causes driving the “scramble” that seem most influential and plausible to me are the
decline and collapse of the Ottoman Empire
s influence in North Africa, the end of the transatlantic slavetrade and the alkaloid extraction and commercial manufacture of quinine. Wesseling points out that
Tunisia was “officially” a province of the Ottoman Empire, but was primarily independent
TheOttoman Empire also laid claim in Libya and Egypt, and as the Empire declined it lost the ability to wardoff competing European nations in these areas. The official end of the transatlantic slave trade left agaping hole in profits that needed to be filled by other resources, such as rubber, coffee, sugar, palm oil,and timber. Previous to 1880, European settlements in Africa all concentrated along the coasts andshort distances inland near rivers. With the advances in medical diagnosis and treatment of malaria andnew availability of quinine potent and inexpensive enough to be used as a prophylactic,
Europeanslacking the genetic immunity to malaria could greatly reduce their chances of not dying immediately in
exploration of the African continent’s interior
.The key differences to the African colonial manifestations are mainly due to the majormotivation of capitalist financiers for resources at maximum profit. Africa was not wanted in and of itself for land for colonial settlers or religious freedom or for trade with its sparse populations. Cashcrops and mining for gold and diamonds were the most profitable resource market after the slave tradeofficially ended
though these resources were gained due to forced labor in many cases. There was nore-investment of this resource capital into the infrastructures of Africa, so even at official
“independence” of many of these African “nations” the land and people were left without their valuable
resources, with a culture of dependence on European goods, in political instability, and frictions leadingto ongoing genocides and civil wars between ethnic peoples that had been used as pawns against eachother by the European Imperialists.
H. L. Wesseling.
The European Colonial Empires
D. Webb, Translator. (London: Pearson Education Limited, 2004)p. 149.
Daniel R. Headrick.
The Tools of the Empire
Technology and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century
. (New York:Oxford Univ. Press, 1981) p. 66-68.