Explain to me about the colonial rule and conquest of Africa.

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Almost all of the European empires were involved in the colonization of Africa at some point or another, starting with the Portuguese and Spanish.  But the real "Race for Africa" started in the 19th century with the French, British, Germans, Belgians and Italians.

Africa was strategic in location for the Suez Canal; and the Cape of Good Hope, and all of the naval positions it offered on the Mediterranean, but it was also (and still is) incredibly rich in resources, and for emerging industrial economies, like the 19th century empires, this was too attractive a target to pass up.

By 1910, there were only three independent African countries remaining, South Africa, Ethiopia and Liberia.  Every other nation was a colony of Europe.

France used Direct Rule, by stationing troops and taking a direct hand in the governments of their colonies.  While Britain took the route of "Indirect Rule", empowering the minority tribe with education and arms, and in return for power extracting the resources of the colony.

This lasted mostly uninterrupted until 1961, also called the Year of African Independence, when the empires' power was waning, and 17 separate countries declared independence.