How did the Berlin Conference of 1884 affect Africa?

The Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 formally regulated European colonial efforts in the Scramble for Africa and basically overrode the autonomy and self-governance of African peoples. It divided up European ownership of territories on the continent and set up regulations for claiming territories that led to increased aggression in colonization. The policies established at the Berlin Conference continue to have a negative impact on Africa today.

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The Berlin Conference carved up Africa into spheres of influence. Without asking the indigenous people, Europeans gathered together to see who would control which piece of the continent. While this was done in order to ensure that no country would fight another one over a territorial dispute in Africa, it did not take into consideration the culture or the will of the people who lived there.

One of the lasting legacies of this conference is the languages spoken by each country in Africa. Countries such as Cameroon speak French largely due to being in the French sphere of influence while South Africa speaks English because Britain controlled that area.

Aside from language and customs, the Berlin Conference was largely negative for Africa. Europeans used their claims as an excuse to exploit the continent, taking raw materials and using natives for underpaid menial labor. Some countries sent Europeans to rule the native majorities while other countries backed natives who were friendly...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1033 words.)

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