SOC 0829 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: White Supremacy, Social Darwinism, Arthur De Gobineau

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The European Colonization of Africa
The colonization of Africa = “The First Scramble for Africa”
Before 1880:
o European presence confined to a few coastal zones
Between 1880 and 1900:
o Europeans colonization of Africa
(except Liberia and Ethiopia)
The Berlin Conference:
o From November 15th 1884 to January 30th, 1885
o Several European nations met in order to share “the African Cake” amongst
themselves and avoid an open conflict
o On February 26th, 1885 the Berlin Act is signed, which laid down the rules for
partition
o Participating Countries:
Britain, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium
U.S. observed
Reasons for the scramble:
o Economic reasons:
Create new markets for European goods
Demand for raw materials
Rubber, minerals
Need for areas to invest surplus capital
Surplus of working power in Europe looked for employment abroad
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o Political reasons:
Rise of European nationalism
o Cultural Reasons:
Domination of others is a must (racism)
Working definition of a colony:
o “a multidimensional space that must be controlled for the colonizer’s goals to be
met.”
o All dimensions are related
A colony as a physical space
Settler colonies
o Kenya, South Africa
Non-settler colonies
Colony as a social space (political and economic)
Creation of social institutions that will allow Europeans to rule
Direct Rule: highly centralized authority/all decisions are made in the
metropole
o France, Portugal
Indirect Rule: the colony is divided into different regions and
different regions and districts
o England
Building of adequate infrastructures to facilitate the exploitation of the
land and the people
o Roads, railways, ports, telegraphs, and postal services
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