Did the British Empire Improve Lives in Africa?

Topics: Atlantic slave trade, Slavery, Africa Pages: 3 (869 words) Published: October 4, 2009
Did the British Empire improve people’s lives in Africa?

I will start off by defining the terms of this essay. ‘Improve’, in this context, means the African people’s lives developing and the standard of living getting better.

The British Empire in Africa was vast. It included lands in North Africa, such as Egypt, much of West Africa, and huge territories in Southern and East Africa. British rule had a huge impact on the lives of millions of Africans.

Before the British rule in Africa, African people were poor. They did not have proper towns, just little villages. They had no means of transport and no education. They had no or little knowledge about medications. It was merely uncivilized.

The Scramble for Africa was the proliferation of conflicting Europeans claiming territory in Africa during the New Imperialism period, between 1876 and World War I in 1914. There were many causes for the Scramble for Africa. The main cause was economic. Africa was a country rich in natural resources and Europeans (including the British) wanted to gain the raw materials which Africa was full of. Africa had resources to offer such as rubber and copper and riches such as ivory, gold and diamonds which initially attracted European powers to colonise Africa and earn profits. European countries realised that by captivating African resources and riches they could establish trade with other countries for other materials and resources. Also, Europeans believed that the tropics had perfect weather for farming and growing cash crops such as cocoa in Ghana and tea and coffee in Kenya. However, it reached a point when nations grabbed land just to keep up with the others. The King of Belgium took a large area around the Congo River saying, “I did not want to miss a chance of getting a piece of this African cake.”The scramble for Africa was not beneficial to Africans as they were often exploited and disrespected. The slave trade soon followed.

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