Berlin Conference
Overview
 
The Berlin Conference ( or "Congo Conference") of 1884–85 regulated European colonization
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

 and trade in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 during the New Imperialism
New Imperialism
New Imperialism refers to the colonial expansion adopted by Europe's powers and, later, Japan and the United States, during the 19th and early 20th centuries; expansion took place from the French conquest of Algeria until World War I: approximately 1830 to 1914...

 period, and coincided with Germany's sudden emergence as an imperial power. Called for by Portugal
Kingdom of Portugal
The Kingdom of Portugal was Portugal's general designation under the monarchy. The kingdom was located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula, Europe and existed from 1139 to 1910...

 and organized by Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

, first Chancellor of Germany, its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, is often seen as the formalisation of the Scramble for Africa
Scramble for Africa
The Scramble for Africa, also known as the Race for Africa or Partition of Africa was a process of invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period, between 1881 and World War I in 1914...

. The conference ushered in a period of heightened colonial activity on the part of the European powers, while simultaneously eliminating most existing forms of African autonomy
Autonomy
Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision...

 and self-governance.
By the early 1800s, the European sovereigns, both Catholic and Protestant, as well as the the United States of America, had developed over the course of several centuries an accepted code concerning the rights, obligations, and liberties of the sovereigns and their subjects in relation to one another, as well as with other foreign powers.
Encyclopedia
The Berlin Conference ( or "Congo Conference") of 1884–85 regulated European colonization
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

 and trade in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 during the New Imperialism
New Imperialism
New Imperialism refers to the colonial expansion adopted by Europe's powers and, later, Japan and the United States, during the 19th and early 20th centuries; expansion took place from the French conquest of Algeria until World War I: approximately 1830 to 1914...

 period, and coincided with Germany's sudden emergence as an imperial power. Called for by Portugal
Kingdom of Portugal
The Kingdom of Portugal was Portugal's general designation under the monarchy. The kingdom was located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula, Europe and existed from 1139 to 1910...

 and organized by Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

, first Chancellor of Germany, its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, is often seen as the formalisation of the Scramble for Africa
Scramble for Africa
The Scramble for Africa, also known as the Race for Africa or Partition of Africa was a process of invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period, between 1881 and World War I in 1914...

. The conference ushered in a period of heightened colonial activity on the part of the European powers, while simultaneously eliminating most existing forms of African autonomy
Autonomy
Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision...

 and self-governance.

Early history of the conference

By the early 1800s, the European sovereigns, both Catholic and Protestant, as well as the the United States of America, had developed over the course of several centuries an accepted code concerning the rights, obligations, and liberties of the sovereigns and their subjects in relation to one another, as well as with other foreign powers. Aside from Oriental powers long familiar with the European civilization such as Shah of Persia, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, the Indian Princely States, and the Manchu Empire
Manchu Empire
Manchu Empire may refer to:*Qing Dynasty , 1644–1912*Manchukuo , 1932–1945...

, these customs were held in equality only among the Western Sovereigns. Other states such as the Ottoman Empire, also had their own customs which treated Europeans as inferior, thereby forcing the Europeans into establishing various public limited liability companies to limit losses due to the capriciousness of the foreign sovereigns, as well as providing semi-civil frameworks for representing whites in extra-territorial courts. Africa, was considered outside of this sphere and was treated in diplomacy the same manner as the New World Indians. Thus, by the middle 1800s, the Continent was considered disputed territory ripe for exploration, trade, settlement, and diplomacy. However, due to the vital interests of other areas, the Continent except for the traditional posts along the coasts was essentially ignored. But, this state changed as a result of the machinations of King Leopold of Belgium's desire for glory.

In 1878, King Léopold II of Belgium
Leopold II of Belgium
Leopold II was the second king of the Belgians. Born in Brussels the second son of Leopold I and Louise-Marie of Orléans, he succeeded his father to the throne on 17 December 1865 and remained king until his death.Leopold is chiefly remembered as the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free...

, who had previously founded the International African Society in 1876, invited Stanley to join him. The International African Society had the goal of researching and 'civilizing' the continent. In 1878, the International Congo Society
International Congo Society
The International Association of the Congo, also known as the International Congo Society , was an association founded on November 17, 1879 by Leopold II of Belgium to further his interests in the Congo. It replaced the Belgian Committee for studies of High-Congo , which was part of the Association...

 was also formed, having more economic goals, but still closely related to the former society. Léopold secretly bought off the foreign investors in the Congo Society, which was turned to imperialistic
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 goals, with the African Society serving primarily as a philanthropic front. As a result of the intelligence collected it was discovered the area offered untold riches. Thus, from 1879 to 1885, Stanley returned to the Congo, this time not as a reporter, but as an envoy from Léopold to the local petty Black African despots, with the secret mission to organize a Congo state, which would become known as the Congo Free State
Congo Free State
The Congo Free State was a large area in Central Africa which was privately controlled by Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Its origins lay in Leopold's attracting scientific, and humanitarian backing for a non-governmental organization, the Association internationale africaine...

. In the meantime, French intelligence had discovered Leopold's plans and was quickly engaging in its own colonial exploration. French marine officer Pierre de Brazza
Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza
Pietro Paolo Savorgnan di Brazzà, best known as Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de Brazza , was a Franco-Italian explorer, born in Italy and later naturalized Frenchman...

 was dispatched to central Africa, traveled into the western Congo basin and raised the French flag over the newly-founded Brazzaville
Brazzaville
-Transport:The city is home to Maya-Maya Airport and a railway station on the Congo-Ocean Railway. It is also an important river port, with ferries sailing to Kinshasa and to Bangui via Impfondo...

 in 1881, in what is currently the Republic of Congo. Finally, already having a long, but essentially abandoned colonial Empire in the area through the mostly defunct proxy state Kongo Empire, also claimed the area due to old treaties with its old proxy, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. It quickly, made a treaty with its old ally, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 on 26 February 1884 to block off the Congo Society's access to the Atlantic.

As a result of these diplomatic maneuvers and the subsequent colonial exploration expedition, by the early 1880s due to Africa's abundance of valuable resources such as gold, timber, land, markets and labour power. European interest in Africa increased dramatically. Henry Morton Stanley
Henry Morton Stanley
Sir Henry Morton Stanley, GCB, born John Rowlands , was a Welsh journalist and explorer famous for his exploration of Africa and his search for David Livingstone. Upon finding Livingstone, Stanley allegedly uttered the now-famous greeting, "Dr...

's charting of the Congo River
Congo River
The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of . It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon...

  Basin (1874–1877) removed the last bit of terra incognita
Terra incognita
Terra incognita or terra ignota is a term used in cartography for regions that have not been mapped or documented. The expression is believed to be first seen in Ptolemy’s Geography circa 150 CE...

 from European maps of the continent thereby delineating the rough areas of British, Portuguese, French, and Belgium control. The remaining race was therefore left to pushing this rough boundaries to their furthest limits and eliminating any potential local minor powers which might prove troublesome through other European competitive diplomacy. Thus, France moved to occupy Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, one of the last of the Barbary Pirate states under the pretext of another Islamic terror and piracy
Piracy
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

 incident. French claims by Peirre de Brazza, were quickly solidified with French taking control of today's Republic of the Congo in 1881 and also Guinea
Guinea
Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

 in 1884. This in turn, partly convinced Italy to become part of the Triple Alliance
Triple Alliance (1882)
The Triple Alliance was the military alliance between Germany, Austria–Hungary, and Italy, , that lasted from 1882 until the start of World War I in 1914...

, thereby upsetting Bismark's carefully laid plans with Italy and forcing Germany to become involved. In 1882, realizing the geopolitical extent of Portuguese control on the coasts, but seeing penetration by France eastward across Central Africa toward Ethiopia, the Nile, and the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

, saw its vital trade route through Egypt and its Indian Empire threatened. Thus, under the pretext of the collapsed Egyptian financing and a subsequent riot which killed hundreds of Europeans and British subjects murdered or injured, the United Kingdom intervened in nominally Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, which in turn ruled over the Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 and what would later become British Somaliland
British Somaliland
British Somaliland was a British protectorate in the northern part of present-day Somalia. For much of its existence, British Somaliland was bordered by French Somaliland, Ethiopia, and Italian Somaliland. From 1940 to 1941, it was occupied by the Italians and was part of Italian East Africa...

.

Conference

Owing to the upsetting of Bismark's carefully laid balance of power in European politics caused by Leopold's gamble and subsequent European race for colonies, Germany felt compelled to act and started launching expeditions of its own which both frightened British and French statesmen. Hoping to quickly smother this brewing conflict, King Leopold II was able to convince France and Germany that common trade in Africa was in the best interests of all three countries. Under support from the British and the initiative of Portugal, Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

, German Chancellor, called on representatives of Austria–Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Sweden-Norway (union until 1905), the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to take part in the Berlin Conference to work out policy. However, the United States did not actually participate in the conference both because it had an inability to take part in an territorial expeditions as well as a sense of not giving the conference further legitimacy.

General Act

The General Act fixed the following points:
  • To gain public acceptance a primary point of the conference was the ending of slavery by Black and Islamic powers. Thus, an international prohibition of the slave trade throughout their respected spheres was signed by the European members. It was primarily because of this point that Joseph Conrad
    Joseph Conrad
    Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

     sarcastically referred to the conference as "the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs" in his novella Heart of Darkness
    Heart of Darkness
    Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad. Before its 1903 publication, it appeared as a three-part series in Blackwood's Magazine. It was classified by the Modern Library website editors as one of the "100 best novels" and part of the Western canon.The story centres on Charles...

    .
  • The Free State of the Congo
    Congo Free State
    The Congo Free State was a large area in Central Africa which was privately controlled by Leopold II, King of the Belgians. Its origins lay in Leopold's attracting scientific, and humanitarian backing for a non-governmental organization, the Association internationale africaine...

     was confirmed as private property of the Congo Society thereby ensuring that Leopold's promises to keep the country open to all European investment was retained. Thus the territory of today's Democratic Republic of the Congo
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

    , some two million square kilometers, was made essentially the property of Léopold II, but later would eventually become a Belgian colony).
  • The 14 signatory powers would have free trade throughout the Congo basin as well as Lake Niassa and east of this in an area south of 5° N.
  • The Niger
    Niger River
    The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending about . Its drainage basin is in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea...

     and Congo River
    Congo River
    The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of . It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon...

    s were made free for ship traffic.
  • A Principle of Effectivity (see below) was introduced to stop powers setting up colonies in name only.
  • Any fresh act of taking possession of any portion of the African coast would have to be notified by the power taking possession, or assuming a protectorate
    Protectorate
    In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

    , to the other signatory powers.
  • Which regions each European power had an exclusive right to 'pursue' the legal ownership of land (legal in the eyes of the other European powers).


The first reference in an international act to the obligations attaching to "spheres of influence" is contained in the Berlin Act.

David Olusoga's views

To counter the argument that Africa's modern day borders were strategically planned and dictated to the benefit of European powers, Olusoga and Erichsen states the following:

Principle of Effectivity

The Principle of Effectivity stated that powers could hold colonies only if they actually possessed them: in other words, if they had treaties with local leaders, if they flew their flag there, and if they established an administration in the territory to govern it with a police force to keep order (see Uti Possidetis
Uti possidetis
Uti possidetis is a principle in international law that territory and other property remains with its possessor at the end of a conflict, unless otherwise provided for by treaty; if such a treaty doesn't include conditions regarding the possession of property and territory taken during the war,...

). The colonial power also had to make use of the colony economically. If the colonial power did not do these things, another power could do so and take over the territory. It therefore became important to get leaders to sign a protectorate treaty and to have a presence sufficient to police the area.

Agenda

  • Portugal - Britain The Portuguese government presented a project, known as the "Pink Map
    Pink Map
    The Pink Map was a document representing Portugal's claim of sovereignty over the land between Angola and Mozambique, which today is currently Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.The Pink Map collided with Sir Cecil Rhodes' "Cape to Cairo Red Line"...

    " (also called the "Rose-Colored Map"), in which the colonies of Angola and Mozambique were united by co-option of the intervening territory (land that later became Zambia
    Zambia
    Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

    , Zimbabwe
    Zimbabwe
    Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

    , and Malawi
    Malawi
    The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Its size...

    .) All of the countries attending the conference, except for the United Kingdom, endorsed Portugal's ambitions. A little more than five years later, in 1890, the British government, in breach of the Treaty of Windsor (and of the Treaty of Berlin itself), issued an ultimatum
    British Ultimatum
    The 1890 British Ultimatum was an ultimatum by the British government delivered on 11 January 1890 to Portugal in breach of the Treaty of Windsor of 1386...

     demanding that the Portuguese withdraw from the disputed area.

  • France - Britain A line running from Say
    Say, Niger
    Say is a town in southwest Niger, situated on the Niger River. It is the capital of the Say Department in the Tillabéri Region. The municipality has 12,000 inhabitants, and its economy is dominated by agriculture, herding and small trade.-Overview:...

     in Niger
    Niger
    Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

     to Baroua, on the north-east coast of Lake Chad
    Lake Chad
    Lake Chad is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in Africa, whose size has varied over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998; yet it also states that "the 2007 ...

     determined what part belonged to whom. France would own territory to the north of this line, and the United Kingdom would own territory to the south of it. The Nile
    Nile
    The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

     Basin would be British, with the French taking the basin of Lake Chad
    Lake Chad
    Lake Chad is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in Africa, whose size has varied over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998; yet it also states that "the 2007 ...

    . Furthermore, between the 11th
    11th parallel north
    The 11th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 11 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, the Indian Ocean, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, South America and the Atlantic Ocean....

     and 15th degrees
    15th parallel north
    The 15th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 15 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

     latitude
    Latitude
    In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

    , the border would pass between Ouaddaï
    Ouaddai Kingdom
    The Ouaddai Empire was originally a non-Muslim kingdom, located to the east of Lake Chad in present-day Chad...

    , which would be French, and Darfur
    Darfur
    Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...

     in Sudan
    Sudan
    Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

    , to be British. In reality, a no man's land
    No man's land
    No man's land is a term for land that is unoccupied or is under dispute between parties that leave it unoccupied due to fear or uncertainty. The term was originally used to define a contested territory or a dumping ground for refuse between fiefdoms...

     200 kilometres wide was put in place between the 21st
    21st meridian east
    The meridian 21° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

     and 23rd meridians
    23rd meridian east
    The meridian 23° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

    .

  • France - Germany The area to the north of a line formed by the intersection of the 14th meridian
    14th meridian east
    The meridian 14° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

     and Miltou was designated French, that to the south being German.

  • Britain - Germany The separation came in the form of a line passing through Yola
    Yola, Nigeria
    Yola is the capital city and administrative center of Adamawa State, Nigeria. Located on the Benue River, it has a population of 88,500 . Established in 1841, Yola was the capital of a Fulani state until it was taken by the British in 1901. Daytime temperatures can easily exceed during the dry...

    , on the Benoué
    Bénoué
    Bénoué is a department of North Province in Cameroon. The department covers an area of 13,614 km² and as of 2001 had a total population of 568,793...

    , Dikoa, going up to the extremity of Lake Chad
    Lake Chad
    Lake Chad is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in Africa, whose size has varied over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998; yet it also states that "the 2007 ...

    .

  • France - Italy Italy was to own what lies north of a line from the intersection of the Tropic of Cancer
    Tropic of Cancer
    The Tropic of Cancer, also referred to as the Northern tropic, is the circle of latitude on the Earth that marks the most northerly position at which the Sun may appear directly overhead at its zenith...

     and the 17th meridian
    17th meridian east
    The meridian 17° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

     to the intersection of the 15th parallel
    15th parallel north
    The 15th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 15 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

     and 21st meridian
    21st meridian east
    The meridian 21° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

    .

Consequences

The conference provided an opportunity to both channel latent European hostilities towards one another outward, provide new areas for helping the European powers expand in the face of rising American, Russian, and Japanese interests, and form constructive dialogue for limiting future hostilities. For Africans, colonialism was introduced across nearly all the continent. When African independence was regained after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, it was in the form of fragmented states.

The Scramble for Africa
Scramble for Africa
The Scramble for Africa, also known as the Race for Africa or Partition of Africa was a process of invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period, between 1881 and World War I in 1914...

 sped up after the Conference, since even within areas designated as their sphere of influence, the European powers still had to take possession under the Principle of Effectivity. In central Africa in particular, expeditions were dispatched to coerce traditional rulers into signing treaties, using force if necessary, as for example in the case of Msiri, King of Katanga, in 1891. Bedouin and Berber ruled slave states in the Sahara and Sub-Sahara were overrun by the French in several wars by the beginning of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The British moved up from South Africa and down from Egypt putting down Arabic slave states such as the Mad Mahdi and the Sultanate of Zanzibar or defeated the despotism of the Zuli Kingdom in South Africa, before finishing off the independent Afrikaaner republics of Transvaal
Transvaal
The Transvaal is the name of an area of northern South Africa. The land originally comprised most of the independent Boer South African Republic, which had existed since 1856, despite two previous attempts by the British of varying success to establish supremacy...

 and Orange Free State
Orange Free State
The Orange Free State was an independent Boer republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, and later a British colony and a province of the Union of South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province...

.

Within a few years, Africa was at least nominally divided up south of the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

. By 1895, the only independent states were:
  • Liberia
    Liberia
    Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

    , founded with the support of the United States for returned slaves;
  • Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
    Ethiopian Empire
    The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia and Eritrea covers, and included in its peripheries Zeila, Djibouti, Yemen and Western Saudi Arabia...

    , the only free native state, which fended off Italian invasion from Eritrea
    Eritrea
    Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

     in what is known as the First Italo-Abyssinian War
    First Italo-Abyssinian War
    The First Italo-Ethiopian War was fought between Italy and Ethiopia from 1895 to 1896. Ethiopia's military victory over Italy secured it the distinction of being the only African nation to successfully resist European colonialism with a decisive show of force.-Background:On March 25, 1889, the...

     of 1889-1896.


The following states lost their independence to the British Empire roughly a decade after (see below for more information):
  • Orange Free State
    Orange Free State
    The Orange Free State was an independent Boer republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, and later a British colony and a province of the Union of South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province...

    , a Boer
    Boer
    Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer, which came to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century, as well as those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State,...

     republic founded by Dutch settlers;
  • South African Republic
    South African Republic
    The South African Republic , often informally known as the Transvaal Republic, was an independent Boer-ruled country in Southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Not to be confused with the present-day Republic of South Africa, it occupied the area later known as the South African...

     (Transvaal), also a Boer republic;


By 1902, 90% of all the land that makes up Africa was under European control. The large part of the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 was French, while after the quelling of the Mahdi rebellion
Muhammad Ahmad
Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah was a religious leader of the Samaniyya order in Sudan who, on June 29, 1881, proclaimed himself as the Mahdi or messianic redeemer of the Islamic faith...

 and the ending of the Fashoda crisis
Fashoda Incident
The Fashoda Incident was the climax of imperial territorial disputes between Britain and France in Eastern Africa. A French expedition to Fashoda on the White Nile sought to gain control of the Nile River and thereby force Britain out of Egypt. The British held firm as Britain and France were on...

, the Sudan remained firmly under joint British–Egyptian rulership with Egypt
Khedivate of Egypt
The Khedivate of Egypt was an autonomous tributary state of the Ottoman Empire.- Rise of Muhammad Ali :The Egypt Eyalet was an eyalet of the Ottoman Empire. The eyalet was ruled locally by the Mamluk military caste and their various beys , who started to fight amongst themselves for control of...

 being under British occupation before becoming a British protectorate
Sultanate of Egypt
The Sultanate of Egypt is the name of the short-lived protectorate that the United Kingdom imposed over Egypt between 1914 and 1922.-History:...

 in 1914.

The Boer republics were conquered by the United Kingdom in the Boer war
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 from 1899 to 1902. Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 was divided between the French and Spanish in 1911, and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

was conquered by Italy in 1912. The official British annexation of Egypt in 1914 ended the colonial division of Africa.

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