The Causes Of The Scramble For Africa

1496 Words6 Pages
Africa, once dubbed the Dark Continent, is the second-largest and second-most-populous continent in the world. The continent abounds with numerous natural resources and diversified flora and fauna. Compared to other continents, over 50% of the population in the continent are under the age of 25, a vital force for an economic development. However, Africa is the world’s most impoverished and underdeveloped continent with a continental GDP accounting for just 3%. The news of civil wars and outbreak of various epidemics constantly makes the headlines. Why has such a continent with abundant natural resources, diverse ecosystem, young population and other essential elements necessary for a thriving economic development lagged behind other continents…show more content…
For one thing, the raging flame of nationalism and the spread of the Industrial Revolution throughout the European Continent forced major European powers such as Germany, France and Britain to vie for more resources to fuel their industrial manufacture and compete for new markets for their factory products. As such, these nations had their eye on Africa as a source of raw materials and as a market for their industrial products. To achieve their objects, the European powers occupied immense areas of Africa during the late 19th and the early 20th centuries, which heralded the era of European imperialism in Africa. During the imperial period, the European nations with strong political, military and economic power muscled their way across the African Continent and shouldered the weak ones aside, completely dominating every aspect of the African people. Strategic motivation also played an essential role in the scramble. Britain, France and Germany rivaled one another for their political and economic interests in Africa. For example, the colonization of sub-Saharan Africa remained part of British colonial endeavor in Egypt. With the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Britain started dominating the vital trade route in the region by risking a military confrontation with France in 1882 and eventually signed a treaty with France,…show more content…
The European powers only had the slave trade with the Africans along the shores of West Africa and African leaders still ruled most continent. According to Saul David, “Until the 19th century, Britain and the other European powers confined their imperial ambitions in Africa to the odd coastal outpost from which they could exert their economic and military influence…. As late as the 1870s, only 10% of the continent was under direct European control....” Joshua D. Settles in his research titled The Impact of Colonialism on African Economic Development also indicates that African economies were advancing in various fields, especially in the trade aspect. Nonetheless, everything changed in the late 1900s. With the development of technology and the discovery of quinine, the European powers started to expand their territories in Africa. Consequently, the Africans lost 90% of their land. As David further explains, “And yet by 1900, European nations had added almost 10 million square miles of Africa - one-fifth of the land mass of the globe - to their overseas colonial possessions. Europeans ruled more than 90% of the African
Open Document