Africa from 1450-present

All Present-day African nations except Egypt

European Imperialism in Africa

European Presence in Africa before Imperialism

  • French conquered Algeria in 1830

    • Many French, Italian, and Spanish people settled in Algeria

  • South Africa had many Dutch & British

    • British took over Cape Colony in 1835​

  • Europeans, especially Portuguese, established trading posts in Africa

  • Portugal had loose control over Angola & Mozambique


Scramble for Africa & Berlin Conference

  • In late 1800s, European nations raced to colonize Africa

    • Some imposed direct rule, others had local concessionary companies rule​

    • Often exploited tribal boundaries by grouping rival tribes together or splitting tribes into multiple colonies

    • Built railroads & other infrastructure

    • Formed export-oriented economies

  • Cecil Rhodes led British colonization of South Africa

    • Took over Orange Free State & Transvaal​

    • Established protectorate over Bechuanaland (Botswana) & Rhodesia (Zambia & Zimbabwe)

    • Conquered Afrikaners (Dutch in South Africa) in Boer War (1899-1902)

    • Later became Union of South Africa

  • In 1884, European leaders met at Berlin Conference to discuss rules for colonizing Africa

    • Decided that nations must publicly announce their claims & get permission from local African leader to colonize them​

  • Eventually, all of Africa (except Ethiopia & Liberia) were colonized by Europeans

  • King Leopold II of Belgium created Congo Free State in Central Africa & promoted free trade

    • French hated Belgian dominance, so French made a colony north of Congo

  • Britain took over Sudan ​after many wars

    • Britain pushed into Sudan, but Sudanese forces defeated British in 1885​

    • Britain then used its maxim machine gun to attack Sudanese in 1898 & won

    • British also took over a small French colony near Sudan as France was weakened by the Dreyfus affair

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Involvement of Africa in World War 1

  • European nations got people from their African colonies to help in the war

    • Many served in the army, others served as porters to carry equipment

Decolonization of Africa

  • After WW2, many European nations supported decolonization to focus on internal reforms

    • Japanese conquest of Pacific islands decreased European importance there

    • Western armies were devastated after the war

    • Often gave independence to colonies to avoid a costly war like WW2

    • Cold War politics affected decolonization as Western powers wanted to promote capitalism while China & Soviets promoted communism in colonies

      • Sought to give aid to colonies on their side of the Cold War immediately after independence

      • Many African nations sought nonalignment (not allying with US or USSR)

  • Starting in 1957, most British colonies got independence

    • Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania got independence easily & became part of British Commonwealth​

    • Kenya got independence in 1963 after short war

    • South Africa got independence in 1961 but was racially segregated among blacks & whites

  • Decolonization of Belgian Congo was a major Cold War conflict

    • Congolese announced independence would come soon & Patrice Lumumba would be Prime Minister

    • Later, Lumumba became PM, so Belgian army attacked Congo, but Congo army held them off & partially defeated them

    • Lumumba asked USSR for aid, which feared the US as US & Western Europe had many financial investments in Congo

    • US organized a coup against Lumumba, put US-backed Joseph Mobutu in power in Congo

  • French put all of its colonies in a French Commonwealth, but Algeria wanted complete independence, leading to war

    • Algerians in Algeria created National Liberation Front (NLF), attacked French armies & French in Algeria​

    • War lasted from 1954-1962, and Algerians won independence

  • Still, after independence, Europeans still maintained ties with former colonies & gave them funding

    • Known as neocolonialism