Following the abolition of the slave trade, and propelled by economic exploitation, the colonization of Africa was initiated formally at the Berlin West Africa Conference in 1884–1885. All the major European powers laid claim to the areas of Africa where they could exhibit a sphere of influence over the area. These claims did not have to have any substantial land holdings or treaties to be legitimate. The French gained major ground in West Africa, the British in East Africa, and the Portuguese and Spanish at various points throughout the continent, while King Leopold was able to retain his personal fiefdom, Congo. The Scramble for Africa, also known as the Race for Africa or Partition of Africa was a process of invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period, between 1881 and World War I in 1914. As a result of the heightened tension between European states in the last quarter of the 19th century, the partitioning of Africa may be seen as a way for the Europeans to eliminate the threat of a Europe-wide war over Africa. The last 59 years of the 19th century saw transition from 'informal imperialism' of control through military influence and economic dominance to that of direct rule.
Attempts to mediate imperial competition, such as the Berlin Conference (1884–1885), failed to establish definitively the competing powers' claims. Many African polities, states and rulers (such as the Ashanti, the Abyssinians, the Moroccans, the Somalis, the Benin Empire and the Zulus) sought to resist this wave of European aggression. However, the industrial revolution had provided the European armies with advanced weapons such as machine guns, which African armies found difficult to resist (with the exception of the Abyssinians, who were indeed successful). Also, unlike their European counterparts, African rulers, states and people did not at first form a continental united front although within a few years, a Pan-African movement did emerge. During the Scramble for Africa in the late nineteenth century, European powers divided Africa and its resources into political partitions at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. By 1905, African soil was almost completely controlled by European governments, with the only exceptions being Liberia (which had been settled by African-American former slaves) and Ethiopia (which had successfully resisted colonization by Italy). Britain and France had the largest holdings, but Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Portugal also had colonies.
As a result of colonialism and imperialism, Africa suffered long term effects, such as the loss of important natural resources like gold and rubber, economic devastation, cultural confusion, geopolitical division, and political subjugation. Europeans often justified this using the concept of the White Man’s Burden, an obligation to "civilize" the peoples of Africa. By the 1930s, the colonial powers had cultivated (sometimes inadvertently) a small elite of leaders educated in Western universities and familiar with ideas such as self determination. These leaders, including leading nationalists such as Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Kwame Nkrumah (Gold Coast), now Ghana), Leoplold Sedar Senghor (Senegal), and Felix Houphouet-Boigny (Cote d’ Ivoire), came to lead the struggles for independence.
This movement led to most of the nations become independent by the 1990’s and the rebirth of Pan-African cultural economic philosophy, “Connecting the African Diaspora, “Culturally and Economically– Village by Village!”
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