Examine impacts of the Berlin conference on Africa in international relations.
The main impact of the Berlin conference on Africa in terms of international relations was that it fragmented the continent by formalizing the process of Western colonialism. The conference created huge colonial empires that put indigenous Africans firmly under the control of their White Western overlords.
For a number of years prior to the Berlin Conference of 1884–85 Western powers such as Great Britain, Germany, and France had each been trying to establish colonial empires in Africa. As the process was ad hoc rather than formalized, the so-called “Scramble for Africa,” as it became known, inevitably involved disputes between the colonial powers. And as there was a real danger that such conflicts could lead to outbreaks of armed conflict, it was felt necessary for the respective powers to put African colonization on a more formal footing, with clear rules and regulations to determine which power should own which part of Africa. The Berlin Conference was convened with just such a purpose in mind.
By the time the conference concluded in 1885, Africa had been carved up among Western colonial powers, each one of which sought to exploit their particular territory, safe in the knowledge that none of the other powers would take it away from them, as they had all signed up to the General Act agreed upon at Berlin.
As for the indigenous Africans, the Berlin Conference served to regularize the exploitation and repression from which they’d already been suffering for a number of years. The deliberate fragmentation of the continent at Berlin made it more difficult for Africans to form themselves into independent states. Though some independent states still existed after the conference, they were relatively insignificant to the Western powers from a strategic standpoint and therefore posed no real danger to the continued exploitation of the African continent.
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