The nineteenth century marked a sort of anarchy in terms of the interest shown by major political powers to Africa. Africa was considered a virgin land that the colonial powers thought of as a route towards a fruitful economic lay down. The complexity of the situation runs deeper than one could think of. To shed light on the matter, King Leopold, a Belgian colonial leader’s desires are considered by many analysts as the major reason for the quest for glory. He is known to have employed imperialism in his political maneuvers. Such economic plans prompted the French to take action. They viewed Leopold’s Ambitions as a threat to their own political agendas (United Nations 18). King Leopold together with a onetime reporter sir Henry Morton Stanley plotted an economic exploitative mission in the Congo Free State. The French were spot on in that they did react by sending Pierre de Brazza to take over the Congo Brazzaville, a bid to nullify the Belgian effect. Portugal on seeing the proceedings renewed their interest in the area particularly citing some treaties signed to between them and Spain as evidence on the matter. French increasing interest in the region saw them form an alliance with Italy, which really blew the Germans off and, in turn, pushed the Germans into participation in the scramble. Something had to be done. This resulted in the Berlin Conference held in 1884.
A general act was laid down after the conference as the super powers tried to share Africa. It was agreed that all European governments had the task of abolishing slavery and in their sphere of influence particularly Black and Islamic slavery. Moreover, King Leopold’s wish to privatize the Congo free state was granted in that the state was declared a property of international Congo society to spice up things, all the European had the liberty to exercise any kind of trade in the Congo basin and Lake Niassa plus all the regions east of the free trade regions. Any Signatory nation present in the meeting could ship freely along the Congo River and the Niger River. It was also stated that any power would have exclusive rights over a sphere of influence only if they had shown total occupation over the region. This was to say that a political agreement had to reach between the region and the local leaders. The power was also supposed to develop the areas of impact fully not just for their political quest, but for the sake of organization and order. Also, any nation willing to pursue a new region had the right to do so provided it was done according to the stipulated legal methods.
The conference just like any other had repercussions which are still felt up to today. Ethnic communities in Africa have found themselves split up among countries that amount to as high as six countries. According to a 1959 study by George Peter Murdock, it is evident that such ethnic mappings have severely hampered the Growth of Africa as a continent. Details accrued in the post-independence period show that civil conflicts have massively arisen among historically portioned ethnic communities.
African culture has been dealt a great blow. Native languages, which formed the core of communication before colonization, have been replaced. Go to any state in Africa today and you will find that all the countries use native colonial languages as their official languages. Their Original Religious beliefs have been washed off, and now all they talk about is Christianity.
The above facts are just a few of the effects of the Berlin Conference that led to colonization of Africa which are still felt nowadays. A lot of studies are being done particularly by anthropologists and some economists on the consequences of the colonial rule on Africa and the world today. The scramble for Africa had adverse effects that are still felt across the globe. The conference was, with no doubt, a major turning point in this planet’s history.
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