What Caused the Scramble for Africa?
Why was Africa so rapidly colonized?
By Alistair Boddy-Evans
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The Scramble for Africa (1880-1900) was a period of rapid colonization of the African continent by European powers. But it wouldn't have happened except for the particular economic, social, and military evolution Europe was going through.
Before the Scramble for Africa -- Europeans in Africa up to the 1880s By the beginning of the 1880s only a small part of Africa was under European rule, and that area was largely restricted to the coast and a short distance inland along major rivers such as the Niger and the Congo.
Britain had Freetown in Sierra Leone, forts along the coast of The Gambia, a presence at Lagos, the Gold Coast protectorate, and a fairly major set of colonies in Southern Africa (Cape Colony, Natal, and the Transvaal which it had annexed in 1877).
Southern Africa also had the independent Boer Oranje-Vrystaat (Orange Free State).
France had settlements at Dakar and St Louis in Senegal and had penetrated a fair distance up the river Senegal, the Assinie and Grand Bassam regions of Cote d'Ivoire, a protectorate over the coastal...
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