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Sub-Saharan Africa was the centre of interest among the European countries in the late 19th century. These included the British, French, Italians, Belgium, Germans and the Portuguese. In 1884-1885, these countries held the Berlin conference organized by the German chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck, to plan on how to scramble and partition Africa (De & Muller, 2008). The result of this conference was the colonization of Africa until the 20th century when many of the African countries attained their independence.

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Imperialism in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa was of strategic importance to the imperialists. One, Africa had massive natural resources such as minerals, forests, good climate and soil for crops growth and wildlife. These resources were in high demand in Europe, during the industrial revolution period.  Secondly, Africa was the mid-way to Middle East and so there was a need to explore it and put the local inhabitants under the Europeans control. There was also need to bring civilization as well as spread Christianity this ‘‘Dark Continent’’. Each European power used a different method to bring exercise control. There was the direct and indirect rule by the British and assimilation policy by the French.

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In Kenya, a country in East Africa, the British used both the direct and indirect policy to establish their rule. Divide and rule policy, for example, between the Maasai and Kalenjin communities was used to make them fight against each other, thus weakening them (Anderson, 1993). The partitioning of Africa divided the Maasai people into two groups, one in Kenya and the other one in Tanzania. This weakened them to a big extent. In Congo Free State, the Belgium used military force under King Leopold II. They then introduced forced labor and plundered the country of its minerals, forests and gum (Hochschild, 1998).


The boundaries superimposed on Africa by the imperialists are one of the causes of conflicts in the continent. It is the duty of these former colonialists to work closely with these countries to help solve these problems.

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