In the so late 1800s, English businessman Cecil Rhodes made a fortune claiming huge tracts of floor in southern Africa—places affluent in gold and also diamonds—and brutally exploiting the job of the neighborhood population, that he considered to it is in members of an inferior race. Thousands died as a an outcome of the labor techniques his businesses provided in Africa. In his later years, he created that “the people is practically all parceled out, and also what over there is left of the is being split up, conquered and also colonized. To think of these stars the you watch overhead in ~ night, these vast worlds which we deserve to never reach, I would certainly annex the planets if ns could; I frequently think of that. It renders me sad to watch them therefore clear and also yet so far.”1


This caricature, “Rhodes Colossus,” depicts british imperialist Cecil Rhodes straddling the continent that Africa ~ announcing plans because that a telegraph heat from Cape city to Cairo.
Rhodes was an imperialist, and also to an imperialist, “expansion to be everything.” Imperialism is the plan of widening the ascendancy of a nation or realm over foreign nations by force. In the 1800s, European nations acquired good wealth and also power from both the herbal resources the the lands castle conquered and also the compelled labor that the civilization from whom they took the land. Imperialists used concepts from eugenics and Social Darwinism come justify your conquests. To imperialists like Rhodes, the idea that there would quickly be no chance for further development was unsettling.

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The French held comparable views. In a speech to the French chamber of Deputies in 1884, Jules Ferry, that twice offered as prime minister that France, said:

Gentlemen, we should speak more loudly and more honestly! We need to say openly that without doubt the higher races have a ideal over the reduced races. . . . I repeat, the the superior races have a right because they have actually a duty. They have actually the duty come civilize the worse races. . . . In the history of earlier centuries these duties, gentlemen, have regularly been misunderstood, and also certainly as soon as the Spanish soldiers and explorers presented slavery into main America, they walk not fulfill their duty as guys of a higher race. . . . Yet in ours time, I preserve that European countries acquit themselves v generosity, with grandeur, and also with the sincerity that this remarkable civilizing duty.2

A couple of months later, France took component in an worldwide meeting known as the congress of Berlin. That was dubbed by otto von Bismarck, climate chancellor that Germany, and was attended by 15 nations. They involved establish rules for separating up Africa—the only big landmass Europeans had not yet fully colonized. By agreeing come abide through those rules, the group hoped to avoid a war in Europe. Lock paid tiny or no fist to the results of their decisions on afri or the human being of any type of other continent. The results of their efforts can be watched in the following map. The inset mirrors Africa just prior to the conference of Berlin; the main map shows the continent in 1914.

At the congress of Berlin in 1884, 15 europe powers divided Africa among them. By 1914, these imperial powers had totally colonized the continent, exploiting the people and also resources.


In 1915, W. E. B. Du Bois, an african American scholar and also activist, summed up the meeting held some 30 years previously in an post in the Atlantic Monthly. In it, he revealed the the conference of Berlin was having actually an affect on Africa nearly two weeks before the an initial group of delegates come in Germany.

The Berlin Conference to apportion the climbing riches that Africa among the white individuals met on the fifteenth day of November, 1884. Eleven days earlier, 3 Germans left Zanzibar (whither they had gone privately disguised as mechanics), and before the Berlin Conference had finished the deliberations lock had linked to Germany one area over half as big again together the whole German empire in Europe. Only in its dramatic suddenness to be this undisguised rob of the soil of 7 million natives various from the approaches by which an excellent Britain and France got four million square mile each, Portugal 3 quarters of a million, and Italy and Spain smaller but an extensive areas.

The methods by which this continent has been stolen have been contemptible and dishonest past expression. Lying treaties, rivers the rum, murder, assassination, mutilation, rape, and also torture have significant the development of Englishman, German, Frenchman, and Belgian top top the dark continent. The only method in i m sorry the civilization has to be able come endure the horrible story is by deliberately stopping its ears and an altering the topic of conversation when the deviltry go on.

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It every began, singularly enough . . . Through Belgium. Numerous of us remember Stanley"s great solution the the puzzle of main Africa, as soon as he traced the mighty Congo sixteen hundred mile from Nyangwe come the sea. Unexpectedly the world knew that below lay the vital to the wide range of main Africa. It stirred uneasily, yet Leopold of Belgium was very first on his feet, and the an outcome was the Congo totally free State. . . . However the Congo free State, with all that is magniloquent proclaiming of Peace, Christianity, and also Commerce, devolving into murder, mutilation, and downright robbery, differed only in degree and concentration native the tale of all Africa in this rape of the continent already furiously mangled by the slave trade. The sinister traffic, on i beg your pardon the brothers Empire and also the American Republic were largely built, cost black Africa no less than 100,000,000 souls, the wreckage of its political and social life, and also left the continent in precisely that state the helplessness i beg your pardon invites aggression and also exploitation. “Color” became in the world"s thought associated with inferiority, “Negro” shed its capitalization, and Africa was one more name because that bestiality and also barbarism.

Thus, the world started to invest in shade prejudice. The “Color Line” started to salary dividends. For indeed, when the exploration of the sink of the Congo to be the chance of the scramble because that Africa, the cause lay deeper. . . . Already England was in Africa, cleaning far the debris of the servant trade and fifty percent consciously groping towards the brand-new Imperialism. France, humiliated and also impoverished, looked toward a new northern african empire, sweeping from the Atlantic come the Red Sea. Much more slowly, Germany began to see the dawning the a brand-new day, and, shut the end from America through the Monroe Doctrine, looked to Asia and Africa for colonies. Portugal sought anew to make good her case to her old African realm; and thus a continent whereby Europe claimed however a tenth that the floor in 1875, remained in twenty-five more years practically absorbed.3


: W. T. Stead, ed., The last Will and Testament of Cecil john Rhodes (London: wilhelm Clowes Ltd., 1902), quoted in Emanuele Saccarelli and Latha Varadarajan, Imperialism Past and Present (Oxford, UK: Oxford college Press, 2015), 15. 3 : W. E. B. Du Bois, “The African roots of War,” Atlantic Monthly, might 1915, 707–14.
What urged European nations to colonize Africa and Asia in the 1800s? just how did they justification their occupation of other lands and people?What perform you think it meant to Jules Ferry to “civilize the inferior races” of Africa? What effect was this policy most likely to have on the society and means of life of indigenous Africans?W. E. B. Du Bois writes: “Thus, the world started to invest in shade prejudice. The ‘Color Line’ began to pay dividends.” What does he average by “invest”? In what sense was color prejudice an “investment” because that imperialists?How might the heritages of imperialism and this period’s stereotypes around Africa affect the way people see the people today?