found in countries such as Africa and politics sparked competition between countries to build an empire and become a Great Power. The Industrial Revolution began in mid 18th century; it was a series of changes in the process and organization of production. Machines were substituted for human labor, leading to new factories.
According to the overview, “between 1500 and 1800, European nations traded for slaves, gold, and ivory along the west coast of Africa, but they did not go deeply into the continent.” In 1884, fourteen countries met in Berlin to discuss the division of Africa to prevent war from breaking out.. This meeting would come to be known as the Berlin Conference led by Ottoman Bismarck. Up until 1885, they stated that if a leader wanted to control a certain part of Africa, then they must prove that they have control over that area and that was it. This was the beginning of European imperialism in Africa.
Queen Elizabeth also advanced England’s economy, mostly by engaging in a wider world market. Under her rule, two of the most famous British trading monopolies developed: The Levant Company and the British East India Company. The Levant Company traded in the Ottoman Empire, and rivaled and surpassed the Dutch tea trade companies, boosting the English economy. The goal of the British East India Company was to control spice trade with the East Indies and eliminate any competition with the Spanish and Portuguese companies. British merchants sailed to the Far East and the Ottoman Empire to gather spices for tea and seasoning and quickly made successful trade businesses that contributed to the growing English economy.