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Scramble for Africa and European Colonial Rule.

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Presentation on theme: "Scramble for Africa and European Colonial Rule."— Presentation transcript:

1 Scramble for Africa and European Colonial Rule


3 Partitioned Africa

4 Congress of Berlin Modern African History – Congress of Berlin, 1884-1885 Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Italy Great Political Event – Dividing Line? – Emphasis on Moment of Political Change – Early/Modern Africa – Pre-colonial/Colonial

5 Rethinking Africa: Economic Development 1970s – Marxists – Economic Lens Economic Factors – 1884 Inaccurate Dividing Point, Irrelevant – Precapitalist/Capitalist Industrial Revolution – 18 th c. Britain – Industrialization’s impact on Africa – Congress of Berlin – Formal Colonialism – Earlier Date for Economic Change - 1807

6 African/European Trading Relations c. 1800 1800 – 90% of export value – slaves 1807 – Britain abolished slave trade – France and Holland followed “Legitimate Trade” – change in economic relationship between Africa/Europe 1807 – Slave trade did not end Coexistence of trades after abolition

7 Portuguese: Key Actors Portuguese government resisted Britain’s end of trade North versus South of the Equator Increase in volume: Mozambique/Angola Brazil’s independence (1822) – Rejection of Portuguese treaties – “Brazilians” – Bight of Benin – 80,000 slaves per annum


9 19 th Century: Demand for New World Slaves New World plantation system growing – US South – cotton – Brazil – sugar and coffee – Caribbean (Cuba) – sugar Abolition – US (1863), Cuba (1886), Brazil (1888) – Vested interests Africa – Vested interests – Rulers and elites, dependent on luxury goods/arms

10 Britain: End of the Slave Trade Four Factors in Preventing End of Trade – Geography Slaving regions’ proximity to equator – Transportation/Communication Differences in naval technologies Inefficient communication systems – West African Coastline – Portuguese Government and “Brazilians”

11 Abolition of Slave Trade: Statistics 1850s – Slave trade as profitable as ever, even 45 years after abolition – British efforts at thwarting trade Freed 1:16 slaves First half 19 th c. – 160,000 freed – Britain and Gun-Boat Diplomacy Brazil capitulated – 1857 1860s – Trade in decline, largely over in West Africa 1870s – Trade largely over in East Africa

12 Why the dividing line: 1807? 1807 – Division of Precapitalist/Capitalist? “Legitimate Trade” – Parallel Process – Enormous cultural and economic changes Industrial Revolution – – European demand for raw materials - oil – Machinery, Candles, Soap – Peanut Oil – Upper Guinea Coast (Senegal) – Palm Oil – Lower Guinea Coast (Nigeria) Global Trade Networks – Spices – Zanzibar – Agricultural products (Mombasa, Malindi)


14 “Legitimate Trade:” Social Change in Africa Emergence of New Classes – West Africa Rural Peasantry and Middle Class – Emergence of Peasantry Peanut/Palm oils – anyone enter market – ordinary people, real opportunities in large-scale trade – Emergence of Middle Class Commercialization of Labor – locally and Africans who could not produce for themselves Migrant laborers and environment Labor and kinship networks Emergence of New Classes – East Africa – Small-scale shambas – production for markets – Middle Men – Asian population

15 “Legitimate Trade:” Change in African Imports Emergence of Classes – Change in Import Demands – No longer luxury goods alone – Textiles, hard wares, salt, tobacco New mass market for new market of consumers Emergence of a class-based society, and consumer society Africans (1810-60) – Terms of Trade

16 Scramble for Africa – Not a single moment in time, rather a process – Congress of Berlin, 1884-1885 – Marks a political moment when formal colonization begins

17 Scramble for Africa: Partition 1860s – British government – committee on viability/benefits of colonies around world Conclusion: Too costly, not worth expenditure – abandon colonies, outdated British dominance in production – imperialism of free trade Time of free trade/laissez faire policies

18 Scramble for Africa: Partition 1898 – 30 years later – Africa partitioned by European powers President of France: “We have behaved like madmen...led astray by people called colonialists.” What had changed in attitude of European powers – particularly the British – towards colonialism?

19 What’s the Insanity? Insanity – Scramble for Africa Second largest continent – divided by European powers in span of some twenty years, 1875-1895 What changed Europe’s attitudes towards colonies, and Africa in particular? Europeans at the time: Scramble astonishing event Many – mass insanity – everyone crazy at the same time? Rational actors…

20 What’s the Insanity? Historiographical Debate – what is this? – Different interpretations of an historical moment or process – Informed by broader trends in the field – Informed by one’s own assumptions and biases – Historians speak to each other and are constantly revising each others works

21 “New Imperialism” All five interpretations try to explain and understand phenomenon of “New Imperialism” End of 19 th c – Europeans reversed attitude towards formal colonies in the tropic Divided Africa, Pacific Basin, and SE Asia Interpretations: Interplay between objective and subjective – positionality of author

22 Historical Interpretations: Five to Consider Five Historical Interpretations: – Joseph Schumpeter – irrationality – William Langer and AJP Taylor – WWI and diplomatic approach – Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher – Africa and the Victorians – Marxist Interpretation J.A. Hobson, R. Hilferding, Vladmir Lenin – Eric Hobsbawm – search for markets and profitability

23 E.J. Hobsbawm Neo-Marxist, British Historian – The Age of Empire, 1875-1914 (1988) – Also writes the Age of Revolution, Age of Capital, and Age of Extremes – British key players in Scramble – Also global economic concerns and changes

24 E.J. Hobsbawm Argues: – Britain first country go through Industrial Revolution, 1780-1815 – Accepts Hobson’s idea of “underconsumptionism” – Impoverishment of British working class – Britain moves into world-trade vacuum, no competition for international markets – Free trade, or laissez-fair ideology, ruled, no reason for colonies, 1860 – Britain didn’t need formal colonies

25 E.J. Hobsbawm Ideal situation over, 1870 – 3 Reasons: – First, competition in the industrial world Other countries – US/Germany – emulate Britain Industrial espionage, pirating of British ideas Competing states, tariff barriers, Britain excluded, trade walls going up all over world – Second, Second Industrial Revolution First Industrial Revolution – Textiles, British dominate Second Industrial Revolution – chemicals/metals – US and Germany Britain’s economic position eroded, 1870

26 E.J. Hobsbawm Third – Things begin to go wrong for the British in Africa itself by 1870s – British position as partners with those on the periphery changes vis-à-vis partner status – 1810-60, Terms of trade favored Africans – Changes, cost of manufactured goods up, raw material prices hit rock bottom in 1890s – Africans accuse British of dishonesty – Fluctuations in international prices

27 E.J. Hobsbawm Result: – Traders demand more to keep markets open, gov’t protect their interests – Keep Africans in check, protection – Establish formal colonies – Protected markets – alternative to US and German markets – needed this to survive – Other countries, pre-emptive strikes when Britain begins to establish formal footholds – Not Hilferding’s cartels, but small merchants setting off Scramble

28 “White Man’s Burden” Formal Empire – African’s ability to govern Colonial Justifications – Africans inability to govern – Humanitarian effort Rudyard Kipling – European or “White Man’s” duty to bring peace and administration or civilization where there had been none – Europeans the “humanitarian peacemakers” – Only with intervention could Africans prosper


30 Introduction: African Independence 1950s/1960s – Claims of “White Man’s Burden” rejected as imperial rationale Propaganda to cloak greed/evils of colonial system, and justify European presence Last decade – re-evaluation of complete dismissal of “White Man’s Burden” – Scholars – Some truth to it – 19 th c – In some places, like W. Africa, as well as East, Central, and Southern, instability – Some regions Africans welcomed Europeans

31 Missionaries and Africa Rise in Missionary Activity in Africa – Lack of missionary interest, 18 th century – Nonconformist churches, 19 th century East and Central Africa - Zanzibar – David Livingstone – Scottish missionary, 1840s – Published accounts, exploration and Royal Geographic Society – Richard Burton and John Speke – 1857, Nile – Henry Morton Stanley – “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” (1871, Lake Tanganyika) – Evils of slavery – dies 1873, 11 month trek, Westminster Abbey, April 1974 – “Commerce, Christianity, and Civilization”

32 Markets and Christianity Scramble for Africa – about search for markets and profits Time of European depression of 1870s – Markets collapsing domestically – Excessive supplies, desperate for market Europe and Africa – Not for exploration, widen geographic knowledge – Not primarily humanitarian, don’t overlook importance of increasing violence/slave trade

33 Markets and Christianity Economy and Ideas: Christianity – Conflict in interior, demands of Christian missionaries, fell on receptive ears Explicit link between Christianity and trade – David Livingstone, Africa’s most famous missionary “Commerce, Christianity, Civilization,” 3Cs Livingstone: emphasized Christianity’s dynamic force, role it would play in opening up Africa to western trade/commerce

34 Markets and Christianity Most people – particularly Europe’s decision- makers – Motivated by underlying economic reasons – Ideas like Christianity v. important in reinforcing moves into the interior – Particularly true, conversions linked to creating peace and environments conducive to trade – Every colony/region have own trajectories – Changes take place in later 19 th c., examined in broader changes of larger world processes

35 Scramble for Africa 1890 – Africa under European control, what did colonialists discover? Myths not precisely accurate Effective Occupation – Very expensive proposition Costs of Empire – European taxpayers Fiscal Problem – Make new colonies pay – exports and tax revenue

36 Classification of Empires: Colonial Administration Classify Empires by country administering them – French system – “assimilation” – British system – “separate development” – OR – “direct” versus “indirect” rule Administration approach – misleading Nature of the political economy – Various types both between and within colonies

37 Historical Change Historical change is often uneven Typical and important for study of Africa Unevenness not due to different administrative systems Rather, due to emergence of different economic systems, which the administration reflects Results – very different patterns of life for African people

38 Paths to Economic Development Four ways to generate tax revenue: – Grant Concessions – Leopold II in Congo Free State – Use Migrant Laborers or Labor Reserve Areas – work in distant places of employment – Southern Africa and the mines – Push local Africans into Peasant Production for markets – Uganda and Senegal – Bring European Settlers to create “real” colonial situation – Kenya and Southern Rhodesia


40 East Africa and Zanzibar Zanzibar on the eve of colonial rule Seyyid Said (1856) and Succession – Divided Empire – Seyyid Thuwain (Oman), Seyyid Majid (Zanzibar) – Seyyid Majid – British naval protection (1861) – Political vulnerability and lack of military force Threats from Thuwain, N. Arabs, and Seyyid Bargash British navy and instability…slave trade

41 East Africa and Zanzibar Zanzibar on the eve of colonial rule – Sultan Barghash (1870-88) – Fragility of empire Cholera epidemic – 10,000 in Stone Town Hurricane of 1872 – 85% of clove plantations British abolition of slavery – Abolition of slave trade and slavery 1873 – abolition of trade by sea 1876 – abolition of trade by land 1897 – abolition in Unguja and Pemba 1907 – abolition in Kenya Coast

42 East Africa and Zanzibar Zanzibar and colonial rule in E. African context Germany – mainland of Tanganyika (until WWI) British Protectorate (1890) – Zanzibar and 6 mile coastal strip – British/German trade for islands in the Baltic Sea British colonial rule in Zanzibar – Economically viable – agricultural production and taxation – Politically – Busaidi Sultanate (like Kabaka, Uganda) – Bombardment of Stone Town (August, 1896), succession crisis – Destruction of Beit al-Sahel and Beit al-Hukm – “House of Wonders” untouched


44 East Africa and Zanzibar British colonial rule – “Divide and Rule” – Colonial Institutions – categories of race and ethnicity codified – Executive Council – Arab and Asian representation – Legal codes and African customary law – Historic fluidity now reified

45 East Africa and Zanzibar British colonial rule – Economy and free market principles Arab Indebtedness to Asian lenders. Threat of insolvency and fear of agricultural collapse British agricultural subsidies failed. Marketing Board – Clove Growers Association (CGA) in 1928 – controlled prices and export (1937) Protection of Arab landlords at expense of Asians. Forbid Asian land ownership of plantations Boycotts in India on demand side 1938 – “Heads of Agreement” – guaranteeing export to Asians, but prices remained fixed NOT a free market – interference of state in economy, put another way, economy embedded in institutions

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