The Berlin Conference of 1884, also known as the Congo Conference, represented the division of the continent of Africa by Great Powers of Europe. The newly ascendant Germany hosted what would turn out to be a protracted (the conference ran for over 100 days) affair of enormous long-term consequences. The conference could also be seen as establishing an important precedent for the later post-World War I division of the Middle East between Great Britain and France.
The Berlin Conference was arranged so that the leaders of Europe’s powers could peaceably carve up Africa in furtherance of their respective global ambitions. These ambitions included the exploitation of Africa’s vast natural resources and the enhancement of each empire’s individual prestige.
At the conference, diplomats drew up borders for their colonies, most of which continue to exist today. The conference did not precipitate the colonization of Africa; that was already underway. It did, however, formalize and...
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