“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”
–Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
At the Berlin Conference 1884, the
European leaders decided to
divide Africa among themselves to
avoid any war in Europe.
Amongst the leading European powers of the 19th century, there was a race to occupy more and more land and subjugate more and more people. In Africa, the process of invasion, occupation, colonisation and annexation was known as the Scramble for Africa. In the years between 1881 until World War I, the race continued. Europeans nations came up with a plan of partitioning of Africa to avoid Europe-wide war over Africa.
Historians have credited the beginning of the scramble with “The Berlin Conference” that was held in 1884 that aimed at regulating the process of colonisation and establishing conduct for European colonisers to carry on their trades in Africa. It was Bismark, the German chancellor, who called for this meeting to deliberate on the process of colonising Africa and avoid any war among the “Enlightened” nations.
It is interesting that provincial understanding of people of world history make them believe that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was the cause of WWI. However, it was Germany’s insistence on getting more and more share in colonial loot that brought the European powers to fight each other.