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Analyze the Policies of Three European Colonial Powers Regarding Africa Between 1871 and 1914

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Analyze the policies of three European colonial powers regarding Africa between 1871 and 1914.

Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth century was a prominent continent for colonization and imperial rule mainly because of its abundance of diamond and gold. Three main colonial powers had a goal of colonizing and dominating Africa. France had occupied West Africa as its colony by the racing the superiority against the Britain in order gain the natural sources from the land as well as to become an even bigger imperial power. In addition to France, Britain had justified their motives of Africa colonization by the “White Man’s Burden”, in which whites are superior to all other races therefore have the right to rule all other races, and planned to colonize and control all of the African continent, however although Britain did believe they were superior to the natives, their policies inflicted on the Africans were nowhere near as harsh as the Belgium policies in Congo. King Leopold II of Belgium had used brutal ways to occupy Congo, central Africa, and forced the labor to the inhabitants in order to gain raw materials such as natural rubber, many natives were either tortured or were killed because of King Leopold’s inhumane attitude towards the Africans. Therefore although all African natives were exposed to forced labor and were treated as inferior individuals, out of the three imperial powers, King Leopold II enforced the cruelest policies regarding the natives, exploiting the African population.

Great Britain had a goal of colonizing all of South Africa. Cecil Rhodes, the prime minister of the African Cape colony, justified Britain’s domination in Africa by wanting to create a railroad from colony of Cape to the colony of Cairo. Britain’s aimed to control the whole continent, demonstrating its imperialist mindset and why it controlled most of Africa. “The White Man’s Burden” was Britain’s justification for dominating the whole continent in that the white population has the right to over power any other race therefore having the right to dominate the African natives. The Boer Dutch were threatened by Britain’s extreme attitude towards expansion and attempted to gain control of South African colonies. The Boer War occurred between the Dutch and the British. The British Empire defeated the Boer’s because of their military power and strength over the Dutch and the Boers fell under their rule. Britain ended up gaining the Orange Free State and the Transvaal with the Treaty of Vereeniging that ended the war. South Africa was expanded from the Cape to the Zambezi. Nevertheless during Britain’s domination of a number of African countries, more or less conciliatory labor policies towards the native Africans and the Boers were imposed, significantly differing from the policies of Belgium in Congo under King Leopold II.

France was able to defeat the British in Sudan in 1885 gain the natural sources from the land in addition to other countries in West Africa. France also dominated Algeria in North Africa after the Algerian War under king Charles X. The Voulet Canoine mission was a French military expedition to Senegal in 1898. France conquered the Chad Basin and unified all the French Territories in West Africa. France expanded its colonies and protectorates in North Africa, nonetheless although African protectorates did exist; the labor policies under such territories were nowhere near as barbaric as the policies in the Belgium colony of Congo

The imperial power that exploited the African natives to its greatest extent was country of Belgium. With the International Congo Association founded in 1878, King Leopold of Belgium was able to inflict harsh labor and slave policies on the African Natives in the Country of Congo, Central Africa that he claimed he controlled because of the wealth potential that Congo had because of its supply of rubber. The natives were forced to work on field plantations and were exerted to Brutal treatment under Leopold’s orders. Leopold occupied Congo with force, killing millions of Africans within the process. Leopold called his colony “The Congo Free State” which was a regime operated as a forced and brutal labor colony to gain the most wealth in the quickest amount of time.  Leopold’s occasional alternative to slavery or labor was levying a money tax or reducing native lands to the point that survival required work, leaving the natives with no choice but to be subjugated. Native societies were uprooted, and the individual was left alone, with nothing to replace their tribes or villages. Great Britain, France and Belgium all imposed forced labor and inequity towards the African natives, nevertheless he reality was the incredible brutalization of the people of Congo to squeeze out maximum profits. Nowhere was imperialism worse.



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