Until the 1800’s Europeans new little of Africa beyond its northern, western, and
Then, in the mid-1800’s, a few brave explorers began to venture into the
The most famous of these was Scottish doctor and missionary David
Livingstone, who first went to Africa in 1840.
For the next 30 yrs, Livingstone explored wide tracts of central and eastern
Africa, setting up Christian missions and sending back to Great Britain
detailed reports of his discoveries, such as Victoria Falls.
When Europeans temporarily lost touch with Livingstone late in the 1860’s, the New
York Herald hired a British journalist and explorer named Henry M. Stanley to track
Their famous meeting in 1871 is best remembered for Stanley’s understated
greeting, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” with help from European financial
backers, Stanley went on to lead several major expeditions through central
The publicity surrounding the explorations of Livingstone and Stanley generated new
interest in Africa throughout Europe.
This interest swelled when subsequent explorers sent back excited reports
about the continent’s abundance of resources.
Reports such as these helped set off a mad European scramble for Africa
between 1880 and 1914.
One country after another laid claim to parts of Africa. In 1885, 14 nations
met in Berlin, Germany and agreed to partition, or divide, the prize King
Leopold II of Belgium called “this magnificent African cake.”
By 1914 European nations controlled 90 percent of the continent.
The world’s largest desert-the Sahara-stretches across North Africa from the Atlantic
Ocean to the Red Sea.
Most of the people in North Africa live on a thin strip land located north of
the Sahara along the Mediterranean coast.
Here the land is fertile and the climate mild.
In the early 1800’s Muslim Arabs under the authority of the Ottoman ruler in
Istanbul governed the larger territories west of Egypt, which at that time
were called Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers.
Today Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers are the independent North African
countries of Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria.
The French in North Africa
In 1830 King Charles X of France ordered an invasion of Algiers with the aim of
colonizing that country.
French troops encountered stiff resistance from the Algerians, whose leader
Abd al –Qadir
About 10 years passed before 100,000 French soldiers finally subdued the
determined Algerians. After conquering Algiers, the French seized
neighboring Tunis in 1881 and secured special rights In