Scramble for Africa - Chapter 3

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  • Created on: 27-01-20 18:31

The Beginning of the Scramble

  • The Great Powers came to measure their status by the size of their empires
  • A large Empire meant more wealth and gave more political influence and military bases
  • Britain had the biggest empire as their status had been unchallellenged for decades
  • In the 19 centuary, Countries began to envy Britain's empire 
  • European control over Africa lept from 10% of the continent in 1880 to 90% in 1900
  • The scramble for Africa was caused by:

1. The 1870s depression = encouraged European businesses to seek new or cheaper raw  materials oversees

2. The Ottoman Empire was now in decline = contained North American regions on the Mediterranean coast - French and British rivalry over influence in Egypt then erupted in 1882

3. King Leopold of Belgium initiated a new topic of staking claims to oversees territory in the Congo = made commercial treaties with tribal chiefs then claimed to have an established influence over the region - Britain, France, Portugal and Germany began to dispute their claims

  • An International conference was arranged in Berlin in 1884
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The Berlin Conference, 1884-5: Part 1

  • Met between November 1884 and Febuary 1885
  • Representatives from Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Austria-Hungary and Italy = no Africans at the conference - only two Delegates had been to Africa
  • Discussed the division of territories already disputed and the process by which a country could its claim over territories = resolved with the Principle of 'effective occupation' - ensured that countries already had an established physical presence in the prospective colony before they could claim it 
  • Most of Britain's African empire had been 'Informal' rather than official Protectorates - dominance over Africa now ceased
  • Did not end the Scramble for Africa - tightened European control of Africa
  • Britain formalised and extended its territories - Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, British East Africa, Rhodesia and much of South Africa
  • France secured territories around the Sahara Desert - Trading posts in Morocco, Ivory coast and the French Congo 
  • Germany, not yet believing in Weltpolitik, Secured Cameroon, Germany South West Africa, Togoland and German East Africa 
  • Italy gained Italian Somaliland and Eritea - failed to conquer Abyssinia in 1895-6
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The Berlin Conference, 1884-5: Part 2

  • Spread of influence at the Berlin conference helped prevent a Eurpean war breaking out over colonies 
  • African empires gave the Great powers new borders and more potential for disputes over them = expansion near to another country's colony led to huge concern over competition and disruption to trading routes
  • Politicians stressed the potential loss of prestige by allowing such action to go unchallenged 
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The Fashoda Incident

  • Britain and France both hoped to consolidate their existing African colonies in the late 1890s
  • Britain wanted to secure a line of territory from south Africa to Egypt - a 'Cape to Cairo' railway line was planned
  • France aimed to expand its own influence eastwards from its colonies in West and Central Africa
  • clashed in the Sudan in 1898
  • Governments of Britain and France sent troops to protect their claims in the Sudan - in the town of Fashoda on the River Nile
  • Armies met but did not engage each other in combat 
  • The French realised that Britain's superior navy would ensure a British victory = both sides backed down
  • In March 1899 the two powers agreed on the boundaries of each other's spheres of influence 
  • Last major colonial clash between Britain and France 
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The Second Boer War, 1899-1902: Part 1

  • Tension between the British colonies of Cape Colony and Natal, and in the Boer republics (Transvaal and the Orange Free state) had been increasing for decades
  • Boer leaders resented the encroaching British influence in the region and were determined to  resist British attempts to unify the South African region as one colony 
  • In 1881 the First Boer War forced Britain to recognise the independence of the Boers = Boers continued to refuse any foreign political influence - discovery of gold in Transvaal frustrated the British
  • Paul Kruger, President of the Transvaal, restricted the voting rights of Utilanders, many of them were British
  • In 1895 an Utilander uprising known as the Jameston raid ,planned by Rhodes and Chamberlain, only succeeded in convincing the Boers that their independence was under threat
  • Transvaal refused to improve conditions for Utilanders 
  • Britain resumed its conflict with the Boers in 1899, expecting its superior military resources to secure a quick and easy victory
  • British confidence was proved unfounded as the Boers resisted their attacks with Guerilla tatics
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The Second Boer War, 1899-1902: Part 2

  • Britain resorted to the use of Concentration camps to contain Boer civilians = drew condemnation from the other European powers
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II was quick to capitalise on Britain's difficulties in the region by sending a message to Paul Kruger in 1896 - know as the Kruger telegram = congratulated the president on resisting British ambition in Southern Africa
  • Wilhelm made his support towards the Boers well known - this irritated the British
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