Discuss the roles played by chartered companies towards total colonization in Africa.
CHARTERED COMPANY ADMINISTRATION
Refers to an association formed by investors or stake holders for the purpose of doing trade, exploration and colonizing colonies.
Historically chartered companies were formed by investors who gave this task to the traders and explorers in Africa to operate trade and commerce for profit maximization.
After being formed, they were granted/ given charter/ legal identification by their mother countries that identified them as official companies which were to represent the interests of the metropolitan. This is why they became known as Chartered Companies.
Before establishing colonial government, European powers gave chartered companies the task of establishing an administration with the purpose of seizing, colonizing and administering the virgin African territories.
Also they were to safeguard the interests of the metropolitan. These companies operated in those areas where their mother nations had economic interest.
COMPANIES IN EAST AFRICA
After the Berlin conference, East Africa came under control of two European powers, these were Germany and Britain. Therefore, the companies, which were operating in those colonies, come from those countries, involved: –
- Germany East Africa Company (G.E.A.CO)
- The imperial British East African Company (I.B.E.A.CO)
THE GERMANY EAST AFRICAN COMPANY (GEACO) 1884 – 1891
This was an organization established at the start of the Germany colonization of East Africa. The company in short, was responsible for the activities in the new colony (German East Africa) such as setting up leadership (administration), future explorations, development of the region etc.
It was founded in 1885 after presentation of a treaty by Karl Peters in Berlin in Feb 1885. It was official identified in 1887.It was succeeded by the German government in 1891. It established Bagamoyo as their colony’s capital but soon moved it to Dar es Salaam.
The founder was Karl Peters who was the most significant figure in the establishment of the company.
The company generally, played a big role in signing treaties with African chiefs in East Africa. The company was also involved in the partition of East Africa where two treaties were involved i.e. Delimitation Treaty ( 1886) and Helgoland Treaty ( 1890). Karl Peters also signed treaties with chiefs like Chief of Usagara, Chief of Uzigua, Chief of Ukamietc
THE IMPERIAL BRITISH EAST AFRICAN COMPANY (IBEACO)
It was a Commercial association formed so as to develop African trade in the areas controlled by the British Colonial power in East Africa.
The origin of I.B.E.A.CO can be traced back to 1856 when William Mackinnon formed a steam ship service in Indian Ocean. In 1862, it was renamed as the British Indian Steam Navigation where in 1886, it was given an imperial charter, and thus it became known as I.B.E.A.CO
In 1888, Sir William Mackinnon and I.B.E.A.CO were authorized to serve as administrator of East Africa Protectorate ( Kenya) which was the area of influence of British East Africa. Generally the company represented and defended the British interest in East Africa.
COMPANIES IN WEST AFRICA
In West Africa there were various chartered companies that were operating for the interests of their mother countries in Europe.
These companies were as follows:-
THE ROYAL NIGER COMPANY (RNC)
This was a British Mercantile Company that involved in Commercial activities in West Africa in the 19th c for the interest of Britain. It was formed by George Goldie in 1879 as the United African Company and it was renamed as the National African Company ( NAC) in 1881.
The company became known as Royal Niger Company (RNC) in 1886 July when the British government granted it a charter and Lord Aberdare became governor while George Goldie became Vice – governor.
The Company dealt with trade, negotiating treaties with African Chiefs and defending the British interests which were in jeopardy from the Germans and French. The Company existed for a comparatively short time (1879 – 1900) but was instrumental in the formation of Colonial Nigeria.
GERMAN WEST AFRICAN COMPANY (GWAC)
This was a German Chartered Company formed so as to safeguard the interests of German and represents the interests of German in West Africa. The company was established in 1885 and given a charter to represent Germany interest in West Africa.
The company operated in Cameroon and Togoland and it influenced Germany to colonize the two countries in West Africa.
COMPANIES IN SOUTH AFRICA
The companies that were operating in this region were as follows:
BRITISH SOUTH AFRICAN COMPANY
This was the British chartered company formed by Cecil Rhodes in order to represent Britain in Southern Africa. The company was formed in 1884 and given a charter to operate in Southern Africa.
The company operated in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana etc.
THE ROLES OF CHARTERD COMPANIES TOWARDS COLONIZATION OF AFRICA
Qn. In which ways the chartered companies influenced colonialism in Africa.
Qn. Why European colonial powers transferred the task of establishing colonial administration to their chartered companies?
Signing of treaties
The company had a task to sign different treaties that would enable their nations to colonize areas in Africa. For examples, a treaty between BSACO and King Lobengula of Matebelele and on 3rd October 1888. Also a treaty between GEACO and Chief Magungo of Msovero in 1884.
Suppressing African Resistances
It was a duty of the companies to suppress all resistances in Africa which were against colonial rule. For examples, GEACO suppressed Hehe Resistance in Tanganyika, IBEACO suppressed Nandi Resistance in Kenya etc.
Abolition of Slave Trade
The Chartered Companies also involved much in the abolition of Slave trade in They abolished Slave trade in order to establish a new trade called Legitimate trade which emphasized an exchange of goods and not slaves.
Exploitation of African Resources
The companies carried out import and export activities in order to exploit the African resources particularly minerals for the industries in the metro For example the B.S.A.CO ensured the exploitation of minerals in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe
Establishment of Chartered Companies also played a big role in establishing and developing economic infrastructures such as roads , railways and ports so as to ensure inports and export. For example, G.E.A.CO established the Central Railway Line in Tanganyika which was constructed from 1893 to 1905 – 1914, I.B.E.A.CO started the construction of a railway line from Uganda to Kisumu in 1896.
Protecting the Boundaries of Colonies
Chartered Companies also protected the boundaries of their colonies by preventing other rival powers from occupying For example: In East Africa G.E.A.CO ( Germany) signed the agreement of 1886 to resolve boundaries conflict between the two powers.
Exploring the Hinterland of Africa
The companies were responsible for exploring the interior of Africa and the resources The information brought by those companies fueled the process of colonization of Africa. For example the Royal Niger Company (RNC) explored Nigeria, Niger and Ghana for the future colonization by the British.
Chartered Companies also were responsible in generating fund through commercial activities so as to finance their administrative activities and For example, the Mozambique Company by the Portuguese in Mozambique formed a private bank ( Banco de Beira) in Beira in order to run different colonial projects.