Recent Event Highlights: Most of Africa is under European control, Boer War in South Africa, European trade with Africa becomes well established, and 6 more...
Created by dipity on Feb 1, 2010
Last updated: 06/15/10 at 09:49 PM
After many years of wars and struggles, European nations managed to control most of Africa. These nations, including Britain, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, and Belgium, remained high and grand Imperialist nations for quite a long period of time. Ethiopia and Liberia (Liberia's capital being Freetown) were the two African nations to resist the Europeans. It would be many years until Africa gained back its independence.
The first Europeans to settle in South Africa were not the British, but instead, the Dutch. They sailed to the Cape of Good Hope more than 200 years before the Boer war to establish a station for their ships that sailed between the Dutch East Indies and their country, the Netherlands. They were called the "Boers." Over time, the boers took over the Africans' land and created large farming grounds. But when the British came and took over South Africa completely, the Boers and the British argued about British policies of land and African slaves. This started the Boer war. The Boers were forced to move North where they then found themselves quarelling and fighting with Africans called Zulus. The Dutch were having trouble keeping their acquired land, and for that, they blamed the British. They waged war on them, and Britain emerged victorious in 1899. The Boers were forced to establish separate colonies in South Africa.
The Spanish-American War proved to be quite fatal to the imperialist nation of Spain. Although most Americans weren't particularily in favor of Imperialism, there were two specific groups that favored it. The president of the United States, William McKinley even favored it, and he made many Americans switch to his opinion. And after Spain was defeated, the United States took control of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, all previous colonies belonging to Spain. The Filipino nationalists didn't like the idea of switching from one colonizer to another. The Nationalists tried to establish the Philippine Republic, but the U.S. defeated them in a struggle in 1902. They promised the Filipinos that it would prepare them for self-rule. The United States established roads, railroads, hospitals, and school systems. Although, the encouragement of growing cash crops instead of basic food crops led to food shortages in the Philippines.
Ethiopia, although sought after by the Italians, French, and British, was the only African nation to completely resist European colonization. The reason for this brilliant resistance was a man named Menelik II, the emperor of Ethiopia. He found a very intelligent way to get the Italians, the British, and the French to fight against each other, for they all wanted Ethiopia to be added to their list of colonized nations. While these three nations fought against each other, Menelik developed a large arsenal of modern weapons which he had shipped in from France and Russia. In 1889, Menelik created a treaty with the Italians, which he soon discovered left the Italians with a small portion of Ethiopia. He then waged war against Italy in 1896, and in the Battle of Adowa, the Ethiopians defeated the powerful Italians.
Queen Liluokalani was Hawaii's only and last monarch. In the year 1893, Liliuokalani established a new constitution that would give her even more power. This constitution also restored political power to Hawaiians and took that of the wealthy planters. She also refused to renew a treaty signed by her own brother that gave special privilages to wealthy out of town businessmen. This, of course, hurt the business of some Americans. They planned to overthrow Liluokalani. The same year she crowned, she was also removed from the throne.
The "scramble" for territories of Africa by the Europeans began in 1880. And as a few nations became interested in the great continent that was Africa, more European nations felt the need to colonize as well. No European nation wanted to be left out as they wanted to prove their country's pride and wealth. So the Berlin Conference was formed, and 14 European nations (including Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands) met to discuss and create rules for the division of Africa. No African representative or ruler was invited to the Berlin Conference, for they had no say in the matter. The nations of Europe were incredibly successful, and by 1914, only Liberia and Ethiopia managed to escape the desperate clutches of the Europeans.
The Egyptian leader Muhammad Ali's grandson, Isma'il wanted to continue his grandfather's dream of modernizing Egypt. To achieve this, he would support the construction of the Suez Canal. Isma'il and Egypt spent about 450 million dollars to build this grand human-made waterway that would cut through the Isthmus of Suez. The Suez Canal was the waterway to connect the Mediterranean and Red seas. It was mostly built with French money from private interest groups and with Egyptian labor. The Suez Canal finally opened in 1869, and Egypt faced many problems. They could in no way repay the French for the 450 million lent to Egypt. The British found this a perfect opportunity to seize Egypt for they insisted on overseeing the financial control of the Suez Canal. Egypt then fell to the British.
The British East India Company was thriving. India was their "Jewel of the Crown," and it seemed as though nothing could change this. But, due to the Sepoy Mutiny or rebellion, it took a whole year for the East India Company to gain control over its "jewel" again. To form a bigger army in India, the British had to not only accomodate those of English descent, but they also had to accomodate those of the native land. The Sepoys were Indian soldiers trained and led by British officers. They fought alongside the British after their training was complete for they had no choice. This was helpful to the British for some time. Although, the Sepoys were angry. The cartridges of the Enfield rifles could only be used after biting off the ends. These ends were greased with beef and pork fat. Hindus could not eat beef, and Muslims could not eat pork. So the Sepoys rebelled after gaining help from nearby and Northern Indian soldiers. British and Sepoys emerged in intense fighting. The British even had to send more troops in from England to assist the ones stationed in India. After this scare for Britain, the British decided to take full and complete control over India. This was called the British Raj. (Raj meaning king.)
Beginning in the early to mid-1800's, Europe started to realize Africa. The immense continent was full of special resources such as diamonds, ivory, and raw materials. Belgium first discovered the importance of the continent, and soon, other European nations followed in the "Scramble for Africa." Nations established trade networks with specific African territories and tribes. After the invention of the steam engine and steam engine powered boats, it was easier for these nations to visit Africa. In exchange for raw materials such as ivory and beeswax, the Europeans would manufacture goods. In some cases, the Europeans would give the Africans weapons and guns. Although, the Africans didn't even know how to use weapons. The Europeans were definately at an advantage.