Why the African continent became so attractive to the European nations after 1880

Why the African continent became so attractive to the European nations after 1880

a) Economic reasons:

  • The desire to acquire raw materials such as rubber, cotton, palm oil, ivory, etc.
  • The quest for areas which would serve as lucrative markets for European manufactured goods.
  • The search for areas to invest surplus capital acquired from the profits of the Industrial Revolution.
  • The desire to exploit fertile soils for the growing of tropical crops and vegetables.
  • Pressure mounted European traders in Africa e.g. Cecil Rhodes and Sir George Goldie.
  • The discovery of minerals in Africa like gold, diamond, copper, etc.
  • The intense commercial competition among European traders and trading firms on the coast of Africa.
  • They wanted to gain trade monopolies in Africa.
  • The search for places to settle the unemployed people of Europe in Africa.
  • The influence of explorers who unveiled the economic potentials of Africa to the European nations.
  • The impact of the economic depression of the 1880s in Europe.
  • Improvement in the means of transport with the invention of the steamship in 1875, etc.

b) Social or humanitarian reasons:

  • The desire to abolish slave trade, slavery and other evils in Africa.
  • The search of territories to settle the surplus European population in Africa.
  • The desire to spread Christianity.
  • The need to spread European civilization in Africa.
  • The growth of the racial theory in Europe or European feeling of racial superiority.
  • The intellectual motive or pressure mounted by scholars in Europe, etc.3

c) Political reasons:

  • The desire to acquire territorial compensation.
  • The quest for prestige.
  • The activities of King Leopold II of Belgium in Congo.
  • The British annexation of Egypt in 1882.
  • The influence of the Berlin West Africa Conference of 1884-85.
  • The growth of nationalism in Europe.
  • The quest for strategic areas in Africa.
  • The influence of balance of power.
  • German entry into the scramble for Africa.
  • The impact of political crisis in Africa, etc.

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