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Scramble for and Acquisition of African Colonies - Essay Example

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From the essay "Scramble for and Acquisition of African Colonies," it is clear that scramble for African states by European powers was projected towards exploitation of the continent although the colonizers posed as explorers. The capitalists exploited the resources that the continent could offer…
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Scramble for and Acquisition of African Colonies
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Scramble for and Acquisition of African Colonies Introduction The scramble of African s was a period, which was characterized with rapid colonization of the continent by European superpowers during the 19th century. The colonization was rapid as every European country intended to take a hold of a country in the African continent. This period was also characterized with annexation, occupation as well as invasion of the African countries (Iweriebor). Due to the existing political in addition to economic rivalries between the European empires, the only way the European nations managed to avoid warring over Africa was to partition the continent. The main colonizing powers include Britain, France, and Germany with France managing to control much of the Western Africa and Britain controlling much of Eastern and Southern parts of the continent. However, there were different reasons behind the scramble, the main ones being exploration and capitalism.
Body - Exploration
Exploration or expedition was one of the main reasons behind colonization of African states as the Europeans were making numerous trips to Africa in the 19th century. During this century, European expedition of African countries was pronounced and attributed to different aspects. One of the facts that encouraged exploration was the establishment of the African Association in 1788 by wealthy Englishmen (Boddy-Evans). These Englishmen wanted to find the course of Niger River as well as the city of Timbuktu. While exploration continued, the goals changed as the Europeans started recording details concerning goods, markets as well as the resources of the wealthy philanthropists who used to finance the exploration trips. The ability to colonize the African countries was boosted by the military, social, and economic evolutions that were taking place in the European countries.
Capitalism
The other factor that contributed towards the scramble for Africa included capitalism. Capitalism was triggered by end of the slave trade between Europe and Africa, which mostly took place at most African countries’ coastlines. End of the trade left a gap for commerce between the two continents. Since the capitalists had benefited from slave trade, they intended to exploit the continent in different ways such as encouraging the continent to agree to a ‘legitimate’ trade that could eventually lead to colonization (Boddy-Evans). Capitalists identified potential markets for goods that would be exported from Europe and plotted the course of trade routes that would be used when ferrying goods from Europe to African countries. These routes could also be used to transport raw materials from Africa to Europe. They also used the African workforce to work on plantations, which mostly grew cash crops that were the main raw materials for manufacturing other goods. Such crops included coffee, rubber, timber, sugar and palm oil. Since the colonizers wanted to exploit the labor in the African countries, they resulted to colonizing these countries. This implies that economic reasons were the main contributors to the scramble for Africa as well as exploitation of the raw materials present in these regions.
Conclusion
In conclusion, the scramble for African states by European powers was projected towards exploitation of the continent although the colonizers posed as explorers. The capitalists exploited the resources that the continent could offer including human resources and raw materials that they used to manufacture goods meant for the African market. Although exploration and capitalism contributed towards the scramble, the real reasons were economic related.
Works Cited
Boddy-Evans, Alistair. What Caused the Scramble for Africa? 2014. Web, 16 Apr. 2014. http://africanhistory.about.com/od/eracolonialism/a/ScrambleWhy.htm
Iweriebor, Ehiedu E. G. The Colonization of Africa, 2011. Web, 16 Apr. 2014. http://exhibitions.nypl.org/africanaage/essay-colonization-of-africa.html Read More
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