African History

All the facts about Africa's history in one place!

The Partitioning of Africa

Africa was partitioned by the Europeans. The countries that colonized Africa were Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. They partitioned it because they wanted to expand their empire, control Africa's wealth of natural resources, and spread Christianity. The country who started the Transatlantic slave trade was Portugal. Th middle passage was the pathway from Africa to the New World where slaves were traded. Goods like merchant goods, crops (including cotton, molasses, sugar, and tobacco), weapons, and metal goods were traded between the New World, Europe, and Africa, along with slaves. After the slave trade ended, the Europeans were still interested in Africa because of natural resources, imperialism, spreading of Christianity, and trade routes. Colonialism is the forced control of one nation by another. Imperialism is the process of empire building.
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The Berlin Conference

The Berlin Conference was a series of meetings involving the European leaders. The purpose was to partition Africa. The countries in attendance were Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden-Norway (unified from 1814-1905), Turkey, and the United States of America. The outcome of the conference was Africa was divided among the Europeans, without the African leaders in attendance. The impact of this conference was that the Africans had no say in where the boundaries were placed and their freedoms were taken away. The two countries not colonized by the Europeans were Liberia and Ethiopia.

Impact of Apartheid

The History of Apartheid in South Africa

Laws were created to keep land and wealth in the hands of whites. The white-controlled government made these laws and created a system called Apartheid. Apartheid was designed to separate South African society into groups based on race: whites, blacks, coloreds, and Asians. Because of this, blacks couldn't vote, kept in low-paying jobs, were forced to live on homelands (poor rural areas), put in poor schools, and they had to carry identification. Whites and blacks also had separate hospitals and restaurants. President F. W. Clerk finally ended apartheid after years of protests. In South Africa's first multiracial presidential election, Nelson Mandela was elected president.
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Africa's 21st Century Issues Graph

This graph shows the birth rate, death rate, poverty rate, and disease prevalence in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. The partitioning of Africa led to ethnic conflict and civil war because the boundaries laid down had nothing to do with the ethnic groups' land/areas, so they fought over what was traditionally theirs. Some other problems of 21st century Africa are instability, poverty, lack of economic development, and genocide (a planned extermination of a particular group). An example of genocide is how 800,000 Tutsis were killed in Rwanda. The Darfur crisis is fighting between the Arab Muslims who were supported by the Sudanese gov. and the non-Arabs who were fighting against them. Religion was the main reason for this because one group believes in Islam and one does not. All of these issues impact Africa by making it a overall poor country. The literacy rate of a country is how many people out over the age of 18 can read and write. The literacy rate for women differs from men because in Africa, not many women get a education.

Country Study: Journeys to Independence

Kenya's Independence

Before Kenya gained its independence, the Kenyans were upset about the British rule. They thought it was very unfair and created a secret organization to fight against the British rule, called the Mau Mau. They earned their independence in 1963, and their first democratically elected president was Jomo Kenyatta.

Nigeria's Independence

Nigeria got its independence in a different way then most other countries. They didn't have to fight for their independence, Their leaders, the British, gave it to them peacefully through constitutions in 1960. It was non-violent.

South Africa's Independence

South Africa was under control of the British. The British created a system called Apartheid, which discriminated against all races but whites (see Apartheid in South Africa above). There were many protests against it; Apartheid was finally put to an end in 1994 by President F. W. de Clerk. Nelson Mandela, who had spent 28 years in prison for leading nonviolent protests against apartheid, was South Africa's first president elected in a multiracial election.

Pan-African Movement

Pan- African Movement is the idea that there is a global African community consisting of descendants of African slaves, migrants, and Africans themselves. These people are spread throughout the world. This movement began in late 1800s to early 1900s. It was inspired by Marcus Garvey and was a way to secure equal rights, independence, self-government, and unity of the African people. By encouraging the study of their history and culture, it helped the people with their self-awareness. This movement marked the start of nationalist movements all across Africa, and led to the founding of the African Union (UN) in 2001. The UN's goals were to promote economic growth, advance women's rights, improve education, end poverty and starvation, and end African wars.

Nationalist Movements in Africa

Nationalism is a strong pride in one's country, and a desire for self-government. Nationalist movements are movements that seek independence for the people in one country. In Nigeria, because of pressure by political groups, the British let the Nigerians elect their own government and them granted them their independence. In Kenya, the Mau Mau was created to fight the British control. In South Africa, organizations like the African Natonal Congress (ANC) were made to protest against Apartheid and eventually, due to protest/strike and sanctions, apartheid was ended. These are all examples of Nationalist movements in Africa, and how these movements helped countries gain their independence.