European Imperialism in Africa

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The period of nineteenth century Western Imperialism, taken into historical context, was short lived, but its consequences still affect the world we live in today. In the period from 1870, until the eruption of the First World War, European powers spread their economic, political and social influence to the farthest corners of the globe.


The aim of this paper is to show that while economic factors may have been an underlying motive for European incursion into the continent they do not fully explain the unprecedented rate of expansion.
Europe had been colonizing and investing in various parts of the world since the fifteenth century. Most notably during the 1700s trade between nations grew at an accelerated pace and European investment in railroads, ports, mines, factories and a wealth of other opportunities was notable. In some instances this signified European powers taking over the political reigns of power and imposing direct rule on the nations they were trading with, although Africa, other than for purposes of trade, had largely been untouched in this sense. Johnson (1985) claims of imperialism that "economic activity was increased by colonial rule, but the terms were different: now the African produced and worked for the European company, railroad, or office."2
It wasn't until the onslaught of the period of European Imperialism that Africa would see more direct involvement and would become a pawn in European states drive to create vast political empires. The reasons for the sudden race by Europeans for control of this continent are numerous. ...
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