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Author Topic: Berlin Conference....2003....this time Iraqi resou  (Read 9180 times)
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« on: May 22, 2003, 01:54:04 PM »

The Berlin Conference, which divided up Africa in the late 1800's, distributed Africa and its resources to European powers. This is what is likely the fate of Iraq and its oil resources. I forsee a Berlin Conference type squabble over Iraq oil and rebuilding contracts that will ultimately be divided up between the White power nations, lest they create seething animosities and future enemies... if not.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Berlin Conference I have attached a pasted article from another source.

Scramble for Africa and the Berlin Conference of 1884-85

Imperialism is... The policy of extending a nation's authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations." Imperialism is intertwined and an integral part in the history of what we would today call Western Civilization. Throughout history; stronger peoples, cultures, tribes, and countries have all exercised their power over lesser counterparts. The history of the world is for-the-most-part based on this notion of the struggle for power. A perfect example of this is the second wave of European Imperialism, and in particular the Scramble for Africa.

Starting with the French invasion of Tunis in 1881, and all too apparent by the purchase of the Suez Canal by Britain, the "Scramble for Africa" began. The Scramble for Africa was a movement, a struggle rather, for European colonization of Africa. Before the 1800's only 10% of Africa had experienced colonialism. But a need for raw natural resources and markets for their manufactured goods spawned by the Industrial Revolution, the Glory of Conquest*, and "To open to civilisation the only part of our globe which it has not yet penetrated, to pierce the darkness which hangs over entire peoples, is, I dare say, a crusade worthy of this century of progress...." as King Leopold II of Belgium put it, triggered the inevitable and often brutal colonization of Africa. Missionaries began flocking to the heathen continent to save souls, bring cultural advances, and smooth the way for income invading armies from the mother country.

Another contributing factor was the rise to prevalence of Herbert Spencer's Social Darwinism and the scientific racism it brought along with it. As Rudyard Kipling had stated, it was "the White Man's Burden" to rule these inferior peoples, and do what was best for them. Since after all, how could they possibly know what was best for them? And as with an adventurous undertaking there was an element of romanticism to Imperialism. Traveling abroad to a strange and uncharted land for the greater good of the not only the natives, but the world in general. Sounds like something out of a 18th century novel, but it was indeed the motivation for many people partaking in Imperialistic expansion, especially into Africa.

The perpetrators of this brutal Imperialism were the European Industrial Powers; mostly the British, French, Belgians, Dutch, Italians, and Germans. King Leopold II of Belgium wanted African territory for the purpose of raising personal wealth (via the mining of minerals, hunting of ivory, and export of rubber), while Otto von Bismarck, the Chancellor of Germany, was commercially compelled to acquire African territory. Most countries competed for African territories for these reasons at first, they saw Africa as a untapped continent of raw materials and wealth.. Later, countries would turn the colonization of Africa into a militaristic international contest. For example, France used the Scramble for Africa to reassert itself as a European Power after its defeat to Prussia in 1870. Also, new fledgling countries would use the colonization of Africa to carve out a place for themselves in the European theater, chiefly German (declared on January 18, 1871) and Italy (completely unified by 1870). The climax of the Scramble for Africa however came in 1884 in, of all places, Berlin, Germany.

Taking a suggestion from the Portuguese, Otto von Bismarck concerned about how this jingoistic European competition had escalated, in November 1884, called a conference of the European powers with interests and/or territory in Africa in Berlin, Germany. Great Britain, Austia-Hungary, France, Germany (of course), Portugal, Russia, Denmark, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States, the Ottoman Empire, and Belgium came together to negotiate a fair resolution to the territorial disputes in Africa mostly regarding the Niger and Congo River mouths and basins. (Of which the latter would become the personal kingdom of King Leopold II of Belgium and site of a massive native slaughter.) From November 15, 1884 until November 26, 1885 (over a year) negotiations took place and a resolution come upon.

Negotiated boundaries of European control were then drawn up and formalized into some fifty geographically awkward countries "superimposed over the one thousand indigenous cultures and regions of Africa" (Rosenberg), most of which resemble their current recognized national boundaries. Also agreed upon were some weak and meaningless resolutions about the welfare of the continent and the end of the African slave trade (which in some respects has still not happened). Also an agreement of free trade among the colonies was established along with guidelines for further African territorial negotiations, which was buttressed by what British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli called the “Imperial Lifeline”. The Imperial Lifeline was an idea that imperialism should be used to not only acquire raw materials but also be used to secure safe and efficient methods of getting those raw materials from the overseas colonies to the mother-countries. An ideal influential into the building of the Suez Canal (opened for navigation November 17,1869) by the British and French and a Cairo to Cape Town railroad.

The main problem with the outcome is that it gave no say to the Africans. No African states had been invited to the Berlin Conference nor had any actually signed or agreed to the decisions made there. They never asked to be divided up into countries. The new boundaries often cause tribal tension by bringing tribal foes under the same government and more often then not did not coincide with current tribal boundaries, which often meant a tribe would have to live in two or three separate "countries" and be divided. Europeans who subscribed to Social Darwinism felt that white Europeans were genetically better equipped to survive the supposed struggle for survival. In turn, the “white man’s burden” as Rudyard Kipling had said, was to help the underdeveloped and heathen cultures of Africa to survive as well. Another result of the Berlin Act was the Great Push to the Interior that ensued. Since Europeans now had rules and regulations to colonialism that all agreed with, the next thing was (adhering to those rules, of course) to grab up what was left of Africa.

Another problem with the Scramble for Africa and 2nd Wave International Imperialism in general is that it was not as financially beneficial to the European powers as was once thought. Actually, imperialism didn’t really boost foreign trade like it was supposed to, mostly because the areas being colonized (Africa and Asia) could not afford to buy the manufactured goods the mother-countries produced. Basically Henry Stanley’s “forty million beyond the gateway of Congo…” didn’t have the money for the clothes made for them. Only fractions, or minute percentages, of foreign trade even went to the colonies. The European powers mostly traded among each other rather than with their overseas colonies. Which in turn made the Europeans powers realize that the Scramble for Africa was not worth the strife and tension it created between the European powers. Attempts to use overseas colonies as dumping grounds for excess population failed as well. Between 1850 – 1900 (a 50 year span) all of Europe only sent a half of a million immigrants to their overseas colonies, which was less than they sent to the United States in one year!

Finally, by 1900, European powers had colonized 90.4% of the African continent (Liberia and Ethiopia not falling under European influence). And by 1914, Africa was fully divided amongst it's European father countries, yet had reaped little to no economic value from the continent. On top of that many would argue that virtually nothing had been done in reparation for the natives. They in essence gained nothing due to colonization, sometimes not even being paid for the natural resources stolen from their land. Eventually, Ethiopia finally fell under European control, being a sovereign to Italy from 1935-1941. Yet the European stronghold was so efficient that it would take until 1957 for Africa to begin breaking free from European power when Ghana was freed from Great Britain. An interesting fact to note is that 100% of Africa has never been under European colonial control, Liberia has never experienced colonialism. Although many argue that Liberia was an American colony in every way but in name.

This was the end result of the Scramble for Africa...

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, and Botswana (Rhodesia). 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). (source - Rosenberg, Matt T.)
when in the reality the result was...nothing! The Scramble for Africa was, for the most part, an European power trip and the epitome of a cultures desire to go further and conquer anything not within its sphere. It symbolizes what, in my opinion, is right with Western culture but also what is wrong!


We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
Posts: 72

« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2003, 11:17:45 PM »

An Iportant article there Sister. thoroughly presented. But what is the stake of Iraq to America? I hardly think that the people of Iraq will be as gentle and accepting as Africans has been to its capture and sharing by its captors.
We can only watch and see how what happens in Iraq plays out. An example will be set if has not been already. America will be the one to be the bearer of such examples. If it is freedom that has been brought to the Iraq people, I hope they now become aware of what price they shall pay to keep that freedom or live it. However, I enjoyed reading some of the article you presented. I shall read some more and thus make my comment. Blessed and I like your inputs on Rastafarispeaks.com.

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