Meaning of Scramble for Africa
The scramble for Africa is a term used to refer to the sudden rush of the European nations to Africa for the intension of acquiring colonies.
It is the state whereby the European nations compete/ struggled to acquire various areas of Africa in order to solve the problems caused by Industrial Revolution in the 19th
Partition of Africa
This was the process of dividing African continent among the imperialist powers, partition was response towards the sudden rush and struggle of the imperialists which could results in fighting.
The partition of Africa was done in the Berlin conference held in German.
Reasons/Causes for Scramble leading to the Partition of Africa
The scramble for and partition of Africa was due to the economic, political and social factors that faced most of the European nations;
- Economic Motives/factors
- The demand for raw materials, newly industrialized materials to feed their industries but the internal sources could not satisfy them. Britain was in a worse situation as she demanded more raw materials so with this problem European nations started to complete controlling sources of raw materials in Africa.
- The demand for markets, there was a high production of Industrial manufactural goods. The production ultimately exceeded the ability of the people to purchase those goods within the country. Industrialized nations were facing the same problem, they decided to protect internal market by imposing high tariffs and the results of this was the fall of export all Industrial nation faced meager market whose solution was to look for an External market.
- The need for Area for investment, Industrial production led to a production of surplus, European economic environment was not largely available for further investment so scramble for colonies focused on the areas which could bring huge profit due to plenty land and cheap labor which could lower the cost of production.
- The demand for cheap labor, Emergence of working class resistance in Europe caused the problem of cheap labors many working class movements and trade union demanded better wages and goods working condition emerged in Europe. Their demand could not be easily met by the monopoly capitalist who only focused on maximizing profit through exploiting workers. This is the only alternative that could solve the problem getting cheap labor to the capitalist was to seek colonies in Africa.
- Political Motives/Factors
- European Balance of power, Balance of power was a term referring to a state whereby some European powers were regarded to be roughly equally military, economically and politically.
The state was reached when Britain, France, German and Italy had reached an agreement of maintaining their powers which could not jeopardize the other side.
The intention was to maintain peace among those powers and avoid the possibility of war.
The situation changed after France- Prussian war (1870-1871) In this war German emerged victoriously and humiliated France by occupying the two colonies of Alsace and Lorraine which were rich in coal and Iron. German defeat over France forced France to scramble for Africa to acquire colonies while Germany rushed to Africa to check the French expansion.
- European Nationalism, Nationalism in this market, referred to the union of small states to form a big nation. Before 1870’s so many European nations faced internal disunity and disorganize. Thus they were not stable politically. From 1870’s they started consolidating and uniting in order to form big and stable nations. After unification, Germany and France emerged a big nation.
Those countries became politically, economically and militarily strong. Each nation struggled to acquire colonies so as to prove their powers over the other. So Britain and Italy forced to go to Africa to acquire for the other colonies.
- National prestige and glory, Acquisition of colonies were a prestige and sign of power. This was made by Britain who was strong because of the colonies she had in Asia. So other European nations were interested in acquiring colonies in Africa for prestigious sake.
- Social factors
AREAS IN AFRICA THAT EXPERIENCED INTENSIVE SCRAMBLE THAN THE OTHERS
- The demand for areas for settlement, Achievements in industrial sector had some impacts on employment sector. Application of machines reduced the demand for human labor, many people lost their jobs as machines needed few people to operate them. The society was full of unemployed people with a lot of social problems such as thefts, riots, and rural-urban migration. So the European nations had to find the solution of their problems and Africa was their solution where they could create places and opportunities to absorb the unemployed people.
- The rise of racism, The European believed that their culture was superior to the others in the world hence they wanted to impose their domination to other races overseas in order to civilize them.
- Humanitarian reasons, Humanitarian groups emerged from different social groups and condemned slavery and slave trade. They argued that slavery and slave trade undermined the human dignity. European felt that they had an important duty of ending up slavery and slave trade and protecting black men from the fear of slave in order to fill the demands.
- Evangelical reasons, these factors were based on religious ideology. The evangelist aimed at spreading Christianity to all communities in the world. And they were encouraging African to stop worshipping other gods such as large lakes, large trees, and others.
- Strategic reasons, Africa was scrambled and partitioned so that the Europeans could use the ports and harbors to safeguard them. Also, strategic areas such as Congo Basin, Nile Valley, Niger basin, South Africa and East Africa was one of the important reasons which caused the partition of Africa among the European nations.
- Areas With Accessibility To Interior For Different Interest
European powers scrambled for navigable rivers for different interests. In which important areas like Congo and Niger rivers and Nile Valley were economically important since it was accessible to the interior where agricultural and minerals lay hence much imperialist power wanted to occupy those places.
- Areas Potential For Agriculture
The major aim of controlling Africa was for a production of agricultural raw materials, much European power interested to occupy areas with reliable rainfall and fertile land that could provide quick profit to European investors such areas include the Ndebele land, Kenyan Highland, Congo basin and others.
- Strategic Areas
Egypt was very potential areas as it served for both strategic and economic purpose. The area was important because after the opening up of Suez Canal in 1869 The Suez canal was the shortest route to India and the Far East
- Areas with high population
The densely populated areas were highly scrambled since they were important for provisional of quick and reliable markets as well as a supply of labor such areas were Senegal, Nigeria, and Cameroon.
- Mineral potential Areas
The areas with presence of minerals in Africa were scrambled since European had an interest in minerals for different purposes. Such areas include South Africa which was potential for diamond, Gold, Copper, and Iron.
IMPACT OF THE SCRAMBLE FOR AND PARTITION OF AFRICA
- It led to the establishment of colonial rule in Africa.
- It exposed Africa to an exploitative economy, Africa produced goods that she could not consume and consumed what she could not produce.
- It led to the destruction of African traditional substance economy. This led to hunger and starvation in most African society.
- It led to a disintegration of the pre-existing strong and isolated. African states eg. Buganda Kingdom, Asante, Dahomey etc.
- It led to the decline of African culture. This was due to the introduction of western culture through;
*introduction of Christianity
*importation of European goods
- It led to a creation of new boundaries in Africa and division of some African communities into different states, for example, Massai of Northern Tanzania and those of Southern Kenya.
- It led to the improvement of the means of transport and communication system and this facilitated the exploitation of African economies and administration of the colonies.
- It led to the depopulation to much African, this was due to African resistance against the colonial domination.
- It led to a creation of new states in Africa.
- It paved a way to neo colonialism and contributed to further exploitation of the Africa continent. After Independence African states have maintained close relations with their former colonial masters.