The Scramble for Africa


Map of Southern Africa

Map of Southern Africa

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Europeans were mainly relegated to trading posts along the coasts of Africa but by the end of that long century, virtually the entire continent had been partitioned and conquered by seven European powers. This seminar will examine this dramatic change in Africa's fortunes. We will discuss the conditions that transformed the balance of power between Africans and Europeans and the economic, political and culture factors that fueled European imperialism and led to a "scramble" to claim African territory. This imperialism was signaled in 1876 by King Leopold of Belgium who wrote, "I do not want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake." It reached its apogee in 1884 when European powers met at a conference in Berlin to divide up the continent among themselves. No Africans were present. Unlike those Europeans, this seminar will consider how Africans experienced, responded to and resisted European conquest and colonialism.

5 CPDUs are available for completing the seminar.