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The 'Scramble for Africa'

At the end of the 18th century colonialism seemed to have become a thing of the past. Britain had lost its Thirteen Colonies in America, Spain and Portugal had lost most of South America and Holland was having difficulties holding onto the East Indies.

A hundred years later, however, a second wave of colonisation took place. Within twenty years, from 1880 to 1900, every corner of the Earth, from the highest mountains in the Himalayas to the most remote Pacific island and Antarctica, came to be claimed by one or other European power. Africa saw the most dramatic colonisation. It was divided up as if it had been a cake split between greedy European leaders. This was called the "Scramble for Africa".

Historians still debate the reasons for this "New Imperialism" and find it difficult to agree on any single cause.

An American cartoon depicting Britain taking African territory (circa. 1900)

An American cartoon depicting Britain taking African territory (circa. 1900)

 

 

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Shirley Burchill, Nigel Hughes, Richard Gale, Peter Price and Keith Woodall 2014

Footnote : As far as the Open Door team can ascertain the images shown on this page are in the Public Domain.