European Imperialism in Africa

European Imperialism had a huge impact in Europe’s desire to become the largest nation in the mid to late 1800s. Europe wanted to expand and conquer as many inferior countries as possible so that they could become a huge nation. Many other countries wanted to expand as well and Africa was an easy target, so all of them, including Europe, colonized Africa in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Europe became one of the fastest growing nations of that time.

Imperialism means the extension of a nation’s power over other lands. Europe was so overcome with eagerness and determination to become one of the largest nations that they did everything in their power to overcome the weaker countries. Countries like Germany, Portugal, Italy, Great Britain, France, Belgium, and Spain didn’t want Europe to get too powerful. So, they began to Imperialize other smaller countries so that they could get bigger and stronger so that Europe couldn’t overthrow them. Europeans believed that, “…the higher races have a right over the lower races …. I repeat, that the superior races have a right because they have a duty. They have the duty to civilize the inferior races ….” (Document #4), Europeans believed that the “higher races” like Europe can do whatever they want to the other “lower races” like Africa because they think that they are better than the Africans. They also would take African resources and good and use them to improve their society and make their life better and more convenient.

Africa was considered to be a very useful and easy country to target and Imperialize because they were believed to be inferior and that they couldn’t stop anyone from coming and conquering them. Africa was home to many natural resources such as Diamonds, Sugar, Salt, Gold, Iron, Cobalt, Uranium, Copper, Silver, Cocoa Beans, and many more. European countries wanted these resources to help them grow economically in their countries. They would use the resources that they took back to their countries to make money. They would create new things and modernize old things and sell them to make their country more economically stable. Africa also had people who could be used as slaves to work on farms to help produce the things that Europeans wanted. In 1884, the European conference met together to divide up Africa as they saw fit. There were no African delegates at that conference to speak up and protect Africa.

Soon after that meeting, the European Countries went to Africa and started to divide it up just like they had decided. One of the places that was stripped of their resources the most was the Congo. The Congo was exploited by King Leopold II, he took so much copper, rubber, and ivory that there was barely any left over for the Africans. The Belgian workers brutalized the villagers by forcing them to do labor and if they refused or tried to fight against the Europeans, then they would be beaten and have some of their limbs mutilated. “…the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”  people in other countries knew what was going on in Africa but they didn’t speak up so it made it easy for Europe to conquer and abuse Africans.

As you can see, European people and countries were able to grow economically and socially with the use of Africa’s resources. Through the use of different countries deciding to expand and Africa being an easy target, Europe was able grow into a huge nation that was economically and socially very stable. But, all of this growing and expanding was at Africa’s expense, who on the other hand was torn up and exploited of most of their goods and natural resources. This caused all but two African countries to surrender everything to Europe’s control.

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