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Yes, the reasons for the beginning of the Empire are linked to the reasons for the Scramble for Africa. Both occurred for similar reasons.
The British Empire can be said to have originated with its activities in the Americas. At that point, the major reasons for the creation of the British Empire were economic and political. The British wanted to find colonies that would benefit them economically. They also wanted to be able to compete with the Spanish and Portuguese as imperial powers.
These were much the same reasons for British involvement in the Scramble for Africa. In this later wave of imperialism, the British wanted to be able to exploit any mineral or other wealth that could be found in Africa. In addition, they wanted to be able to compete with other countries (such as France and Germany) for the power and prestige that would come along with having a powerful empire.
In these ways, the motivations behind the beginning of the British Empire and the Scramble for Africa are similar.
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