It can be refferd to as a period whereby European powers colonised, invaded, occupied and annexed African territories in a very rapid and unprecedented manner, even though there was little interest in Africa up to the 1870's. In fact, up to 1880 Europeans ruled merely 10% of the African continent. Yet within 30 years, by 1914, European nations will have claimed all of Africa except Liberia (a small territory of freed slaves from the United States) and Abyssinia (Ethiopia), which had successfully held off Italian invaders at the battle of Adowa in 1896. The partitioning of Africa was seen as a means of easing tensions between European states which was high in the late 19th century and avoid a full blown out war in Europe over Africa. The Berlin conference was held in 1884-5 as a way of establishing trade and borders of territories. The dominating states at the conference where Germany, Britain, France and Portugal. Africa was divided into 50 colonies without any regard for cultural and linguistic societies that were already established there which has led to conflicts between the independent African states after World War II. There were no representatives for the African states at the conference.
THEORIES OF IMPERIALISM
Conservative theory states that imperialism is necessary to maintain existing social order in more developed countries. In addition to secure trade markets, maintain employment and capital exports. Supporters of this theory are Disraeli, Rhodes and Kipling.
Liberal theory states that imperialism is a policy choice and not an inevitable consequence of capitalism. Increase concentration of wealth in the affluent nations leads to under consumption for the majority of people. This can be solved by increase in income of the majority of the population. Supporters of this theory are Hobson and Angell.
Marxist theory states that imperialism arises because of increased concentration of wealth leads to under consumption however since the state represents the capitalist interest it is not possible to reduce under consumption through liberal strategies. According to Lenin the world would be completely divided up and the rich countries would then fight over the re-division of the world. Supporters of this theory are Karl Marx and Lenin.
Political theory states that imperialism is simply a manifestation of the balance of power and is the process by which nations try to achieve a favourable change in the status quo. Supporters of this theory are Morgenthall and Cohen.
Social psychological theory states that imperialism is an object less expansion a pattern simply learnt from the behaviour of other nations and institutionalised into the domestic political process of a state by a state by a warrior class. Supporter of this theory is Schumpeter.
THE MOTIVES OF THE SCRAMBLE AND PARTITION OF AFRICA
The need for supplementary sources of raw materials. The emergence of mass society brought improved standard of living for the lower and middle classes, which composed the great majority of the population. The rise in real wages accompanied by the decline of various costs for consumers led to an increase in mass consumption. Moreover, the expansion of new transportation systems, such as automobiles and railroads, allowed the populations to move and enjoy new forms of leisure. Consequently, the production of those equipments required tremendous and reliable supplies of raw materials such as rubber and steel. The First Industrial Revolution had already led western industrialists to exploit the European natural resources. Furthermore, products such as rubber were only available abroad. Consequently, necessary raw materials were imported from Africa. The desire to explore markets abroad. Industrials needed to investigate the wide range of potential markets abroad because the western market was subject to fierce competition between the different industries. Producers...
Mommsen, Wolfgang J. and Jurgen Osterhammel.(1986) Imperialism and After. Continuities and Discontinuities. London 1986
Owen, Roger, and Bob Stutcliffe.(1972) Studies In The Theory Of Imperialism. London.
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