Establishment of Colonialism | History Form Three

Black pen and a note book.

Colonialism Is the practice by which a powerful country directly controls less powerful countries and uses their resources to increase its own power and wealth.

Scramble for and Partition of Africa

Scramble is a competition among European powers to obtaining colonies.
Partition: This was a process of dividing colonies to their respective colonial masters. This acts as a solution for the scramble of Africa.
Periodisation: Scramble for Africa started more in 1870s while involving different European countries.

Causes of the Scramble for Africa Leading to Partition

1.   Prestige (pride) of the nations
European nations scrambled for the colonies because it was prestige for a country having many colonies. Also, it was considered as a sign of power.
2.   Industrial Revolution
The revolution led to the demand of raw materials from Africa hence competition among the European nations to obtain many colonies as possible in Africa.
Industry needed: Area for investment, raw materials, market and labor.
3.   Religious factor
European claims that, they were competing to dominate Africa so as to civilize them as they thought that Africans were uncivilized. Also they needed to spread Christianity religion.
4.   Need for employment:
Due to the industrial revolution in Europe, the people were replaced by the machine and become jobless. This pushed the Europeans to come in Africa searching for a job.
5.   The scientific research:
The Europeans had curiosity to know how the interior of Africa, they needed to observe the African people culture and nature.
6.   The Franco Prussian War:
This was the war between France and Prussia  which led to the loss of Alsace and Lorraine of France to Prussian. This pushed France to come in Africa to occupy some territories for the compensations.

Why Some Areas in Africa Experienced More Intensive Scramble than Others

1.   Some areas were potential for agriculture
The objective of controlling African continent was for the exploitation of agriculture raw materials. European countries occupied areas with soil fertility and enough rainfall. Example of areas which were potential for agricultural raw materials includes Niger basin, Congo basin, Zimbabwe, Nile valley, Kenya highlands and Nyasaland. Nations involved in the scramble includes; Britain, Portugal, Belgium and France.
2.   Areas with accessibility to the interior
Important areas which involved navigable rivers like Nile River, Congo basin and Niger, which were economically important to the extent to attract many imperialistic powers. Example Niger basin scrambled by different powers like German, Britain and France. Also Congo basin was important because of its accessibility to the interior where agricultural and mineral potential found. It involved France, Portugal and Belgium.
3.   Because of mineral potential to some areas
African areas which had availability of minerals were scrambled than others, since European wanted minerals like diamond, gold, copper etc, which were needed as raw materials in the European industries. The places like Nigeria and Angola scrambled by countries like Britain, France, German and Portugal.
4.   Areas with high population
The populated areas attracted Europeans since they were very important for provision of reliable market as well as to supply enough labor. This area includes Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon and Gold Coast. European nations like German, France and Britain were scrambled for the region.
5.   The strategic areas
This includes, Egypt which was very potential area for both strategic and economic purposes. This area becomes more important after opening of Suez Canal in 1869. Britain and France involved in construction Suez Canal. The European nations struggled over Egypt were Britain and France, Latter Britain was able to colonize Egypt.

Impact of the scramble for and partition of Africa

1.   Colonization of Africa
Africa was colonized because this conference legitimized European nations to colonize. African societies lost their independence and they started fighting for their lost independence. For instance, the Gold Coast which became a British colony in 1901 had to fight for their independence till 6th March, 1957 when she became independent.
2.   Conflicts among African countries
This is because of poor demarcation of the territories in Africa by the Europeans. There are various border disputes between African states which can sometimes degenerate into wars. The conflict between Mali and Burkina Faso over the Agacher strip, where the Bobo resides illustrates the problems caused by the poor demarcation of boarders. Another instance is the conflict between Nigeria and Cameroon over the Bakassi peninsular. All these are proofs of conflicts as a result of the poor demarcation of boarders among the African countries by the Europeans.
3.   It separated the same communities into two different countries
There are some communities such as the Maasai, who found themselves in two different countries. for example, there are Tanzanian maasai and kenya maasai. There are also Malawian Nyasa and Tanzanian Nyasa. There are also Tanzanians Luo and kenyas Luo.
4.   Exploitation of the natural resources of Africans
The Europeans at the time of colonization had no interest in developing the colonies but continued to exploit the people’s natural resources to serve as raw materials for European industries whilst the people had little or no benefits from their own natural resources. In the Gold Coast, timber, cocoa, cotton, oil palm and minerals were sent to feed European industries at lower prices and yielded very high prices when converted to finished products and brought to Africa.
5.   Occurrence of first world war
Some nations were not satisfied with the number of given colonies. For example, Germany was dissatisfied with the number of colonies given to him and this led to the outbreak of the First World War.
6.   accelerated the construction and development of infrastructure
Those infrastructures are: schools, hospitals, roads and bridges.

The Berlin Conference

The Berlin conference was a meeting held in Berlin that was called by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of Germany. The meeting took place between November 1884 and February 1885. 14 European countries were represented at this conference. USA and Denmark attended the conference as observers. Members in this meeting drew out a map of Africa ready for partition.


Explain the events leading to the Berlin conference of 1884-1885.

The Resolutions of the Berlin Conference

European powers, at a Berlin meeting, they agreed to the following resolutions:
1. To abolish slave trade on their colonies.
2. They agreed to send a lot of missionaries, traders and explorers on their respective colonies.
3. They were required to stop or to make an end of resistances that occurred between Africans and colonial government.
4. They were required to have effective control of their colonies e.g. by building/constructing social services.
5. Colonial masters were required to notify other on the possession of colonies.
6. They agreed to have free navigation on the navigable rivers like Congo, Nigeria etc.
7. They were required to establish colonial economy.

Significance of Berlin Conference to Africa

1.   It resolved Europeans conflict over Africa.
2.   It speeded the partition of Africa.
3.   It opened African continent for colonization.
4.   Setting of colonial boundaries in Africa.
5.   It promoted unity and cooperation among European powers.
6.   It avoided slave trade.

Tactics Used to Impose Colonial Rule in Africa

Europeans used different tactics to introduce colonialism in Africa: These techniques were depending on the nature of colonial Government and Africans. They included:
1.   Treaty making
These were bogus agreements that were signed by European agents and African rulers. African rulers signed without understanding what they were signing or what the agreement meant. On signing these treaties, African rulers were promised to be given luxurious things by the Europeans.
Examples of these treaties:
Carl Peters signed a treaty with the chief of Usagara, Kilosa, Pangani etc.
French Lochner (BSACO) signed a treaty with Lewanika (N. Rhodesia 1860).
Moffat signed with Lobengula on taking Matebele land while Lobengula was promised to be given: £ 100 £ 500 (instead of gunboat) 100 Rifles.
Savognan De Brazza signed with Makoko Chief (Congo Brazzaville) 1881 –1882.
2.   Forces/ violence
This was a method, which involved the use of weapons to occupy colonies. The method was highly used in the strongest African societies. Example: Germany Vs. Hehe, Germany Vs. Abushiri and the Coastal people, Germany Vs. Bwana Heri and Coastal people and Germany Vs. Mahemba and Yao.
3.   Collaboration (Alliance)
In this method Europeans tended to form an alliance with some African societies to oppose other Africans.
The method was used on those areas with conflict. Example:
Mangi Marealle and Germany against other Africans. E.g. Mangi Sina, Mangi Meli, Sangu, Bena and Germany Vs. Hehe, Shona and the British against Ndebele (Matebele), Herero and Germany against Nama.

African reaction to colonial rule

Reaction means response to something. Africans reacted against colonial rule.

Forms of African reaction

1. Active resistance
Active resistance was a kind of resistance whereby Africans decided to take weapons to fight against the occupation of the whites. For example, Hehe fought Germany and Nandi fought British.
2. Passive resistance
Passive resistance was a form of Africans resistance whereby Africans did not fight actively, but they had no cooperation with the colonial government. For example, the Hadzabe and Tindiga of Tanzania who were very far from the Europeans, resisted passively.
3. Collaboration or adaptive resistance
Some Africans allied with the Europeans, such chiefs were: Marealle of Marangu, Merere of Sangu and chief Kahigi of Buhaya.
In Uganda, Semei Kakunguru and Apolo Kagwa allied with the British.
They did this so that they could not be ruled by whites, and also, so that they could get protection against their enemies.

Factors which determined the nature of African resistance

Some societies resisted actively, passively and others collaborated. Those who collaborated, fought actively and passive resistance, were influenced by the following reasons:
1. The level of development
Society which achieved great development such as weapons like gun, strong leaders and high production, decided to fight. Nyamwezi under Isike, Yao under Machemba had developed during the 19th Century, so they had to fight actively.
2. Ignorance of some rulers
Some rulers were ignorant about the Europeans ambitions. They thought that European could be friend who could provide them with security and presents. Communities which cooperated with the Europeans like the Sangu and Bena, were ignorant and did not know the true purpose of whites.
3. Missionaries presence
Missionaries urged their converts to refrain from resisting because that action was sin. Semei Kakunguru of Buganda allied with the British because of this reason.
4. Individual interest
Those who fought were trying to protect their political positions. African leaders were not ready to relinquish their power. They felt better to fight to protect their leadership rather than accepting colonialism. Mkwawa is an example of African leaders who fought actively to protect their power.
5. The environmental problem
Some communities were unable to fight and decided to cooperate because of environmental problems such as diseases. For example, Maasai in Kenya might have fought against the British, but in 1879 so many people had died of Cholera.

Small Scale Active African Resistance

It was early primary African reaction in which different ethinic groups took up arms against the colonists.

Reasons for Small Scale Active Resistance

- The desire to protect land against the occupation of white men.
- Political interests among the leaders.
- To defend trade routes.

Examples of Small Scale Resistance

In Tanganyika: The coastal resistance under Abushiri and Bwana Heri, Hehe, Yao and Chagga.
In Uganda: Bunyoro under Kabarega in 1893.
In Kenya: Mazrui Dynasty

Large Scale Active African Resistance

Was a form of resistance in which many ethinic groups joined together to fight against colonialists.

Maji maji War in Tanganyika (1905 - 1907)

The war got its name from the Swahili vocabulary maji, which meant magic water that was used by Kinjekitile Ngware from river Rufiji. Kinjekitile gave the Africans fighter’s magic water which he believed could turn the bullets into water.
Tribes which fought this war were: Wamatumbi, Luguru, Mbunga, Pogoro, Zaramo etc.

Reason for the Rise of Maji maji War

1. Compulsory cotton growing
Headmen were ordered to open cotton farms and use their people to work on such farms. The people could not obey this order.
2. Forced labour
Africans were forced to work in plantation, road and railway constructions.
3. Taxation
Africans were forced to pay tax in form of money of 3 rupees. In looking for money to pay tax, men left their families to plantation where they worked under hardship conditions.
4. Land alienation
Germany took Africans land to set up plantation. People remained landless, as a reason they decided to fight.
5. Low wages
The wages failed to satisfy Africans daily needs in colonial system.
6. Colonialism
Colonialism was one of the major causes of uprising.  People of Tanganyika hated the German administration and therefore wished to regain their lost political independence.

Impact of Maji maji War

1. Germans made some reforms in government to avoid another uprising
Reforms made were: abolition of forced labour, reduce of tax and few Africans were appointed to work in German administration.
2. Death of people
More than 120,000 people were killed.
3. Hunger
Crops were uprooted during the war by the German soldiers.
4. It inspired nationalistic leaders such as Julius Kambarage Nyerere
Nyerere gained a lot from the failure of Maji-Maji uprising.  He used these lessons to form a national political party called TANU. It was this TANU that finally led Tanganyika to independence.
5. Confidence in African traditional chiefs was lost
After the failure of Maji maji war, Africans lost their confidence to the medicine men like Kinjekitile because their tactics had failed.  Many Africans lost lives because the magic water could not protect them against the German bullets.
6. The Africans equally learnt a lot from the uprising
Africans realized that the Germans were better organised and militarily superior to them.  They discovered the mistakes in their organisation hence rather than fight, they resorted to use of diplomacy and negotiations with the Germans.  It took long before Africans picked up arms to fight the Germans again.

Why African Resistance Failed?

1. Disunity
Africans did not unite to fight the whites. For example, samori Toure of Mandika asked Ahmadu of Tukolor to join with him to fight the French in West Africa, but Ahmadu rejected to appear.
2. Militarily superiority of the Europeans
They had a well standing army than that of the Africans. They used sophisticated weapons like gun, bombs and modern artillery while Africans used clubs, spear and bows.
3. Poor beliefs
Africans believed in witchcraft instead of fighting. For example, Maji maji fighter believed magic water could turn bullet into water.
4. Natural calamities like famine, drought and epidemics
Natural calamities made people avoid active resistance. For example, the Maasai suffered from Cholera in 1879, so they failed to fight.
5. Betrayal
Some Africans decided to collaborate with the whiteman to attack their fellow Africans. Merere of Usangu allied with Germany to defeat the Hehe in 1873.

Revision questions

1.   What took place in Europe between 1750s and 1850s?
A.  Industrial revolution B. Scramble for Africa C. Mercantile capitalism D. Emergence of slave trade E. Monopoly capitalism
2.   Colonialism was established through?
A.  Post-colonial political changes. B. Violence and coercion C. Piracy and plundering D. revolution and violence E. waylaying and bogus treaties.
3.   Why the Germany colonial agents would not forget the Hehe resistance?
4.   Why some historians consider Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck as the architect of the partition of the African continent?
5.   By using six points, explain how the Berlin Conference of 1884/1885 helped the European countries to prevent war that would have occurred due to the scramble for colonies.
6.   Examine six effects of Majimaji uprising in Tanganganyika.
7.   Who convened the conference which legalized the colonization of Africa?
A.      David Livingstone. B. Carl Peters. C. Otto Von Bismarck. D. Charles Darwin. E. Adolf Hitler.
8. The leader of Chimurenga uprising of 1896-1897 in Rhodesia were:
A.      Mkwati and Kinjekitile B. Siginyamatish and Lobengula. C. Mkwati and Siginyamatish. D. Mkwati and Lobengula. E. Lobengula and Rumunguru.
9. With examples, explain six reasons for African resistances to colonial rule.
10. Outline five significances of Berlin Conference.

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