IV. Scramble

[ Welcome ] [ Assignments ]

I. [ Introduction ] [ Zones ]

II. [ African Art ] [ African Rituals ] [ Women ] [ 2015 ]
III. Diaspora [ Slave Trade ]
IV. [ Scramble ]

V. [ South Africa ]
VI. [ Decolonization

[ Kingdoms of Gold ] [ Swahili States ]
[ 2014 ] [ 2014 Project ] [ 2015 Project ] [ 2016 Project ]
[ Seventh Grade 2014 ]

Basil Davidson "This Magnificent African Cake"
< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTa5iDbZXu0 >

For help (more help) with your map, go to [ Helpful Maps ]

For a generation after the abolition of the slave trade, and after Britain abolished slavery in its colonies and enforced the policy, Africa enjoyed a respite from European exploitation. Europeans continued to engage in trade with African merchants for ivory, ostrich feathers, palm oil, and gum acacia, and Europeans continued to be confined to coastal communities by Africa's "killers" (malaria, sleeping sickness); Europeans engaged in a "legitimate trade" with their African counterparts from bases or "factories" on the coast. Europe's Christian missionaries, too, clustered on Africa's edges. Most Africans in the interior had never seen a white face during the era of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, nor did they during the "lull." That said, the Brits were enscounced in Cape Colony, the French in Algeria, and the Portuguese in Angola and Mozambique.

European governments during the "lull," 1835 - 1870s, focused on the home front:
unifcations of Italy and Germany; labor and social legisation in Britain, France,
Germany; the industrial revolution all across Europe, including Russia.
During the "lull," European governments favored "free trade" and commercial relations
with coastal African middlemen who brought desired products to market.
The system worked as European leaders deemed colonial establishments too expensive to maintain.

That said, Europeans began to take an interest in Africa.

The period (1835-1870) was characterized by a fascination with science and the quest for solutions to ancient scientific questions, such as the source of the Nile (Congo, Niger, Amazon, etc.) Adventurers and explorers--Mungo Park, Burton, Speke, Baker--dared geography and weather in their forays. Left image = artist's rendering of Burton and Speke in the 1850s. A 1990 movie, Mountains of the Moon, provided a vivid and semi-accurate version of their expeditions. Speke is credited with identifying Lake Victoria as the source of the Nile in 1858, though he did not explore or map it. Their success and celebrity inspired Henry Morton Stanley, of whom, more later.

image source < http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/illustration/portrait-of-richard-francis-burton-english-explorer-stock-graphic/165527177 >
The Victorians Search for the Source of the Nile < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BCm4VN7rsA>
Burton and Speke

The development of quinine made it possible for adventurers, explorers, missionaries, merchants, and then imperialists to venture out of temperate Europe into tropical Africa. The CDC opined, "The discovery of quinine... marked the first successful use of a chemical compound to treat an infectious disease."

image source < https://colonialdiseasedigitaltextbook.wikispaces.com/6.3+The+Discovery+of+Quinine >

Missionaries, at first clustered on the coasts, began to move into the African interior. Their benign message of the "Bible and the Plow" aimed at spreading Christianity and improving the lives of African converts. Some, like David Livingstone (1818-1873,) behaved well and earned the affection of his parishioners. Others, not so much. Livingstone's life, adventures, and letters played their part in the transition from "lull" to Scramble. Even Livingstone, however, spoke of Africans in a condescending manner.

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Livingstone >
"The Bible and the Plow" < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNWA2cOS7sg >
Begin here < https://youtu.be/MNWA2cOS7sg?t=254 >

With no sense of irony, missionaries who wended their way to Africa also wanted to eliminate the "Oriental" slave trade. From Zanzibar, the Sultan of Oman masterminded or oversaw the trade. Historians estimate that between 750 CE and the British abolition of the slave trade in 1807, 12,000,000 Africans were taken in the Oriental trade. Tippu Tip was a notorious slaver who roved deep into the hinterland to provide slaves for the Omani sultan's clove plantations. Hollywood presented an interesting depiction of Tippu Tip's meeting with Burton and Speke in Mountains of the Moon.

image source < http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/media/73447/East-African-slave-market-in-the-port-of-Zanzibar-engraving >

Thus, the so-called "lull" began to fade away as the 19th century wore on:

image source < Sue Pojer ppt>

European Imperialism in Africa
More Scramble: Brief History of European Imperialism in Africa
< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pis5f085P3M >

The Industrial Revolution provided the backdrop for the development of
dramatic disparities between Europe and Africa, especially in the area of weapons technology. The Colt 45 ("6-shooter") was invented in 1856.

image source < http://milpas.cc/rifles/ZFiles/Pistols/Colt/Colt%20Revolver%20Gallery/Colt%20Revolver%20Gallery.html >


The Industrial Revolution brought scientific, technological, and weapons superiority to Europeans vis à vis Africans. Economically, European businessmen wanted to bypass African middlemen and move directly to control access to and harvesting of rubber, for which there was an escalating demand in Europe. Modern weaponry--breech-loading, rapid fire rifles and the Maxim gun (left image)--enabled the West to seize land, crush insurrection, and force Africans to work on their enterprises. The Maxim gun fired 11 rounds per second, in comparison with the old-fashioned muzzle-loaders that most Africans had, holdovers from the slave trade days (Laumann 44). By 1884, at the time of its invention, the "Scramble" had moved into high gear.

image source < http://www.allworldwars.com/Handbook%20of%20the%20Maxim%20Automatic%20Machine%20Gun%20Model%201904.html >

As Hillaire Belloc pithily put it:
"Whatever happens, we have got,
The Maxim gun, and they have not."

As Basil Davidson noted, where there was good land, good climate, and good opportunity for profit, European adventurers, missionaries, investors, profiteers moved in, irrespective of the indigenous populations who lived there. To make the most of the situation, Europeans needed cheap labor from those very Africans whose land they seized. In Kenya, a British "settler colony," Africans worked on coffee and tea plantations (image right.) In Congo, Africans harvested rubber and ivory; in German East Africa, they worked as forced labor on cotton plantations.

image source < http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/16/us-kenya-tea-idUSKCN0J008M20141116 >

Even so, European governments did not at first involve themselves directly in the pre-Scramble days.
Britain, France, Portugal remained essentially "perched on the edge."
Missionaries and settlers could beg for military assistance and not necessarily get it.
It seems that the French were the first to "move the goalposts."

As France moved aggressively and intentionally in West Africa, Britain responded
by consolidating its controls over Gold Coast and Nigeria.
European national rivalries and the balance of power kicked in.

Since the days of the slave trade, France maintained an outpost in Senegal. During the "lull," French businessmen hoped to build a railroad into the interior from coastal Senegal and/or to send steamships up the Senegal River to develop the hinterland. The French on-site governor, Faidherbe worked to secure French interests against the African Muslim Tukulor expansionists and the rising threat of the Mandinka state-builder Samori Touré by building, training, and arming a Senegalese militia, led by French or Afro-French officers.* Full-scale armed rebellion against French business interests and French White Fathers forced the governments of Napoleon III (who obviously wanted an empire,) and the 3rd Republic to move in in force.

image source < http://observers.france24.com/content/20100713-should-former-french-colonies-march-bastille-day >
*France used Senegalese troops in World War I on the Western Front.

The British, at mid-century, were fully engrossed in India. The 1858 India Act made the subcontinent part of a growing British Empire and in 1876, Victoria assumed the title, Empress of India. However, British proto-imperialists could not allow the French to advance unilaterally or expand in West Africa. The National Africa Company acted to consolidate its, if not governmental, authority over Gold Coast, the Niger Delta, Sierra Leone. Asante could not be allowed to stand in the way of either George Goldie's National Africa Company or the British government. The Anglo-Ashanti [sic] wars gave powerful testimony of African resistance to European imperialists, but their ultimate inability to resist the might of Britain. It took until 1900 to subdue Asante

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Ashanti_wars >

European national ambitions played out their rivalries in Africa.
While Britain and France (2nd Empire, 3rd Republic) jockeyed
for position in Africa, Leopold II, King of the Belgians, made everyone (including Bismarck)
sit up and take notice. Leopold's imperial ambitions encompassed all of the
trends and developments that marked the transition between "Lull" and Scramble.

It all began with Livingstone and Stanley, private individuals not government leaders or spokesmen. Livingstone was a medical, Christian missionary who followed his calling (and the lure of adventure) to Africa in the 1850s. His letters home were best sellers; he, like Burton and Speke, was a celebrity. When his mission station was destroyed by "Oriental" slave traders in 1865, he "disappeared" to search for the source of the Congo. In 1871, the New York Tribune hired journalist Henry Morton Stanley to "find Dr. Livingstone." The two met near Lake Tanganyika in November, where Stanley may or may not have uttered the words, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume." Readers of the popular press were obscessed with the story!

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Morton_Stanley#Finding_Livingstone >

In 1874, a British and an American newspaper offered to finance Stanley's second expedition into deepest, darkest Africa, where he pledged to complete Livingstone's work, fill in the gaps left by Burton and Speke, confirm Lake Victoria as the source of the Nile, as well as to explore the Congo basin. Using his collapsible boats, he entered Africa at Bagamoyo in East Africa and headed West. He left a swath of death, destruction, terror, and intimidation in his wake. His reports described a vast, savage continent of enormous potential wealth, ripe for the plucking by a nation strong enough to grab it. Leopold plucked/grabbed!

image source, Stanley's collapsible boat < http://images.google.com/hosted/life/e4069a8ea7dc7208.html >

Stanley's 2nd expedition from Bagamoyo to Boma (appreciation/thank you Sue Pojer)

In 1876, Leopold founded the African International Association and hired Stanley to go back to Africa and sign treaties with indigenous kings and chiefs. Leopold said the Association would support scientific investigation and missionaries, develop commerce, and combat the Oriental slave trade. His less sanguine motive was to get enormously rich from his personal fief in the Congo basin through the extraction of ivory and rubber. And, oh yes, the vicious exploitation of the indigenous Congolese. Leopold lusted for a piece of "This Magificent African Cake."*

image source, Stanley < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Morton_Stanley#/media/File:Henry_Morton_Stanley,_1872.jpg >
image source, Leopold II < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_II_of_Belgium#/media/File:Leopold_ii_garter_knight.jpg >

*For a fascinating account of this saga, see Adam Hochschild's King Leopold's Ghost.
Leopold II's African adventure galvanized the great powers into
aggressive colonial/imperial efforts in Africa--the Scramble.

See < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpx5hy5TejE > Trailer for movie, King Leopold's Ghost

Leopold's minions behaved badly in the so-called Congo Free State. Check out video link above to King Leopold's Ghost. Near right image from Punch Magazine, 1906, "The Rubber Coils"; far right image, rubber workers who did not meet their quota. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness tried unsuccessfully to raise awareness of Leopold's human rights abuses.

image source "Rubber Coils" < http://www.historytoday.com/tim-stanley/belgiums-heart-darkness >
image source, Rubber workers < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congo_Free_State#/media/File:MutilatedChildrenFromCongo.jpg >

Ivory and rubber--extracted from his personal fiefdom--enriched Leopold II, impoverished and terrorized indigenous people, and aroused the other great powers to "scramble" for African territory.

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivory_trade >

As noted above, even before Stanley and Leopold, France launched its tentative maneuvers in Senegal. French explorers, adventurers, and businessmen began to penetrate the Senegalese hinterland in a 3 pincer movement: East from Senegal; North from Ivory Coast, South from Algeria into what would become French West Africa. Who's in the way? What European rivalry is exacerbated?

image source < http://www.atlapedia.com/online/maps/political/Nth_Africa_W.htm >

After France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and loss of Alsace-Lorraine, Prime Minister Jules Ferry (left image) pursued a "new colonialism" policy. In 1881 Italian explorer Brazza (right image) claimed French Congo for France, beating out Stanley and Leopold. Ferry (left image) presided over French consolidation of power in Tunisia and seized Madagascar. As European tensions heightened, Bismarck feared that an African war would be fought in Europe. It was time for Bismarck the "peacemonger" to call a conference to establish some sort of order in the escalating crisis and maintain a European balance of power in Africa.

image source, Brazza (right) < https://mattsko.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/pierre-brazza-french-explorer-of-africa-1800s/ >
image source, Ferry (left) < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Ferry#/media/File:Julesferry.jpg >

German Chancellor Bismarck (far right image) personally would have preferred to stay out of the African imbroglio, but German businessmen and nationalists did not want the "magificent African cake" to be sliced and eaten by France and Britain. French seizure of Tunisia and its aggressive actions in West Africa described above caused German explorer Gustave Nachtigal (near right image) to head into present day Togo and Cameroon, presenting Germany as their protector from the greedy British and French. Togo, Kamerun, and German Southwest Africa became German protectorates in 1884. There needed to be a conference to regularize European encroachments in Africa.

image source, Nachtigal (left) < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_Nachtigal >
image source, Bismarck (right) < http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/66989/Otto-von-Bismarck >

And well you might ask, what was Britain doing all this time? Quite a bit!

The British view of German shenanigans in Africa: German eagle pouncing on defenseless Africans!

image source "On the Swoop" < http://www.gutenberg.org/files/33685/33685-h/33685-h.htm >

Since the 18th century, the British were firmly enscounced in southern Africa; with its good climate and good land. It emerged as a "settler colony" and a provisioning station on the way to India, "jewel in the crown..." The discovery of gold (Johannesburg) and diamonds (Kimberley) in the Boer republics spurred Cecil Rhodes to focus British attention on Africa. The Brits held their own in Gold Coast, withstanding French encroachments as noted above. Leopold's adventures in the Congo further aroused British interest, especially on Disraeli's "watch."* And, of course, after 1875, Britain had to protect Suez. The British were up for a conference to discuss African issues in 1884.

image source < http://www.sahistory.org.za/archive/what-industrialisation >
*Prime Minister Disraeli built the "empire on which the sun never set."


The British vision was truly imperial by the 1880s. Britain established a protectorate over Egypt (to protect Suez) and advanced aggressively against the Boer Republics (Orange Free State, Transvaal) to take over the gold and diamonds. The Punch cartoon (left) shows Cecil Rhodes' dream of constructing a Cape-to-Cairo Railroad. The other powers were not psyched. To prevent war in Africa, the Brits, too were amenable to a conference to determine its fate.


image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Rhodes#Diamonds >


Portugal, which had been continuously in Africa since the 17th century--perched on the East Coast (Mozambique) and West Coast (Angola) could not connect the two colonies and was also eager to participate in a general European conference to address African issues.

image source < http://www.intlawgrrls.com/2009/04/on-april-18.html >

In 1884, Bismarck convoked the 2nd Berlin Conference/Congress to discuss Africa: to preserve peace there; to maintain a balance of power there; and to regularize (ha, ha) the accelerating pace of European colonization there. Essentially the great powers carved up the "magnificent African cake."

image source < http://brentissubic-grade10b-history.weebly.com/the-scramble-for-africa--the-berlin-conference.html >

The attending nations (Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Spain) defined an agenda.
The 38 articles of the ensuing communiqué provided for:
an end to the "Oriental" slave trade;
support for the blessed trinity (c-c-c; m-m-m-m);*
benevolent internationalism to "improve the moral and material well-being of native people";
forbidding sale of weapons to any African or African nation;
support for free trade for all Europeans on the Niger and Congo Rivers;
territorial annexation to be achieved only with real (not paper) presence in the area.
Europeans who had never set foot in Africa drew boundaries that disregarded and/or ignored the
geographical and ethnic realities "on the ground."
For outcome, see below!

*At the height of the imperialist period, ...missionaries were thicker on the ground
than colonial officials" (Oliver 207).

Alas, poor Africa. Just as European encroachments shifted into high gear, Mother Nature struck a lethal blow at Africa: The good weather and plentiful rainfall of the "lull" gave way to a generation of dessication (and all of the accompanying tragedies we discussed during the Diaspora.) The "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse "--famine, disease, war, death--rode roughshod across the continent. A particularly horrible infestation of sand fleas came to Portuguese Angola from Portuguese Brazil and moved across trade routes to present-day Tanzania (then, German East Africa/Tanganyika.)

image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chigoe_flea >
*See Reader packet, 588, for more on the "devastating impact" of the infestation,
which brought terrible suffering and traveled on commercial networks across Africa.

A triple disaster struck Africa in the 1890s: drought, a plague of locusts, and rinderpest (Pakenham 498). Rinderpest ravaged African cattle herds in the late 19th century, devastating agriculturists and pastoralists who depended on their livestock for meat, milk, and social status. The dread disease, which decimated herds, was inadvertently introduced to Africa via cattle imported to feed the Italian army (then trying to conquer Abyssinia.) The pandemic wiped out 95% of African cattle, as well as some wild species (MacNeill). Millions of Africans starved. Shown in the image (right) are Boer farmers, whose lifestyle also depended on cattle. On the Boers, more later.

MacNeill comments that Rinderpest facilitated the European takeover of Africa during
the "Scramble." For more on this topic, visit

< http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/health/28rinderpest.html?_r=1&ref=science >
According to Reader, "The rinderpest epidemic ...[was]...the greatest natural
calamity ever to befall the African continent..". (589.

You--Castilleja students in the 21st century Bay Area--can scarcely imagine the impact of the death of cattle in catastrophic numbers had on rural Africans. Can you wonder that Africans made a connection between drought, locusts, and rinderpest and the West? But worse was to come: the reappearance of the tse-tse fly. As the cattle died off, in just a few years the "big animals" regained dominance of savanna and sahel; and they were ideal hosts to the tse tse fly, purveyor of the deadly killer, sleeping sickness. Wild hosts carry but are immune to trypanasomiasis; cattle and humans are not immune.

image source < http://www.yalescientific.org/2013/05/waking-up-to-the-mechanism-of-african-sleeping-sickness-serendipitous-discovery-yields-new-clues-for-prevention/ >

200,000 humans died in the sleeping sickness epidemic of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; cattle deaths from sleeping sickness were not counted as the rinderpest was going on at the same time.

image source < http://www.yalescientific.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Cattle.jpg >

As the Reader packet told you, Africans both resisted and rebelled against European annexations.
The weapons disparity rendered rebellion desperate and hopeless.
The Maxim gun and the Berlin Conference's prohibition on sale of weapons drove Africans to 3 strategies:
collaborate; fight to make a bargain and negotiate a better deal; fight to the death.
Ashanti in West Africa and the Zulu in southern Africa fought hard to earn a
better deal, but both were unsuccessful.
More later on the Zulu.
European forces took full advantage of African recruits. Senegalese mercenaries
fought under French or Afro-French officers all over French West Africa;
Germans employed Askaris to suppress rebels;
the King's African Rifles served the same purpose for Britain (Laumann 47).

Southern Africa--present day South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana--offered, on the whole, good land, good climate, and good opportunity for financial gain to British settlers. The agriculturalists and pastoralists who lived on the savanna and sahel were already suffering from the natural calamities described above. British settlers needed workers for their farms, fields, and factories; authorities imposed poll and hut taxes on them. A Shona priestess (Nyakasikama) claimed to be the medium for the lion spirit Nehanda and took on the spirit's name, Nehanda. At first, Nehanda and her followers tried collaboration with the settlers, but the taxes and attacks on her Shona culture led her to rebellion. She, with her ally Kaguvi, launched an insurrection against the hated taxes and blamed the British for the drought, locusts, and rinderpest. In the rebellion that rocked the area, 1896-1897, superior British firepower triumphed. Nehanda and Kaguvi were captured, tried, and hanged for treason. Mbuya ("grandmother") Nehanda remains a folk hero in Zimbabwe, to this day.

image source < http://www.sundaymail.co.zw/?p=17687 >

In the Matumbi Hills of Tanganyika after 1898, German authorities enforced a particularly harsh, authoritarian regime to support cotton plantations and required locals to work on them. German governor Peters was nicknamed "the man with blood on his hands." The prophet Kinjikitile Ngwale claimed to be possessed by the snake spirit and rose to protest the oppressive regime. His anti-German rhetoric and charisma brought followers to his message that maji, magic water, could turn away German bullets. What began in his spirit hut became a "mass movement" in 1905 (Reader 598). Tribal elders yanked up the hated cotton plants, murdered civilians, and spread havoc in the colony. Kinjikitile's capture and execution did not halt the rebellion, but the rain of machine gun bullets could and did (Reader 599-600)

image source, Maji rebels < https://africanhistoryblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/21802137_640.jpg >
Early reports estimated 75,000 died before the rebellion was crushed in 1908, while
more recent scholarship places the numbers closer to 300,000 (Reader 600).

Nehanda and Kaguvi and the Maji rebels were not the only ones who fought back:
a Muslim holyman, the Mahdi, led a jihadist rebellion against British expansion from Egypt into
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, forcing the British to send a major relief expedition
under General Kitchener to rescue Khartoum (in this lopsided struggle, 11,000 Mahdists died,
while only 49 British [and auxiliary troops) lost their lives);
the Ashanti kingdom (as alluded to above earlier) fought the British until 1902
but finally lost their "golden stool" as Basil Davidson described;
the Zulu nation under Cetswayo administered a humiliating defeat to the British
at Isandlwana, leading again to a "full court press" and virtual though not complete
destruction of the Zulu nation;
the Herero resisted Germany in Southwest Africa but succombed to what
has been termed the first genocide of the 20th century--75% of the Herero and Nama
populations died in the implementation of General von Trotha's "extermination
order" (Reader 599, Laumann 49);
Maji Maji millennarianists, as described above in Tanganyika,
fought German machine guns with their magic water;
millennarianists in southern Africa led the "great cattle killing,"
to be discussed later.


Background image source < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scramble_for_Africa >

Curtin, Philip, et al. African History: From Earliest Times to Independence, 2nd ed.
New York and London: Longman, 1995.

Gilbert, Erik and Jonathan Reynolds. Africa in World History. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc., 2004.

Hamshere, C. E. "Stanley's Second African Journey." History Today. October, 1968.

Hargreaves, John D. "The Berlin West Africa Conference." History Today. November, 1984.

Kagan, Donald, et al. The Western Heritage, vol. C, 10th ed. Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2010.

Laumann, Dennis. African World Histories: Colonial Africa (1884-1994.) ed. by Trevor Getz.
New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

MacNeill, Donald G., jr. "Rinderpest, Scourge of Cattle Is Vanquished."
Science Times--The New York Times. 28 June 2011. Online available.
< http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/health/28rinderpest.html?_r=1&ref=science >

Oliver, Roland. The African Experience. New York: Icon Editions, 1991.

Pakenham, Thomas. The Scramble for Africa. New York: Avon Books, 1991.

Reader, John. Africa: The Story of a Continent. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.

Shillington, Kevin. History of Africa. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.

Thompson, Amy Claire. "The Maji Maji Rebellion: German East Africa." African History Blog.
Online available. < https://africanhistoryblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/the-maji-maji-rebellion-german-east-africa/ > or
< http://hebrewvisionnews.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-maji-maji-rebellion-german-east.html >
Although this site is now protected/private, you can learn more about the Maji Maji rebellion by
googling it.