What was Europe seeking during the "Scramble for Africa?"

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The “Scramble for Africa” was an example of imperialism.  During this time, European countries were seeking empires.  They did so mainly for purposes of political prestige and economic gain.

One of the points of the Scramble for Africa was a desire for economic gain.  The countries of Europe were rapidly industrializing during the late 1800s.  This meant that they needed sources of raw materials.  It also meant that they wanted to find new markets in which to sell the products they produced.  Empires would give them both.  They would have the exclusive right to take raw materials and sell manufactured goods.

The other major goal was political prestige.  During this time, having a major empire was seen as a sign of a country’s power.  Each European country that could have an empire wanted one as a way of demonstrating that it was an important country.  The European countries competed for African territories because they wanted the size of their empires to keep up with those of their rivals. 

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