ZIMSEC O Level History Notes:Scramble and Partition of Africa:The Berlin Conference
- The Berlin colonial conference took place from 1884-1885
- This is not to be confused with the Congress of Berlin(1878) or the Postdam conference of 1945
- It was called for by the German Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck
- The scramble for Africa was done in a disorderly manner hence there was need for an agreement on how Africa was to be shared among European countries to prevent further conflict.
- The aims of the conference was to put rules to prevent conflicts amongst imperial powers.
- All powers were to have freedom of navigation on the major rivers such as Zambezi,
Congo and Niger.
- European powers had to sign treaties with local chiefs in order for them to claim a territory
- No European power was supposed to assist an African country in resisting colonization
- After acquiring a colony, European powers had to notify to the signatory power of the Berlin Act. This was also know as the principle of sphere of influence
- Other colonial powers had to be notified on any claims for them to do counter claims
- Strong and sophisticated weapons were not to be brought to Africa
- Any disputes among colonial powers were to be solved peacefully
- Effective and total occupation were necessary for claim to be valid e.g raising a flag. This was also known as the principle of effective occupation
- Colonizers were to stop slave trade in colonized areas
- The Congo River Basin area (Congo Free State) was to be recognized as King Leopold’s (Belgium) territory.
- The Congo Free state was to be ruled by an International Association formed by King Leopold
- Portugal was to receive a piece of land North of the Congo
- The area along the northern banks of the Congo was a territory of France
- Territory claims by Germany were recognized
Shortfalls of Berlin Conference
- The resolutions made at the conference did not take into consideration any African view points
- There were no African representatives at the conference
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