Why some areas in Africa experienced more intensive scramble than others?
The scramble for colonies in Africa was the intense competition or struggle for the control of African territories, which took place among the European capitalist nations in the 1880s and 1890s.
Before the 1880s European countries were not much interested to establish colonialism in African continent, while they had only trade relationship with Africans and to spread Christianity religion.
Also before the 19thcentury European had no idea if African continent had other things to offer rather than forestry materials and slaves.
During the scramble for and partition of Africa some areas experienced more scramble than others; this was due to the following factors:
Some areas were potential for agriculture; the objective of controlling African continent was for the exploitation of agriculture raw materials. European countries occupied areas with soil fertility and enough rainfall.
Example of areas which were potential for agricultural raw materials includes Niger basin, Congo basin, Zimbabwe, Nile valley, Kenya highlands and Nyasaland. Nations involved in the scramble includes; Britain, Portugal, Belgium and France.
Areas with accessibility to the interior, important areas which involved navigable rivers like Nile River, Congo basin and Niger, which were economically important to the extent to attract many imperialistic powers.
Example Niger basin scrambled by different powers like German, Britain and France. Also Congo basin was important because of its accessibility to the interior where agricultural and mineral potential found. It involved France, Portugal and Belgium.
Because of mineral potential to some areas, African areas which had availability of minerals were scrambled than others, since European wanted minerals like diamond, gold, copper etc, which were needed as raw materials in the European industries.
The places like Nigeria and Angola scrambled by countries like Britain, France, German and Portugal.
Areas with high population, the populated areas attracted Europeans since they were very important for provision of reliable market as well as to supply enough labour.
This area includes Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon and Gold Coast. European nations like German, France and Britain were scrambled for the region.
The strategic areas, this include Egypt which was very potential area for both strategic and economic purposes. This area becomes more important after opening of Suez Canal in 1869.
Britain and France involved in construction Suez Canal. The European nations struggled over Egypt were Britain and France, Latter Britain was able to colonize Egypt.
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AREAS THAT HAD INTENSIVE SCRAMBLE AND THE REASONS
There were different areas which had intensive scramble by the European powers.
These areas included:
– CONGO (River and Basin)
– Central Africa
– South Africa
– Niger Delta
– East Africa.
Reasons for some areas in Africa to experience more intensive scramble than others are as follows:
i. Areas with Fertile land. These areas which seemed to have a fertile land like Zimbabwe and some parts of Kenya like the Kikuyu highlands experienced more intensive scramble than other areas. Also Congo had plenty of fertile soil which supported agricultural activities.
ii. Presence of valuable minerals. Minerals also made some areas in Africa to experience more intensive scramble than others; for example South Africa where Diamonds and Gold were available in large quantity, also Congo where Gold was available. Those European nations wanted minerals because they used them as raw materials for industrial productions.
iii. Presence of navigable rivers. European nations scrambled there because they wanted to dominate them so as to simplify transportation. Example Suez Canal and Congo Basin are some areas which experienced more intensive scramble. For example the Congo Basin was scrambled for by Belgium, Britain, France and Portugal. And Suez Canal was scrambled for by both the British and the French.
iv. Large population (Population pressure). These areas which were having large population also experienced more intensive scramble example Congo basin had high population that could help availability of markets for European goods and labourers who could work in European projects.
v. Good climate condition. Areas that had good /favorable climate which could enable the European to establish settlement and invest their capital experienced intensive scramble than the other. For example Egypt and Congo had good climate condition which allowed European settlements and establishment of investment projects especially in all areas around the Nile basin and Congo River respectively.
vi. Strategic reasons. For example Britain wanted to protect her economic interest in Asia as Britain had earlier colonies in Asia which were India, Burma, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand. As a result wanted to control Egypt because she wanted to use the Suez Canal to reach her colonies.
vii. Reliable rainfall. Also the region that had adequate rainfall which supported activities like agriculture experienced intensive scramble. Therefore every European power wanted these regions so as to develop agriculture in order to produce raw materials. Those areas include East Africa, Congo basin and Nile basin.
viii. Presence of great Lakes. Areas with great lakes also experienced intensive scramble than the other. The present of great lakes like Lake Victoria, Nyasa and Tanganyika of which they could use these lakes in agricultural activities throughout the year through irrigation method, hence every European nation wanted these areas.
Therefore, the Europeans only scrambled for areas with those characteristics mentioned above. And these areas which were scrambled and eventually partitioned by the Europeans, had economic importance to the European powers.