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Geog. 4150: Regional Geography: AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT. Readings: Owusu: Ch. 1, pp. 1-17; Ch. 2, pp.26-39; Ch. 3, pp.41-47; Chs . 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 - ALL. Note the Resilience of Capital Note that the coke bottle is empty – not “The Real Thing”

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Geog. 4150: Regional Geography: AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT

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Geog. 4150: Regional Geography:


  • Readings:
    • Owusu: Ch. 1, pp. 1-17;
        • Ch. 2, pp.26-39;
        • Ch. 3, pp.41-47;
        • Chs. 4, 5, 6, 7 &8- ALL
Note the Resilience of Capital
  • Note that the coke bottle is empty – not “The Real Thing”
  • The Contemporary African Economy: Locus of Africa’s Economies in the Global Capitalist system

Incorporation of Africa into the global capitalist system: Background to “Dropping the Coke Bottle”

  • 18th Century: Industrial Revolution begins in England:
    • Fundamental changes in technology and systems of production
    • Transformation of manufacturingfrom small-scale craft to factory-based production

The Industrial Revolution in England

    • Brought about gigantic leaps in productivity, attracting massive migration into the cities
    • Created a new and different economic system that was urban-dominated:
      • Urbanizationbecame the way of life – directly or indirectly,
      • Need for more food to feed the urban population
      • Need for more raw materials to feed the industries
1850– The Industrial Revolution in Europe

      • Increased demand for mineral resources
      • Need to expand agricultural production
      • Need for more raw materials, markets, space
    • Overseas Colonies
    • expressed in the “3 Gs” : “Glory, God, & Gold”
Incorporation of Africa into the global capitalist system:

► Two Related Basic Concepts: Imperialism & Colonialism

    • Imperialism:
  • The extension of the power of a country through direct or indirect control of the economic and politicallifeof other territories
  • Gives “Glory” to a country (G #1)
  • Facilitates Cultural imperialism:
Cultural Imperialism :

The active promotion of one cultural system over another, such as the implantation of a new:

    • language,
    • educational system, or
    • administrative system
    • …and Religion (“G ” #2 -- God)
  • Imperialism is or may be expressed in the form of Colonialism:


  • the extension of a nation's sovereignty over territory beyond its bordersby the establishment of either:
    • settler colonies, and/or
    • administrative dependencies

in which indigenous populations are:

    • directly ruled, and/or
    • displaced.

The formal establishment of political & economic control or rule over a people/state by another people/state

  • Territorial Expansion
  • An expression of Imperialism (the drive to create an empire);
  • Mainly for economic exploitation (raw materials, etc.) “G” #3
  • Colonizers generally dominatethe:
    • resources,
    • labor, and
    • Markets

of the colonial territory and

  • They may also impose:
    • socio-cultural,
    • Religious, and
    • linguistic structures

on the conquered population.

2. Colonialism:
  • Establishment of settlements by one country and imposition of its political, economic and cultural principles in another territory
  • Mainly for economic exploitation:
      • External Search for raw materials and free African cheap & coerced labor under Capitalism
      • 3 Gs: God, Gold, Glory
1850– The Industrial Revolution in Europe

      • Increased demand for mineral resources
      • Need to expand agricultural production
      • Need for more raw materials, markets, space
    • Overseas Colonies
    • expressed in the “3 Gs” : “Glory, God, & Gold”
European Colonialism:

The practice of taking over the human and natural resources of often distant places – as in Africa – to produce wealth in Europe

  • “The Scramble for Africa”:

a process of invasion, attack, occupation, and annexation of African territories by European powers between 1880 and World War I in 1914.


Aggressive moves by European powers, especially the British, French & Belgian governments to colonize Africa between 1880 & 1914:

  • Search for territory (“Glory”) & resources (“Gold”);
  • Souls to convert (“God”), etc.

“The Scramble for Africa”


The “Scramble for Africa”:

  • In addition to the fundamental evolving capitalist relations and Africa’s then situation in the cyclic process her socio-spatial evolution,

the “Scramble for and partitioning of Africa” in the 19th century was also influenced by Popular European ideas like Darwinism:

  • Darwinian theory of Human Evolution:
    • Darwin wrote of a future when the gap between human and ape would increase because such intermediaries as the chimpanzee and theHottentot (the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, where they have lived for at least 20,000 years) would be exterminated
      • (See Gould, S.J. 1981. “The Mismeasure of Man”. New York: Norton. , p.36)
    • Perception of the African: Views of some Philosophers
perception of the african views of some philosophers
Perception of the African: Views of some Philosophers

Samuel Baker (British Explorer & Naturalist):

  • Africans lack religious and moral refinement:
  • “Without exception they are without belief in a Supreme Being, neither have they any form of worship or idolatry; nor is the darkness of their minds enlightened even by a ray of superstition. Their mind is stagnant …”
    • “Not comparable to the noble dignity of the dog”
    • “Despicable creatures”
external processes triggering the scramble for africa
External processes triggering the scramble for Africa
  • Darwinist basis for the “civilizing missions” by Europeans:
  • Missionaries, colonial administrators, teachers, etc., to “acculturate” the less developed or the “inferior”.
  • e.g., “We come to you as asuperior race” – David Livingstone (Missionary & Explorer)
  • Darwinism Legitimized:
    • Slavery and coerced labor:
  • Africans as “drawers of water and hewers of wood”
  • Darwinist thinking (survival of the fittest) & racism thus helped to foster European territorial expansionist policy in Africa
  • Historical Development : Imperialism & Colonialism in Africa:

Search for:

  • Settlementsfor excess European population:
    • Political & Economic control
    • Land Alienation & Forced Taxation
    • i.e., “Glory”

Search for:

  • Resources: Gold, diamonds, raw materials
    • Forced labor & cheap labor
    • External oriented production
    • Mining and Plantation /Cash crop agric
    • Neglect of production for home consumption
    • External Dependence for food, etc.
    • i.e., “Gold”


  • Propagate the Christian Gospel:Missionary activities
    • Conversion of the “pagans” / heathens to Christianity
    • Educate Africans as a way of civilizing them
    • Providing skilled labor to participate in the capitalist economy
    • Introducing a new “superior” culture
    • i.e., “God”
Overall Effect of European Colonial Objectives
  • The contact irreversibly truncated and alteredthe entire cultural, economic, political and social constitution of the Continent.
  • When and How did the process begin?
  • What were the strategies & their dynamics?
colonialism and africa
Colonialism and Africa
  • Africa is rich in minerals, and colonialists were quick to seize on that fact:
    • In the 19th century, when European powers penetrated from the coastal areas into the interiors,
    • Copper, goldanddiamondmineswere soon opened, often using slavelabor
    • These remain the basis of many African economies today
berlin conference 1884 85 scramble for africa
BERLIN CONFERENCE 1884-85:“Scramble for Africa”

Beginning of Formalcolonialism in Africa

  • Convened by German Chancellor Otto von Bismark to negotiate European territorial claims in Africa
  • the foreign ministers of the European powers established ground rules for the future exploitation of the "dark continent.”
  • Africans were not invited or made privy to their decisions
berlin conference of 1884
Berlin Conference of 1884

Some of the decisions made were as follows:

  • Any sovereign power which wanted to claim any territory should inform the other powers "in order to ... make good any claim of their own".
  • Any such annexation should be validated by effective occupation.
  • Treaties with African rulers were to be considered a valid title to sovereignty.
colonialism and africa1
Colonialism and Africa
  • Perhaps the most important colonial impact on Africa was the political geography or landscape that Europe constructed:
    • Following the famous Berlin Conference of 1884, the European powers drew maps demarcating their respective areas of influence:
    • divided up Africa without consideration of cultures and geography:
european colonization in 1913 political map of africa
European Colonization in 1913: “Political Map of Africa”

Imposition of artificialboundaries:

Generally invisible lines that mark the extent of a country or state’s territory


Some ethnic groups were separatedby colonial boundaries;

  • Many others, with widely different cultures were lumped together:
berlin conference 1884 scramble for africa
BERLIN CONFERENCE1884: “Scramble for Africa”

Results of the superimposed boundaries:

  • Various ethnic groups were divided.
  • Unified regions were ripped apart.
  • Hostile societies were thrown together in the same territory.
  • Recipe for Instability and Conflict
      • Struggle for ethnic domination or secession
colonialism and africa2
Colonialism and Africa
  • Not surprisingly, upon independence in the 1950s and 1960s;
    • African states have been wracked by numerous civil wars and ethnic conflicts
    • Millions have perished including Angola, Congo, Rwanda, Liberia, Nigeria and Sudan
colonial policies
  • Great Britain:“Indirect Rule” (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe : Anglophone Africa)
    • Indigenous power structures were left intact to some degree and local rulers were made representatives of the crown.
      • Control (unpopular demands) through traditional rulers
      • e.g., Institution of taxation & forced labor; inadvertent neglect of local food production
    • Emergence of a “cultural elite”
      • Lifestyles
      • Tastes and attitudes
      • Power relations
colonial policies1
  • France:“Assimilation”(Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, etc.: Francophone Africa)
    • Enforced a direct rule
    • Propagated the French culture (as the ideal) through:
      • language,
      • laws,
      • education and clothing (acculturation)
        • The adoption by an ethnic group of enough of the ways of a host/dominant society to be able to function economically and socially
colonial policies2
  • Belgium:“Paternalism” (Rwanda, Congo, Burundi)
    • Rule of territory as King Leopold II’s personal property – unspeakableatrocities & brutality.
colonial policies3
  • Belgium’s:“Paternalism”
    • Did not try to make Africans Belgian, and did nothing to prepare them for independence eventually
    • Mainly Raw resource oriented;
    • Ignored the development of natives

(e.g., 1960: 17 Univ. grads out of a pop. of 13.5m

colonial policies4
  • Portugal:“Exploitation”(Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Mozambique: Lusaphone Africa)
    • First to enslave and colonize, and one of the last to grant independence
    • Freed after protracted struggles with Soviet help
    • Maintained rigid control; raw resource oriented