Analyze attitudes toward and evaluate the motivations behind the European acquisition of African colonies in the period 1880 to 1914.
Prior to the European takeover of colonies in Africa, Europe had been going through the Industrial Revolution. While European nations had been focusing on building up themselves to become stronger, they began sending missionaries and explorers such as Stanley and Livingston deep into central Africa. European nations soon discovered that there were vast amounts of resources to be found and harvested, and with a different motivation for each nation, they saw that taking over colonies in Africa would give them either a political or economic advantage in Europe.
Many of the European nations had different reasons for wanting to control parts of Africa. Chancellor Otto von Bismark of Germany, speaking to his explorer that returned from Africa, says “My map of Africa is in Europe. Here is Russia and here is France, and we are in the middle. That is my map of Africa” (Doc 3). He argues that he is focusing on Europe and he is only willing to establish colonies because France and Russia are doing it as well. For Britain, Joseph Chamberlain, a politician and reformer, explains during his speech, “to reduce the British Empire to the dimensions of the United Kingdom, half at least of our population would be starved” (Doc 4). Chamberlain claims that developing colonies in Africa is necessary for British population survival. In the book, The Master of the Sea, Eugene-Melchior de Vogue, French diplomat, describes how the European balance of power is now becoming a world balance of power (Doc 10). This means that in order to keep the balance of power, other nations would need to establish colonies in Africa in order to stay important.
Out of those reason there were some European nations that believed would gain a political advantage by taking territories in Africa. Prince Leopold, future king of Belgium, during a conversation