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EUROPEAN COLONIZAION OF AFRICA

In the late 1800s many European countries began looking for colonies in Africa. Encouraged by their new economic and military strength, europeans embarked on a path of aggressive expansion. They moved into Africa at a rapid and with an overly aggressive speed. This sudden decision to move to Africa(in particular) was caused by different social, political and economic feelings.

The Industrial Revolution created a need for natural resources and markets for the goods produced. Many of these resources, such as cotton(which needed to be grown under certain conditions), could be found(produced) in Africa. The natives of Africa were still living agriculturally. When Europeans(under these circumstances the British) took over the natives farmlands in order to produce the cotton, the natives were forced to buy their food elsewhere(particularly the British). Also, many entrepreneurs saw the creation of African colonies as a way to fulfill their desires for investing the profits they made in their factories. Great Britain, being a small island, was beginning to become too crowded. Advancements in medicine made it possible to live longer, and people were having more and more children. As a result, the British government began to give away free land in the new colonies. Many people took advantage of these opportunities and moved to the African colonies.

At this particular time, and ethnocentric idea was spreading through western Europe. Some, combined the ideas of socialism with Darwin’s law, “survival of the fittest” they believed that the caucasian, white European race, was better than the other races. This belief became known as Social Darwinism. Many missionaries, not all, but many, carried this idea with them into Africa. They felt that it was their duty to spread the ideals of Christianity and western civilization to the natives of Africa. They attempted to convert them to christianity and to change their tribal, or cultural, ways.