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Berlin Conference Essay

1237 words - 5 pages

The French, The British, And The Berlin Conference

The Berlin Conference of 1884 and 1885 regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period. The outcome, which was the General Act of the Berlin Conference, is also seen as the Scramble for Africa. The conference created a period of heightened colonial activity with the European powers and had basically eliminated almost all forms of self government in the countries of Africa. By 1914 France and Britain controlled the most land of all the European powers that were present in Africa. The Berlin Conference helped Britain and France to expand enormously in Africa.
In 1914 the French had claimed over what ...view middle of the document...

By 1914 the British controlled more than what now today in Africa would be fifteen different countries. The British territories at this time spanned the area from the Cape Colony of South Africa all the way to Egypt.
In 1875, one of the most important and powerful territorial holdings by a European power in Africa was the entire Cape Kingdom; which is now all of South Africa. In 1882, the British’s military occupation of Egypt, caused by a race for the Suez Canal, contributed to securing the Nile Valley. And, the British possession of the Nile Valley led to the conquest of the neighboring territory of Sudan.
The British at the time of 1914, thirty years after the Berlin Conference in 1884 and 1885, had made huge advances in the form of territorial control in Africa. At this point after the Berlin Conference, Britain controlled all of South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, and more. Having territory in the almost every part of the continent except for the northwestern area from Nigeria to Gambia up, gave Britain a huge advantage in having an access to almost all the resources over the entire continent.

The occupation of Egypt and the acquisition of the Congo were the first major moves in what came to be a scramble for African territory. In 1884, Otto von Bismarck convened the 1884-85 Berlin Conference to discuss the problem in Africa. At the Berlin Conference diplomats condemned the slave trade, prohibited the sale of firearms and alcoholic beverages in certain areas, and expressed a major concern for missionary activities. The diplomats in Berlin put down rules of competition of by which the European powers were guided by in seeking colonies.
The conference ruled that no nation would be able to stake claims in Africa without notifying other European powers of the given power’s intentions. And that no territory could be formally claimed before to being occupied by the given power wanting to claim it. The competitors of the powers involved in this “scramble for Africa” would often ignore the rules when convenient for there to be a gain for them and war was just barely avoided on many occasions.
An example of this ignorant action for personal gain where the spark of a war was created but the flame never caught, would be the Fashoda Incident. The Fashoda Incident of 1898 was the climax of imperial disputes between Britain and France; who at the time were the largest, most powerful, and held the greatest amount of territory out of all the powers involved. The incident was a product of the British and the French wanting to have an...

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