Africa 1914 CE

The European powers have divided almost the whole of Africa up between them.

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What is happening in Africa in 1914CE

The Scramble for Africa

In the latter part of the 19th century, European interest in Africa grew. With the discovery of quinine, giving Europeans resistance to malaria and therefore opening up the interior of sub-Saharan Africa to them, the continent suddenly became a potential sphere for commercial and colonial expansion. Britain and France, with their already-existing toe-holds in Africa, led the way in sending expeditions of exploration and conquest into the continent. Other European countries were soon following suit, and the last two decades of the 19th century saw what modern historians call the “Scramble for Africa”. The inevitable tensions which resulted from overlapping ambitions led to European diplomats carving Africa up into “spheres of influence”, within which each power could do almost what it liked.

The British took the lion’s share, with the French close on their heels, but other powers came in too – Italy, Belgium (or rather, the king of the Belgians, who took the Congo as his personal estate), and the Germans.

The Boer War

In South Africa, British attempts to bring the Boer homelands more under their control eventually led to full-scale war (the Boer War 1899-1902). The British were only able to subdue the Boers with greatest of difficulty. The Boer republics were incorporated into the British-ruled Union of South Africa.

Next map, Africa 1960

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European World Empires


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