The Berlin Conference To Colonize Africa Began in 1884

Africa’s colonization by other major powers of the world at the tail end of the 19th century spelled doom and division for the mighty continent. It wasn’t until 1950 that Africa would begin the tough process of gaining much of its independence from Western Europeans. On November 15, 1884 The Berlin Conference began the process of dividing Africa and its rich resources.

Portugal called for the Berlin Conference, also known as the Congo or West African Conference, and asked Germany’s first chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck, to organize the event which was held in Germany on November 15, 1884. Bismarck called on representatives from the following countries to lay out the new policy for colonization: Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden-Norway (which was united until 1905), Turkey, and the United States. Henry Morton Stanley attended as a U.S. delegate.    Of these fourteen nations, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Portugal were the major players in the conference, controlling most of colonial Africa at the time.

Implied in the initial division of Africa was the idea that Africa did not belong to anyone, and so could be claimed. No Africans sat at the table. African states were not regarded as legitimate, legal entities. Africa is still coping with the consequence