Causes of Late 19th Century European Imperialism • Economic • Industrialization • Raw materials needed for European industries • Oil in the Middle East • Rubber in Africa • Textiles in India • European Capitalism • Higher returns for investments • Less developed areas gave higher dividends • To gain access to markets
Causes of Late 19th Century European Imperialism • Political • Maintain the balance of power • To control strategic areas like sea lanes, access to markets • Status symbols • Germany takes colonies to be like other European powers • Cultural and Religious • Belief in cultural or racial “superiority” • Desire to spread Christianity to “heathens” • To spread “civilization”
Britain • Largest colonial empire • “Sun never sets on the British Empire” • Colonies established to protect trading interests in Africa and Asia • Two kinds of colonies • “White” Colonies (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) given self-rule • “Non-white” Colonies (India, Africa) under direct rule
France • Acquired Algeria in 1830 • Took over Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) by the 1880s • Expanded into Western Africa in the 1880s • Took colonies to make up for loss of Alsace-Lorraine in 1870
Germany • Bismarck originally opposed colonial expansion • Unnecessary for Germany • Did not want to threaten France or Britain • Germany took colonies in 1880s for status symbols • In Africa and Asia
United States • Did not get involved in European affairs • Became colonial power after 1898 • Spanish-American War • U.S. gains control of Puerto Rico, Guam, Philippines • Monroe Doctrine allows US to extend influence into Latin America
Scramble for Africa • Europe had been interested in Africa for centuries • Through the slave trade • Much of Africa still unexplored until 1880s • European influence restricted to coastline • Technology allows Europeans to explore African interior • Steamboats, Suez Canal, advances in medicine
Scramble for Africa • By 1914, 90% of Africa under European control • France in Northern (Algeria) and Western Africa • Britain from Egypt to South Africa • Belgium in the Congo • Italy in Libya and Eastern Africa • Portugal in southern Africa • Germany in scattered areas • Berlin Conference in 1885 sets ground rules for European colonization of Africa
Scramble for Africa • Consequences • Traditional way of life disrupted • Economic exploitation of Africans • European racism imported into Africa • Spread of European culture • Spread of Western technology
Belgian Congo or Congo Free State • The Belgian Congo . . . Congo Free State • The Congo Free State was held as the personal property of King Leopold II of Belgium from 1876 to 1908. • 1876: Leopold organizes a meeting in Brussels to discuss a plan “to open to civilization the only part of our globe where Christianity has not yet penetrated and to pierce the darkness which envelops the whole population.”
King Leopold II and the Congo Free State“I do not want to miss a good chance of getting a slice of this magnificent African cake.” --Leopold II (after Brussels conference) “
Congo Free State • 1884: Bismarck calls European powers to Berlin for a conference that leads to the Scramble for Africa. • BC established the rules for conquest of Africa. • Leopold is given complete control over the Congo Free State; in return he guarantees free trade rights: no monopolies; no taxes and tariffs, no restriction on trade. • 1908: Leopold bequeathed the CFS to Belgium for 150m francs.
Berlin Conference 1884-1885 “Here is Russia and here is France, with Germany in the middle. That is my map of Africa.” --Bismarck
Belgian Congo • Leopold’s rule resulted in the torture and murder of an estimated six to ten million Congolese between 1888 and 1908. • The population of the Congo was reduced by half. • Ivory became a Belgian monopoly. Rubber from rubber trees for tires very lucrative.
Belgian Congo • The rubber harvest was entirely worked through slave labor. Reports of amputation and torture. • Congo Reform Association established in 1903 by Roger Casement (friend of Joseph Conrad’s). • Casement got Conrad to write a letter about conditions in the Congo: “It is an extraordinary thing that the conscience of Europe which seventy years ago …put down the slave trade on humanitarian grounds tolerates the Congo state today.”
Causes and Justifications for Partition Imperialism--Capitalism and Industrial Revolution Social Darwinism Morality and the Civilizing Mission European Balance of Power African Resistance to Merchants spurs military conquest Greed