The map on the wall in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin was five meters (16.4 feet) tall. It showed Africa with rivers, lakes, a few place names and many white spots. When the Berlin Conference came to an end on February 26, 1885, after more than three months of deliberation, there were still large swathes of Africa on which no European had ever set foot.
Representatives of 13 European states, the United States of America and the Ottoman Empire converged on Berlin at the invitation of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to divide up Africa among themselves “in accordance with international law.” Africans were not invited to the meeting.
The Berlin Conference led to a period of heightened colonial activity by the European powers. With the exception of Ethiopia and Liberia, all the states that make up present day Africa were parceled out among the colonial powers within a few years after the meeting. Lines of longitude and latitude, rivers and mountain ranges were pressed into service as borders separating the colonies. Or one simply placed a ruler on the map and drew a straight line. Many historians, such as Olyaemi Akinwumi from Nasarawa State University in Nigeria, see the conference as the crucible for future inner African conflicts.
“In African Studies, many of us believe that the foundation for present day crises in Africa was actually laid by the 1884/85 Berlin Conference. The partition was done without any consideration for the history of the society,” Akinwumi told DW.
New borders were drawn through the territories of every tenth ethnic group. Trade routes were cut, because commerce with people outside one’s colony was forbidden. Studies have shown that societies through which new frontiers were driven would later be far more likely to suffer from civil war or poverty.
“The conference did irreparable damage to the continent. Some countries are still suffering from it to this day,” Akinwumi said.
In many countries, such as Cameroon, the Europeans rode roughshod over local communities and their needs, said Michael Pesek, a researcher in African colonial history at the University of Erfurt. But historians, he explained, were now less inclined than they were to regard the arbitrary redrawing of Africa’s borders as the root cause of conflicts in postcolonial Africa.
“People had learnt to live with borders that often only existed on paper. Borders are important when interpreting Africa’s geopolitical landscape, but for people on the ground they have little meaning.”
Read more at DW
11 thoughts on “The European Conference That Divided Africa For White People Over 100 Years Ago Still Has Lingering Effects Today”
The European history they don't teach in schools but should.
How dare they be depicted in a negative light?
It was called colonialization, today it is called neo-colonializarion, in many Afrukan countries, blacks are still suffering like they did during colonialization. They really didn't start fighting each other, waring each other until after colonization, to help put neo-colonialization in place. All the fighting we see in Afuraka, is caused by white countries, that wish to steal the resources, take their minds off them, and fight each other. We have been doing this for a long time. We are dealing with the evilness of the planet.
As there is in Black Australia, is there any old maps showing any original borders/Tribal groups?
Representatives of 13 European states, the United States of America and the Ottoman Empire converged on Berlin at the invitation of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to divide up Africa among themselves “in accordance with international law.” Africans were not invited to the meeting. ONE WORD THAT STANDS OUT HERE IS THE COUNTRYS IN AFRICA NEED TO DEMAND REPARATIONS AND BOYCOTT THE UNITED NATIONS,, in accordance with international law AND THE SELLING OF RESOURCES TO THE EUROPEAN , AMERICA AND OTHER COUNTRYS THAT WERE APART OF THIS THEFT OF LAND AND RESOURCES.
A wicked stranger can breakup your home but the burden to restore rest on you.
HERE YOU GO! Historical Map of Africa in 1885 – Nations Online Project.
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Colonialism is still with us as in neo-colonialism. In every spectrum of our dealings with the western world there is always elements of colonialism. Western multinational companies in Africa do not put Africans on the same working conditions as their counterparts in the home company. Alot of things go on and they just assume that after all we dont see what happenning behind the scene. But they are not to be blamed but oir leaders. The format of the slave trade has been modinized to fool the contemporary African that all is well. They provide some good for nothing condition for leaders and get them to cheat us on their behalf just as they were capturing slaves in Africa through the strong native Africans.The journey is still far for Africa inddeed.
We need to erase those borders fast, swiftly and soon.
States that were defined solely for corrupt purposes – theft, plunder, enslavement and murder cannot, even in the remotest sense, thrive.
James Edward White Jr that link doesnt work.