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The Berlin Conference And Its Effect Upon Africa

1088 words - 5 pages

Europe’s colonization of Africa ended in the rape of the “Dark Continent” for its natural resources to support their continuing and growing industrialization. They divvied the land with no regards for the cultural, religious, or linguistic divisions between people living there, forming incredibly powerful tensions throughout the populace. The European leaders committed these questionable acts under the guise of bringing civilization to the backward and unenlightened natives, freeing them from slavery, only to enter into a different form, known as wage labor. The Berlin Conference of 1884 personified one of the core ideas of “New Imperialism”, free trade, and supported economic liberty for ...view middle of the document...

The farmers were clever and employed guerilla tactics, but finally fell before the brutal British campaign. This series of armed conflicts with reluctant neighbors demonstrated the means and motive behind British sentiment, and revealed how far they would go to achieve their goals.
A year before the Boer War was the Fashoda Crisis, not a bloody affair, yet it carried nearly the same weight as the Boer War, as well as showing what “free trade” really meant. Captain J.B. Marchand was a French explorer who was working under orders of the French government to raise the tricolor flag of France above the yet uncontrolled areas of Northern Africa. The French were attempting to fulfill their desire for a belt of French controlled territories that would stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. In order to gain control over a protectorate, the colonizers had to demonstrate “effective occupation” over the area, meaning that the administrative and economic infrastructure must be functioning satisfactorily and allow for sufficiency. The British, however, were developing a strip of control from the Mediterranean to the Cape of Good Hope, led by the British army officer General Kitchener and a band of troops. Both Kitchener and Marchand met at Fashoda, marking the start of the political showdown that would decide the more determined imperialist country. Fashoda was located in the generally European Egyptian Sudan, and served as a crossroads for imperial desires. Both Britain and France had been vying previously for Morocco and Egypt, creating tensions that would heighten the levels of stress regarding Fashoda. Each held their ground, until the British began to threaten violence for control of the Egyptian Sudan. France backed down because of problems in Europe, and thus Britain was free to capture Fashoda, assisting in the establishment of a British belt of control, and causing an utmost contempt of Britain to cross France’s people. The Fashoda crisis signified the levels that Europeans were willing to reach in order to ascertain control of a region not so economically prosperous compared to other lands. The powers of Europe voiced a concern for the economic liberties of Africa, yet acted only in self-interest, wishing for nothing more than a shift of power in...

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