These discoveries lead to a “rush” of many fortune hunters and the establishment of the town of Kimberly, which. Between the 1870s and 1900, Africa faced European imperialist aggression, diplomatic pressures, military invasions, and eventual conquest and colonization. One could argue that the Europeans brought with them to Africa such things as roads, transportation, and communications, but what they destroyed outweighs these ten to one. Other reasons for countries to be competing include the many natural resources that could only be found in Africa and a need for markets in surrounding places so that manufactured goods could be sold for a large profit. The European colonization of the continent of Africa was horrible for the African people, and led the way for their race to be discriminated against for many years to come. At the same time, African societies put up various forms of resistance against the attempt to colonize their countries and impose foreign domination. The Portuguese established the first firm post-Middle Ages European settlements, trade posts, permanent fortifications and ports of call along the coast of the African continent, from the beginning of the Age of Discovery during the 15th century.
By the early twentieth century, however, much of Africa, except Ethiopia and Liberia, had been colonized by European powers. The Berlin Conference of 1884, which regulated European colonisation and trade in Africa, is usually referred to as the starting point of the scramble for Africa. David Livingstone, early explorer of the interior of Africa and fighter against the slave trade. A poem by David Diop explains what it was like once the foreigners had taken over Africa.
All of these countries were in a constant struggle to become the most powerful, to have the most riches, and control over high abundances of the natural resources of Africa. The European imperialist push into Africa was motivated by three main factors, economic, political, and social. Africa was at the time inhabited by many different groups of natives, and only small portions of these groups were large or powerful. In Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, imperialism was present and growing. Imperialism in Africa Imperialism is defined as one country’s domination of the political, economic, and social life of another country. Occasionally, a powerful group formed a state that was strong enough to conquer neighboring groups and form an empire. One of the main reasons may be that Europeans believed that the more territory a country was able to control, the more powerful and important they were believed to be. This Scottish missionary spent thirty years in central Africa, and gave Europeans their first detailed information about Africa and its people. This profusion of small and weak tribes made conquering easy for the more advanced Europeans, which then led to the Europeans taking over the natural resources, and eventually controlling much of the land. The British believed that they had to control the headwaters of the Nile to guard Egypt and the canal.
This takeover of the land led to many wars fought by the tribes and Europeans, which then showed the way for the slaughter of thousands of African natives. Each country in Europe wanted to be part of the imperialistic race, and this led to the decimation of many African cultures. The political impetus derived from the impact of inter-European power struggles and competition for preeminence. Areas of Africa controlled by European colonial powers in 1913, shown along with current national boundaries. For information on the colonisation of Africa prior to the 1880s, including Carthaginian and early European colonisation, see Colonisation of Africa. The imperatives of capitalist industrialization—including the demand for assured sources of raw materials, the search for guaranteed markets and profitable investment outlets—spurred the European scramble and the partition and eventual conquest of Africa. Imperialism helped to develop Africa’s economy and turned it into a continent of colonies. There were many reasons for the European countries to be competing against each other to gain colonies in Africa. Although European ships had for centuries traded at ports along the coast, they brought back little knowledge of Africa’s interior.
The later years of the 19th century saw the transition from “informal imperialism” (hegemony), by military influence and economic dominance, to direct rule, bringing about colonial imperialism. When the European manufacturing plants were built, the raw materials from Africa were extracted and the company owners developed and indigenous labor force, which was managed by foreigners. Consequent to the political and economic rivalries among the European empires in the last quarter of the 19th century, the partitioning, or splitting up of Africa was how the Europeans avoided warring amongst themselves over Africa. It developed in the nineteenth century following the collapse of the profitability of the slave trade, its abolition and suppression, as well as the expansion of the European capitalist Industrial Revolution.