COLONIALISM IN AFRICA I General Overview of Colonialism in Africa II The Motives for Colonialism III Africans’ Resistance IV The Legacy of Colonialism in Africa I General Overview of Colonialism in Africa At the high point of the colonial period in African history, between the 1880s and the 1920s, over 90% of African territory was divided up among the European colonial powers. Britain, France, Belgium, Spain Portugal, Italy and Germany all claimed possession over parts of Africa. The colonial period in Africa history began just as the slave trade was coming to an end in the 1800s. Starting at this time, millions of European settlers went to live in Africa in, often displacing the African populations from their land by force, and then employing them as low paid workers. Millions of Africans died in the wars of conquest which the Europeans waged to gain control of African territories. During this period Africa lost all effective control over its own political and economic destiny, as European appointed governments ruled the continent and plundered its resources. Europeans articulated more complex racist theories to justify their occupation of the African continent. It was not until the 1950s that wars of independence emerged across the African continent to bring a definitive end to colonial rule. II The Motives for Colonialism in Africa In the late 1800s European monopolies looked for new markets in which to expand. For this purpose they coveted Africa. Rich in natural resources, abundant in land and militarily at a disadvantage with Europe, nations like Britain, France and Germany sought to make use of Africa in four important ways: 1. To have European armies conduct military invasions of African territories. 2. To have European companies take possession of important natural resources in Africa. 3. To have millions of Africans work for European companies in Africa at lower wages than could be paid in Europe. 4.
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