African Imperialism 2 Essay Research Paper African

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African Imperialism 2 Essay, Research Paper African Imperialism Books related to African Imperialism History of Imperialism in Africa Imperialism is defined as the extension or rule or influence by one government, nation, or society over the political, economic, or cultural life of another ( Imperialism ). Since it always involves the use of power whether military force or some subtler form, imperialism has often been considered morally reprehensible. African imperialism was no different. European nations decided they wanted land in the mostly unexplored continent, and they took it, without the consent of the African people (Pakenham 34). Evidence of the existence of imperialistic empires dates back to the dawn of written history, when local rulers extended their realms by

conquering other states. Ancient imperialism reached its climax under the Roman Empire in Europe, but it never extended elsewhere (Pakenham 46). In the West, imperialism was reborn with the emergence of the modern nation-state and the Age of Exploration and discovery. During this Age of Exploration, Europeans had built a few trading posts on the coasts of Africa, but for centuries they had little direct influences on the lives of most Africans. In the late 1800 s a dramatic change took place. The Industrial Revolution began and the growth of nationalism strengthened European nations. As the nations of Europe industrialized, they started looking overseas for new markets and resources. Africa, which had been largely unknown to Europeans, now became the focus of their attention

(Beers 560). Until the 1870 s, the Europeans had little interest in Africa. In the 1600 s and 1700 s, the Portuguese and Dutch had established forts and trading posts along the African coast. The British and French had also acquired outposts. However, they used these posts only for trade, not as bases for conquest (Beers 563). Between 1870 and 1914, a dramatic development occurred. The entire African continent came under European rule, with the exception of Liberia and Ethiopia. First, King Leopold II of Belgium acquired the Congo, today called Zaire. Then the French moved into West Africa, while the British took control of much of the rest of the continent. Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Italy also entered the race for African territory (Pakenham 58 ). The scramble for colonies

in west and Central Africa began in the 1870 s. In that period, King Leopold II of Belgium, with the help of Henry Staley, carved out an empire along the Congo River. Stanley who had previously explored the Congo River basin in great detail had hoped that Britain would send settlers to the Congo, but Britain was not interested. So Stanley turned to Leopold II, who was eager to set up Belgian settlements there. At the king s request, Stanley negotiated treaties with local rulers for the right to exploit mineral wealth of the region. The king thereby gained control of the enormous area, which became known as the Congo Free State (Lemarchand 78). The brutal treatment of the local people in the Congo Free State has come to symbolize the worst aspects of European imperialism. Leopold

II ruled the Congo Free State as his own private possession. The area was rich in ivory as well as rubber, copper, and other minerals. Leopold granted monopolies to European companies to exploit these resources and earned huge profits for himself (Forbath 25). The European companies ruthlessly exploited both the land and the people in the Congo Free State. To ensure maximum profits, company managers forced Africans to work long hours. If workers failed to produce enough rubber or copper, labor bosses felt free to cut off their hands or ears. They also imprisoned African women to force their husbands to work harder (Conrad 81). This brutal system took a huge toll in human lives. Between 1885 and 1908, the population of the Congo fell from about 20 million to 10 million ( Forbath