Good Example Of Essay On Colonization Of Africa
The Advent of Industrialization and the resulting political, economic and military advantages forced the European powers to seek capital and resources outside of the region. “New Imperialism” is therefore referred to as this period of time whereby major geopolitical powers, primarily European, occupied territories across the world, especially Africa. Exploration of Africa: One of the fundamental reasons for the European exploration of Africa was based on religious principles. Missionaries from all over Europe visited African cities and villages to spread Christianity. Explorers from all over Europe who gained prominence included Henry Morton Stanley, David Livingstone and António da Silva Porto. This attempt proved to be a precursor to the actual political and military intervention in Africa by Colonial Powers such as Britain, France, Italy and Germany. The rivalries between these powers forced them to view Africa as a strategic leverage against one another. Another motivation for this exploration and occupation was essentially based on racism and feelings of cultural supremacy over the Africans.
The occupation of territories by the European Powers and the increasing competition amongst them over natural resources necessitated the formalization of the colonization process. Each state was motivated to protect its own interests. King Leopold II of Belgium is a prime example in this regard. In the year 1885, the conference was hosted by the German Chancellor Otto Von Bismark and after strenuous diplomatic activity, the “General Act” was formulated which ushered in an era of rapid colonization of Africa. “Effective Occupation” required the European Powers to have direct access, control, physical or administrative power and local political deals over a specific territory in order to be recognized as a Colony of any given state by other European members. The Economic bases of this agreement is perhaps best highlighted by the fact that all powers acquiesced to a free trade agreement that allowed for revenue generation and supported economic activity in their respective territories of control. The Berlin conference and the resultant General Act acted as shared code of colonization between European Powers. Only minor trading outposts and comparatively smaller territories were occupied before the Berlin conference but within the next several decades, almost the entirety of Africa was under European command.Scramble for Africa:
The strategic rivalry between the European powers led to the occupation of territories in Africa. The region was viewed as a sphere of influence by the Colonizers and helped to externalize conflict that was essentially European in Nature. It was the General Act that formalized the European quest to occupy African territories. The very pattern of occupations exemplifies this principle of Strategic Rivalry. For Example, the occupation of Tunisia by French forces in 1881 forced the British to colonize Egypt and Germany-Australia to strengthen their Alliance by adding Italy to the fold, thus forming the Triple Alliance which proved to be an important contributing factor in the initiation of the First World War. Another Example would be the increasing tensions between Germany and Britain. The arms race between the two countries further increased hostilities and both raced into the African theatre to occupy more territories in order to obtain military and political power.
Several anti-colonial movements were initiated against the European imperialism. These movements were in both forms; violent and non-violent. Several things can be categorized as non-violent forms of resistance: mass migrations, religion, literary and art forms and the indigenous press. At first majority of the groups resorted to non-violent forms of resistance but ultimately used violent forms to retain their sovereignty and their way of life.
The resistance of the Africans against the colonial rule can be divided into four phases. The first phase was the Armed Phase (1880-1910). Militancy was at the peak during this phase. Africans had taken up arms to fight for their freedom. The second phase mostly involves non-violent strategies (1914-1939). Africans realized that the Europeans had much more developed military equipment. Hence, they started this mass migration to areas where their freedom could easily be safeguarded. The foremost example of Military resistance by the African’s was the rebellion by the Madinka Empire, more specifically Samori Ture who led an insurgency against the militarily powerful French forces in Western Africa.
Conclusion and Assessment:
The Colonization of Africa can perhaps be categorized as one of the most important causes of the First World War. Although motivated by Economic gains during the middle of the nineteenth century, the European powers soon legitimized the direct occupation and administration of African territories which served to increase geopolitical tensions rather than alleviating it. Persistent military skirmishes and boundary disputes between powers such as Britain, France, Belgium and Germany hindered the process of peaceful diplomacy. Africa experienced a spill-over effect of traditional European Rivalries and served as a useful tool for what political scientists refer to as the process of “Salami Slicing” whereby the occupation of relatively insignificant and small territories severely increases diplomatic tensions between rivals. The implication of this principle, in practice, therefore sheds ample light on how territorial expansionism and the resulting geopolitical tensions forced the European powers to devise large-scale military strategies against another and to formulate alliances which ultimately led to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.
'Berlin Cenference 1885'. N.p., 2015. Web. Accessed 8 April 2015.
'Exploring Africa'. N.p., 2015. Web. Accessed 8 April 2015.
'Scramble For Africa - New World Encyclopedia'. N.p., 2015. Web. Accessed 8 April 2015.