African Imperialism

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Prior to 1880, European rule in the African continent had mostly been restricted to the coast, extending a short distance inland along major rivers due to their economic interests being primarily limited to the slave trade. The start of the 1880’s saw massive increase of European nations seeking territory in Africa. Europeans seeking rights to land, resources, and trading routes in Africa had to compete with other nations, corporations, and African natives. In order to gain these rights from the native people, Europeans would make unfair treaties and contracts with African tribes that took advantage of their, land, resources, and people. The title of the source, “Controlling Africa-The Standard Treaty” implies that this contract was used as a standard operating procedure by the Royal Niger Company to control the land, resources, and people of African tribes. The language and formality of the document is very biased towards the Royal Niger Company and it mentions that the Royal Niger Company will pay native land owners for the land they require, so I would conclude that the Royal Niger Company was operated by Europeans. In return for ceding the power to mine, farm, and build on their land tribes received protection, payment to landowners, and a set payment to the Chiefs. Tribe leaders were probably not educated well enough to understand exactly what they were signing away in this contract and therefore likely did not receive any of these promises from the Royal Niger Company or were possibly lied to about the terms and conditions of the contract. European Imperialism occurred for many reasons, one being the desire for territories. The more territory you controlled the more power and prestige your country had. Exploration was another reason for European Imperialism. Wealthy sponsors who wanted details of markets, goods, and resources renewed interest in exploration by funding expeditions whose purpose was to create and report records of said details. Control of...
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