Colonial Rivalries



  • Singapore, Aden, Hong Kong, Lagos became British
  • The cost of defending India, unlike the other colonies, was bourne from local revenues
  • After the Indian Mutiny of 1857, British government took over admin from the East India Company
  • Spread influence in South America
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  • French imperialism was mainly a quest for prestige, although sometimes encouraged by interest groups such as the Lyon Silk Industry
  • Algeria became a colony of settlement in two decades following its conquest in 1830
  • Well-trained senegalese tirailleurs (sharpshooters) laid the base for French military imperialism in West Africa
  • In the 1860s French control in Indo-China was being asserted
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  • Russian advance into central Asia began during the 1840s
  • Increasing tempo during the 1860s
  • Most of Turkestan under Russian control
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Scramble for Africa - Political

  • Cape Colony regarded as vital base en route to India, both before and after the opening of the Suez Canal
  • Suez Canal opened 1869
  • 1872 Cape Colony granted self-government
  • Jihads (holy wars) of the Islamic empires taking place in northerly parts of West Africa; mfecane (Zulu depotism) in South Africa
  • To the defeated and displaced tribes, Europeans may have seemed lesser evils
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Scramble for Africa - Economic

  • North Africa more closely integrated into the economy of Europe than most of sub-Saharan Africa
  • In West Africa the ban on slavery was enforced by British navy
  • West Africa traded in palm oil (lubricant for machines; soap), vegetable oils, timber, ivory and gum
  • From Sierra Leone Britain enjoyed an informal empire cheaply
  • In the Congo and Angola, where British naval patrols were few, the slave trade actually expanded for some decades. Cessation of this trade in the 1950s actually disrupted the economy of the region
  • East Africa's commercial links were with Arabia and India, not Europe
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Scramble for Africa - Territory

  • Accomplished in 20 years from 1880 to 1900
  • In 1880 only 1/10 of Africa under European rule
  • By 1900 only 1/10 of Africa not under European rule
  • Most colonial governments were weak
  • Anti-British feelings from other powers
  • Britain had used her sea-power over most of Africa's coast during the 18th century
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