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Why did Europe colonize Africa?
Transcript of Why did Europe colonize Africa?
As a side effect of the Industrial Revolution unemployment, poverty, and homelessness had become prevalent throughout Europe.
To fix this problem members of the ‘surplus’ population were exported as colonists in Algeria, Tunisisa, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. Over time overriding economic success encouraged colonies in other areas.
Africa’s lack of development only encouraged European countries to take whatever they wanted because the original inhabitants could do almost nothing to stop them.
Also, when explorers returned from finding the source of the Nile they would tell tall tales of riches and these exaggerations stimulated colonization even more.
The inter-european power struggles and competition for dominance lead to Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Spain competing for power in European politics.
At the time these countries believed their power could be shown through who owned the most territories over the surface of the world, including Africa. Thus, Africa was divided and colonies were placed to help ensure continued ownership.
Through their colonies countries would find excuses to increase their political reach and power. For example, when missionaries would call for protection, european countries would use the opportunity to establish a point of power in the area in order to compete with their neighbors.
The demand for raw resources to supply the Industrial Revolution combined with the loss of profits from the slave trade were two of the driving economic factors in the colonization of Africa. The result was a scramble for resources and Africa was a convenient place to get them from.
A few of the many resources obtained were: palm oil, cotton, palm kernel, rubber, groundnut, diamonds, cobalt, precious metals, quinine and other medicines.
All the cheap resources and new medicinal discoveries only encouraged colonization. After quinine was discovered colonists were less susceptible to malaria and Europeans gained a stronger foothold in Africa.
In the 19th century, around the main time of colonization of Africa, there was also a christian revolution going on in Europe. It was so effective missionaries began to look outside Europe for places to spread Christianity. Soon missions were forming in Africa and colonization was no longer simply focused on the possession of land.
Jones, Jim. "Europe and Africa in the 19th Century." West Chester University History. 312. n. page. Web. <http://courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his312/lectures/19thcent.htm>.
The Saylor Foundation. "Why Did Europe Colonize Africa?" N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2013. <http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/HIST252-Subunit-2.3.2-Why-Did-Europe-Colonize-FINAL.pdf>
Iweriebor, Ehiedu E. G. "The Colonization of Africa." The Colonization of Africa. N.p., 2011. Web. 29 Aug. 2013.<http://exhibitions.nypl.org/africanaage/essay-colonization-of-africa.html>