ETC FOR EDUCATION- GET IT READY: History Handouts
It was the second stage of the colonization of Africa.
DEFINITION: Berlin Conference was an Imperialistic meeting summoned by the Chancellor Edward Otto Von Bismarck for the aim of dividing Africa among the European Nations peacefully.
The conference began in 1884/1885.
Note that USA and Denmark attended as Observers of the meeting.
WHY WAS IT CALLED BY GERMAN?
a. German unification made it the most powerful nation in Europe after defeating France, Denmark and Austria European balance of power was in favor that is why she was able to command other European nations.
b. The industrialization of German; made German to in need of raw materials badly, cheap labor and areas for the investments. Thus German wanted the colonies from Africa and hence was able to call the conference.
c. The late coming of Germans in the process of scrambling and partition of Africa, to enable her to acquire some colonies.
d. The hostility between France and German; made Germans to call for the meeting for this conference so as to check on France expansion in Africa that make her very powerful economically and military and able to revenge Germans failure.
OBJECTIVES/AIMS OF BERLIN CONFERENCE:
i. To avoid military confrontation among the imperialist powers caused by the scramble made by colonial agents.
ii. To abolish slave trade and slavery in Africa, This went hand in hand with the establishment of the so called legitimate trade. This conference aimed at emphasizing the abolition of slave trade in the Africa.
iii. To clear up the existing boundaries; of which was the source of the African disputes among the European powers (Nations). E.g. British and France who possessed indefinable areas of interest in the West Central and East Africa. It also, aimed to define the areas of effective occupation so that no any other country should claim the already occupied land.
iv. Aimed at taming the French Hostilities; after her defeat in Franco- Prussian war of 1871 where she lost her resources regions of Alsace and Lorrain to German.
v. To maintain European balance of power; among the European Nation through equalize political and economical powers.
RESOLUTION/PRINCIPLES/AGREEMENT REACHED BY THE CONFERENCE:
I. All Colonial Power to abolish slave trade and slavery; in their colonies and allow free access of the colonial agents in the interior parts as to campaign against slave trade and spread civilization.
II. No any power was allowed to help (collaborated); with Africa to fight against another power.
III. Elective occupation should be implemented by the imperialist as a sign to claim of any colony by the imperialist nation. The conference agreed to claim any area would only be recognized by other European Nation if it was effective occupied by that particular European power.
IV. The principle of Notification; it was agreed that a power requiring any part of Africa was supposed to inform other powers in order to avoid misunderstanding among the powers.
V. Congo basin was declared as a free state under King Leopard of Belgium and the Niger river was Free state for navigation, to all European powers. The Belgium King agreed to allow the European power traders and Missionaries free access to the area.
VI. Strong and sophisticated military weapons were prohibited to be brought in Africa. They allowed only light weapons to be used in Africa. This aimed to avoid accessibility of such strong weapons to the colonized Africa.
VII. In case of any disputes among the European powers; they should solve it peacefully without the use of force. So as to maintain unity, peace and solidarity in the foreign land of Africa. Using force would weaken one European power which can also make her to be defeated by Africans.
FACTORS CONSIDERED IN DIVIDING AFRICA CONTINENT.
§ Early settlements of African from different countries; in some parties of Africa which were occupied by the European powers before Berlin Conference witnessed by the Missionaries, Traders, Explorers and Travelers for Example; Cecil Rhodes in South Africa, John Moffat who stayed in Matebele Land about thirty years, the Portuguese who stayed in Angola and Mozambique for long time, the conference also considered this case by giving the territories to individual nations in favor.
§ The early exploration and Discoveries; Former exploration of some African region was also another factor for a certain nation to receive the territory. For example; Dr. Livingstone exploration in central Africa, he drew the map of Chode River in now days Zimbambwe, thus it had to fall under the British government which had sent him in the similar case of Carl Peter’s in Tanganyika for the Germans.
§ Treaties signed between African and European; were also another consideration for the determination of African continent Division among the European powers; for example the H. Johnson made treaties with Mangi Rindi of Kilimanjaro on July, 1884 and Carl Peter’s organized more treaties in Usambara, Uzigua, Ukami and Kilosa.
§ Influence the development in the Region; this was another factor to determine the division of Africa continent among the Europeans. In area which any European powers had the investments or had the influence over it before the Berlin conference had distributed to her. For Example; Zanzibar with the British who had already shown interest over the island.
EFFECTS OF THE BERLIN CONFERENCE TO AFRICA
1. It partitioned/sliced Africa among the European nations into the Colonial possession and fixed the boundaries in their interests. British got 27 Colonies, France got 12 and German 9 colonies and Belgium got 2 colonies.
2. It led to the loss of African independence to the European Nations who established Colonial Rule. After an act of effective occupation was passed.
3. It led to the abolition of slave trade and the introduction of legitimacy trade which benefited the Imperialist.
4. It led to suffering of Africa people under Colonial administration especially when they resisted the colonial rule many were crushed to death. E.g. 1880’s-1890’s when France began aggressive policy of wide spread colonization in West Africa.
5. Divided the Ethnic African groups, into the separated boundaries, e.g. Makonde in Mozambique and in Tanganyika, Maasai in Kenya and Tanganyika while Luo in Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.
6. Planted the seed of the first and the second world Wars, because the conference did not satisfy the ambitions for some of Europeans Nations, e.g. German did not satisfy herself hence were still in need for more colonies as to equalize with the Britain and France such this desire promoted conflicts.
PREPARED AND WRITTEN BY TEACHER SOSPETER.