Imperialism is derived from the Latin word 'imperium' which means 'right to rule'.The definition of imperialism is the domination of undeveloped nation by a developed nation by virtue of establishing a colony.Africa - the second largest continent was imperialised by the European nations and was exploited economically.

Discovery of Africa:

Bartholomew Diaz, a Portuguese sailor undertook an ambitious mission to discover sea route to Asia.As slowly and gradually he began his mission, he could only reach till the cape of good hope which is located towards the southern most tip of Africa.He could not complete his mission because at this point his ship was hit by storms so he actually named this place as cape of storms.Although he could not complete his mission but this mission was extremely beneficial as the resourceful African continent came to the notice of Europeans.

Slave of Trade:

After the discovery of the coastal regions, Europeans started the most inhuman trade in Africa called as the Slave Trade.It is the trade of buying and selling of human beings.Europeans used to take the African people as slaves to work in industries as workers and as laborers in agricultural farms.The condition of slaves was too miserable, they were exploited economically and physically.They were compelled to work for longer hours with extremely poor living conditions.

The Unknown Continent: 

Till the 18th century,the European trade was restricted to the coastal regions of Africa.The specific geographic composition of interiors of Africa was not known.Africa is a large continent with diverse geographical features such as dense forests, big lakes, perennial rivers and vast tracts of deserts.As Europeans did not know much about the interiors of Africa till the 18th century, it was termed as the ' Unknown or Dark ' continent.

Discovery of interiors of Africa:

 In the middle of the 19th century, five ambitious Europeans travelers discovered the important  regions of Africa. The five ambitious travelers and their discoveries are as follows:

Mungopark: He discovered the course of river Niger which is situated to the south of Sahara desert.He is also the first European to visit famous African city named Timbuktu.

Captain Spake and Sir Samuel Baker: They went into the dense forests of Africa and discovered the big lakes of central Africa.They named the lakes with the names of their Kings and Queens e.g. Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, Lake Edward.

David Livingstone: He was a Scottish preacher who discovered the stream of river Zambezi.He also found the regions around Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa.

Stanley: He was a British-American journalist and he wrote two important books on Africa namely- Through the dark continent and Darkest Africa.

The travelogue written by Stanley created curiosity among the Europeans about Africa.The travelogue created among the Europeans, a kind of attraction towards Africa and there arose a public opinion favoring colonization of regions in the African continent.A sense of competition grew among the European nations to capture the best and strategic regions of Africa.Thus, scramble for Africa began.

First colony in Africa:

Belgium is the first nation to erect its colony in Africa.Belgium King Leopold II established the first colony in Congo river basin.He accumulated crores of wealth by means of exploitation and oppression.

Berlin Conference:

The European nations held a conference at Berlin in 1884-1885.It was based on the principle of ' Effective Possession '.It gave consent to King Leopold's possession of the Congo region and passed a set of directives for the division of African continent.It was collectively agreed that the new possession of a region would be interactively decided.Later by 1914, European nations colonized the entire African continent.

Colonization of Africa: 

  • Portuguese colonized the eastern regions of Africa namely Angola and Mozambique.
  • Italy captured the African regions of Eritrea, Somaliland, Tripoli and Sirenica.
  • France colonized the regions of Sahara desert, Algeria, French Guinea, Ivory Coast, French Congo, Madagascar Islands and Morocco.
  • Spain colonized Rio de Oro, North of Morocco and some areas in Guinea coast.
  • England colonized the maximum number of colonies in Africa.They colonized the region of Cape colony, Sudan province, Uganda, Rhodesia, Zambia, Egypt etc.

Hence most of the African continent was colonized by the imperial European nations and exploited economically. 


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