Africans in the Berlin Conference

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Africans in the Berlin Conference

The Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 established most of the borders of contemporary nation-states on the African continents today. The Conference set in motion the “scramble for Africa.” Out of the 14 African states no African leader was present at the conference to assert claims to territory and to agree to regulations on trading. Five of the states at the conference did not even end up with any colonies but had more of a say than all the African leaders. The boundaries in Africa, drawn during the Berlin Conference, greatly attributed to the political unrest in Africa. During the Berlin Conference all the participants signed a notion that said they could not have colonies unless they have full control of the territory they encompassed. The European powers had to send expeditionary forces to pacify what were called their African “spheres of influence.” This process was bloody and ugly due to the amount of Africans fighting back. These pacifications lasted all the way up to World War 1. These uprisings caused anarchy in some places in Africa. Only Ethiopia successfully kept their freedom militarily. But all across Africa, hundreds of polities large, and small fought to destroy these superimposed boundaries. Pre-existing political entities found themselves arbitrarily or deliberately divided in two, three, or even four parts. The main Hausa territories were split between French Niger and British Nigeria, the Maasai suddenly had to practice nomadic pastoralism across a line between German and British East Africa. Conflicts in Africa could definitely were partly caused by boundaries drawn during the Berlin Conference. Uganda’s numerous civil conflicts are pure evidence. Also the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1971 can partly be traced back to the Berlin Conference. Conflicts between states also can be traced to the Conference because of the ridiculous political geography they put in place. Examples of these conflicts are Cameroon and...
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