Today In Black History: The Berlin Conference

On this date in 1884 The Berlin Conference began. It was convened to set up the rules of the Scramble for Africa. The Conference allowed the leaders to create a method of dividing the continent of Africa between the European powers of the time. No Africans were in attendance of this meeting. With this conference they ensured that the division of Africa would take place without war among the European powers. Through the Berlin Act, the European powers justified dividing a continent among themselves without considering the desires of the indigenous peoples of the continent.

Major colonial holdings included:

  • Great Britain desired a Cape-to-Cairo collection of colonies and almost succeeded though their control of Egypt, Sudan (Anglo-Egyptian Sudan), Uganda, Kenya (British East Africa), South Africa, and Zambia, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), and Botswana. The British also controlled Nigeria and Ghana (Gold Coast).

  • France took much of western Africa, from Mauritania to Chad (French West Africa) and Gabon and the Republic of Congo (French Equatorial Africa).

  • Belgium and King Leopold II controlled the Democratic Republic of Congo (Belgian Congo).

  • Portugal took Mozambique in the east and Angola in the west.

  • Italy's holdings were Somalia (Italian Somaliland) and a portion of Ethiopia.

  • Germany took Namibia (German Southwest Africa) and Tanzania (German East Africa).

  • Spain claimed the smallest territory - Equatorial Guinea (Rio Muni).